Alyssa B. Sheinmel has written a powerfully gripping story about family secrets, falling in love, and finding luck in unexpected--and sometimes unwelcome—circumstances.
|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||2 MB|
|Age Range:||12 Years|
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Read an Excerpt
Phone Calls and Other Life-Altering Events
It's 7:42 on a Tuesday when the phone rings. I only notice the time because I'm watching Wheel of Fortune, which is so boring that I think I might be better entertained if I turned off the TV and stared at the blank screen. I wonder when Vanna White began looking like somebody's mom. I distinctly remember thinking she was hot when I was younger. My parents are out and I'm sunk into the living room sofa, but the phone is within my arm's reach. I grab the remote and hit the mute button.
"Is Sheffman Brandt in?"
It takes me a second to realize he's talking about my dad. Sheffman is his real first name, but no one calls him that. He usually goes by Robert or Rob or Bobby, for his middle name. Sheffman is his mother's maiden name. It must be a telemarketer or someone who got his name off a list.
"No, I'm sorry, he's not home. Can I take a message?"
There's silence on the other end. I think I hear the man say "Umm," like he's really thinking about whether or not to leave a message.
"Hello?" I say, mildly irritated.
"No. I'm sorry. No. Sorry. No, thank you." His voice sounds more certain that "No" is the right answer each time he says it. Then he hangs up, so I do, too. I'm asleep before my parents get home.
In the morning, the sound of my mother and Pilot coming back from their walk wakes me up. Pilot is our dog, but my parents act like he's my little brother.
My father is sitting in the living room at his computer. His desk is in the back of the room, behind the sofa, so that he can watch TV while he works.
"Morning, Nicky," he says, looking up from his cereal. Even though he's fifty years old, my dad has a big sweet tooth; he puts three or four spoonfuls of sugar into his Grape-Nuts every morning. Mom says he's going to get adult-onset diabetes. Dad works from home half the time, and he's sitting in his pajama bottoms with his cereal, so it doesn't look like he's going in today. Before I was born, he started a company called Fetch Capital, and my mother quit her job to help him run it.
"Hey, Dad." My hair is still wet from the shower, and my shirt is clinging to my chest because I was still wet when I put it on. But it's only September, school's only just started, and it's still hot out. It'll feel good once I get outside.
My mother and Pilot are on the couch, watching the five-day forecast, which is pretty much my mother's favorite show.
"Stevie coming over this morning?" she asks as I walk toward the kitchen.
I shake my head. "I'll meet him downstairs." Stevie and I have been walking to school together since we were ten.
"His parents were at the fund-raiser last night. They won the big prize in the silent auction."
"What they win?" I ask as I pour myself cereal.
"Some trip. They always bid on the trips, those two.
Stevie's parents love to travel. When we were little, Stevie slept over every time his parents left town.
"Bring a sweater to school with you, Nick," Mom says, kissing my head before she leaves the room. "I know you think it's still summer, but it's getting cold already and your hair is still wet." I roll my eyes at Dad but he says, "Sweater, Nicky," like he agrees with Mom that I'm not old enough to know whether I'm hot or cold.
Girls in School Uniforms
"Why the fuck is everyone in such a hurry to get into that building?" Stevie asks. We're standing on the corner across the street from school, leaning against the windows of the pizza place. Stevie hates school this year. His parents are making him see a tutor after school because colleges pay such close attention to junior year on your transcripts. It wouldn't be so bad if Stevie didn't already get straight As. They seem to think, since he never studies, that something must be wrong. But Stevie's just that smart. You'd hate him if he weren't so cool about it. Sometimes when we have two choices for an essay, he'll write both of them, choose the one he likes better, and give me the other one to hand in.
I'm pretty sure that Francis is the only coed high school in New York with school uniforms. Boys have to wear shirts and ties, and right now Stevie and I are sweating under our long sleeves. Whoever came up with this outfit was not thinking about the weather in Manhattan, which stays hot through September and gets hot again in May, so that the boys have to sweat out two months every year.
But not the girls. The girls wear gray kilts and button-downs, although they call them blouses, and they always roll their kilts at the waist to make them shorter. Sometimes they wear boxers underneath their kilts, and the skirts are rolled so short that you can see the boxers peeking out at the hems.
Eden Reiss is walking toward Stevie and me, and her kilt is just above her knees; she never rolls her skirt to make it shorter. Her button-down is loose enough that the buttons don't pull at her chest, but you can see the polka dots on her bra underneath her white shirt.
"Check out Eden's bra," Stevie whispers.
"Yeah, I see it." I don't exactly need it pointed out to me, and Stevie knows it. But I'm trying not to look because she'll see me staring. Eden Reiss has been at Francis since kindergarten, too, just like Stevie and me. Just her name is enough to make her cool, like her parents wanted something biblical, but rather than settle on Eve they went straight to the heart of the matter by naming her Eden.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nick Brandt is your normal, everyday teenager. The only thing that's 'odd' about this particular high school junior living in New York City, is the fact that he's lucky. He is the owner of two parents who are truly in love and love him; his home is a happy one; and, he has a best friend who's actually a good, honest friend who has been a part of his life since they were little boys. School isn't so bad, either. Nick has good grades and doesn't really worry much about his love life. But the one thing that he has been missing is the strength and bravery to ask out Eden Reiss. Eden is also a normal, nice teenager girl, and extremely intelligent. She, unfortunately, doesn't have all the positives in her life that Nick enjoys, Although she has a non-violent home - with no drugs or hideous beings to negatively effect her life - Eden's parents are getting ready to divorce. And Eden has a tendency to be a little jealous of people like Nick Brandt whose parents actually sat at their school, holding hands, on parent's day. Soon, however, Nick and Eden become a couple.and just in time. Why? Because like many people who have taken a "happy, normal" life for granted, Nick doesn't know what hits him when there is actual adversity thrown into the mix. Nick's Dad reveals a secret. He, a long time ago, fathered a son with his first girlfriend and they ended up giving the boy up for adoption. It was a point in Nick's father's life where he wasn't able to raise a son. Now, phone calls are coming into the house from a young man named Sam.who turns out to be Nick's half-sibling. Nick gets more than angry when he learns that his father kept such a large secret from him all these years; he feels as if his own opinion in his family is no longer warranted. And even though his mother has accepted the fact that his father wants to "meet" the boy he gave up long ago - Nick is not accepting of it. It feels like he has sibling rivalry all of a sudden for a man he's never even met. Nick does a great deal of talking with his beloved girlfriend, Eden about the situation. He needs someone to understand what he's going through, and Eden tries her absolute best to put up with Nick's infantile behavior. When Nick and Sam come face to face, a new relationship is born, and the in-depth emotions run high. Can Nick find a way to forgive his father and accept the 'newest' member of his family? Can he struggle through his emotions and not blow his relationship with the girl of his dreams? Although the author does a lovely job of answering those questions, the actual 'plot' reminded this writer of an amazing woman who took on the hardest teenage subjects and offered upset, confused, and frightened teens a way to deal with every emotional problem they could have. The famed author, Judy Blume, is still remembered as the absolute "best" voice for speaking about the world of teenage difficulties. And, although, Ms. Sheinmel is a "new" voice in YA fiction trying to touch on various subjects that affect the teenage mind, Ms. Blume still remains the master of that particular 'craft.' Quill Says: A heartfelt story about the difficult journey from teenager to adult, with some well-taught lessons for YA readers.
Nick Brandt is a lucky kid, so he believes. He is a junior at an exclusive Manhattan high school, has the greatest parents a kid could want, a best buddy who is more like family and he knows this is the year he talks to Eden, his crush since elementary school. One night Nick answers a mysterious phone call. The caller asks for his father by a name he rarely uses, and when told Mr. Brandt is not home, the caller hangs up.Eventually, Nick realizes his parents have been keeping an important family secret from him for many years, and decides he may no longer be able to trust his parents. While his home life hits a snag, his relationship with Eden grows by leaps and bounds. Then Nick finds out what, or rather who, the secret is and his entire world starts to spin and sputter.This is a good book. Why? The characters are believable, the scenario plausible for any teen today with Baby-Boomer parents, and the writing will have you glued to the pages. I think I took a couple of little breaks, and I mean little, while I read this in one sitting. Nick finds out a family secret only he did not know, and it makes it angry. His girlfriend, Eden, learns her parents are divorcing and she is upset. These two emotions play off each other bringing the two teens closer. Once Nick learns the secret is arriving for Christmas, he loses it, feeling he has lost his perfect little family and his place in it. The anger grows and starts to take out those around him. I could feel his indignation, but at the same time, I got frustrated with the way he was acting. Reading this was like watching a soap I watch regularly and yell at the TV as if the actors and scenes are real. The Lucky Kind is that involving. It pulls you in that deep. I was never sure whether Nick¿s relationship with his parents would mend. Then there was Eden. Would they reconnect? The only character I positively knew Nick would find his way back to was Stevie, Nick¿s lifelong best friend. Those kinds of friends never leave. The change this one little secret causes in each character is profound. Do you have any secrets?note: received from publisher.
A beautiful, realistic story about what happens when you find the truth out about the family you think you know.