Fighter, faker, student, spy: heart-pounding action and spine-tingling suspense intertwine in an electrifying debut for fans of emotional thrillers with just the right dash of high school drama.
Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan.
Now Reagan must decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she's always wanted? And does she even have a choice?
Find out if you are ready to join the Black Angels in debut author Kristen Orlando’s You Don't Know My Name, the captivating and emotional first book in the Black Angel Chronicles, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads.
Praise for You Don't Know My Name:
"This is my ideal sort of book, full of tension, action, romance, family issues, and a girl struggling to figure out her identity!" Sara Shepard, #1 New York Times Best Selling author of The Pretty Little Liars series
"This one’s a page-turner." Booklist
"A solid addition to high school collections, especially those with patrons who love stories of spy craft and secret identities, with a splash of romance" School Library Journal
About the Author
Writing is one of the great loves of Kristen Orlando’s life and she has been lucky enough to make it her living, first as a television producer, then as a marketer and now as a novelist. Kristen graduated with a B.A. in English literature from Kenyon College. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with the other great love of her life, Michael. You Don’t Know My Name is her debut novel.
Read an Excerpt
You Don't Know My Name
By Kristen Orlando
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2017 Kristen Orlando
All rights reserved.
"Reagan, everyone is going on Saturday," Harper says, in between bites of overcooked meat loaf and runny lunchroom mashed potatoes. "You'll be, like, the only senior not there."
"I'd rather eat glass," I say, taking a long swig of Vitaminwater. I ran six miles before school and my body is in dire need of electrolytes. I can feel it. I hate getting up early to train, but it's a million times better than waiting until the afternoon. I'd much rather be hanging out with Harper or studying with Luke, but skipping is not an option. I made that stupid mistake only once and that was enough for me. My parents were the kind of pissed that bypasses the yelling and screaming phase and goes straight to the silent treatment and punishment. They gave me a training session the next day that made my legs shake for an hour. A twelve-mile run followed by five hundred push-ups, a thousand sit-ups, and two hours of Krav Maga. Pure hell. In most households, I'm pretty sure that'd be considered child abuse. But what was I supposed to do? Call Child Protective Services? Tell them my parents forced me to work out for six hours because they're operatives for a part of the CIA the world, even most of the US government, doesn't know about and I'm training to be an operative too? I don't think so. So every morning, I pull my butt out of bed at five on the dot to train before school.
"I don't understand why on earth you would want to miss one of Mark's parties," Harper counters, tucking a loose strand of her long, wavy blond hair behind her ear.
"You know my two party rules," I reply, counting them down on my fingers. "Number one: Drinking Mad Dog 20/20 will make you sicker than eating at a strip club buffet. Number two: No good ever comes from attending a Mark Ricardi party."
Mark's gatherings at his parents' estate outside the New Albany Country Club community were sort of famous. I've only been to one of his parties and left before things got totally out of control, but the stories that come out of that house ... my God. People always end up going skinny-dipping in the pond or losing articles of clothing (or just their dignity) during tequila-induced twerk-offs. Someone always gets into a huge fight or breaks something or cheats on their girlfriend. People always leave Mark Ricardi parties with the taste of expensive liquor and regret in their mouths.
"We'll take a vote when Mal gets here," Harper says and takes a swig of her pop.
"I'll take a vote right now. All those in favor of not holding your best friend's hair back while she throws up in the master bathtub, please raise your hand," I say, throwing my hand straight up into the air. Harper narrows her hazel eyes at me then smiles, exposing the tiny gap in her two front teeth that I love and Harper hates. She says she wishes she would have gotten braces back in middle school when everyone else's teeth were jacked up. She's thought about getting one of those clear plastic retainer things to fix it, but I continue to talk her out of it. I think the gap makes her look like a supermodel.
"Hey, that was the easiest party-fail cleanup ever," Harper says, reaching across the gray laminate table to slap down my hand.
"It was disgusting," I reply, my arm still high in the air. "I almost threw up next to you and I was stone-cold sober."
"You're so the good little mom of the group," Harper says, batting at my hand again. "I totally H your G's right now."
"You totally what my what?" I ask.
"H your G's," Harper replies and rolls her eyes. "Hate your guts."
"No way, you totally L my G's," I say and laugh. Love how we both do that. Abbreviate things to the point people don't know what in the world we're talking about. We have some regulars, like RTG, which means "ready to go." PITA means "pain in the ass." SMITH means "shoot me in the head." Those are probably the favorites, but we both come up with ridiculous new ones every day that make our friends roll their eyes. But whatever, it's our thing and we like it so WGAS? Translation: Who gives a shit?
"Hey, MacMillan," a voice calls at me from the lunch line. I turn around to see Malika carrying a blue lunch tray. "Share my nachos?"
"Always," I answer and spin back around.
MacMillan. Out of all my Black Angel cover-up last names, MacMillan may be my favorite. I've always been Reagan. But I've been lots of Reagans. Reagan Moore. Reagan Bailey. Reagan Klein. Reagan Schultz. No one has ever known my real name. Reagan Elizabeth Hillis. It's been so long since I've said my real name out loud that sometimes I have to think about it. It sounds ridiculous that I'd actually have to use any brainpower to know my name, but while it's only for a fleeting moment, sometimes I do. I've heard my mother say the older she gets, the more she really has to think about how old she is. When you're seven or seventeen, you never have to think about your age. She says as you get older, there's that split second where she has to ask herself, Wait, am I forty-eight or forty-nine? That's how I feel about my real name. And the more new last names I get, the longer that beat is in remembering who I really am.
It always happens the same way. As soon as I'm comfortable with a last name, I'm forced to forget it. My parents' cover will be in jeopardy or we're being watched and we'll have to get out of town. And every time we load up the car in the middle of the night and pull down our street for the last time, I feel like a piece of me is stripped away. I've never told my parents that. I don't want to make them feel bad. But it's like a version of myself — Reagan Moore or Bailey or Schultz or whoever I was there — dies and becomes a splintered shadow for anyone who ever knew that Reagan. When I get my new name and new cover story, it's like that Reagan — that fractured piece of myself — never really existed. I don't talk about it. I don't tell anyone the truth about where we were or what my life was like. I have to make up a whole new set of lies and repeat them over and over again until they become truth. I make the girl I was just a few months ago disappear.
"Hey, girls," Malika says, setting her tray down next to me. She lifts up her left leg to climb over the bench, forgetting about her very short red skirt.
"Holy inappropriateness," Harper says, covering her eyes with both hands.
"What'd I do?" Malika asks, settling into her seat.
"You kind of just gave the entire school a look at the goods," I say and pat her bare knee.
"Well, it's not like I'm not wearing underwear," Malika says and throws her slick black hair over her shoulder.
"Yes. I like the pink flamingos, Mal," Harper answers and gives her a wink.
With a Japanese mother and Pakistani father, Malika is hard not to notice in WASP-y New Albany, Ohio. Plus, she's what I like to call stupid pretty. So beautiful, she strikes you dumb and stumbling.
"Malika, what do you think this is, a strip club?" a voice says from behind me. I know who it is before I even turn around. Everyone knows the low, raspy voice of Madison Scarborough. "But then again, it's nothing half the guys in this room haven't seen before."
"Hey, I'm only a make-out slut," Malika says, pointing a finger to her chest. "I don't take off my clothes."
"Whatever. A slut is a slut," Madison says, rolling her startling blue eyes. I open my mouth to zing her but she's already turned on her heel to head to the field hockey girls' table.
"Don't worry," I say, linking my arm with Malika's. "I'll get her back later."
I learned how to hack into computers during one of my summer training camps in China. In about ninety seconds, I can hack into the school's computer system and change grades, attendance records, anything. It's child's play compared to the other systems I've mastered. By tonight, Madison will have a D in physics and the field hockey captain will be promptly benched for Saturday's rivalry game against Upper Arlington. I'll change it back Monday. Madison totally deserves the D for all the mean-girl crap she pulls on a daily basis. But I only use my spy skills for short spurts of vengeance evil.
The rumor-spreading, shit-stirring Madison Scarborough is what bonded us last year. I noticed Harper and Malika on my first day of school. Malika because she's gorgeous and Harper because she has the type of effortless coolness money can't buy. But they didn't hang with the field hockey and lacrosse crowd, the self-anointed "popular" girls. They were what Madison and her friends liked to call "fringers." Invited to the big parties but never the exclusive sleepovers or birthday dinners. They were known around school but never the center of attention. They quickly became my target group of friends. I needed to get into a small, uncomplicated group and blend as quickly as possible, so when I caught wind of terrible rumors Madison was spreading about them, I knew it was my chance.
Madison has had the same boyfriend for over a year. A preppy lacrosse senior who wears salmon shorts and mirrored sunglasses at parties and uses the word summer as a verb. Even with a d-bag boyfriend, girls think twice about getting involved with anyone Madison's ever dated. When Madison's ex-boyfriend asked Harper to homecoming, she spread a rumor that she was a lesbian and that none of the field hockey girls felt comfortable sharing a locker room with her. Then when Madison heard that Malika kissed a guy who dumped her two years ago, she started a rumor that sweet Malika made a sex tape even though Mal had never even had sex. Still hasn't.
During study hall, I hacked into Madison's Twitter account (@PrincessMaddie. Cue the eye roll) and had Mal and Harper help me compose a stream of hilarious apology tweets to every person she'd ever terrorized. They were deleted twenty minutes later but that act cemented my place in our little group.
I almost hate to admit that my motive to get into the fringers was part of my training because I sort of love everything about them. I love that Harper eats all the orange and purple Skittles because she knows how much I hate them and how her shoelaces are always coming untied because she refuses to double-knot. I love how Malika is deathly afraid of spiders but has seen every slasher film ever made and how she's still a virgin but has a hilarious goal of making out with a guy from every continent. They've become real friends now and not just part of my never-stand-out strategy.
"Got to love a guy in uniform," Harper calls over my shoulder and whistles a loud catcall. I turn around in time to see Luke Weixel's creamy cheeks turn a dusty rose. He shakes his head at Harper, his lips crinkling into a crooked smile before turning his pale blue eyes to me.
It's uniform day for the Junior ROTC and Luke looks extra sharp in his dark pants and tan button-down shirt, decorated with colorful medals, arc pins, and accolades. Six foot three with hair the color of summer hay and defined cheekbones, Luke always has girls swiveling in their seats or craning their necks to stare, but he looks especially stunning in uniform. It's not just the way the uniform makes him look but how it makes him feel. He stands a little taller, walks a beat faster, and smiles a little wider in that uniform.
I raise my right hand to my forehead and give Luke a tiny salute. His crooked smile cracks wide, unmasking a pair of dimples so charming, even if you were mad at him, one smile would make you forget why. We hold each other's stare for a moment before he steps out of the lunch line and heads for our table.
"Hi, girls," Luke says, sliding into the seat next to me. He purposefully bumps his shoulder into mine, the right corner of his lip rising into a sideways smile. "Hey, Mac."
Luke is the only one I let call me Mac.
"Hey, soldier," I reply, my voice shyer than I expected it to be. Luke rests his strong arms on the table next to mine. Our skin is separated by my thin cardigan, but even the slightest touch from him manages to make my body buzz. Harper eyes the two of us and from the slow rising smile on her face, I know my olive skin is turning crimson.
"Luke, help us," Harper says, pulling her wavy hair into a messy bun. "Reagan is refusing to go to Mark Ricardi's party."
"What?!" Malika practically screams then pouts. She loves a good and rowdy Mark Ricardi party.
"Oh, come on, Mac," Luke says, his smile still lopsided but wider, exposing his white, perfectly straight teeth. Orthodontists make a good living in this town. "Mark's parties are always epic."
"Yes. Epic disasters," I rebuff but can't help but match his grin. It's annoyingly contagious.
"How about this?" Luke negotiates. "We go, sit in the corner, and watch the disasters unfold together."
Luke and I have done that before. Sat shoulder to shoulder at parties, laughing as we make up the dialogue between fighting couples and drunk lacrosse girls. My stomach, even my face hurts from three-hour giggle sessions with him.
"Pleaaassseeeee," Malika begs, her eyes closed and hands collapsed together in painful prayer.
"Okay, okay," I say, throwing my hands into the air in defeat. The three of them cheer in unison and exchange a round of high fives.
"I better eat if I want to make it to lab on time," Luke says, standing up from his seat and resting his hand on my shoulder. "See you in a bit."
Luke's fingertips graze against my shoulder blades as he turns on the heel of his freshly polished JROTC boot and walks toward the lunch line.
The rush that takes over my body every time I'm near Luke drains from my blood and as he disappears from my sight, my sharp senses return. Every muscle in my body tightens as I turn to my left and lock eyes with a man whose stare is so penetrating, I can feel it from hundreds of feet away. He's tall and strong, his eyes intense and dark, dressed in a janitor's navy-blue uniform. But I've never seen him before. He holds my stare for a moment, then looks away. He fumbles with the garbage bag in his hands, struggling to open it up. I watch as he tears at the black plastic, gets frustrated, and throws it to the ground. As he looks back up at me, a hundred pins prick my spine. My eyes follow him as he spins around and plows his way toward the dining hall door, knocking into a student with so much force, her face winces in pain. I wait for him to stop or look back or apologize. But he doesn't. He puts his head down and keeps going.CHAPTER 2
"Reagan, what's wrong?" Mal says and gently touches the top of my hand, making my body flinch. I finally take my eyes off the door and look down at her. I hadn't even realized I'd stood up.
"Nothing," I say and shake my head. "I just ... I forgot my lab homework in my locker. Harper, I'll see you in AP bio."
Before they can say another word, I grab my messenger bag off the ground and walk quickly toward the exit sign that hangs beneath two sets of double doors. I have to stop myself from running. I don't want to freak everybody out.
I push open the door and get sucked into a sea of underclassmen heading to their next class. Where did he go? My neck cranes as I search both ends of the hallway, catching the top of his dark hair as he takes a sharp left down one of the main halls.
My training kicks in and I break out into a slow jog. I bump shoulders with a younger girl. "Sorry," I yell out without stopping. I don't want to lose him. I rub my hand on the outside pocket of my messenger bag and feel the outline of my "calculator." The Black Angels weaponry team designed and built it just for me. A push of a button activates a secret compartment and out slides a serrated knife. I almost forgot it today. I walked out to my car without it, debated just leaving it at home, but turned around and went back inside. My parents' constant badgering to always be armed no longer seems like one of their annoying ticks. It's for moments just like this; when every bone in my body feels like it's splintering and my mind is screaming.
I push past underclassmen and eventually they start to get out of my way. I reach the hallway where he turned. His dark, long hair and large frame give him away in this crowd of freshmen and sophomores. Our eyes lock and his face twists into a scowl. Before I can take another step, he pulls open the door to the gymnasium and slips inside. I jog down the hallway, my heart pounding, adrenaline buzzing through my body. I slip my hand into the pocket of my bag just enough to feel the top of my calculator with my fingertips. I reach the door, pull on the metal handle, and step inside, the door slamming shut behind me with a loud, metallic clang.
Excerpted from You Don't Know My Name by Kristen Orlando. Copyright © 2017 Kristen Orlando. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
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