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Friday, July 26, 2013

Feature and Giveaway: The Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond

This was the summer that would change my life.

No more being what everyone expected. No more doing what everyone else wanted.

So when Luke came into my life, I decided to keep him a secret. Maybe he as a dead-ringer for notorious Hollywood bad boy Trent Yves. And it was possible that everything he told me was a lie. And yes, I was probably asking for trouble. But all I saw was Luke--sweet, funny, caring--someone who would let me be the real me.

But which was the real him?player upon his return to school, she thinks it's the perfect opportunity for Mira to get to know him better - but sparks fly - in more ways than one...

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Heart’s Desire (pp 45-47)

In this scene Brigitta has been lured out of her room by music from a group of people visiting the retreat center where she lives.

I've only been to a synagogue once: Natalie’s Bat Mitzvah. She read the Torah in this gorgeous river of Hebrew, and it made me cry (surreptitiously).

The singing was sad and slow. Baruch Atah, Adonai, Eloheynu Vaylohey avoteynu v'emoteynu. One of the men brought me a booklet. He motioned me to join them, but I shook my head.

I squinted to read the translation: Blessed are You, Eternal One, our god and God of our Fathers and Mothers. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob. God of Sarah, God of Rebecca, God of Leah, and God of Rachel.

God of Brigitta? Who could say?

In front of me, the group joined hands, their prayer shawls draping together like a wall of wings.

The melody spiraled out like smoke: Eileh chamda libi: chusa na v'al na titalem.

This is my heart's desire: Have pity; do not hide yourself.

My throat tightened. “You're hungry, Brigitta,” Nonni used to say. “You're hungry for God.”

I slid into the hallway and set the booklet on the floor. Why did I want to hurl it at something?

Mom and Mallory were laughing in the kitchen. At least my room would be mine for a while.

Upstairs I wrapped myself in my Nonni coat. Nonni had called it my “coat of many colors,” like Joseph's in the Bible story, she said. I stroked a frayed corduroy patch. Being mad was ridiculous, but I was—furious: at Dad for talking to spirits when he'd always said religion was unreasonable, at Mallory for making everything mysterious into a psychological problem, and at Mom and Dad for making us choose.

Why couldn't we be Baptist like Tarah's family? Or Jewish like Natalie's? We’d be together in a religion, not at this pot luck Mom and Dad called “spirituality,” where everyone floated around in an individual bubble.

At Cherrywood Nonni and Opa would pull me into a group hug and pray with their heads bowed and touching. I’d felt linked to them. Now I couldn’t mention their names OR their prayers in front of Dad. He had his own, far superior world.

Eileh chamda libi. What was my heart's desire? And why did God love to hide?

Discovery (pp. 63-64)

This scene takes place after the cougar, who Brigitta has named Onawa, has been killed by a wildlife official.

“So,” I said. “What else do you know about cougars?”

Luke stretched his legs out on the floor in front of him. “They have very big teeth. How about you? You must know a lot about them.”

I didn't want to admit that even after living in cougar country my whole life, Onawa was my first cougar.

“I can show you where she's been.”

Luke stood. “Lead on!”

He was amazed by the cougar scratches. "And look here," I pointed to a slight dip under a cedar tree, where the earth was matted down. "That's where she was sleeping."

Would Onawa mind my sharing her secrets with Luke? She seemed to have chosen him. I might have seen the cougar marks before if I’d paid better attention. But I'd been preoccupied with Devon. While I hunted for more cougar signs, Luke stepped off the trail. "Don't get lost," I called.

A minute later, I heard him shout.

I followed his voice to an old cedar snag that stood like a chimney a foot or so taller than me. Mallory and I had played in it until she'd outgrown that sort of thing. Luke poked his head inside the opening at the bottom.

"What is it?"

He reached in and lifted something out. It was a kitten, the size of a small housecat. Round, curious nose, spotted fur.

"That's a cougar kitten!"

He handed it to me. The kitten fit into my arms like a baby doll. It had a wild smell—strong and pungent. It laid its head listlessly against my hand. Vibrant blue eyes looked up at me.

"There's another one," Luke lifted out the sibling.

They had huge paws, but their limbs were so floppy. Mine began to purr. Luke's gave a pathetic mew.

"Onawa's babies," I said.

Luke nodded. "Orphans."

Katherine Grace Bond is the author of THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS (Sourcebooks, 2012) and of the bestselling LEGEND OF THE VALENTINE (Zondervan, 2002), a story of the civil rights movement. She often finds herself in the woods escaping from giant cats and shadowy figures in cloaks. The creator of TEENWrite acting/writing workshops, where participants come as their characters, she lives with her husband in a dimension populated by younger people, some of whom resemble her.

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