Everyone deserves happiness. Is Robin the exception?
A cross-country move to a new state offers Robin Westmore the chance to get away from the relentless bullies and reinvent himself. But on the first day at his new high school Robin finds himself in front of Zane, the school’s star pitcher and chief tormentor, at the exact wrong moment and right back into the role of victim. Hopeless, he wishes for it all to stop.
When Desiree, the new leader of the genies, grants Robin’s wish he’s sure things are finally going his way. But problems in the magical realm have made Desiree equally hopeless and too distracted to give Robin the attention he needs.
As Desiree hides from her responsibilities, Robin disappears into the video game he’s created. There he finds excitement, adventure, and control. When the game presents him with a real escape from his tortured life, will he take it?
Mom stood by the door and watched as Dad drove off. Then she turned to me and gave me the look that said a discussion was coming.
“I assume you’ll tell me if anything is wrong, but I know how shut-mouthed teenagers can be, especially boys, so I’m checking to be sure.” She paused, steeling herself. “How have things been?”
Her eyes were bright and shining. Tears were ready to fall, but whether happy or sad depended on how I responded.
“Oh, you know.” I took a big bite of my sprouted wheat toast with huckleberry jam, samples from one of Mom’s clients, and gave her a closed-mouth smile and a thumbs-up.
She exhaled like she won the lottery. “I knew this move would be good for you.”
A little spot in my chest warmed at that sigh and then immediately fizzled. The nutty-buttery-sweet flavor that filled my mouth turned to cardboard. How could I possibly tell her that after all we’d gone through, things were only different, not better?
I’d get through this. I made it through my first nine years of school, I could make it through the last three. I needed a person. There had to be one person in this school I could consider a friend. Sitting alone in the lunch room every day, too afraid to risk further harassment, was only enhancing the loner nerd reputation I just couldn’t shake.
While Mom studied her calendar, I finished my breakfast and put my dishes in the dishwasher.
“Hope you have a good day, sweetie,” Mom said. “I’d wish you good luck on your test but I know you don’t need it.” She glanced at the microwave clock and jumped. “I’ve got a video conference in an hour.” She looked down at her pink bathrobe with the tea stain down the front. “I should probably put some clothes on.”
She gave me a quick hug and shuffled off to get ready.
“Good luck,” I called, but she was already half-way up the stairs.
I hitched my messenger bag over my head and tugged on a stocking cap. It was chilly enough this morning for a hoodie, but it would warm up in no time. The hat would be good enough.
As I started the six block walk to the bus stop, I remembered that I never checked the results of my ‘popular music software’ request. I pulled out my phone and found a lot of options. I studied them as I walked, glancing up every few feet so I didn’t do something stupid like step into the pathway of a bicyclist. I’d only needed to do that once to learn my lesson. No, today my mistake was that I didn’t look behind me.
I stopped breathing and my gut tightened. I knew who it was without looking: Zane Zimmerman.
Zane was the school’s star athlete. I didn’t pay attention to sports, but even I knew Zane killed it on the pitching mound. He was about five-seven, an inch taller than me, and a good twenty pounds heavier. All muscle.
I was about to put my phone back in my pocket when I got bull rushed. He didn’t actually tackle me, this time, but did hit me hard enough to knock what little breath was in my lungs out of them and send my phone flying. It landed six feet away and slid down the sidewalk another two or three feet before coming to a rest, teetering on the curb like a jumper about to leap from a bridge.
“Careful, Tweety.” Zane said. “You should watch where you’re going.”
My breath returned as a gasp and I rushed to retrieve my phone—bent at the waist, duck-walking with my hands stretched out, dorky as hell—before someone stepped on it or kicked it out into the street. The screen had cracked. Great. Maybe I could convince my parents to upgrade to a phone with gorilla glass instead of just replacing the screen. Again.
“Oh, snap,” Zane said, making a dramatic aw-shucks motion. “Tough luck there, dude.”
Zane wasn’t just a bully. He was the really dangerous kind, in my opinion, because he was smart. Not just book smart but street smart, too. He knew when he could get away with stuff and when he had to wait to dole out his attacks. As far as the teachers and any other adult were concerned, Zane was a dream kid.
“Yeah,” I said. “Tough luck.”
Swag Pack and Hippie Ducks
Shawn McGuire is the author of young adult novels that blend contemporary settings and issues with a touch of fantasy and magic. She started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that's episode IV) as a kid. She couldn't wait for the next movie to come out so wrote her own episodes. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then.
Her books deal with harder topics (death of a sibling, divorce, dating violence, bullying, and teen suicide) because she believes it is important to talk about these things. Those kinds of topics can be hard to handle and a bit overwhelming, so she infuses a bit of humor in her work as well because she also believes that a sense of humor can help you get through just about anything.
Shawn lives in Colorado with her family where she spends her time reading, cooking and baking, practicing yoga and meditation, and hiking and camping in the spectacular Rocky Mountains.
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Author’s Other Works
The Wish Makers Series
Sticks and Stones
Free ebook with the following vendors
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Shawn_McGuire_Sticks_and_Stones?id=m_m-AwAAQBAJ
Break My Bones
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Never Hurt Me