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#1 New York Timesbestselling author Sheri Reynolds continues to captivate in this masterful tale of redemption and finding a place to truly belong. Kenny Lugo has grown up in a family that's not really hers. Her mother died of cancer when Kenny was very young, and Aunt Glowho is, in fact, her daddy's girlfriendtook her in when her father was sent to jail for drug trafficking. Now, as Kenny approaches her eighteenth birthday and the end of the government checks Glo has been receiving looms, she is desperate to prove that this house and these people really do belong to her. But when a senseless murder occurs next door in their small coastal town, Kenny can't get it out of her mind. She has always been consumed by the ways in which she is differentand inherently unworthyso the unjust death of a young woman with everything to live for becomes an obsession. In the end, hers is a story of an unforgettable young woman whose redemption comes from a source she never would have imagined.
We’ve come out here to fish, me and Quincy and Daphne and Aunt Glo. Daphne’s got her lunch box filled with rotten chicken necks, the rottener the better for the crabs. So I move upwind, past the stench. I’ve got my daddy’s old rod and reel, the red one with the soft cork handle. It’s got dents from where his fingers used to go.
It’s September now, and we’ve come out here to fish. But Quincy brought his skateboard, and he’s riding it all the way to the end of the pier, pissing off the heron who was catching a nap. Quincy’s wheels thrum drum through the cracks between boards, and that heron stretches out and takes off. If I could fly like that, I wouldn’t even mind looking so prehistoric. The heron settles on a channel marker out there in the bay and pulls his head into his shoulders like somebody cold.
Aunt Glo helps Daphne tie her chicken necks with string and dangle them down into the water. Daphne sniffs her fingers and says, “Ugh,” but she must like the smell, the way she sniffs them over and over. “Ugh,” she says and scrunches up her nose.
I’ve got my own cooler, and stashed inside it there’s a can of soda, a pack of saltines, a plastic bag with my still-frozen squid, and an army knife sharp enough to cut it. So I dig out a piece of squid and saw it right there, add my slashes to the thousand already carved into this wood. I choose a good-size hunk, the head, and hook it to my line. I hook it three times, through the flesh and through the eye, black juice squirting out at me, and when I cast, my line zings high and plops hard in the bay.
Now it’s the wait, the knock-knock of the line and deciding whether it’s a crab or something bigger, the reeling in sometimes, the breeze on my face, my face in the sun. It’s September, but the sun’s still hot, and when I close my eyes, I can pretend I’m on a boat sailing off to somewhere else.
On that boat, heading north with my face in the wind, I can forget the sounds I heard last night: the banging around, the giggles and high-pitched “shit!”s I thought at first it was just a dream and those girls were at my door and making fun of me. It was late in the night, and when I woke up, I figured somebody was pulling a prank on old Jarvis Stanley right next door.
But that was yesterday.
With the water slapping soft against the wood, I pretend I’m a tugboat captain, pulling a barge loaded with gold all the way up to Annapolis, and I wonder if barges ever carry anything besides gravel or coal, if barges go to Annapolis at all. Annapolis is the farthest I’ve ever been, but someday I’ll go farther. I’ll go someplace where crazy things don’t happen, where girls don’t die like that girl died last night, right there in Jarvis Stanley’s living room.