Feel Me Fall by James Morris | Excerpt + Giveaway
I first met Vivian Liu on a sunny summer day under the bleachers at a local park. I was stretched out, legs in front of me, my body resting against a beam, reading. Behind me, kids shrieked, joining the music of whistles and drifting voices, but as I turned the pages, the world around me fell away.
It was the summer after seventh grade, and my mother, worried that I hadn’t lost my baby fat or scared at my blindingly pale skin, figured signing me up for the local soccer team would give me a dose of athleticism I wanted no part of. That soccer didn’t interest me didn’t seem to matter. “Getting outside will do you good,” she’d said. I had no intention of chasing after a ball while trying to avoid getting kicked in the shins. But being a dutiful daughter, I dressed the part, gym bag in hand, and as soon as she dropped me off, I’d wander over to the bleachers. Hidden in my bag was a book, and I proceeded to read until she picked me up later in the afternoon. I did that every time. By the end of the summer, still pale, she told me to stop wearing so much sunscreen.
“What’re you reading?”
I looked up to see a girl I’d never seen before standing in front of me. She seemed about my age, dark hair falling to her shoulders like silk, with naturally tanned skin. She, too, wore a girls’ soccer uniform, but she wasn’t from my team. Her tone wasn’t accusatory, just curious.
Her eyes knitted together. “Are you in summer school or something?”
“No. Just reading for fun.” I could see the incomprehension on her face, as if I’d told her I was from the moon, so I dog-eared the book and handed it to her. “It’s a graphic novel, see?”
“Like a comic book?”
Not wanting to explain the difference, I said, “Kind of. It’s about a monster, Grendel.” I watched as the girl turned the pages, genuinely interested in the blocks of art like a movie captured in print. “There. And he attacks this great hall. But, to me he’s not really a monster, ‘cause his mother is a dragon. If you flip forward….” She did. “Yeah, her.”
“Cool,” the girl said.
“And that’s why Grendel is the way he is. At least, that’s what I think.”
“So, you just come out here and read?”
I nodded. “Supposed to play soccer, but I ditch.”
“You do?” She laughed. “Really? I didn’t think that was possible. I mean, of course it is. I want to every day, but I just never….” She blew a strand of hair out of her face. “Soccer’s not even about having fun. My mom and dad just want me to be able to say that I did it.”
“Colleges love extra-curriculars. As if I care.”
I couldn’t tell if I was jealous that her parents were pushing her towards a goal, or relieved that my mother wasn’t. “Aren’t you supposed to be playing now?”
“Can I tell you a secret?” She whispered. “I. Hate. Soccer. With. A. Passion.”
This time I laughed. “I thought it was just me.”
“Getting all sweaty. Running around, banging into each other. And some of those girls? They’re into it. Like, they’ll scratch your eyes out. They’re like that dragon. And the coach? You should see him. He’s Stacey’s father—she’s a girl on my team. So annoying. Both of them. But you’d think coaching was his reason to live. I’m like, it’s only soccer! There’s more important things, you know. Like keeping my skin nice. Look at this.” She pointed to a scab along her calf. “Some girl did this on purpose.”
“She did?” I was even happier now to have ditched.
“It’s like being with animals. They’re feral. And these.” There were splotches of bruises up and down her shoulder and arm. “Surprised I’m not dead yet. I took a bathroom break. Didn’t really have to go, just had to get away.” She paused and looked over at the field and then back at me. “Mind if I stay with you a while?”
Feel Me Fall
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Genres: YA Thriller
Secrets and survival in the AmazonEmily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she's the last left alive.But can she carry the burden of the past?Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we'll go in order to survive.