The Departed by Kristy Cooper

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Giveaway Information:  Contest ends  July 27, 2016
One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of The Departed by Kristy Cooper (INT)

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The Departed Excerpt from Chapter 1
The first strange thing that happened was that my best friend Lana didn’t text me back that morning. This is the kind of statement that makes adults roll their eyes, and at first I didn’t think anything of it either. We usually exchanged about twenty-plus messages every morning before we got to school. I figured that she may have just gotten in trouble and her parents had taken her phone away, which happened pretty often. One time they took her phone away because she had been caught texting during a church service. Another time they took it away just because her lip gloss looked too “lipsticky”—whatever that means. They were super strict like that.
The next weird thing that happened was when I came down to the kitchen for breakfast and found my mom completely absorbed in her tablet. This was only weird because she had a rule about anyone using devices during “family time,” which the ten minutes it took me to eat breakfast were supposed to constitute.
Normally, she would immediately put it down when I came into the room in order for me not to think she was being a hypocrite. Instead she continued her concentrated scowl in the glow of her tablet’s screen, despite the fact that I had already poured my cereal and was sitting across from her at the table.
“Ahem,” I finally said with my eyebrows raised.
Mom looked up at me sheepishly. “Sorry about that, Gwen,” she said, putting her tablet down. “What do you have planned for today?” I figured whatever she was looking at must not have been that important if she didn’t think it was worth mentioning.
“The usual. You know, going to school and stuff.” I knew how much my mom hated vague answers to specific questions. She prided herself on having open communication with her teenager.
“Okay, I deserved that.”
I smiled. “I think Lana is in trouble again,” I offered.
“What else is new?” she laughed.
“She hasn’t replied to me yet all morning.”
“Holy rollers can be such buzzkills. Aren’t you lucky to have cool parents that are not punishing you all the time?”
“Yeah, you guys are so cool . . .” I said, rolling my eyes. I considered that maybe I should find some friends whose parents were obviously cooler so my mom didn’t let it get into her head that she is such a “cool” parent. “There’s totally nothing cooler than parents who point out how cool they are all the time.”
“Well, if we don’t point it out, you might forget,” my dad said as he walked into the kitchen. “What’s going on this morning?”
“Lana hasn’t texted Gwen back yet this morning. So obviously something catastrophic has happened,” Mom answered.
“You know, she could just be in the shower or something?” Dad pointed out. “Or do you guys bring your phones in the shower now too?”
“Yeah, it’s been like a half hour. No one showers that long.”
“Well, I would if I didn’t have to go to work every morning.”
“Great story, Dad . . .” I said and took another bite of my cereal.

 

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