Mary’s older sister, Gwen, has screwed up everything. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she’s also decided to marry the Creep who knocked her up. Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top it off, the Creep has a gross fascination with Mary while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport. Despite her brother’s advice to shut up, Mary can’t keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much that it comes to blows. Mary doesn’t know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.
|Publisher:||Premier Digital Publishing|
About the Author
Anne Tibbets is the author of the Smashwords.com bestseller The Beast Call , a young adult fantasy. She is also coauthor of the middle-grade time-travel adventure The Amulet Chronicles, Book One: The Journey Home. A Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators award winner, Tibbets lives in Los Angeles with her family. Visit the author at writeforcoffee.blogspot.com and openroadmedia.com.
Read an Excerpt
By Anne Tibbets
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2014 Anne Tibbets
All rights reserved.
I creep out the front door of the house, closing it behind me as quietly as I can. Tip-toeing through the overgrown courtyard, I break into a run the moment I hit the sidewalk.
Halfway down the block, new tears burn my cheeks and eyes but I don't care. I think about the rhythm of my footsteps slapping on the cement, pumping my arms for speed. If I hurry, I can make it by sunset.
I whiz past the neighboring houses. An old man fusses with a lawn mower a few doors down. A teenage boy washes his shiny BMW on his driveway. When I see them I cross the street to the opposite side. This is no time for a chat.
I wish I'd taken my bike or skateboard, but it's too late, so I keep running. My lungs burn. Just as I slow to a fast walk at the end of the block, I see a car come to the stop sign at the corner, right smack dab in front of me.
I put my head down and wish that my awful short, bobbed brown hair hid my face. The car is a brand new Porsche station wagon. Dad calls those cars an "ego trip with wheels." There's a fancy mom driving it, and a bunch of soccer kids in the back seat. From the sidewalk, I can hear dance music screeching on the car stereo.
I wait for the car to pass, turning on my heel as casually as I can. I wipe the tears off my face. Showing my back to them, I pretend to inspect some roses on a nearby bush. I yank off my obnoxious thick round glasses and shove them into my back jeans pocket, with the thought that whoever's driving won't recognize me without them.
The roses are a total blur, but I keep pretending as I listen.
The Porsche turns.
When I can't hear the car anymore, I plant my glasses back on my nose, and squint through the Coke bottle lenses as I watch the car disappear from sight.
The fewer witnesses, the better – especially by anyone who drives one of those. I rest my hands on the holes in my jeans for just a second before straightening up and breaking back into a jog.
A few steps into the intersection I hear a door creak open from behind. The widow who obsesses over her perfect rose garden is coming outside, probably to see if I breathed on her roses wrong. I speed up, pumping my arms again. The last thing I need is another lecture, of any kind.
When I reach the sidewalk on the other side of the street, I pinch my side to stop the stitch that's growing sharper. I want to look behind to see if the widow is watching, but think better of it.
Just then, I hear a bike coming toward me. My stomach drops. I'm afraid to look for fear it's Paul coming to talk me out of it.
"Whatcha' doin', Mary?"
It's not my brother; it's Ralph, the kid from next door. He has red bushy hair and a round belly. He's always been nice to me, so I look up at him and slow to a walk.
"I'm running away," I say, feeling my mouth go ugly with more tears. It feels good to tell the truth. I'm sick of lying all the time.
He raises his hairy eyebrows in surprise and stops peddling his bike, coasting for a while. His bike makes a flapping sound from a playing card he's clipped to the spokes on the back wheel. "Why?"
"Just because," I say. I'm not about to tell him any more. I've said too much all ready. Besides, the lump in my throat is so honking big I can hardly speak.
"Just forget it." The rush I got from telling the truth is gone. He'll never understand anyways. I look at my sneakers and walk faster. I shove my hands deep into my pockets and play with some lint I find at the bottom. Now I wish he'd go away because I feel stupid.
Ralph has to peddle to keep up. "Is this about your sister?"
I freak. "Leave me alone!" A sob plops out as I run ahead. I can't control it now. I'm a blubbering mess.
I leave Ralph in the dust. My mind's swirling.
That stupid Ralph! Even he knows about her! Stupid, stupid Ralph! He's probably on his way to my house to squeal right now. What does he know? Nothing! This isn't about her! It's about me! I'm doing this because I want to! I'm doing this.
* * *
I should have figured something was up when Mom interrupted my skateboarding in order to have a family meeting.
In my head, I ran through the possible news flashes as I propped my board against the side of the house and went inside.
Either Great Grandma Ida had died (which was no real surprise considering she was one hundred and one years old, no kidding), or Suzie, our ancient eighteen-year-old dog, had finally kicked the bucket.
But Mom and Dad looked really upset, and Suzie was asleep with her head in her food bowl like always, so I began to doubt it was either of those.
They brought us into Gwen's room, which was a bit of a shocker, because Gwen freaked like a cat in water if you ever went near her room. Then, Mom sat on the bed while Dad took a seat at the desk. I sat crisscross on the carpet, as did Rose and Paul.
"Gwen is getting married," Mom said. She didn't look at all happy. In fact, Mom was about to hurl right there on the faded chocolate brown shag carpet in Gwen's room.
I glanced back and forth from Mom to Dad and decided not to say anything. They both looked so awful, and I didn't want to make it worse. I usually did whenever I opened my mouth and spoke. Paul shook his head in disappointment. I totally agreed. I didn't think The Creep was a welcome addition to the family either.
"The wedding will be right after Christmas," Mom went on, "when Chris has some leave."
The Creep was a Marine just out of basic training. He'd only been back a few weeks, but was leaving for more out-of-state training soon. Paul still shook his head. It was currently the end of September.
"And there's something else you should know," Mom said.
Dad cleared his throat loudly, which made Mom stop. She pushed her glasses up her short nose. Dad's round face and bald head were purple, and his bright blue eyes were red and wet, like when he heard the choir sing 'Silent Night, Holy Night' on Christmas Eve, only now he looked like he'd just watched Suzie the dog get run over by a convoy of semis.
"Gwen is going to have a baby," Mom said.
Rose clapped her hands together, jumping up and down. "A baby? A baby!"
My stomach turned to ice.
This was worse than I thought. Not only was The Creep going to be a member of the family, but they were breeding more of them!
"Yes, Rose. A baby," Mom said, frowning. Rose squealed some more. Nobody else moved a muscle. Didn't Rose realize this was bad? Why didn't someone tell her this was bad?
Gwen was seventeen. I wasn't even sure if someone that young was allowed to get married. To be fair, the whole idea of Gwen marrying The Creep wasn't really a shocker; after all, they'd been dating for two years. But what I didn't get was why Mom and Dad were letting her do it. They barely let me get the mail from the mailbox without a permission slip, and here Gwen was having a baby and getting married? It didn't sound right at all. I wanted to ask the question, but Mom and Dad looked so bent, I couldn't bring myself to say a word.
How were they having a baby when they were forbidden from seeing each other? And, why were Mom and Dad letting Gwen do this when she'd been caught sneaking around to see him and lying about it? How was it that Gwen was getting what she wanted after everything she'd done to disobey Mom and Dad?
I opened my mouth to ask, but Mom cleared her throat.
"First, though," Mom continued, a catch in her voice, "there will be a wedding at church."
I nearly choked on my spit. Get out! Couldn't they just go to a judge or something? Didn't people do that? I mean, a wedding with a white dress and bridesmaids and The Creep wearing his dress blues Marine uniform, and a band? It was just too bizarre. A wedding was supposed to be a happy occasion, and the only one who looked like celebrating was Rose.
"Hurray! A baby!" Rose danced around in circles, clapping like a drunken circus clown. I wanted to lean over and smack her, but the squealing seven-year-old was out of reach.
Instead, I waited for Mom and Dad to yell at Rose, but they didn't. Mom just clamped her little lips together and ran her hand across the back of her neck, pushing her short dark brown hair back and forth. If I had said something out of turn like that they would have slapped me right across the face. No joke. But they didn't say a word to Rose. This bothered me almost as much as the news about Gwen.
"But we're not telling anyone about the wedding yet," Dad said, his lips flat and pale like a thick rubber band. "This is important. So don't say anything to anyone yet."
Huh? How come?
I waited for Paul or Rose to ask why, but Paul said nothing, and Rose just kept clapping about the stupid baby.
Mom and Dad might have said more, but by that point, I got lost in unasked questions. The family meeting ended, and that was that. Why was the wedding a secret? And where would Gwen, The Creep and the baby live? Instead of risking it, though, I left Gwen's room and walked down the hall to watch cartoons. I normally loved watching TV, but this time I just stared at it, only half looking at it.
A baby? A wedding? This was a disaster. Things like this weren't supposed to happen to people like us. I couldn't think of ever hearing about another family having this same problem, especially not in the stuck-up hoity-toity neighborhood where we rented this horrible old house.
Didn't Gwen know about birth control and all that? Even I knew from my health and development class – and I was only twelve!
I snapped the button on the remote and turned off the television. Everything was different now. And, although the thought of change wasn't all bad, worry stuck in my brain like a thorn. It didn't hurt a lot, but it was sure irritating. It was distracting. And no matter how hard I dug at the thorn, it wasn't coming out anytime soon.CHAPTER 2
My anger boils red hot. I swing my arms in the air as I run, punishing the air. I slow to a walk and try to calm down enough to catch my breath. It's too hard to run bawling like a big baby.
It takes me a second, but once I realize where I am, I panic.
I'm at Tammy's house. Tammy's been my best friend since the second grade, when we moved to California from Pennsylvania. Tammy's the only one who doesn't make fun of my hand-me-down clothes and my ridiculous glasses. I want to stop, but won't.
Tammy's brand new bike glistens on the driveway in the afternoon sun. If I'm not careful, Tammy will come outside, and within seconds I'll be invited inside for some of Tammy's mother's all natural oatmeal raisin cardboard cookies, and I'll end up losing my nerve. I can't have that.
I keep my face down and my hands buried deep into my pockets. I shuffle by the house as quickly and quietly as I can. Running will call attention, and walking slowly gives Tammy more of a chance to appear.
I strain to listen for the sound of Tammy's front screen door opening, or maybe her mom on the phone in the garage. Her mom always hides there when she wants to talk privately. But lucky for me, I hear nothing.
Once I pass Tammy's front yard, I sigh in relief. I jog down the hill toward the elementary school.
* * *
I used to like to skateboard alone in the side yard, which was this large cement slab with half brick walls on either side. It was quiet, out of sight from the inside of the house, and perfect for riding a skateboard back and forth a thousand times, and maybe doing a few tricks; or roller blading in circles, depending on your mood. I liked it there because it got me away from Rose, whom I was stuck sharing the same bedroom with. Rose was always following me around and wanting to play baby games, like dolls. Luckily for me, Rose didn't like to skateboard.
Paul did, though. Some days he would skateboard, too. I thought Paul was pretty cool, so that was always fun. Then one day, long before the baby, long before the pregnancy, and long before Gwen and The Creep were forbidden from seeing each other, The Creep strolled into the side yard as I was skateboarding.
He usually just hung all over Gwen. I couldn't think what made him want to come to the side yard. I didn't think he was there to skateboard. I saw him coming from the courtyard and quickly sat on the brick wall against the house, sliding the skateboard back and forth as casually as I could with one foot on the concrete. I didn't want to ride in front of him; if I fell, the teasing would have been endless.
"So," The Creep said, crossing his arms and leaning back on his heels. "What are you doing?"
"Skateboarding," I said, rolling my eyes at him. Dumb question – there was a skateboard right in front of me. Duh!
"All by yourself?" he asked.
"Yeah. Sometimes Paul or Ralph come out and do it, too." I thought maybe if he knew others could show up he'd take a hike. After staring at him for ten seconds in silence I realized he wasn't budging. Drat.
He grinned. "Is Ralph your boyfriend?" He looked like he was about to laugh.
I felt my stomach turn sour. He was making me feel weird again. He did that a lot. That's why I thought he was creepy. Just then, my foot slipped from the skateboard and it rolled away, banging against the wooden gate a few yards off. I stood up and got it, feeling The Creep's eyes on me. I sat back down quickly, with my back against the house, trying to act like it didn't bother me. He strolled over to stand in front of me again.
"No. Ralph isn't really my boyfriend," I said, watching him approach. I didn't want to tell him that Ralph had kissed me on the cheek just the week before in the bushes.
"Do you like him?"
I kept my eyes on the skateboard and started the back and forth rolling I was doing before, but it wasn't the same. It didn't feel right anymore.
"I think he kinda' likes me." I was sorry for saying that the second the words came out. I knew The Creep was having fun with me, but couldn't think how to make him go away.
The Creep smiled, proudly displaying his newly straightened teeth, but they still had the white scars from wearing braces too long. "Ralph likes you, eh?"
I nodded, looking back at the skateboard, but giving up trying to slide it back and forth. He probably thought I was too ugly for a boy to like, just like Gwen did.
I could hear Gwen call me a fat cow and pushed it from my mind, answering, "Yeah." I rested my foot on the top of the skateboard.
"Do you like him?" he asked again.
"He's nice." I shrugged, blushing. I didn't want to talk with The Creep anymore. Well, ever, really. Why didn't he just leave me alone?
"Have you kissed him?"
I laughed too loudly and picked up the skateboard, setting it in my lap, as if adding it between him and me would help. "No!"
"Aw, come on! Pretty girl like you? With blue eyes like that? You've kissed a boy before!"
I felt my face turn hot. Now I was sure he was making fun of me. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was far from pretty. Gwen reminded me daily. My teeth were crooked, my hair was a short mousey brown, and no one could even see my eyes behind my glasses. "I have not!"
"Sure you have! How old are you now, thirteen?"
I looked at The Creep and rolled my eyes, laughing too loudly again. "I'm twelve."
The Creep took a step forward and leaned in, as if inspecting my face. "No! Twelve? You look at least thirteen."
I looked down at the skateboard and rubbed the top with my fingertips, using my other hand to push my bra strap back under my tank top. I wanted to go back to practicing skateboarding but felt glued to the brick wall. I shifted slightly, feeling the pockets of my cut offs rub against the brick wall. I flipped the skateboard over in my lap and ran my fingers across the smooth British flag painted on the bottom. "I'm only in the sixth grade."
The Creep moved closer. He stood right in front of me, his hands at his sides. I bit my thumbnail and looked up at him. He smiled. I wanted to back up but had no farther to go. "When I was in the sixth grade, I don't remember any of the girls looking like you," he said.
I felt my face flush and my stomach churn. The brick wall was like fly paper, with my rump stuck to it. I wanted to get out from in front of The Creep, but couldn't move. My breath quickened, and my heart pounded in my throat.
"Yeah, right," was all I managed to say.
"Those are nice shorts you're wearing," he said, eyeing my long legs up and down. His hand moved toward my knee just as Gwen appeared behind him, out of the front courtyard.
Excerpted from Shut Up by Anne Tibbets. Copyright © 2014 Anne Tibbets. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I sit at my table in the cafeteria, and set my tray of food down. Only two other people sit at my table, but they always stay at the other end. I start to eat my sloppy joe when i hear a commotion. I look up to see Amy of the floor, with her food spilled around her. Of course she had just passed the 'cool kid' table. "Oh my go<_>sh! New girl just got hot sauce all over my shoes!" Janice Harbor. The oldest girl in the school. <br> "You actually tripped me." I hear Amy say. I get up and wander over with the rest of the crowd. <br> "Are you trying to say that im framing you? Thats not true you lying bi<_>tch!" Janice stands and glares at Amy. Amy stands as well. <br> "Im not lying. I actually saw your foot stick out and trip me." Amy says defencivly. Janice throws a punch at her, angrily. Amy dodges to the side, grabs Janice's wrist, and twists it behind her back. A teacher walks in just then and seperates them. "Both of you. Principles office now. No fighting in school." Its the beady eyed science teacer with frizzy black hair. <p> After school, i sit outside the school. Amy walks out. "Um... hey." I say. <br> She looks over at me, slightly surprised to see me there. "Hey." <br> "You didnt get in trouble to bad, right?" I ask concerned for some reason. <br> "No. Not really. Just detention for a tiny bit. Ive gotta run. My parents must be wondering why im late. See ya tomorrow?" She smiles. <br> "Yeah. Um.. see ya tomorrow." I smile awkwardly. She walks off and i head home.
I finished this book two days ago and have been a little perplexed on how to write the review. "Shut Up" doesn't have the sort of quirky or witty dialogue I usually enjoy, the world is ours and it's really not at all about the world, there weren't characters I adored or would gush over, and the happy ending is well... more hope for happy than happy. Despite everything it didn't have that I usually find appealing in books, what "Shut Up" did have was honesty and power. Mary, the main character, is one whom I found I could relate and empathize with on a deep level. Her pain, her helplessness and confusion touched me, drew me in, nearly compelled me to keep reading, praying that somehow, there would be light at the end of the tunnel. Hoping with her, crashing with her, her pain nearly bringing me to tears--I was unable to put this book down. Tibbet's characters are real people, and perhaps that's what is so compelling about this book. We all know people like Mary's mother, father, brother, and sisters. It makes them all very accessible, and also is probably part of what makes you feel so much like you could be reading your own story. If you've ever felt like you weren't good enough, you couldn't do anything right, have been belittled or bullied (whether by family or "friends"), "Shut Up" is a must read. The story Mary and Paul tell is painful, real, but there is also hope. It finishes with the reminder that childhood is not forever, that people grow up and move on--even our tormentors--and that we are not alone. Sooner or later, you'll find someone who will stand up for you, who will notice you, and who will assure you that you are valuable. And that hope isn't shoved in the reader's face like a life lesson or a great theme--it is integrated in the same way the story is told--realistically. Five stars for a compelling, honest look inside the mind and heart of a child who is bullied, and five stars for the beautiful conclusion of hope.
I absolutely LOVE the cover of this book. When presented with the opportunity to review "Shut Up" I just had to jump on it! I'm sure glad that I did! The author carefully weaves a tale from personal memories, adding in fictional details to round out the story. The characters are so well written and portrayed in a way that you can't help but relate with them in some of the events. This is such an emotional book that I was literally bawling my eyes out during several parts. I connected with one of the characters in such a way that memories from my past came flooding back. I love when I can get into a book THAT much! I can't wait to read more from this author! I recommend this book to anyone that isn't deterred by their emotional past. You will definitely connect with this book!!
I loved this book. It was definitely a page turner. My heart went out to Mary and I wanted to take her under my wing. I think this is a great book for teens and for parents of teens. It makes you think about how your actions effect the lives of others. I highly recommend this book. Once I started it I couldn't stop, I had to see how it would all turn out for Mary.
Twelve-year-old Mary is running away from home. She's sick of her school, her friends, and her family, especially her big sister, Gwen. But this is not just the story of a girl with a case of adolescent angst. It is all of us who ever experienced the fear of what fresh hell the next hour will bring, deep hatred of ourselves, despair, and the very real possibility that we will spend the rest of our lives with echoes of "You're stupid, you're ugly, shut up!" haunting our hearts, minds and spirits. There is physical violence and there is the hidden violence that poisons families and corrupts the soul and is as much a danger to a human life as any weapon of destruction. Anne Tibbets tells a fast-paced, page-turning suspense story about this kind of violence, and it has you rooting for Mary from the opening page. Shut Up is one of the most vivid and absorbing stories I've ever read about the torments of the adolescent heart and the dangers of navigating those years. – Christine Wiltz, author of The Last Madam and Glass House.
Googy googy goo
JOHN says I forgot what the book is called oh no SEQUOIAH left my bedroom. JAX now SEQUOIAH is back in the room. SEQUOIAH says PANT BARK WOOF HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BURPLCIK BITE PANT LICK LICK LICK HHHHHHHHHHH LICK HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH STARE STARE STARE LICK STARE STARE HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH LICK HHH LICK STARE BLINK BLINK HHHHHHHHH