In Meagan Brothers's Supergirl Mixtapes, a music-obsessed girl travels to New York City to find herself.
After years of boredom in her rural South Carolina town, Maria is thrilled when her father finally allows her to visit her estranged artist mother in New York City. She's ready for adventure, and she soon finds herself immersed in a world of rock music and busy streets, where new people and ideas lie around every concrete corner. This is the freedom she's always longed forand she pushes for as much as she can get, skipping school to roam the streets, visit fancy museums, and flirt with the cute clerk at a downtown record store.
But just like her beloved New York City, Maria's life has a darker side. Behind her mother's carefree existence are shadowy secrets, and Maria must decide just whereand with whomher loyalty lies.
About the Author
Meagan Brothers is the author of Debbie Harry Sings in French, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, won a GLBT Round Table ALA Award, and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. A native Carolinian, Meagan currently lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
By Meagan Brothers
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)Copyright © 2012 Meagan Brothers
All right reserved.
PART ONE1I'm not going back. The words pounded through my head as I sat there in Penn Station. My fists were clenched and my throat was tight. I'd been fighting off waves of queasiness for the last few hours. I didn't know where I was going, or how I was going to get there, but I knew I could not, under any circumstances, go back. Not yet.I didn't want to prove them right. My grandmother and my dad. My grandmother never liked my mom, and whenever she wanted to needle my dad, all she had to do was bring up "that woman you married who had the nerve to abandon her own child." In my mom's defense, Dad would say, "It's more complicated than that." And, for him, that was saying a lot. He was never the type of dad to scream and yell and threaten to ground you for a month. On the other hand, we had our share of awkward silences.Last night, when I was leaving, he finally spoke up. We were sitting in his truck, in the parking lot of the train stationback home. The sun was going down. The wind blew fast-food trash across the parking lot, dead leaves skittering along behind."When I, um." My dad cleared his throat. "I spoke to your mother last night. She sounded excited. That you're coming to stay with her. But." He stopped. Tapping his thumb softly on the steering wheel."But?" I felt something sinking in my chest."I'm worried she won't be able to take care of you," he said."Dad." I rolled my eyes. "I'm almost eighteen. I can take care of myself.""You're sixteen, and the problem is, your mother thinks she's sixteen, too.""Then we'll take care of each other! Anyway, it's not like you're around to tuck me in at night."I felt bad as soon as I'd said it. I'd already put my dad through a lot, and now I was leaving, maybe forever if things worked out. He stared out the window and swallowed hard, like he had a big pill stuck in his throat."I've been trying to help you through this, Maria," Dad said, so quietly I almost couldn't hear. "A girl needs a mother in her life. And I hope that you two get along--I really do. I just don't want to have to say 'I told you so.'""Why wouldn't we get along?" I asked, not expecting an answer. "She's my mom."My dad didn't have anything else to say after that. We sat there in silence until it was time for him to load my duffel bag onto the train. Then he kissed my forehead, told me to be good, and that was that. I was gone.I rode all night. My grandmother said it was a good way tosee the country, taking the train. I didn't ask her how much of the country I was supposed to see in the middle of the night. I called home as soon as I got to the station, but my dad was still at work. I left a message and told him everything was fine. My mom was supposed to meet the train at six a.m. Now it was almost five thirty in the afternoon. And I was still in Penn Station. Nobody was answering at her phone number. And I couldn't call my dad again. Not yet.I had another number in my pocket. I pulled out the crumpled paper and looked at it. A page from my grandmother's day planner, printed with loops of flowering vines trailing from the corners down the page. In bright blue ink, in her looping handwriting that matched the vines, she had written a phone number and a name. Nina Dowd. Some old lady my grandmother knew. Call her the moment anything happens. If you need any kind of help at all.She meant help with my mother. My grandmother still didn't trust her. What did she think my mom was going to do, anyway? Drop me on my head? I guess I shouldn't have been on my mom's side, considering she wasn't really around when I was growing up. I should've been angry, but I wasn't. I understood why she left. My mom was an artist. She needed to live somewhere like New York, not some podunk town like Millville, South Carolina. She needed to be around people who understood her talent, instead of people like my grandmother, who expected her to be some perfect little Southern belle. That was kind of how my grandmother wanted me to be. And I guess that's why I was on my mom's side. Even though I hadn't seen her since I was twelve, I knew how she felt. I was pretty bad at being a perfect little Southern belle, myself.I wadded up the paper and put it back into my pocket. Forget it. I wasn't calling one of my grandmother's stick-in-the-mud friends. One more hour, I told myself. Then I'd check into a hotel. Do you need credit cards for hotels? I didn't have one. Maybe I should call the police. No, just give her another hour. I'd been giving her one more hour all day. Maybe I should go look for her. Maybe something happened. She said she'd meet me in Penn Station. So keep waiting. She'll be here. I know she will."Marinee-beanee!" a voice shrieked across the station. I looked up, too relieved to be embarrassed. It was her."Mom!""Look at how big you are!" She grabbed me up in a hug. The stacks of bracelets on her wrists clacked, digging into my back. It was true--I was huge. The last time I'd seen her, I was just a little shorter than she was. Now I was taller by about half a foot."I know. I'm a freak.""No! It's good to be tall! You could be a model! You look amazing--they told me you were sick, so I thought--""I'm not sick," I corrected her quickly. "I'm fine. It was just--""Honey bear!" she interrupted, looking into my eyes. "Are you crying?""I'm just happy to see you." And I was. My mom looked the same as she always did. Thick, curly brown hair. Wide smile, serious blue eyes, heavy mascara. She was skinnier, and there were lines around her mouth now, but otherwise she looked exactly the same as she did when I was a kid."Your train came early! We thought we'd get here before you and buy flowers." For the first time, I noticed that my momwas part of a "we." The guy behind her was younger, dressed in a black leather jacket and jeans. His T-shirt said CHAOS THEORY and his hair stood up in glossy black spikes."My train came in at six.""But it's only five thirty!" She was grabbing my bags, the usual whirlwind."Six a.m.""You've been here all day?" The guy spoke. Mom was already walking ahead of us, lugging my duffel bag."Hey, Travis, you've got extra tokens, right?" she yelled over her shoulder."Yeah." He dug into his pocket and handed me a coin with a hole in the middle. We pushed through a wave of people all walking in the opposite direction until we got to a row of turnstiles."We'll take the A to West Fourth, then get the F to Delancey," my mother told me. I nodded as if I understood. "We're down on Rivington." I knew Rivington was the street my mother lived on, the address where I'd always sent her Christmas and birthday cards and copies of the latest stupid-looking, wallet-sized school picture."Come on! It's here!" I had just walked through the turnstile when my mom broke into a run. Travis caught up and took my duffel bag from her. I ran along behind, almost tripping on the graying, yellow-nubbed strip along the edge of the platform. We squeezed into the packed subway car like kids stuffing themselves into a phone booth in one of those old pictures. Everyone was dressed in fancy work clothes, suits and dresses, and gave us dirty looks over their magazines and folded newspapers as we crowded in."Grab a pole!" Mom warned. The train lurched forward, and I fell into a young guy in a three-piece suit carrying a leather shoulder bag and a portable CD player. He pushed me back upright without a word and adjusted his headphones. Finally, being tall was an advantage. I arched my arm over grim-faced heads to reach a long silver pole running along the top of the subway car. It felt oily, and I thought of what my grandmother had said."Filthy place, New York." She literally turned up her nose at lunch that day. "We will absolutely get you a pair of gloves. I wouldn't touch anything in that city, unless I wanted to catch my death."The train shuddered and sped up, the wheels squealing. I reached higher and tightened my grip.
I'm always trying to recognize the streets, to see if I still remember. I watch the cop shows and movies they shoot in New York, and I wait for some street corner, some apartment building, to jog my memory. I was born here, but we moved when I was two. The only picture I have from that time is one of my dad holding me right after I was born. He's sitting in the windowsill of their apartment, the rusty fire escape ladder behind him. In the distance, there are rooftops and water towers. There's a tall building, fuzzy in the background, and I've asked my dad if it's the Empire State Building, but he can't remember. He says he just remembers that the apartment was downtown somewhere. I don't see how you could forget looking out your window and seeing the Empire State Building. But he says he guesses he was too busy looking after me.I don't have any pictures of my mom from back then, butone day, when I was around eight or nine, I was home sick from school and that movie Desperately Seeking Susan was on TV. I became obsessed with it, because Madonna dressed like my mom. Or maybe my mom dressed like Madonna. But I had this memory of my mom getting dressed up like that before we went out somewhere. Piling on bracelets, tying her hair back with a piece of lace. Wearing oversized Wayfarer sunglasses. Bright pink ones.I have some memories of New York, but I'm not sure if they're things that actually happened, or if they're places I've seen on TV. I remember waking up between two bodies, my mother and father, keeping me from rolling off the bed because I didn't have a bed of my own. I remember going with my mother to a corner store that had stacks of glossy red apples outside. Those bright pink sunglasses staring down, floating above her wide smile. I remember falling down on concrete once and crying, and some strange woman stopping to pick me up. I remember my dad being upset, reaching out to take me back with his giant hands. Those same hands holding me, his voice singing me back to sleep, "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys." I remember going over one of the bridges, standing up in the back seat of a car. The water a long way below, the city stretched out beyond, lit up in the dusk, looking like it went on forever. But they're just little flashes. My dad says he doesn't see how I could remember anything from back then. I wasn't even two.It was right after my second birthday that we moved down to Millville. My dad had a friend who worked in a textile mill there, and he said he could get him a job as a security guard and we could live in a trailer he owned on a little piece of landby a stream. Dad said it would be warmer and cheaper, and my grandmother was only a few hours away in Atlanta and she could help take care of me. He and my grandmother had this thing about money--she wouldn't give him any, and he wouldn't ask for it. But she would buy anything I needed, because I guess she figured it wasn't my fault that my parents were always broke. Anyway, the trailer lasted two years. My mom left when I was four. She came back for a while, when I was six, but she only stayed for a few weeks. I remember her telling Dad that she wasn't cut out to be trailer trash. It was right after that that Dad bought the house near the mill where we still live, but it was too little, too late, Mom said. She filed for divorce and never came back to live with us again.
My mother had barely stopped talking since we left Penn Station. Now she was telling me about Travis's band, Chaos Theory, between mouthfuls of fries she stole from his plate. We were sitting in a booth at the Waverly Diner on Sixth Avenue. I was staring at a club sandwich I knew I couldn't eat."They were so freakin' good, they were just so, like, augh!" She made her hands into claws. "But then Jimmy and Angel wanted to move to LA--""And I was like, hell no." Travis shook his head."So they broke up. But Travis is putting a whole new group together, and the new bass player--what's his name? It's the name of a band, like Rush or something--""Slade." Travis laughed."Slade! Oh my gosh, he's so amazing!" She looked at her watch suddenly. "Ooh, honey, we're gonna be late." She pointed at my sandwich. "You want a to-go box for that, right?""Um." I looked down at my plate."I'll go get one." She reached into her front pockets. "I'll get some change, too.""She's totally psyched that you're here," Travis said, sipping his Coke."Really?" I swallowed. "I know it all happened kind of fast.""I think it's cool." He smiled. "It's like a little family."I didn't know how much Mom and Travis knew. I didn't know if they knew how bad it'd gotten. How I told Dad and Grandmother that I was going to New York and I didn't care what they said. The doctor convinced them that maybe it wasn't such a bad idea. But Mom could've called my bluff. She could've said she didn't want me. But why wouldn't she want me? She always said that she couldn't afford to give me the education my grandmother wanted. That was her excuse last time I'd asked to come up and live with her in the city, back when I was thirteen and bored with Millville. This time, my grandmother said she would pay for the school herself. All my mother had to do was help me get back to normal. Whatever that was.Mom came back to the table, slapping down singles for a tip and shoving my sandwich into a Styrofoam container at the same time."Okay, come on, hurry! We're running way behind!""What're we late for?""Travis and I have tickets for Lou Reed tonight. We have to take you to the apartment and then get back to the Knitting Factory.""A knitting factory?""It's a club. Come on!"And we were moving again, slinging bags and food andshoving out through the crowd and down into the subway, toward home.
"I wish we could've gotten another ticket, but it's kind of like a secret show. Lee got an extra pair of tickets totally by chance. Oh my gosh, I can't wait for you to meet Lee! You're going to love him."Mom finally had to stop talking to catch her breath. We were on the last of the five flights of stairs we had to walk up to get to the apartment. I didn't know how she and Travis managed to walk up all those stairs every day, but I guess I was going to have to figure it out, too."Okay, this is it." Mom undid two locks and the dull brown metal door of 5A swung open. I walked in, ducking beneath a strand of Christmas tree lights that was falling down from its tacked-up place over the doorway. Travis reached up and tucked the lights back above the doorjamb, and Mom flipped them on. I looked around."Come on, I'll give you the tour," Mom said. She pointed to a closed door. "Back there is where me and Travis sleep. The door next to that is the bathroom. This is the kitchen, obviously. And over there is your room.""The living room?" I knew her place was small, but I thought there was more space than this. The living room was about half the size of my bedroom at home, and it was full of shelves, stacked high with books and records and videotapes. There was a TV and a couch, and a window with an air conditioner jammed into it, taped up in plastic bags for the winter."Don't look so worried." Mom laughed. She walked over and kicked at the couch. "It's a futon. It pulls out.""Oh." I laughed. "Right.""And, hey, Miss Popularity!" My mother shoved a fat manila envelope into my hands. It was decorated with foil stickers in the shape of stars. "This came for you in the mail today."I looked at the return address. Athens, Georgia. Dory! I couldn't believe it. Dory Mason was my best friend, even though she was older than me, already in college. Her parents were my grandmother's neighbors. Dory started making me mixtapes a few years ago and sending them in the mail. I couldn't believe she'd already gotten my mom's address and sent me a new one. Especially since we'd been kind of drifting apart over the last year."Okay, we've gotta run, but make yourself at home. There's plenty to keep you occupied, you know, books, magazines--I've got the new Mojo on the table there. We don't have cable but you can watch whatever movies you want. Just put it on channel three for the VCR. Ah, I almost forgot! We left some records for you. Come here!" She grabbed my hand and tugged me over to the low shelf with the stereo, where she'd set up a display of records in a crooked march along the rug. I knelt down beside her."Here's our Welcome Wagon," she said, picking an album from the lineup. "Listen to this one first." She grabbed my head, her palm flat against my forehead. "It'll blow your mind."I put Dory's package down and took the record from her. The cover was a stark, black-and-white photograph of a defiant-looking girl with a black jacket slung over her shoulder."Aahh! All right! Time! I know!" Mom kissed her hand and smacked it lightly against my cheek. "Don't wait up." She grabbed her keys and Travis and pulled him out the door, slamming it behind her. As soon as it was shut, it opened again."What am I thinking? Keep this locked, okay? And don't open it for anybody but us. Not anybody! Okay, seriously this time, we're gone. Have fun!"And she was gone. I looked around and exhaled.I put the record down and went to the kitchen to put my sandwich away before it got gross from sitting out. The refrigerator was wallpapered with pictures, cutouts from magazines. It was a collage of rock stars, some I recognized but most I didn't. I recognized the Beatles, with their long hair and beards. Jim Morrison in his leather pants. Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Mick Jagger with his arm around a sad-eyed blonde. I saw a picture of Kurt Cobain, the one taken of him onstage where he was standing in front of a statue and it looked like he had wings. There was one of Jeff Buckley, too, surrounded by stickers of tiny roses, right next to the one of Kurt. It made me happy, in a strange way, to see Kurt and Jeff on my mom's fridge. I loved both of them, even before they died. Now I kind of thought of them as guardian angels or something. It made me feel safer to see them there, in the kitchen in New York. I decided to give the sandwich another try.Sometimes, when I got nervous about things, like having to give a report at school, or just worried about whatever, it was like my throat closed up and my stomach shut down and I couldn't eat anything. I'd felt like that all day long, until I saw Kurt and Jeff. I sat down at the table and started to eat. The first bite went down okay. I took another bite and sat back, chewing until it was practically liquid. I tilted my chair and looked around.None of the four chairs around the table matched, but itdidn't matter. It wasn't even a real dining room, just a table shoved into the space where the kitchen became the living room. My room. Travis's guitars were propped up against the wall, his guitar amp next to the futon like an end table. A third guitar with no strings lay on top of the amp, along with some tools and loose strings. I guess Travis was working on it. Travis. Mom hadn't even mentioned that she had a boyfriend now. He was young, but he seemed okay.I flipped through the Mojo magazine Mom had left on the table. It was a music magazine. The cover article was all about Keith Richards, the guitar player from the Rolling Stones. I finished off the sandwich and got up to throw the carton away. It felt better to have something in my stomach. I walked back to Mom and Travis's bedroom. There was a beaded curtain in front of the door. The beads clacked as I parted them with my hands. My mom had painted an angel on the door. I could recognize her artwork anywhere. Whenever she sent me cards, at Christmas or my birthday, she always drew them herself. She even drew little sketches on the envelopes. I saved them all in a shoebox beneath my bed. That was the whole reason she'd come to New York in the first place. To be a famous artist.I opened the bedroom door. I guess I just wanted to see what the rest of the apartment looked like, but as soon as I went in there, I felt like I shouldn't have. The bed was unmade, and Mom's and Travis's clothes were strewn everywhere. I felt strange about seeing their clothes all together like that, and the place where they slept. Some of my mom's paintings were stacked up in the corner of the room, and I wanted to go look at them, but instead I closed the door and backed out through thebeaded curtain. I peeked into the bathroom, flipping on the light. The tub was old fashioned, with claw feet. I liked that. My dad and I just had a regular, boring bathtub back home.I looked at myself in the mirror. I looked awful. Tired and gross. My skin was pale and my forehead was broken out. My plain, long black hair was even more limp and oily than usual. There were dark circles under my eyes. I bore fangs at myself. Grr. Ugly. Go away.I flipped off the light and walked back out to the kitchen. I noticed a Polaroid taped to one of the kitchen cabinets. Mom and Travis at some kind of party. She was holding the camera herself, and he was kissing her cheek. Her mouth was wide open in a surprised smile. Mom always looked like she was having a good time.The last time I saw her, I'd just turned twelve. The phone rang late one night, and my dad picked it up. It was the weekend; he was home. I heard him pick up, and I heard him say her name. I sat up in bed, listening. She never called us--she said she couldn't afford the long-distance charges. I'd been just about to fall asleep, and I wondered if I were dreaming. But I wasn't. He kept telling her to calm down, in between long silences. Then he hung up the phone. I heard him getting up, moving around, flipping on lights. I got up and crept down the hall."That was Mom?""Yep." He was lacing up his boots."Is she coming back?""I don't know. I need to run see about her." He looked at me. I knew he was about to tell me to be good, that he'd have Mrs. Gibbs, our elderly neighbor down the street, check up on me."Can't I come? I haven't seen her in a really long time."He thought about it for a while before he finally agreed. I knew how to deal with my dad. You didn't cry and scream and plead. You just stood very still and very quiet and waited for him to decide it was okay.We drove for hours. I fell asleep, waking up once to find us parked in a Hardee's parking lot, the car doors locked and Dad on the pay phone. And waking up again when we were there. There was a sharp smell of salt and a damp chill in the air. We'd driven all the way to Myrtle Beach. The sun was coming up outside a little motel called the AquaSea Inn. We were parked beneath an arched turquoise carport. Dad took me into the motel office and told me to wait there. I went into the narrow bathroom, came back out, and settled into a well-grooved turquoise vinyl seat. The guy behind the counter swatted flies and smiled at me. He had the Weather Channel on, but he turned the dial around to a Flintstones cartoon and pushed the little TV over on the counter so that I could see it.I licked at the bad taste inside my mouth for a few minutes, too sleepy to laugh at Fred and Barney yet, when something outside caught my eye. A heavyset man in a checked golf shirt was sort of jogging down the stairs, and sort of being pushed at the same time. The man pushing him was my dad. I saw my mom at the top of the stairs, her eyes dark, face streaked with mascara, shouting something, her mouth moving and nothing coming out. The fat man held up his hands, fumbled quickly for his keys, jerked the handle on the door of his big white car. My father kept edging up alongside him, muttering something steady and unhurried. He was barely moving, but you could tell he was winning the fight. The fat man finally got his car cranked,and he lurched out of the AquaSea parking lot. My father looked back up at my mother, his fists curled beside his pockets. She walked back into the hotel room. He began climbing the stairs.About an hour later, Dad came and got me. By now it was the Jetsons, and the guy behind the motel counter was slumped over on his stool, snoring a little. Dad told me that Mom was in town just for the day, on business, and how would I like us all to go to breakfast together? Sure, I said. We climbed into the pickup and went to a pancake house. Mom was in a different outfit, showered and cleaned up, her mascara fresh and unsmeared. I didn't ask what her business was, and she didn't say. She acted like herself, funny and hyper, asking me about school and talking about all the places she'd take me when I came to New York. My dad didn't say much of anything, just sipped his coffee and barely ate his eggs. After the pancakes, we rolled up our pant legs and walked on the beach, running in and out of the chilly Atlantic. It was spring, before the start of the hot summer season, and there was hardly anyone else there. At one of the arcades we found a photo booth, and Mom and I made goofy faces as the camera popped. I didn't insist that my dad cram himself into the booth with us, for the same reason that I didn't ask about the man in the white car. I couldn't say what it was that kept me from insisting, except that even back then I was beginning to understand that, whatever happened between my mom and dad, they weren't getting back together again--not for their sake or mine.Dad sliced the row of four pictures down the middle with his pocketknife and gave two to my mom, two to me. We took her to the airport that afternoon, and that was the last time Isaw her in person, until today. I still had those two pictures in the shoebox under my bed at home, where I kept her letters. Now, standing in her kitchen, I looked again at the picture of Mom and Travis taped to the cabinet. She always looked so happy. I had my father's mouth. The kind of mouth that seemed to naturally turn down at the edges. I usually tried not to smile too much in pictures, anyway. My teeth were too big and crooked, even now, after two years of braces. But in those Myrtle Beach pictures, I have the stupidest grin on my face. My mom was the kind of person you couldn't help but be happy around.I walked into the living room--my room--and sat down on the edge of the futon. My mom had left a little note card on the pillow, a sketch of a city skyline with the words "Welcome to New York" written into the windows of the buildings. I looked at the records in their procession. Knelt down in front of them again. There was Lou Reed, the guy they had gone to see. He looked like a ghost on the album cover, or maybe a little like the guy from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Next to it was a Ramones record--I knew a little about them from Dory. There were the New York Dolls--a bunch of guys dressed up like girls, in makeup and big bouffant hairdos! Crazy. There was a band called Television, all pale and skinny but dressed like plain, regular guys. Then there was Richard Hell and the Voidoids, with a guy in a ripped-up shirt looking coolly out of his shades, his hands on his hips. Next was a thick-lipped blond woman with her eyes turned down, looking like another ghost: Nico, Chelsea Girl. And the record my mom told me to listen to first. The one that was supposed to blow my mind.I figured out how to turn the stereo on. The power light onthe record player glowed warm orange. I slid the record out of its monochrome sleeve and put it on the turntable. Horses, Patti Smith. I turned the volume down and put the needle on the record. There was a crackle, the needle catching the groove. I heard soft piano chords, then a woman's voice crooning. Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine.I listened for another few seconds, then I took the needle off the record. I was kind of superstitious about God stuff. My dad and I didn't go to church too often on our own--there was only one Catholic church in Millville, anyway, and it was tiny. Most people I knew went to the big First Baptist church downtown, the one that was broadcast on the local TV station, or First Methodist, the church with the best basketball team. But we went all the time when we visited my grandmother. My grandfather was Catholic, so my grandmother became Catholic, too. She was really gung ho about it, even more than my grandfather had been, according to my dad. Anyway, I hadn't been to church in a long time, but I knew it was pretty bad to say that Jesus didn't die for your sins.My throat started tightening again. I picked up Dory's package and ripped it open along the edge. A cassette fell out. Supergrrl Mixtape #21: Escape to New York! And there was a note.Hey kiddo--Keep it real in NYC! I hope these songs treat you right. I'm starting to get into weird girl reggae, like the Bush Tetras and the Slits. There's some live SY on here, and some Royal Trux I think you're gonna like. Also, the Rulebreaker for this installment is Urge Overkill, becauseNash Kato has the sexiest voice evah. I am going to marry his voice someday. Butta butta butta ...
Have an awesome time in NYC! Take it over, dude! And will you CALL ME if you need me? Or just call anyway for fun!
Love, DoryI couldn't help but smile. "SY" was Sonic Youth, maybe Dory's favorite band of all time. The second or third Supergirl Mixtape she made for me was called Rule of Kims, and it was all Sonic Youth songs on one side, Breeders and Pixies on the other. I didn't get it until she explained that the bass player for Sonic Youth is a girl named Kim Gordon, and the bass player for the Pixies, and the lead singer of the Breeders, is a girl named Kim Deal. The Supergirl Mixtapes, if you haven't guessed, are mostly girl bands, or at least bands with girl singers. But Dory always added a few Rulebreakers, which are guy bands. "To keep it from being totally sexist," she said.I think Dory thought of me more as a little sister than a best friend, but that was okay by me. She was the coolest person I knew. It sucked that we hadn't been talking to each other as much since she went to college, but she was still making me mixtapes, at least. We could still listen to the same music and send letters back and forth, gushing over our favorite songs. It was as close to hanging out as we could get, especially now, some eight hundred miles apart.I dug my Walkman out of my backpack and put in the new tape. The sound of snarling guitars hit my ears. I looked aroundthe room. There was no place to put my clothes or anything. But I didn't really care. I had made it to New York. I was finally back with my mom, back where I belonged, in the city where I was born. I sat by the window, looking out at the tops of the buildings, the lights, the cars moving along the streets, the tiny dots of people. I could see the Empire State Building in the distance, glowing white. I looked down beneath the fire escape and heard shouting, the sounds of a basketball game beneath the lights of a playground below. Horns and brakes and voices mixed with Dory's music in my headphones, and I knew that everything was getting better already.Copyright © 2012 by Meagan Brothers
Excerpted from Supergirl Mixtapes by Meagan Brothers Copyright © 2012 by Meagan Brothers. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This one just wasn¿t for me I think. I couldn¿t connect with the characters or the story itself. I did enjoy the era the book was set in around 1995 (or maybe a bit later) and also the setting, New York. Like I always say, I like reading books before cell phones and all of this technology came along.I kept reading because I was curious and I was waiting for a couple of secrets to be revealed. I ended up finishing the book feeling unfulfilled¿I didn¿t like the ending. I was kind of upset since that is what I was reading to get to. I felt a bit lost with all of the talk about 80s and 90s music. I had no idea what some of the characters were talking about¿I kind of felt like a dork because of this.
Dani has always been the lucky one. Her mother jokes that she and Dani have nine lives. What happens when her twin sister, Jena, contracts cancer and may not have nine lives. After all, she was never the lucky one. Dani chooses to deal with her sister's cancer in an unusual way. She goes out of her way to try to lose her lives, hoping that one of them might go to Jena. She undergoes ridiculous trials and lands herself in trouble and in the hospital, but she does not seem to care. The reader will follow this train wreck of a character throughout the book, an interesting plot of self-discovery and acceptance. It is interesting that the author manages to keep the book more about Dani and less about cancer; rather, she focuses on Dani and her love for her sister. The reader will likely love that this is not one of those cookie-cutter books where a family member loses a love one to cancer. Dani's character is the main draw to this novel. She is careless with her precious health, seeming to think herself invincible. The reader will get to know her quite well. Ironically, the reader barely knows Jena. Jena is viewed and thought of through the eyes of Dani. Dani's perspective and thoughts guide the reader through this novel. The other characters fit in perfectly. Dani acquires a love interest she never thought she would have, Dani's parents react to Jena's cancer in their own ways, and Dani's destructive way of dealing with Jena's cancer is only noticed by a couple of characters. The plot is interesting. We all would love to have nine lives, but not many of us would actually test that theory. The ending might not be what the reader may have guessed, but satisfying nonetheless. This book is highly recommended to young adult/teen readers.
I loved this book. Great for all ages. Wonderful characters!