Can you make something happen just by worrying about it? All Syd has ever wanted is to keep her family (human and animal) and friends safe and sound. Shy and quiet, Syd hides from the spotlight, despite her talent on the piano, and is happiest when she's with her best friends or her cat, Beesley. Syd's always been in the middle between Anna and Eve, and she's never had a problem with that until now. Because now Syd really needs someone to listen to her, but it doesn't feel like anyone's paying attention. Eve can't think about anything other than her upcoming TV audition, and Anna and Nelson's relationship seems to be imploding before it even starts. Frustrated by the fact that her two best friends are growing away from her and frightened by her dad's mounting illness, she decides to consult the tarot cards for a look into her future. But what Syd sees scares her more than any fight with Anna or Eve ever could, because as her final card, Syd draws Death. What do the cards have in store for her? Is it possible for Syd to change her destiny?
About the Author
Mariah Fredericks is the author of the bestselling novel The True Meaning of Cleavage, which Meg Cabot called "Laugh-out-loud funny and way twisted!" She is also the author of Head Games, Crunch Time, and two previous books in the In the Cards series, Love and Fame.
Mariah accepts that cats are her superior in every way and would never dream of insulting one by trying to own it. However, she has been reading tarot cards since she was a teenager, and while she knows that it is lame to believe in fortune-telling, her readings keep coming true, so she keeps doing them. She has even written a tarot guide called The Smart Girl's Guide to Tarot.
She lives with her husband, son, and basset hound in Jackson Heights, New York. Visit her online at www.mariahfredericks.com or www.myspace.com/mariahfredericks.
Read an Excerpt
I never wanted to do a reading. I hate those cards. Maybe they do tell the future, but so what? Who wants to know the future?
I know Eve and Anna, though she'd never say it thinks I'm the world's biggest chicken. I don't mind admitting it. The world is scary. People are cruel. I know we're supposed to think everyone's nice at heart and if you just get to know them, you'll see they're really good inside. But if you've seen what people can do to animals, you'd know there are some seriously unnice people out there.
I guess what I mean is, I'm not the kind of person who jumps into things. I'm not Eve, who has no problem waving a hand in the world's face and yelling, Hey, look at me! Like this musical she did. If they'd asked me to replace the star at the last minute, I'd have thrown up. Or fainted. Or both. Which would have been quite pretty.
I'm not like Anna, either. Anna thinks we're more alike in that neither of us is super confident. But Anna does so many brave things without knowing they're brave. She doesn't think twice about taking care of her little brother. She doesn't think it takes courage to get dumped by a boy you're crazy about and not fall apart. But I saw what she went through, and I know different.
In fact, after the Declan Disaster, I told Anna I wished I were braver. She said, "You're crazy. Who saved Mrs. Rosemont's cats?" She was talking about these cats her neighbor left behind when she died. She gave one to Anna, but the other two went to people who didn't really want pets. Animals like that can end up abandoned, so I found the cats new homes. It wasn't that hard. One's with Eve, and I have the other, Beesley, who's the sweetest thingever.
I said, "Yeah, but that's easy."
Anna raised her eyebrow, but for me, it is easy. If it's a choice between calling a total stranger and knowing I left some poor thing with an owner who didn't want it, well, that's an easy choice.
"And you played the piano for Eve's show," said Anna. "That took huge guts."
I smiled, because it's true that at first I was nervous about playing in front of people. But when I play, it's like the real world disappears. All I think about is the music. So that's easy too.
But talk to kids I don't know at school? Forget it. Raise my hand in class unless I'm absolutely one hundred percent certain of the answer? No way. Approach an actual male-type person and say, Would you like to hang out sometime? Yeah, right. Just thinking about it makes my stomach lurch.
Maybe that's just how I am. Hey, the world needs chickens, too, right? But sometimes I worry that I'm going to go through my whole life doing the same old things year after year. New people, new places my brain starts churning out "What ifs": What if something goes wrong? What if they think I'm an idiot? What if I wreck everything?
It drives my mother bats. When I tell her I don't want to go to school dances or compete in some music contest, she clicks her tongue and says, "Syd-ney." And I know she's thinking, How'd I end up with such a coward for a daughter?
She's always on me to make new friends. I'm like, "I have friends. I have the best friends in the world." She once said, "You have to get out there, honey. It doesn't make you disloyal to Anna and Eve to have other friends. Someday the three of you won't be so joined at the hip. People change, new things come along. What will you do when that happens?" All I could think was, I don't know. I hope it never does.
The one person who truly gets me is my dad. He never pushes me to "get out there." And when my mom does, he says, "Leave her alone." Like when this teacher at Anna and Eve's private school heard me play and pushed me to try for Julliard, my mom was thrilled. My dad had to say for me, "Forget it. That place is too pressured for Sydney." And he should know, he went there.
(The one thing I don't like about my dad standing up for me is that I hate being another thing he and my mom fight about. They fight enough as it is. My mom's friend Liz says some people just like screaming which I don't get at all.)
It was my dad who showed me that if you're a chicken, music can save you. He showed me how music creates a whole other world, without people and all their drama. When I was six, he took my finger and pressed one of the low keys.
"What does that sound like?"
"Sad," I said. "Scary. But...," I guessed, "nice, too. Like I want to hear it again."
"That's the thing about music," he told me. "It takes pain and turns it into something beautiful."
When my dad was young, everyone thought he would be a world-famous musician. We have a scrapbook full of pictures of him playing in concert halls, winning competitions. But the pictures stop when my dad's around twenty. He didn't become a world-famous musician. He became a teacher instead.
Once I asked him if he minded not being a famousmusician. He said, "Wasn't good enough." He didn't say if he minded or not.
But more and more, I think he does. 'Cause it's not only my mom he fights with. Two years ago he lost his job because he screamed at the principal. He got a new job, though, and basically, everything's been fine.
But last night, when I got home from the cast party for Eve's show, I could feel it: Something had happened. Something really bad.
Which is why, even though I hate the cards, I called Anna this morning and told her I wanted to do a reading.Copyright © 2008 by Mariah Fredericks