Goodbye – in my own words

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know some memorable characters from recent Young Adult novels “in their own words”! Before you know it, the school year will be over, and you’ll have way more time for pleasure reading, so I wanted to leave you with some final recommendations to consider.

You can find a list of books recommended by 15 real-life teens here:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/15-teen-readers-share-last-ya-book-loved/

You can also find solid recommendations from fellow teens from the last several years – books that made the “Teens’ Top Ten” list – on this website: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/teenstopten

You know what to do!

 

 

 

 

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More real (virtual) teens – in their own words

Since this blog project is coming to an end, I thought it would be interesting to take a moment and hear from teens about book endings they wish they could change and/or what makes a perfect book ending. Check out this page on teenreads.com to see what their Teen Board had to say on the subject: https://www.teenreads.com/features/teen-board-monthly-question/teen-board-question-april-2018-part-1

(Fair warning: the page has opinions from thirteen different teens, and a lot of them have *spoiler alert* noted in their posts…)

Which book ending would you change (or not)? It makes you think, doesn’t it?

Office_meme

Meme from comments section found at https://tinyurl.com/yaajbxgy

 

Amal Mohamed Nasrullah Abdel-Hakim – in her own words

Our interview this week is with Amal Mohamed Nasrullah Abdel-Hakim from Does my head look big in this?

According to a popular book review site, this is her story in a nutshell: “An ‘Australian-Muslim-Palestinian’ teen opts to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time, embarking on a courageous exercise in self-understanding.” (You can access the full book review here.)

Her story is that and so much more, so we reached out to Amal with a few questions. Read her answers below – in her own words.
(Wondering about the idea behind the “In their own words” interviews? Read all about it here.)

Amal_art_sm

Original art for Ramblelane based on photo found at https://tinyurl.com/y96lx99d

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

At this stage you should probably know that my name is Amal Mohamed Nasrullah Abdel-Hakim. You can thank my father, paternal grandfather, and paternal great-grandfather for that one. The teachers labeled me slow in preschool because I was the last child to learn how to spell her name.

What is your current state of mind?

I’m an Australian-Muslim-Palestinian. That means I was born an Aussie and whacked with some seriously confusing identity hyphens. I’m in eleventh grade and in four days’ time I’ll be entering the first day of my third term at McCleans. It’s hard enough being an Arab Muslim at a new school with your hair tumbling down your back. Shawling up is just plain psychotic. I wonder whether I harbor severe masochistic tendencies. I can’t believe I’m actually contemplating wearing the hijab to a snotty prep school where you’re seriously doomed to the non-cool list if you’re one issue behind on the latest Teen Vogue fashion.

What is your greatest fear?

My top three greatest fears, of which (1) makes me slightly incontinent just thinking about it and (3) gives me a twitchy eye, are these:

  1. smartass comments (g., I’m standing on the escalator and a group of guys yells out “towel-head” or some equally original comment);
  2. humiliation (g., toilet paper on my shoes, tripping on my heels, the painful public moments made even more excruciating when you already stand out like a Big Mac in a health food store);
  3. fixated staring (g., I’m trying to order fries at the food court and the girl can’t register that I don’t want sauce because she’s too preoccupied burning her retinas).

What is your greatest regret?

This morning I’m in the hallway when I overhear some girls talking about me next to the lockers. One of them says the word oppressed and the other one is saying something about me looking like a slob. I can’t go up to them, because then they’ll know I’ve been eavesdropping. So I walk slowly away, feeling like a boiling kettle of water about to whistle and screech. I’d like to say that I walked back to the lockers and planted myself in front of those girls. I’d like to say that I looked them in the eye and gave them a pulverizing comeback line that left them shocked and speechless. But don’t you just hate yourself when you always think of the killer line when it’s too late?

What is the quality you most like in a man?

What am I supposed to admire about the guys in our class? That they can pick their noses? Have farting competitions? Or maybe it’s the fact that they can burp the alphabet? Ooh, I’m on fire.

Which living person do you most despise?

Tia. I hate her. How dare she? I hate her so much my eyes feel blistered.

When and where were you the happiest?

St. Kilda Beach. We have a perfect afternoon. We walk down to the end of the pier and sit on the rocks, letting the waves spray us as we play truth or dare. Except there aren’t many dares you can perform when you’re stuck on rocks, so we stick to interrogating each other about our crushes, enemies, favorite teachers, and worst pick-up lines. We Rollerblade along the bike track, humiliating ourselves by falling over one another more times than we can count. We eat hazelnut gelato, get chased by a German shepherd, and don’t stop laughing. It’s like one of those scenes from a feel-good Hollywood movie. Where everybody is happy and nobody’s hair frizzes in the wind. Where it doesn’t rain, your shoes stay comfortable all day, and everybody’s jokes are funny. It’s so good, I even think there’s a possibility the chocolate won’t go straight to our hips.

On what occasions do you lie?

You never feel good when you lie. It doesn’t matter how much you want something, if you lie to somebody you love, and they actually, sincerely believe you, you feel like a cockroach that needs some serious Raid action.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  

What do you do when your best friend disappears? Life doesn’t stop. There’s no intermission when you can lean back in your chair and let the scenes and dialogues you’ve just watched sink in. It feels like a PBS movie, where there are no ad breaks. Things roll on and you’re expected to keep going. You have no choice but to adjust your screen monitor so that each thought or pain or emotion is on minimizer. So I’m in History and I have to minimize thoughts of where Leila is sleeping while Mr. Piper roams the classroom demanding answers to his pop quiz. I’m setting the table for dinner. Don’t click on, Is Leila getting three meals a day? Otherwise I’ll break down.

Who are your heroes in real life?

When I think about it, it’s mainly been the immigrants in my life who have inspired me to understand what it means to be an Aussie. To be a hyphenated Australian. It’s been the “darkies,”, the “towel-heads,” the “foreigners,”, the “persons of Middle Eastern appearance,” the Asians, the “oppressed” women, the Greek Orthodox pensioner chain-smoker, the “salami eaters,” the “ethnics,” the narrow-minded and the educated, the total wannabes, the principal with hairy ears who showed me that I am a colorful adjective. It’s their stories and confrontations and pains and joys which have empowered me to know myself, challenged me to embrace my identity as a young Australian-Palestinian-Muslim girl.

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Want to read the full novel? You can find Does my head look big in this? by Randa Abdel-Fattah at the Austin Public Library: https://austin.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1066708067
>>>

Judy Lohden – in her own words

Our interview this week is with Judy Lohden from Big girl small.

According to a popular book review site, this is her story in a nutshell: “DeWoskin (Repeat After Me, 2009, etc.) combines two reality-TV staples—teenage sex scandals and little people—in this story about a gifted high-school junior whose struggle to fit in is compounded by her height (3’9″).” (You can access the full book review here.)

Her story is that and so much more, so we reached out to Judy with a few questions. Read her answers below – in her own words.
(Wondering about the idea behind the “In their own words” interviews? Read all about it here.)

Judy_art

Original art for Ramblelane based on video found at https://tinyurl.com/ybmonx7w

What is it that you most dislike?

When people make you feel small, it means they shrink you down close to nothing, diminish you, make you feel like shit. In fact, small and shit are like equivalent words in English. I know that small and shit are the same because I’m sixteen years old and three feet nine inches tall.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Most people are stupid as hell when it comes to things like which words are rude. And a lot of people, even once they find out which words hurt people, still like to use them. They think it’s smarmy and “PC” to have to say things kindly, or that it’s too much pressure not to be able to punish freaks with words like freak. Why is it that everywhere I look, other people seem to be crossing those boundaries [between being funny and being brutal] constantly? Jumping, falling, leaping over the line from banter into cruelty. Sometimes it’s on purpose and other times it’s by accident, but in any case, people savage each other.

When and where were you the happiest?

The horror show didn’t start right away at Darcy, by the way. I was the happiest I’d ever been before I became the unhappiest. I think people are all that way; if you have the capacity to experience huge, engulfing joy, then you can also feel its equal and opposite level of pain. My diary entries are like lines on a graph, shooting and up and up toward Thanksgiving and then rocketing off the page by Christmas. 

What or who is the greatest love of your life? 

People joke all the time about teenage love and how stupid and “not the real thing” it is. But if I ever feel again in my life the way I felt about Kyle, I’ll eat every word I’ve ever written or spoken. There’s no way I’ll ever feel this way again. And I’m glad. I think maybe the very not-realness of teenage love makes it the only real thing.

What is your favorite occupation?

I only want to be a performer because then I can stand in front of everyone else and be someone else when I do it. In fact, by acting, I can feel what it’s like to be all the people I don’t ever actually get to be. I don’t have to admit anything. Even when I sing, this is true. As long as the words belong to someone else, as long as I’ve made them absolutely polished, they don’t reveal secret things about me. People think they do, but they don’t. And that’s why being on stage makes me feel safe. 

What is your most marked characteristic? 

Like, not to be too cheesy or anything, but my voice makes me nine feet tall. Because it’s huge, and no one, including me, can believe this body contains it. My parents knew my singing was crazy from the time I was a toddler, so I was always in every chorus, had private lessons, and like I said, they splurged on the piano even though they couldn’t afford it, so I could have more music in my life. I mean, I knew the [teachers] weren’t going to be able to believe it when they heard me sing. Part of it’s just an expectation thing–it’s like when you see a book with a really stupid cover and then you’re surprised it’s deep or good or smart or whatever. When you see me, you’re like, okay, there might be things she’s good at, but having a huge, bellowing voice probably isn’t one of them. But it is. It’s just one of those things.

What is your current state of mind? 

The horrible thing about being young and stupid (among others) is that you don’t know what you don’t know. But you can have a sense that you don’t know shit. This is a curse I notice most of my classmates don’t have. They seem to think they know a lot about a lot of things. I don’t know why I have to be like this magical elf of a teenager, but I somehow know it’s impossible to know much until you’re way older than we all are. I hate that. Both the fact of it and the loneliness of being the only one who seems to know it.

What is your greatest regret?

If you had told me at any point in my life up until that day that I would lose my virginity to Kyle Malanack, not only would I not have believed it, I also would have thought that whatever happened as a result would be worth it. I used to throw my mind backwards. I’d think, “Okay, if you showed some earlier me a video of my life now, would she be happy?” The reason I liked to play this game was that the answer was always yes. But now I hate that game. I never want to play it again, because if you’d shown me the me I am right now, how would I have been able to look myself in the eye?

What is your greatest fear?

Time kept moving the relentless way it does. That used to scare me, I have to say, and it still does. I used to think, all the time, that even if I sat under my parents’ dining room table and did nothing and spoke to no one, time would still move, and I would still grow up. It’s hard to explain, especially the part about the dining room table, but that’s always how I thought about being unable to control the slipping away of my own hours.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Because people are fundamentally animals, it makes sense that I knew before I knew for real–that something was very wrong, like I-can’t-make-it-go-away, parasite-clinging-to-your-insides-gobbling-up-your-life wrong. I mean, more than what-had-happened wrong. I mean lasting, scary, something bigger than I had ever imagined. I never knew that could happen, that you could be crying before you’re even awake. I always thought the mind had to tell the body to suffer, but even my body is heartbroken.

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Want to read the full novel? You can find Big girl small by Rachel DeWoskin at the Austin Public Library:
https://austin.bibliocommons.com/item/show/802133067
>>>

Lena Haloway – in her own words

Our interview this week is with Lena Haloway from Delirium.

According to a popular book review site, this is her story in a nutshell: “Oliver’s artfully detailed prose reveals, brick by brick, the sturdy dramatic foundation of an initially implausible premise.” (You can access the full book review here.)

Her story is that and so much more, so we reached out to Lena with a few questions. Read her answers below – in her own words.
(Wondering about the idea behind the “In their own words” interviews? Read all about it here.)

Lena_art

Original art for Ramblelane based on photo found at https://tinyurl.com/y7h426lu

What is your greatest fear?

Love. Amor deliria nervosa. It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure. I don’t like to think that I’m still walking around with the disease running through my blood. Sometimes I swear I can feel it writhing in my veins like something spoiled, like sour milk. It makes me feel dirty. It reminds me of children throwing tantrums. It reminds me of resistance, of diseased girls dragging their nails on the pavement, tearing out their hair, their mouths dripping spit. Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe.

What is your current state of mind?

I’m nervous, of course. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. That’s bad enough. The Book of Shhh also tells stories of those who died because of love lost or never found, which is what terrifies me the most. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I don’t like makeup, have never been interested in clothes or lip gloss. My best friend, Hana, thinks I’m crazy, but of course she would. She’s absolutely gorgeous—even when she just twists her blond hair into a messy knot on the top of her head, she looks as though she’s just had it styled. I’m not ugly, but I’m not pretty, either. Everything is in-between. I have eyes that aren’t green or brown, but a muddle. I’m not thin, but I’m not fat, either. The only thing you could definitely say about me is this: I’m short.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Right before the sun rises there’s a moment when the whole sky goes this pale nothing color—not really gray but sort of, or sort of white, and I’ve always really liked it because it reminds me of waiting for something good to happen. Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you—sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

The Coldness: a feeling that comes sometimes when I’m lying in bed, a black, empty feeling that knocks my breath away and leaves me gasping as though I’ve just been thrown in icy water. I know the truth: I know from the nights of Coldness. I know the past will drag you backward and down, have you snatching at whispers of wind and the gibberish of trees rubbing together, trying to decipher some code, trying to piece together what was broken. It’s hopeless. The past is nothing but a weight. It will build inside of you like a stone. 

What is your favorite occupation?

Running hard. All the pain lifts away, the cramp vanishes, the fist eases off my chest, and I can breathe easily. Instantly a feeling of total happiness bubbles up inside of me: the solid feeling of the ground underneath me, the simplicity of the movement, rocketing off my heels, pushing forward in time and space, total freedom and release. My awful secret is that I like to run with Hana partly because it’s the single, sole, solitary shred of a thing that I can do better than she can, but I would never admit that out loud in a million years.

What is your greatest regret?

It’s so strange how life works: You want something and you wait and wait and feel like it’s taking forever to come. Then it happens and it’s over and all you want to do is curl back up in that moment before things changed. Everyone you trust, everyone you think you can count on, will eventually disappoint you. When left to their own devices, people lie and keep secrets and change and disappear, some behind a different face or personality, some behind a dense early morning fog, beyond a cliff.

On what occasions do you lie?

I’ve learned to get really good at this—say one thing when I’m thinking about something else, act like I’m listening when I’m not, pretend to be calm and happy when really I’m freaking out. It’s one of the skills you perfect as you get older. You have to learn that people are always listening. No one in particular is targeted; it’s all done randomly, to be fair. But it’s almost worse that way. I pretty much always feel as though a giant, revolving gaze is bound to sweep over me at any second, lighting up my bad thoughts like an animal lit still and white in the ever-turning beam of a lighthouse. Sometimes I feel as though there are two me’s, one coasting directly on top of the other: the superficial me, who nods when she’s supposed to nod and says what she’s supposed to say, and some other, deeper part, the part that worries and dreams and says “Gray.” Most of the time they move along in sync and I hardly notice the split, but sometimes it feels as though I’m two whole different people and I could rip apart at any second. Just like anything else, lying becomes easier the more you do it.

When and where were you the happiest?

The Fourth of July—the day of our independence, the day we commemorate the closing of our nation’s border forever—is one of my favorite holidays. I love the music that pipes through the streets, love the way the steam rising thick from the grills makes the streets look cloudy, the people shadowy and unclear. I especially love the temporary extension of curfew: Instead of being home at nine o’clock, all uncureds are allowed to stay out until eleven. In recent years Hana and I have made it a kind of game to stay out until the last possible second, cutting it closer and closer every year. Last year I stepped into the house at 10:58 exactly, heart hammering in my chest, shaking with exhaustion—I’d had to sprint home. But as I lay in bed I couldn’t stop grinning. I felt like I’d gotten away with something.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

The Book of Shhh says that deliria alters your perception, disables your ability to reason clearly, impairs you from making sound judgments. But it does not tell you this: that love will turn the whole world into something greater than itself. Rainstorms are incredible: falling shards of glass, the air full of diamonds. The wind whispers Alex’s name and the ocean repeats it; the swaying trees make me think of dancing. Everything I see and touch reminds me of him, and so everything I see and touch is perfect. It’s an incredible thing, how you can feel so taken care of by someone and yet feel, also, like you would die or do anything just for the chance to protect him back.

Where would you like to live?

We can make our home in the Wilds. Other people do it, don’t they? Other people have done it.

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Want to read the full novel? You can find Delirium by Lauren Oliver at the Austin Public Library:
https://austin.bibliocommons.com/item/show/838754067
>>>

 

Mateo Torrez – in his own words

Our interview this week is with Mateo Torrez from They both die at the end.

According to a popular book review site, this is his story in a nutshell: “What would you do with one day left to live?” (You can access the full book review here.)

His story is that and so much more, so we reached out to Mateo with a few questions. Read his answers below – in his own words.
(Wondering about the idea behind the “In their own words” interviews? Read all about it here.)

Mateo art

Original art for Ramblelane based on photo found at https://tinyurl.com/yc6huz4x

What is your greatest fear? 

I’ve always been afraid of dying. I don’t know why I thought this would jinx it from actually happening. Not forever, obviously, but long enough so I could grow up. Dad has even been drilling it into my head that I should pretend I’m the main character of a story that nothing bad ever happens to, most especially death, because the hero has to be around to save the day. 

What is your current state of mind?

I’m not naïve about dying. I know it’s going to happen. But I don’t have to rush into it. I’m buying myself more time. A longer life is all I’ve ever wanted, and I have the power to not shoot that dream in the foot by walking out that front door. [Then again], there has to be more to life than imagining a future for yourself. I can’t just wish for the future; I have to take risks to create it. But no matter what choices we make our finish line remains the same. No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end. Maybe it’s better to have gotten it right and been happy for one day instead of living a lifetime of wrongs.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

The fear of disappointing others or making a fool of myself always wins. I don’t become fearless just because I know my options are do something and die versus do nothing and still die. I’m holding myself back. 

On what occasions do you lie?

I was raised to be honest, but the truth can be complicated. It doesn’t matter if the truth won’t make a mess, sometimes the words don’t come out until you’re alone. Even that’s not guaranteed. Sometimes the truth is a secret you’re keeping from yourself because living a lie is easier.

What is your motto?

This loaded question is the reason I didn’t want anyone to know I was dying. There are questions I can’t answer. I cannot tell you how you will survive without me. I cannot tell you how to mourn me. I cannot convince you to not feel guilty if you forget the anniversary of my death, or if you realize days or weeks or months have gone by without thinking about me. I just want you to live. 

What is your greatest regret? 

I’ve spent years living safely to secure a longer life, and look where that’s gotten me. I’m at the finish line, but I never ran the race. I wish I was brave enough to have traveled. Now that I don’t have time to go anywhere, I want to go everywhere. I want to climb every last mountain, row down every last river, explore every last cave, cross every last bridge, run across every last beach, visit every last town, city, country. Everywhere. I should have done more than watch documentaries and video blogs about these places. I wasted time and missed fun because I cared about the wrong things.

Which living person do you most admire?

I love Lidia in all her forms. Before Penny, she wanted to graduate high school with top honors and go to college to pursue politics and architecture and music history. She wanted to travel to Buenos Aires and Spain, Germany and Colombia, but then she met Christian and got pregnant and found happiness in her new world. I think my best friend glows even brighter than before because she’s been through a change, an evolution that many can’t handle. And she’s done it solo.

Where would you like to live?

Here’s my vision of Utopia: a world without violence and tragedies, where everyone lives forever, or until they’ve led fulfilling and happy lives and decide themselves that they want to check out whatever’s next for us.

How would you like to die?

Why can’t we knock on Death’s door and beg or barter or arm-wrestle or have a staring contest for the chance to keep on living? I’d even want to fight for the chance to decide how I die? I’d go in my sleep. And I would only go to sleep after I lived bravely, as the kind of person someone would want to wrap their arm around, who would maybe even nuzzle against my chin or shoulder, and go on and on about how happy we were to be alive with each other without question. 

What is your favorite journey? 

The Around the World in 80 Minutes tour.

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Want to read the full novel? You can find They both die at the end by Adam Silvera at the Austin Public Library:
https://austin.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1856418067
>>>

 

Margot Sanchez – in her own words

Our interview this week is with Margot Sanchez from The education of Margot Sanchez.

According to a popular book review site, this is her story in a nutshell: “A Puerto Rican teenager spends the summer working in her father’s South Bronx supermarket, where she experiences myriad unfortunate developments.” (You can access the full book review here.)

Her story is that and so much more, so we reached out to Margot with a few questions. Read her answers below – in her own words.
(Wondering about the idea behind the “In their own words” interviews? Read all about it here.)

Margot2

Original art for Ramblelane based on photo found at https://tinyurl.com/ybnqa8sd

On what occasions do you lie?

There’s an adrenaline rush that comes with lying. It’s the same feeling I get when the girls dare me to do stuff. Being bad. It’s not really me but this other girl, a more exciting version of myself. I revert to my current defense mechanism when I feel cornered–I lie. It’s a running theme in my life. My family tries to shelter me from the ugliness of the world. I’ve learned to ignore the bad and put up fake fronts to fool the people around me.

Which living person do you most despise?

Things/People I hate

  • Mami, for destroying my social life
  • Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
  • Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
  • This supermarket
  • Everyone else

What is your current state of mind?

Basically, I’m the last saving grace for the Sanchez family. There’s some unwritten family commandment that states that I will graduate from Somerset, attend an Ivy League school, and major in some moneymaking profession. The pressure is on to excel. They don’t call me Princesa for nothing. I’m being groomed for bigger and better things. How can I possibly help? I’m in high school. I bet people at Somerset never have to deal with this kind of pressure. Any dream I have about my future is dictated by my family’s hopes. The burden falls on me to lift up the Sanchez family, but how can I do that?

What is your favorite occupation?

When Elizabeth’s parents converted their guest house into an art studio for her, she named it the Creative Collective. So official. Elizabeth believed we would somehow work together. I would be her manager/publicist, getting the word out to prestigious art galleries. I even made a list of galleries in New York and figured out how to write a press release. “You want to be a professional liar” is what Junior said when I told him about my silly marketing dreams.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I spend my working hours figuring out my future – what to wear, what to say, how to say it There are scores of yellow pads with lists of things I plan to accomplish in any given day. A list makes me feel like I’m in control, even if it’s just lines of things I hate. I carry a miniature pad to jot down everything.

Where would you like to live?

Camille lives right in the city with her mom and stepdad in an apartment building that has a doorman. Her parents also own a beach house in the Hamptons and each year they go away on fancy European trips. She lives the most glamorous life. Designer clothes. A personal credit card. Everything I wish I could have. We live Rich Adjacent.

What is your greatest fear? 

Fear is a funny emotion. It can stop you dead in your tracks, plans squashed before they’re realized. Or fear can put you on a path you had no intention of taking. I try my best not to jump to the future. The what-ifs can keep a person frozen, keep them from doing anything. This year I’ve pinned my hopes on a group of people I don’t know and who don’t know me. It can take just one person to call me out and label me a wannabe. To look at my clothes and listen to my accent and see how much I don’t know a thing about this world. What if I’m not enough? 

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I don’t know how to be a friend without the act somehow benefiting me.

What is your greatest regret?

[Papi’s] Princesa can do no wrong. Maybe she can steal his credit card and charge up clothes but worse than that? He doesn’t know me. I could come clean right now. I could tell Papi I was the one who stole the beers and that Oscar is completely innocent. But I don’t say a word. I’m too much of a coward. This mask I wear that conceals my true self, I will keep it on forever at the cost of Oscar, Moises, and everyone. Excuses are meaningless. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

There’s no way of getting anywhere by yourself. Jokes are exchanged and I can barely giggle at the right pauses. Sometimes I even fail at that, laughing five minutes after the fact. I don’t know what they’re talking about half the time. Who are we supposed to like now? What’s the right song I’m supposed to know the lyrics to? It’s as if I’m being tested. Be funny. Be cute. Soon I’ll be back at Somerset but even that prospect doesn’t hold much hope. The thought of having to perform my fake act depresses me. So much of my time and energy has been invested in becoming this wannabe, but I’m no longer interested in that person or the final outcome. I want my life to rewind to two years ago when I cared less about impressing other people and more about having fun.

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Want to read the full novel? You can find The education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera at the Austin Public Library:
https://austin.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1740106067
>>>