Starless Sky

Starless Sky

by Paige Agnew

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781425188436
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Publication date: 12/31/2009
Pages: 456
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Paige Agnew was born in Michigan. She has enjoyed being her school newspaper editor and writing the theme poem for her graduation. Her compassion and sense of humor is in all of her writings. When Paige is not writing, she enjoys sports, dancing, singing, and reading. She is also actively involved in her church and community. Paige is currently working on other books.

Read an Excerpt

Starless Sky


By Paige Agnew

Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2010 Paige Agnew
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4251-8843-6


Chapter One

Dean's Creek

She was gone. Without my permission or consent, just gone. Forever. I couldn't bring myself to go to the funeral. It wasn't because I was afraid of the hurt I'd feel or because I didn't want closure. I already had my closure. I never really liked funerals. Not only did dead bodies freak me out but I didn't need closure with a dead body in a casket.

"Sweetie, you have to go."

In response I just moaned underneath my covers and waited patiently for my mother to leave my room in peace.

"Come on honey. You'll regret it later if you don't go. I don't want you to have to live with that."

She sat at the foot my bed rubbing my back gently. I shifted in my covers away from her and groaned yet another time.

"Pumpkin, it's not just about closure. It's about remembering."

In the seventeen years I'd known my mother, she had never run out of ways to relate me to some type of food. Every so often she would actually speak my name, but most of the time, Kahlen had been replaced by sugar, honey, sweetie, pumpkin, cupcake ... etc.

I sighed as I removed the covers from over my head and looked my mom in the eyes. "Mom, just please," I cupped my hands together and gave my best puppy dog look. "Please just let it be."

She sighed as she hugged me tightly. "I don't mean to pressure you sweetie-pie. I just worry about you sometimes. That's all."

My mother released her tight grasp around my back and stood up off of my bed. She walked slowly on her way out the door as if she were fighting herself with all her might not to say more.

"Mom, wait," I said quickly. She turned around, hopeful that I had changed my mind. "Tell Ms. Bryant I'm sorry that I couldn't be there today."

She nodded understandingly before leaving my room.

I plopped my head down on my pillow hard, almost hoping that it would hurt. I stared up at my ceiling, trying as hard as I could to make some sense of the crazy world I had been thrown so viciously in. It had been exactly one week, three days, ten hours, fifty-two minutes, and I'm not sure how many seconds since I was convinced my life was slowly crumbling into nothing. I closed my eyes as tight as I could and tried to imagine myself some place happy. No matter how tightly I closed my eyes all I saw was the darkness my eyelids were providing.

I heard the familiar sound of the old engine on my Chevy pulling out of the driveway and slowly out of sight. I figured they would take my car just to make sure I wouldn't sneak off anywhere. When the sound had completely faded, I jumped out of my bed, slipped on a pair of ripped jeans and a sweatshirt before opening my window and stepping outside onto the sturdy tree. Although no one was home and I could have easily walked out the front door, I liked the tree outside my window better. Step by step I inched from the tree to the soft grass below my feet.

I took the same route I had been taking. I went behind my house, over my neighbor's fence, down the street, and across the bridge all the way to what had become my new best friend, Dean's Creek. Surprisingly no one had wondered why it was called Dean's Creek, no one except me. Three days ago, I made up my own little story of the reason for the name. Dean was some bored guy who made a wooden sign with red letters painted on that said, DEAN'S CREEK to add some excitement to his boring life. It was pretty much a stupid and unoriginally boring story but my imagination was lacking these days because I had so many other things to worry about.

I stared into the rippling water oblivious to the rest of the world. The creek had officially become my new thinking place. It was almost serene in a way. The slow rhythmic sound of the rippling water was calming in a way and the warm April sun balanced out evenly with the cool breezes that made my skin tingle every so often. It felt like mine. It was undisturbed, peaceful, and whatever else I wanted it to be. I felt like I had gained control over something in my life, and if that something just happened to be a creek that was actually some guy named Dean ... then so be it.

The creek was bigger than other creeks. It almost seemed like a tiny river going through the forest. It looked like if anyone got into the water it would at least go above the waist. Because the creek was abandoned, the grass was overgrown with dead wood lying around in some places, but it never took away from the creek's beauty.

It was times like these that I wished I wore a watch or at least remembered to bring my cell phone. But then again, I guess it didn't matter whether I remembered my cell phone or not because I'd lost it. It's not the first time I'd lost my cell phone and it probably wouldn't be the last. I had no idea how much time had gone by as I stared into space but I knew that if my mom arrived at home and found me gone, she was likely to call the police and have a full investigation and search underway.

I slipped my feet from out of the lukewarm water and put my purple flip flops back on. I lay back against the grass and took in the beautiful sunset slowly fading in the sky. Everything seemed to be fading these days. I felt like I was losing touch with life altogether. I was holding onto a thin string but not for myself, but those around me. It seemed like I should cry. It only felt like the appropriate thing to do with a situation like this-but I couldn't. After that night my eyes were eternally dry and everyone around me had classified me as a freak because of it. They all expected me to be completely distraught and crying loud sobs all the time. But what was the point? Tears wouldn't bring her back. Believe me if they could, I wouldn't stop crying even if took a lifetime-but they wouldn't. So therefore, it made it pointless.

I stood up off the grass, not bothering to wipe off any grass or dirt that may have been stuck to my butt and ran as fast as I could back to my house, back over the bridge, back down the street, and over my neighbor's fence, all the way to the tall tree leading to my window. My old black Chevy was back in the driveway and a pang of fear automatically struck my heart like a drum.

"Crap," I mumbled underneath my breath. I climbed back up the tree, into my open window, and back into my room. All had appeared to be fine in my house. There were no police, or the FBI, or a huge mob of investigators and search dogs. I looked over at my clock and my parents' and I had only been gone for an hour. I knew the funeral couldn't have been over with already. I sighed knowing my mom was probably worried about me and had come home early, dragging my dad along with her.

I walked out of my room and over to the staircase. I couldn't see my parents but I could hear their voices from the kitchen.

"I'm just concerned, Bill. What if this isn't just a stage with her?" I heard my mom ask.

"It's not like she doesn't have the right to act this way. Her best friend just died. Give her time."

Her best friend just died. The words sounded surreal to me. Best friend? Whose? Those were the questions that crossed my mind. But the answers to those questions crossed my heart and left scratches as they went.

"I know. I do. It's just ... I care about her so much and she's been through a lot this past week. Sooner or later it's going to hit her, and it's going to hit her hard. But when it does ... I just want to make sure I'm there to hold and comfort her," I started to hear sniffling and crying from my mom. "We could have lost her. That could have been our daughter in the casket today. The same questions keep popping up in my head, "why not her? Why was her life saved?" The sobs were getting louder. "I don't know why and I'll never know why. I don't know what to do with myself these days. I don't want to take any moment of our time together for granted."

"Life's way too short to take anything at all for granted," I heard my father say. I assumed he was hugging my mom right now to comfort her and her cries.

"One of us should go check up on her and make sure she's okay," she said before blowing her nose. I could picture my dad nodding compassionately.

My mood had just been completely switched to raw anger. I was not some fragile child who needed to be checked upon every five minutes. I was not going through a stage. I was being myself and if that was too much for my parents to handle, then they, along with the rest of the world, were just going to have to deal.

I heard my dad's heavy footsteps coming up the stairs and I quickly ran over to the white chair in front of my mirror before sitting down like I was busy doing something. As the footsteps came closer, I fumbled around in my jewelry box for a pair of earrings. The pair I finally grabbed weren't even matching but my dad wasn't exactly one to pay attention to detail anyway.

When he arrived at my open door, he gave a pointless knock as to announce his presence and I stayed focused at my mirror putting on my silver hoop earring on my right ear slowly.

"Hey dad," I said unusually cheerful. After I finished the right earring, I picked up a blue dangling one.

"Hey Kido," he said just as fake happily as I had. Unlike my mom, my dad had replaced a simple, Kahlen, with Kido. "You do realize that you're putting on two different earrings right?"

Geez. It seemed like lately everyone and everything's senses had been heightened. Since when did my dad notice what earrings I put on? "Yeah I do. I was just trying to see which one would look better with my outfit," Each time I lied I surprised myself with how believable it was.

"Well my vote goes for the silver," he said nonchalantly. I kept my mouth closed to suppress the irritated sigh I wanted to unleash. There was an awkward silence as my dad struggled with the right words to say. "But anyways, Kido, I came up here to check up on you. Your mother has been worrying herself to death about you lately." I couldn't help but notice how he winced a little at one word in particular.

I just rolled my eyes in response.

"She cares ... that's all," he said as began to walk out of my room. Once he got out of the door he stopped and turned. "You said outfit ..." He scanned my ripped jeans and sweatshirt assuming that's not what I meant by outfit. "Are you going somewhere?"

Crap.

"Uh ... um ... yeah. I am. I thought about it and I'm going to go stop by the funeral for the last little bit of it." I wanted to bang my head against the wall several times for my stupid lie.

My dad raised his eyebrows up at me surprised. "Oh, well I'll go tell your mother. We'll drive you."

"Dad, no. I'd rather drive myself if you don't mind." I cleared my throat, realizing that my voice was shaking a little bit. All he did was give that famous, compassionate nod he did so well before leaving my room and heading back down the stairs.

By the time I had gotten to the funeral, they were already carrying out the casket to go to the burial. I could have easily gotten out of the car and followed everyone to the burial but now I had an excuse. I could tell my parents that by the time I gotten there, they were already leaving and I didn't know what cemetery they were going to. It wasn't the best lie, but my parents wouldn't pry too much considering they had been walking on egg shells around me lately.

As I sat at the red light, I had a choice. I could turn left onto Main Street and pull into the church parking lot, or I could keep going straight towards Dean's Creek. My conscience pulled me left but my choice no longer existed. I was in the wrong lane and the red light had changed to green so I was forced to go straight.

I looked over at the church and saw them all standing there in the parking lot. There were at least twenty people from school crying their eyes out and I was positive that half of them didn't even know her. It was amazing to me how some people would do anything they could to turn the attention back to themselves. Instead of having people focus on the reason why they attended the funeral in the first place, they would cry their eyes out so other people would spend their time comforting them instead.

I took my foot off the brake and stepped forward on the gas.

I parked the car on the street before getting out and being blinded by the unusually hot April sun. I slammed the door hard and walked around the winding creek all the way to the front. I realized that anyone that might see me would think I was absolutely insane. I was in a black dress and black heels wandering around in an old abandoned creek. With the next step I took, my right heel sunk into the dirt. My body lost balance and I fell down hard to the ground before starting to roll down the steep hill towards the water quickly.

My body rolled and rolled and then finally hit something hard that felt like a leg. I was so stunned by everything that had just happened that I didn't have time to think, stop, or scream. I was breathing hard as I laid flat on the ground and not only had my dress flown up about five inches above my thighs, but I also realized I had lost another heel in the process.

"You know, I may not know a whole lot about heels but I'm pretty sure that walking on the grass isn't such a good idea." My rescuer extended his arm and held out his hand.

"Thanks for the tip," I mumbled.

I looked up at his upside down body feeling a little dazed and disoriented. I stood up by myself, ignoring his hand then smoothed out my dress and made sure my messy bun was still intact.

"I'm Kennley." He offered a hand shake.

I chuckled a little to myself. Kennley? What kind of a name was Kennley? The image of a Ken Barbie doll kept popping up in my mind. Once again, I ignored his hand and walked away from him towards the creek to sit down on the grass and stick my feet in the lukewarm water. Who was this so called Kennley anyhow and what was he doing at my Creek. No one ever came here. The creek was practically abandoned but I liked it that way. I loved the tall tree that created the perfect amount of shade and the long, winding creek that disappeared in the forest. He felt like an intruder and I couldn't help but be rude to him. He seemed nice and maybe a little overly friendly, but I didn't care. I wasn't looking for any new friends or acquaintances. I was looking for some place peaceful and that place had just been robbed from me.

"What are you doing here?" I asked staring at my reflection in the creek. I wanted my words to sound more curious than accusatory but they didn't come out that way.

Kennley walked over to sit next to me but I immediately scooted away from him. "I'm sorry. I didn't think I needed a reason be here. Next time I'll call you first to get your blessing."

I rolled my eyes. Even though I could feel him staring at me I ignored it. His cell phone began to ring to Barbie Girl and he looked at his phone before swearing underneath his breath.

"Well ... um ...," Kennley paused like he was about to say my name, but then realized he didn't know it. "I'm guessing your name is Dean since you seem to own this Creek. So Dean, it's been nice bumping into you today, but I gotta run. Oh, and by the way, I'm pretty sure my little sister changed my ring-tone."

He quickly stood up and left and part of me wanted to say goodbye to him but instead I just ignored him completely. I picked up my scattered heels, got into my car, and left because I didn't want to stay at the creek. It didn't feel like mine anymore.

By the time I made it back to my car, I realized I was being stupid. I couldn't go home just yet, I had made up my mind not to go back to the creek, and the funeral wasn't even an option, so where else was I going to go? I sat in my car trying to come up with a plan but I barely had five bucks on me so I was considering going to McDonald's. My thoughts were all distracted when I saw Kennley speed walking across the street and dodging cars while he was talking on his cell phone. He looked like he was unusually angry. Although I didn't know what his usual behavior was, he seemed much too friendly and jovial to have a look like that on his face. He screamed something I couldn't hear-partly because my window was up-before he slammed the phone shut, and took off in a fully fledged sprint down the street. I pushed aside my curiosity, turned the key in the ignition, and pulled off down the street to the closest McDonald's.

I was learning to accept adapt to the world I had been thrown so viciously in. The past was well ... the past. As for the future, that was a mystery. But as for the present ... the present held power. The present could be whatever I wanted it to be ... And that alone created my future. I had never felt so powerful and yet so weak in all my life.



Excerpted from Starless Sky by Paige Agnew Copyright © 2010 by Paige Agnew. Excerpted by permission.
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.

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Starless Sky 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
ReviewsbyMolly on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Sitting down to read this book, I was instantly captured. The setting, the plot line, the characters- they all flowed together in a way that only a seasoned author could pen. However, upon finishing this novel, and reading more about this author, this is her debut novel and she was just 15 when she wrote it. Wow! That is some AWESOME work! But, be warned! If you sit down to read a copy of this book, you MUST take stock in Kleenex! This is a definite water works book.This sweet author created a novel that is full of heartache yet full of hope and love. There were serious bits, lots of them,but there were, also, a few funny bits, just enough to keep this novel flowing in an ever changing way. There was a touch of mystery to the story with Kennley. He had a past. One that could cause problems. But what will happen if that past catches up to him? That, added to Kahlen's issues, really intrigued me with this novel, and kept me turning page afterI highly recommend that everyone give this young, rising author a chance. Her novel, worthy of 4 stars, will capture your heart and keep you hooked until the last page. For a first time author, this young lady gets two thumbs up from me! Well done, Paige, and I am anxious to read your next novel, Seven.
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Review by Stephanie: Teenage heartbreak and fallen innocence are portrayed magnificently in Starless Sky. Having written the novel when the author was a teenager herself, Paige Agnew captures the essence of how much it sucks being a teenager, but how beautiful it can be too. Starless Sky was enjoyable because of how much I could relate to it -- both the scenario of troublesome high school days (the stresses of excruciating homework, boyfriend troubles, and friendship drama) as well as the main character, Kahlen's dilemma of not being able to come out of her shell completely. Labeled the school "b" (though to many, the "pretty b"), Kahlen, a self-declared introvert and failure, loses her best and only friend, Emma, to a terrifying car accident the beginning of junior year. If that isn't desolate enough, she almost immediately after Emma's death, falls into an intoxicating, mind-whirling relationship with the new bad boy in town, Kennley -- one she isn't sure she can get out of. Kennley is everything a girl could want: impeccably smart, rich, popular, insanely good-looking, polite, funny, and best of all, he seems to have a huge thing for Kahlen. But Kahlen can't help but think there's something a little off about him. Something she can't quite put her finger upon. For starters, he's secretive. He takes "important" phone calls randomly, always skips class, and admits to have getting kicked out of his old school for inappropriate behavior. As open as he is to Kahlen, there seems to be something else that he is hiding as well. In the end, Kahlen finally discovers the secret -- to both Kennley, and to herself. But the painful journey of getting there is what hurts the most, and every reader, age uninhibited, will be able to relate to each and every emotion. Unlike many of the nitty-gritty young adult novels I've read, this one is methodically clean. It's one of those books your parents would let you read (as opposed to the Gossip Girl series or whatever). The romance is mild (kissing is the farthest Kahlen and Kennley go -- although there is one attempted rape scene [nothing happens, and it doesn't involve Kennley] that may frighten younger audiences). The only drugs that appear are ones that are dealt by Kennley's friends (aka the bad influences) -- but they are described by Kahlen in a way that they are terrible and unfathomable and you should never ever use them. The closest to swearing the characters come to are "heck" and once, "b". Probably the cleanest romance I've read all year ;) This book, the plot, the characters, everything, was one I held on to and didn't want to let go of. But it is desperate need of an editor. I understand it's a self-published title, but aside from the weak verbs and adjectives (I found too many "very"s and "good"s), the flaws in the construction of the writing were really difficult to swim through. Most were petty little things like "it's" instead of "its", "there" instead of "their", and "lost" instead of "loss" (if you didn't catch that in the above blurb), but nonetheless, shouldn't a book, regardless of writing style and topic, at least have those fundamentals down and accurate? I learned how to distinguish between "it's" and "its" et al when I was in second grade. I'm not saying Agnew is less intelligent than a second grader; I'm
TheStephanieLoves More than 1 year ago
Teenage heartbreak and fallen innocence are portrayed magnificently in Starless Sky. Having written the novel when the author was a teenager herself, Paige Agnew captures the essence of how much it sucks being a teenager, but how beautiful it can be too. Starless Sky was enjoyable because of how much I could relate to it -- both the scenario of troublesome high school days (the stresses of excruciating homework, boyfriend troubles, and friendship drama) as well as the main character, Kahlen's dilemma of not being able to come out of her shell completely. Labeled the school "dramaqueen" (though to many, the "pretty dramaqueen"), Kahlen, a self-declared introvert and failure, loses her best and only friend, Emma, to a terrifying car accident the beginning of junior year. If that isn't desolate enough, she almost immediately after Emma's death, falls into an intoxicating, mind-whirling relationship with the new bad boy in town, Kennley -- one she isn't sure she can get out of. Kennley is everything a girl could want: impeccably smart, rich, popular, insanely good-looking, polite, funny, and best of all, he seems to have a huge thing for Kahlen. But Kahlen can't help but think there's something a little off about him. Something she can't quite put her finger upon. For starters, he's secretive. He takes "important" phone calls randomly, always skips class, and admits to have getting kicked out of his old school for inappropriate behavior. As open as he is to Kahlen, there seems to be something else that he is hiding as well. In the end, Kahlen finally discovers the secret -- to both Kennley, and to herself. But the painful journey of getting there is what hurts the most, and every reader, age uninhibited, will be able to relate to each and every emotion. Unlike many of the nitty-gritty young adult novels I've read, this one is methodically clean. It's one of those books your parents would let you read (as opposed to the Gossip Girl series or whatever). The romance is mild (kissing is the farthest Kahlen and Kennley go -- although there is one attempted rape scene [nothing happens, and it doesn't involve Kennley] that may frighten younger audiences). The only drugs that appear are ones that are dealt by Kennley's friends (aka the bad influences) -- but they are described by Kahlen in a way that they are terrible and unfathomable and you should never ever use them. The closest to swearing the characters come to are "heck" and once, "dramaqueen". Probably the cleanest romance I've read all year ;) This book, the plot, the characters, everything, was one I held on to and didn't want to let go of. But it is desperate need of an editor. I understand it's a self-published title, but aside from the weak verbs and adjectives (I found too many "very"s and "good"s), the flaws in the construction of the writing were really difficult to swim through. Most were petty little things like "it's" instead of "its", "there" instead of "their", and "lost" instead of "loss" (if you didn't catch that in the above blurb), but nonetheless, shouldn't a book, regardless of writing style and topic, at least have those fundamentals down and accurate? I learned how to distinguish between "it's" and "its" et al when I was in second grade. I'm not saying Agnew is less intelligent than a second grader; I'm just saying he
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
Wow! It has been awhile since I've read a YA novel that had me so captivated that I kept thinking about the book even when I was supposed to be doing other things... like working. And the moment it came time to take lunch I was reading. As soon as I got home I was reading until I went to bed at night. I dare say I was pretty obsessed with this story. It was powerfully written and I was emotionally captivated through to the end. My heart even pounded at times when I was reading. It was like the story was my reality while I was reading it. I rarely feel so connected to characters that I get anxious and breathless and fall in love right along with them. But this wasn't a typical teenage story. I was deeper in so many ways. Things were brought up that really make you think about life and what's important. I loved the message about dealing with fear and taking risks because in the end it's always worth it, even if you get hurt in the process. Pain causes growth and that is always a good thing. I have to say the ending was absolutely perfect. I got choked up a number of times. When I read the epilogue I realized that this novel had just the right amount of tension. It also had a fantastic character arc, and the plot was simply enthralling. I fell in love along with Kahlen and I grieved with her, too. I felt her confusion and her continual teenage angst. It was perfectly done young adult fiction. The author had the voice down perfectly and all the drama that goes with being a teenager. I can't recommend this highly enough for people who love YA fiction and want to experience some realistic,and often intense emotion. I have found a new favorite author. This book is making my best fiction list for 2010 even though I read it in January 2011.
BookReviewsByMolly More than 1 year ago
Sitting down to read this book, I was instantly captured. The setting, the plot line, the characters- they all flowed together in a way that only a seasoned author could pen. However, upon finishing this novel, and reading more about this author, this is her debut novel and she was just 15 when she wrote it. Wow! That is some AWESOME work! But, be warned! If you sit down to read a copy of this book, you MUST take stock in Kleenex! This is a definite water works book. This sweet author created a novel that is full of heartache yet full of hope and love. There were serious bits, lots of them,but there were, also, a few funny bits, just enough to keep this novel flowing in an ever changing way. There was a touch of mystery to the story with Kennley. He had a past. One that could cause problems. But what will happen if that past catches up to him? That, added to Kahlen's issues, really intrigued me with this novel, and kept me turning page after I highly recommend that everyone give this young, rising author a chance. Her novel, worthy of 4 stars, will capture your heart and keep you hooked until the last page. For a first time author, this young lady gets two thumbs up from me! Well done, Paige, and I am anxious to read your next novel, Seven.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago