Series: Stand Alone
Author: Josh Grayson
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: November 20th, 2013
When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse yet, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle.
While I wait for my driver, I sit on a step outside the school. I watch the kids go by. No one stops to say hello to me, and I’m starting to understand why. Then I see Kyle trudging out of the school, shaking his thick brown hair back from his brow. I decide to go talk to him. But he changes direction when he sees me approaching.
“Wait! Kyle? Is that your name? Kyle?”
He stops, but doesn’t turn around.
Undaunted, I run up from behind. “Listen, I just wanted to apologize for Duke in the cafeteria today.”
“Why? Can’t he take care of that himself?”
“I guess he can, but I don’t think manners are his strong point.”
Kyle squints at me, trying to read my expression, so I keep my eyes wide open. If he’s looking for dishonesty or cruelty, I’m determined he won’t find any there.
“I don’t get it,” he says skeptically. “Why would you apologize to me?”
I shrug. “Because it was wrong of him to be like that.”
“If you’re gonna apologize on behalf of Duke, you should apologize to Ben, not me.”
“Um…okay, I will.”
After a moment of quiet, Kyle says, “Okay. Thanks.” He sniffs and looks at the ground, obviously uncomfortable. “As long as we’re apologizing, I guess I owe you one, too.” He runs his fingers through his hair. “I’m sorry about yelling at you at the soup kitchen. That was you, right?”
“So I guess it was my yelling that made you run into the street, wasn’t it?”
I nod again.
“Well, I’m really sorry. About all that. I had no idea.”
“Of course you didn’t. Don’t worry about it.” I look down the street, past Kyle, but I can’t see John and the car yet. I glance down at my nails, still torn and ratty from living homeless. “What were you doing there, anyway?” I ask.
He shrugs. “I volunteer there sometimes.”
“My parents own a bakery nearby. I work there almost every afternoon. When we have day-old bread and stuff, I take it over to them.”
“You…Oh!” I suddenly recall the slice of bread I’d enjoyed just before Kyle yelled at me that day. Soft, homemade, and unforgetable. It brings a smile to my face. “Well, I know from personal experience that they really appreciate that. It’s very generous of you and your family.”
“It’s the least we can do.” He hesitates. “So you’d been eating there?”
“Yup. All week. With my friend Carol.”
“Carol? That older lady? I know her. She’s sweet. Helps a lot of the kids out. I guess she’s kind of a teacher for lost souls, huh?”
“You could say that,” I agree, remembering my wise friend fondly.
A dark car pulls up to the curb.
I smile with apology. “Sorry, but I have to go. That’s John, here to pick me up. So are we okay?”
“Yeah. You and me.”
After a second, he returns my smile and holds out a hand. “Sure.”
I step closer so I can shake it, and while I’m there I purposefully inhale the smell Amber had so detested. She’s right. He smells like bread. Banana bread, I think. And cinnamon. Not unpleasant at all.
About the Author
Josh Grayson was born in Mexico, raised in Massachusetts, and now lives in Martinsville, Virginia. It was his move to the South that stirred his imagination and gave him the courage to start writing. During his free time, Josh enjoys reading, jogging, swimming, and watching YouTube videos.
Josh currently works as a medical driver, shuttling people all over Virginia and North Carolina. He has also worked as a machinist, film sales rep, administrative assistant, and telemarketer (he apologizes if he called you).
Sia is his debut YA novel.