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MY SECRET SUMMER by Theresa Troutman
Genre(s): Mature Young Adult Contemporary Romance Novella
Published: October 26th 2013
Caitlin Conners is a loner; shy and artistic. Her only friend is her sister, Carly. When Carly dies in a car accident, Caitlin has never felt more alone. An overbearing mother makes her life impossible when she meets the boy next door, Dylan Rodgers. Dylan doesn’t fit in with the popular crowd either. He prefers skateboarding to football and is viewed by his fellow students as a pot head.
Dylan helps Caitlin deal with her grief and awakens her sexuality. Somehow these two misfits strike up a friendship and fall in love, while trying to keep their relationship a secret from Caitlin’s parents. Caitlin resorts to various methods to sneak out of the house and be with Dylan. As the stakes increase, emotions run high and passion ignites. The thrill of ‘getting away with it’ is so addictive and makes Caitlin feel invincible. How long can she get away with the lies before she is found out?
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"A beautifully written insight into the development and challenges that confront love for young adults. I look forward to more. Perhaps a sequel." -Young Love
The thorn of the delicate pink rose pricked my finger with a burst of pain. I watched with great fascination as the drop of crimson blood formed on my skin. It was so much easier to focus on this tiny detail than to look up and deal with reality. Mom pulled me forward and I had to look up. She was leading me toward a glossy white coffin hovering over six feet of freshly dug earth. The smell of moist dirt and cut grass filled my nostrils. Respectfully, I laid the single rose on the coffin. Fellow mourners followed my lead. The minister said a final prayer and then I watched as the coffin was lowered into the ground. My parents and I left before they poured the dirt back over my eighteen-year-old sister’s grave.
We rode to the luncheon in silence. My dad’s hand covered my mom’s hand as it trembled uncontrollably. I’d watched my dad cry for the first time in my life today. What the hell was wrong with me? I hadn’t shed a tear. I loved my older sister, Carly. I really did. She was the perfect daughter; straight-A student, athletic, popular. She was always there for me, giving me advice or introducing me to her friends so I could be popular too. I was never comfortable playing that part. I’m more of the loner type. I prefer painting gothic angels in the comfort of my room while listening to Muse. At least I didn’t have to listen to my mom complain that I was wearing black today. ‘You have such a pretty face. You should wear more color, honey,’ she would always say.
An endless line of well wishers passed by me at a mind numbing pace. I didn’t hear a thing they had to say. I simply nodded and said, “Thank you.” I felt bad for them, their sorry, grief-ridden faces desperately wanting to bring comfort. I don’t think there was any comfort to be had. Carly died in a car accident. Her drunk boyfriend was behind the wheel and they were coming home after a friend’s graduation party. So young, so tragic, her life was just beginning. I think those were some of the things that were said. Thankfully it was June. At least I didn’t have to go back to school the next day and be the topic of pity, gossip and grief counseling.
There were pictures of Carly on one of the tables at the luncheon. In one she was prom queen, dressed in a pale blue gown with her beautiful long blonde hair cascading over her shoulders, a small rhinestone tiara on top of her head. In another, she was in her lacrosse uniform posing for the team photo that was used in the yearbook. Everything about Carly was perfect; her skin, hair, body and teeth.
I, on the other hand…I got the leftovers; straight stringy brown hair, the occasional pimple and gap between my front teeth. My mom always encouraged me to let Carly give me a makeover. It had never happened. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore. Or would I? Would my mom try to make me more like Carly? My brain was about to explode and I just had to get outside and away from all these people.
Theresa Troutman lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their crazy dog, Niko. She loves reading, theatre and traveling.
Her books include: My Secret Summer, A Special Connection and the Love's Great Adventure Series: Life's What You Make It and Love This Life and London Loves. She is currently working on contemporary romance called, By My Side, which will be released in early 2015.