Lost in Thought

Lost in Thought

by Cara Bertrand




Perfect for readers who love books and series such as Vampire Academy, Spellbound, and Sweet Peril, Lost in Thought is a sure winner for young adult readers interested in the paranormal, romance, and action-packed twists

Lainey Young has a secret: she’s going crazy. Everyone else thinks she has severe migraines from stress and exhaustion. What she really has are visions of how people died—or are going to die. Not that she tells anyone that. At age 16, she prefers keeping her crazy to herself. When doctors insist she needs a new and stable environment to recover, Lainey’s game to spend two years at a private New England boarding school. She doesn’t really think it will cure her problem, and she’s half right. There is no cure, but as she discovers, she’s not actually crazy. Almost everyone at Northbrook Academy has a secret too. Half the students and nearly all the staff are members of the Sententia, a hidden society of the psychically gifted. A vision of another student’s impending death confirms Lainey is one of them. She’d like to return the crappy gift of divining deaths with only a touch, but enjoys spending time with Carter Penrose—recent Academy graduate and resident school crush—while learning to control it. Lainey’s finally getting comfortable with her ability, and with Carter, when they uncover her true Sententia heritage. Now she has a real secret. Once it’s spilled, she’ll be forced to forget protecting secrets and start protecting herself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935462941
Publisher: Luminis Books
Publication date: 04/18/2014
Pages: 282
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Cara Bertrand is a former middle school literacy teacher. This is her first novel; it was one of three finalists for the 2011 Amazon/Penguin Breakthrough Novel Award in the Young Adult category. She lives in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt

Lost in Thought

First Book of the Sententia

By Cara Bertrand

Luminis Books

Copyright © 2014 Cara Bertrand
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-941311-37-0


This really isn't creepy at all!" I said. "It's actually ... beautiful. And only kind of in the middle of nowhere."

I'd seen the pictures in the brochure, of course, but didn't believe it could be as nice as the glossy images made it appear. The brochures were supposed to make us want to come here, right? But I'd been mistaken; the reality of this place was way better in person.

It didn't mean I'd like it, but at least it was nice to look at.

Aunt Tessa laughed. "Not all boarding schools are misty, remote places with dreary hallways and dark secrets, Lainey. You're right though; it is beautiful. And right in the center of town too. There's even a coffee shop across the street ..." She trailed off as we slowed and turned through the heavy wrought iron gates of Northbrook Academy, my new home.

The campus was enormous, full of rolling green lawns dotted by clusters of trees and crisscrossed by several roads and smaller walking paths. A mixture of buildings, varied in age and size but all beautiful, interspersed the equally beautiful grounds. There were two ponds at the front of the property, to the left of the giant set of gates we'd just passed through. The main drive sloped gently up to where I could see athletic fields in the distance, tennis courts far to the side, and dense woods lining the many hilly acres between.

We pulled into guest parking outside the Admissions building, a small but handsome carriage-style house painted a cheerful yellow. In fact, I thought it was possible the building had been the carriage house in the early days of the Academy. I opened my door and was greeted with fresh, early autumn air tinged with pine and wood smoke. I stretched and turned in a circle, taking in the scenery and relaxing the tiniest fraction more. Only the most sullen teenager could fail to appreciate this place, and I was not sullen. It was a Tuesday, already several weeks into the fall semester. From the way the friendly woman at the reception desk fluttered about us, I got the impression my arrival was the most exciting thing that would happen all week.

Aunt Tessa and I were ushered into a waiting office. The receptionist offered us tea, which we both accepted gratefully. She returned nearly instantly with a tray bearing a tea pot, two elegant porcelain mugs, silver spoons, lemon wedges, a pot of honey, and actual cubes of sugar. Wow. There was even a buttery-looking cookie on my saucer. I stirred a drizzle of honey into my steaming mug and sipped. It was delicious and strong, just how I liked it.

Maybe I can get used to this place, I thought. I looked around the room while we waited. It was a first floor parlor-turned-office, with wide windows, bottle-green velvet drapes, and liberally dotted with antiques of a fine quality, at least to my somewhat experienced eye. I was speculating on the age of the well-worn but polished desk — it had to be even older than the school, which opened in the 1870s — when I became aware of the discreet sniffling coming from my left.

"Oh, Auntie," I sighed, but it was a loving sigh. My aunt, the pretty, overly-sensitive artist. This was the third time she'd cried since we left Maryland nearly ten hours ago. I wouldn't tell her this, because I was always the solid one, but I understood. I'd shed my tears in the shower that morning so she wouldn't notice.

"It's just, I'm going to miss you Lainey, and ..." She sniffled a little harder for a moment. "I'm sorry, but I can't help but be worried about you too."

"Not to worry, Ms. Espinosa, we intend to take very good care of your niece," replied a new voice from behind us. A rounded, jovial-looking man with thinning hair and glasses strode into the room. I was pretty sure he would make an excellent Santa Claus at Christmas time. "George Callahan, pleased to meet you." He extended his hand first to Aunt Tessa and then to me, along with a momentary glance of be-musement he couldn't quite hide. "I'll be Miss Young's advisor for her two years here at Northbrook, and am advisor to all of the Legacy students."

He settled behind his desk, pulling a thick folder off the top of a neat pile. "Miss Young, we're extremely pleased that you've chosen to join us and especially thrilled to have another Legacy student. I will say, confidentially of course, that even though anonymous, your Legacy is one of our most generous. We'd wondered for the longest time if it would ever be claimed, and here you are. Now, I'm sure you'd like to get settled into your room, so we'll get through the admissions process quickly."

Dr. Callahan opened the folder and shuffled the paper-clipped bundles, handing a stack each to my aunt and me. "Here's the schedule we discussed on the phone, for you to review, Miss Young. Ms. Espinosa, if you'll help me through the rest of the paperwork ..."

I tuned out at that point, while Aunt Tessa completed the stack of forms that would officially enroll me in the Academy and add me to the "prestigious ranks" of Legacy students, and thought about how I went from a traveling gypsy-scholar to a remote New England boarding school student in only three days' time. See, my aunt was an artist, kind of a famous one, if you're into installation art and sculpture. She was also not really my aunt and the only mother I could remember. She was actually my godmother.

She couldn't have known what she was getting into when she signed up for that particular honor, and I loved her infinitely for never making me feel like anything less than her own daughter. We were used to the confused glances like the one even the good Dr. Callahan couldn't contain when we first met people, since we looked absolutely nothing alike. I was tall and pale, with a slender build and big hazel eyes, where she was petite and tan-skinned, with dark, mysterious eyes and lush Latin curves. There was little chance we'd ever be mistaken for directly related. The only feature we had in common was a similar shade of dark brown hair, though mine was pin straight and hers beautifully wavy.

Aunt Tessa had been my mother's best friend, like her sister really, since my mother wasn't close to the few distant aunts, uncles, and cousins that remained of her family. My father had no family at all. When I was little, Aunt Tessa would tell me the romantic story about how they were destined to be together, two virtually family-less kids who made one together. And I guess we were a happy family, Mom, Dad, me, and Aunt Tessa, until my parents were killed, along with ten other people, in a horrific highway accident when I was five years old.

I was already at Aunt Tessa's when it happened, and I never left.

Both of our lives changed forever that day. Aunt Tessa went instantly from a happy but poor graduate student to a single mother of a five year old with a huge trust fund to support her. My father was, for his relatively young age especially, shockingly wealthy. Millions and millions wealthy. My aunt always told me he was just a stockbroker, and I guessed he was an incredible one. After my parents' accident, I inherited almost everything, but for the million dollars they left personally to Aunt Tessa along with me. That brief period after my parents died while she finished her degree was the only time we lived in one place for longer than nine months.

Then her career started. And she was amazing. Soon, we were traveling all over the country, sometimes the world, while Aunt Tessa did her installations and sculptures. Most of the time we stayed for several months, but sometimes only weeks. Enrolling me in schools was pretty pointless, since we moved so frequently. I had a long string of nannies and private tutors except for an entire semester of my freshman year, when my Aunt served as a visiting professor at a big university in Boston. The university also ran a small private high school, so for the first time ever, I was in regular school classes. I had liked it, though, and I thought my short time there had prepared me pretty well to attend Northbrook.

But I'd never lived without Aunt Tessa before, and when we were living in Boston I had only just started to go crazy.

The official story — the one that everyone but me believed — was that I had severe migraines, precipitated by dizziness and, frequently, fainting. I'd been to six specialists, plus two psychologists, in the last two years. At first, they thought it was an allergy, because the first four episodes occurred while I was in places notoriously full of allergens: antique shops.

I loved antiques. It was weird, I knew. Not something your typical teenager was into. But hey, it wasn't like I'd had much chance to be a typical teenager. I'd never spent much time of my own thinking about why I loved them, but one of my psychologists concluded it was the "lack of permanence in my childhood that led me to an unusual preoccupation with objects that seemed to have longevity." I concluded that guy was mostly an idiot with no appreciation for fine things, but he might have been on to something with the permanence.

When I thought about whatever antique I was admiring, I imagined its past, where it had been, what it had been through in its long life. That kind of thing. I was fascinated by the idea that these items had years and years of history, that they had stories to tell and a sense of place about them that I guess my psychologist would've said I subconsciously yearned for myself. Turned out I was right about the stories the objects would tell, but at the time I thought they were the ones I made up in my head.

The first specialist determined that I was allergic to nothing. Nada. Not even dust. It was a great theory, I gave them that much, and I wanted it to be that simple, which is why I let them poke me repeatedly, rub things on my arms, and all around make me miserable for two months straight. In the end though, they couldn't explain my dizzy/fainting/migraine spells, and the allergist sent me to the nutritionist.

Because I was fairly tall — nearly five foot, ten inches — and slender, their next thought was that my problem was my diet. I needed to eat more, or better, or probably both. I could have told them this wasn't true, that my parents were both tall and slim, and that I ate plenty and exercised a lot, but I wanted this theory to be right too. Unfortunately, the nutritionist decided the problem wasn't my diet but caffeine specifically.

Coffee was, of course, my favorite thing, after antiques anyway. I was forced to abandon it for the next month, which would have been the most miserable of my existence if I hadn't just gone through the allergy testing. But instead of better, I was worse, having more episodes during my coffee-free hell. The nutritionist sent me to the first neurologist.

I went through two of them, followed by the first psychologist, two more neuros and, finally, the last psychologist. I was scanned, I was monitored, I was all sorts of tested however you can imagine. I was asked questions, I was listened to, I was talked at, and then finally I was simply watched. There was no solid explanation, nor any solid pattern, for what was causing my migraines.

Every one of my doctors tried hard to solve my problem, and in the end I felt bad for them. I wanted to stop the testing after the first two neurologists, but Aunt Tessa absolutely refused to let it go. The problem was not my undoubtedly excellent specialists. The problem was me. I wasn't honest with them, at least not entirely, because I had hoped they could find a medical reason for my headaches without my having to admit the full truth.

The problem was that I saw dead people.


Or more specifically, I saw visions of how they died. Most lasted only a few seconds, a handful were gruesome, and I swore some of them were visions of how people were going to die. They would come with no warning except dizziness, usually right after I'd touched something or someone, and were followed by a severe headache. If I was lucky, I even fainted too, in between the vision and the migraine.

If someone were telling me this story, I'd probably have laughed at them. In fact, I knew I would, which is why I absolutely couldn't bring myself to tell the doctors and especially not the psychologists. Maybe the psychologists wouldn't have laughed — they were professionals, after all — but they would have written down immediately what I already knew: that I was crazy, or at least getting there on an express train. Of course, they would never have used the word "crazy," at least not when talking to me, and they would have tried to blame my condition on something, like my parents' deaths, or my untraditional lifestyle, and I couldn't bear that. Ironically, that's exactly what happened.

Aunt Tessa and I had been in Baltimore for several weeks, where she was teaching a class at her and my parents' alma mater. It was the first time we'd been back since the year after their deaths. We were walking through campus one afternoon when a dizzy spell struck. I swayed and put my hand out on the car next to us, a blue Cadillac Coupe Deville that some lucky student had obviously inherited from his parents or grandparents. It was a tank, showing its age in some rust and dents, but still solid and looked like it would run for years to come. I would never forget it.

It was the car that killed my parents.

It was over in a few seconds, the vision and the simple chain of events: an SUV in the right lane came up on a slower-moving bus and changed lanes too quickly, without looking. The man in the Cadillac honked and swerved, causing him to clip my parents' car instead. Their car spun radically to the right, where the SUV slammed into it and pushed it into the bus, which then rolled over three times before coming to rest on its side across the highway.

I saw this all clearly, as if I were right there, my mother desperately turning the wheel, my father shocked and disoriented from being asleep in the passenger seat, just before the SUV crashed into his door and took them out of my life forever. My parents died, the driver of the SUV died, and nine people on the bus died too. The Cadillac skidded into the grass median and suffered nothing more than a dented bumper.

I took my hand from the car, looked at my aunt, and crumpled to the ground unconscious.

When I awoke in the hospital, I had a wicked headache and an appointment with my psychologist. Apparently I'd screamed, too, when I collapsed, and had been muttering about my parents, the car, the vision, as I drifted in and out of consciousness for three hours. The psychologist arrived and asked me gently what happened. I told him a slightly edited version of the truth: I got dizzy, put my hand on the car, and then passed out, remembering nothing after that. I did not mention what I'd seen.

The details of my parents' accident weren't a mystery, so it wasn't like I'd been babbling about something I shouldn't or couldn't have known. My aunt and the doctors were skeptical, especially about the importance of the car, but I stuck to my story of not knowing what had happened. And in a way, I didn't. I only knew that I was crazy and that the whole crazy incident had made me exhausted.

My psychologist determined that, big surprise, I was exhausted. He went further though, blaming the exhaustion on the psychological stress caused by my constant life on the move and, of course, my return to the city where my parents died. He prescribed three remedies: that I take an antidepressant, I get out of Baltimore, and, lastly and most importantly, once I got wherever I was going, I stay there. He did not want me to move again for my last two years of high school.

Whoa. My first thought was I wasn't prepared for that. I liked my life, thank you very much. I was mentally ready to slow down once I went to college, but I thought I'd have two more years to enjoy this wanderlust lifestyle with my aunt. Instead, I kind of felt like I'd been in a car wreck myself, going from moving fast to stopped dead in the blink of an eye.

Aunt Tessa instantly blamed herself when she heard the psychologist's proclamation — for bringing me here, for not thinking more about how such a lack of stability would affect me, and on and on — and would not be deterred from the plan despite all my protests. She was on the phone immediately with Uncle Martin to discuss our options when he announced the most surprising thing of the day. Given the day we'd had, that was really saying something.

Apparently I had a guaranteed place at a prestigious boarding school — Northbrook Academy, in Northwestern Massachusetts — already waiting for me, whenever I decided to show up. My aunt and I took this as a bit of shocking news since neither of us had ever heard of the place.


Excerpted from Lost in Thought by Cara Bertrand. Copyright © 2014 Cara Bertrand. Excerpted by permission of Luminis Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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