Secrets are con artists: they trick you into letting them out.
Sadie loves her rocker boyfriend Henry and her running partner and best friend Lucie, but no one can measure up to her truest love and hero, the dazzling and passionate George. George, her secret.
When something goes wrong and Sadie is taken to the hospital calling out for George, her hidden life may be exposed. Now she must confront the truth of the past, and protect a world she is terrified to lose.
"A teen learns to use her rich interior world to fight trauma, but is this the only way out? This honest, heartfelt tale is deep and mysterious as imagination itself." --Judy Blundell, author of What I Saw and How I Lied and Strings Attached
"You'll inhale as you skid into the first chapter and only exhale as you cling to the last. A beautiful book about longing and loss . . . and what is real." --Teresa Toten, author of The Hero of Room 13B, winner of the Governor General Award, and Beware That Girl
|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
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George’s blue eyes captured her. They were dark as the deep blue sea and Sadie was adrift under a starless night. No going back now.
Sadie turned the ignition key and revved her truck, Old Charlotte, to life. The air-conditioning raised goose bumps on her skin. It was one hundred degrees outside but she was cold. She checked her phone one last time: two texts--one from Lucie and one from Henry--and a voice mail from her parents. George rustled the maps in his lap and raised an eyebrow at her, so she tossed her phone into the glove compartment. George grabbed her wrist and kissed the palm of her hand, closing the glove box with the toe of his impeccably shined shoe.
It had taken her three tries, private lessons, and eight months to get her license. Being behind the wheel was still strange and exciting and scary.
She glanced at his maps. The whole pile was marked with red Sharpie. “Anyone with a true sense of adventure knows how to read a map. You have to imagine the world that goes with it,” George had told her. “GPS is the death of imagination.” So they’d spent last night lying side by side on the filthy basement rug dreaming up interesting destinations. They’d lost themselves in more exotic fantasies in Sadie’s many purloined atlases--Rio, Morocco, and always, always Moscow--but they weren’t going to be driving to Russia in a beat‑up Ford F100, no matter how beautifully her parents had restored their truck, dear Old Charlotte.
The limits of reality turned dreams back into paper maps. Even with a car, you couldn’t really escape. Mapped out, the landmarks of Sadie’s life made such a small circle: her parents’ repair shop, Henry’s house, the library, school. She would be a senior in the fall, but that didn’t expand her life into unknown territory. The colleges she hoped to visit in the fall were in-state. A tiny world.
George had seen her disappointment. He’d tried to make it better. Even in St. Louis, with George there were adventures. “Let me give you one perfect day,” he had begged, and he’d drawn their adventure right there on the map. He circled destination after destination, linking them with one red line. “A bright red line toward destiny,” he had called it.
And now they were on that red line.
George slid on his Clubmasters, the dark lenses a villainous mask. He smiled and looked away, eighteen years of cultivated cool settling into a leather seat. His smile destroyed her. He didn’t have to grow up to be someone; he already was someone.
Sadie put on her Ray-Ban knockoffs. On the floor, her polka-dot backpack was filled with snacks and books and her still-shiny driver’s license. The backpack sat between George’s black shoes, his black briefcase nestled beside it, holding whatever mysteries he’d packed away with his imported cigarettes. Old Charlotte was rumbling in anticipation, but Sadie gripped the steering wheel with clammy hands, her foot on the brake, toeing the clutch.
A night of maps had seemed so far away from this plan.
George put his hand on the steering wheel over hers. “To seek and find?”
His voice washed away all doubt.
“To seek and find,” she replied, putting the truck in gear with an audible creak.
It was easy. Time slipped by them, unnoticed. The radio was broken, but it didn’t matter. George told her stories. He sang Beatles songs--at least, the parts he could remember, making up the rest. She didn’t care. Nothing could ruin this day.
As the sun climbed the sky, they settled into the comfortable silence of the oldest of friends. They split a burger and milk shake. They stopped at the art museum, the history museum, the zoo. There was a whole world in Forest Park. Back in the truck, George fell asleep as Sadie drove home under a perfect sunset, his long legs buckled under him like a contortionist. He smelled like cigarettes and bourbon and looked so much like a little boy.
I will never love anyone this much, thought Sadie, stealing glances at him as he slept. She retreated into that thought and fell into the memories of him, into their inseparable future together.
She didn’t even see the tree.
Moments passed like snapshots being thrown into the trash:
The summer light filtered through green oak leaves.
The drip of a melted pink milk shake falling sideways.
The crushed door papered with bloodied maps.
The shimmer of blue broken glass diamonds.
The bone sticking out of her leg.
The empty seat beside her.
Sadie was alone. The taste of blood faded and was replaced with the certainty that she was dying. She felt like she was seeing the world from the bottom of the ocean. She couldn’t hear herself screaming, though she knew she was. All she could hear was the icy note of tragedy, like the dead sound people hear after a bomb.
Then she wasn’t alone. People, strangers, were all around her. Hands were on her face, and more hands tied her down. But she needed to sit up. She needed to find him. She closed her eyes tight and when she opened them, she was in a different place. Am I dreaming, or dead? she thought in a panic. Lights went by and blinded her. Everyone was talking. She could tell they were trying to talk to her, but she couldn’t make out what they were saying.
An emergency room, she realized. She tried to get up and run, but her legs wouldn’t obey. She was trapped.
“George,” she said, over and over. “Where is George?”
Excerpted from "The Museum of Us"
Copyright © 2018 Tara Wilson Redd.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have to admit, I had no idea about this book at first. And then I was approached about doing a blog tour about this one because it features neurodiversity. And I’m so glad I did not miss out. Sadie’s life is complete. Her rocker boyfriend and best friend are amazing, but so is her secret, George. After an accident, Sadie is taken to the hospital calling for George… George whom no one else can see. Now she has to protect the truth at all cost…. Let me start with saying, the portrayal of Sadie’s neurodiversity is about as close as I believe it can get to something that it's not, but sounds a lot like. I won’t say what the book was about because of spoilers, but I have a sister who suffers from something close to it and she even read a couple parts and said that’s what she experiences sometimes. (She takes meds to help.) But, what the book displays is a bit different, but my sister still saw a bit of herself in the book. I found it interesting how all types of mental illnesses resemble each other or have some of the same characteristics. It shows like Sadie, people with this disesase don't have to feel alone. As for the writing style, I found myself falling into this one while the world around me fell away. However, I DID feel it could have used a bit more emotion. I don’t want to sound mean or anything, because there are some that may find themselves crying at the end, but I just wasn’t one of them. And I found that strange because normally if the smallest things happen, I find myself bawling. I just didn’t connect with this one on that level. As for the characters, I have to say I LOVED them all. Especially Lucie and Sadie. I loved the scene where Henry told Sadie how alike they were. I loved how it helped to ground her and show her how special she was. Redd is an debut author whom I can definitely say I will be keeping my eye on. The amount of emotion and love in her characters and writing style made for such a great story. I am certain that readers of all ages will love this one.
I found this book to be a little confusing. Mostly, because the synopsis paints a completely different picture then what the book is actually about. Maybe that's what the publisher was going for, but I was expecting a completely different book. I thought that the writing was beautiful and that the plot was quite unique. It was interesting to go into this book not knowing exactly what is going on, which I think is the ideal way to approach this book. I just wish that the synopsis was a little less vague. **synopsis below. stop reading here if you don't want to know the plot.** The plot revolves around Sadie who is constantly losing herself in daydreams. She has an imaginary friend named George whom she goes on adventures with. After a car crash she is between consciousness and she is calling out George's name. She is committed to a psych ward when she refuses to talk about who George is and why she is calling out his name. My main gripe with this book, besides the extremely vague synopsis, is that at one point Sadie makes a comment about not belonging in a psych ward and that only crazy people belong in psych wards. I don't remember that exact line, but it was something along those lines. Throughout the book Sadie perpetuates the idea that people with mental health problems are crazy and unstable, which is not true. Perpetuating that kind of idea in a book that is marketed towards a teen and young adult audience is not ideal. Eventually Sadie does come to terms with her mental health issues, however, at no point does she clarify or amend her previous sentiment. I would be a lot more eager to recommend this book to people if Sadie had a change of heart or if she retracted her statements. Overall, this book just gave me mixed feelings.
3.5 Imaginative Stars Review by Amy Late Night Reviewer Up All Night w/ Books Blog Tara Wilson Redd’s The Museum of Us was a world of imagination, adventure and discovery. A young adult story that melds fantasy, reality, mental health, and teenage angst into a creative, imaginative, and emotional world. Sadie has been hiding a secret for years and when she gets into an accident, she is afraid it is going to be discovered. As she recovers physically in the hospital, she also begins to question her mental health, as others around her do the same. She struggles with her relationships and reality while balancing her fantasy world and concealing her secrets. This book was thought provoking and had some slightly difficult content. The summary of the book makes it sound mysterious, but I don’t think the blurb does it justice. The main premise of the book was revealed early on, and the book focused on a Sadie’s journey through a troubling past, as she struggles to discover who she is and what her future holds, while making some tough choices along the way. I think this book would appeal to young adult fiction lovers who enjoy a mix of fantasy and reality, as it toggled back and forth between the two worlds frequently. Unfortunately, I did not connect with the book or the characters and despite the creative concept, I did not find myself completely consumed by this book. It was a quick read, but I would have loved to develop a deeper attachment to a few of the characters.
Everyone remembers daydreaming about their favorite shows or books, inserting themselves into the narrative and becoming an adventurer or spy or princess or Hogwarts student. As we get older, though, slowly the real world supersedes our daydreams. But what if we decided to never leave? “The whole world started with George.” We first meet Sadie in the aftermath of a car accident. It soon becomes clear that it’s not her physical injuries that are keeping her in the hospital, but what led to the crash, and who this mysterious George that she called out for is. The problem is – George isn’t real. He’s her partner in all her imaginary adventures, her first love, her true best friend. Now he’s in danger of being exposed to the outside world, and Sadie’s afraid that will cause her to lose him forever and force her to live in the real world. From the outside, Sadie has a near perfect life, even though most people consider her a bit strange since she has a tendency to get lost in her thoughts. She’s co-captain of her high school’s track team with her best friend, has a rock band boyfriend and has two loving and supportive parents. Over the course of her two weeks in the hospital, though, through flashbacks and her interactions with her friends and family, Sadie’s past is slowly revealed through bits and pieces, from her past adventures with George to the trauma that led her to retreat into her own mind. “The second you uncap a pen, you’ve already lost. Secrets are con artists: they trick you into letting them out. I know better than to write the truth in a journal. Your mind is the only vault you can trust. But can you even trust that?” I think the mental health discussion was handled well. It didn’t feel too preachy or too voyeur-like, but, like the rest of the book, was raw and honest. I especially liked that at the end it was ultimately Sadie’s choice to let go of her inner world and it’s her actions that save her, not some magic pill or love interest. The book itself is haunting and heartbreaking, and like Sadie’s friends and parents, I felt both frustrated with and supportive of Sadie. I thought she was a very relatable character, and as bits of her life were revealed to use, I sympathized with why she’d want to keep her fantasies. Overall, I enjoyed this book very much, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a young adult book that deals with mental illness and fantasy! I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.