struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the
accident won’t go away. With the move, she vows to keep her tragedy a secret
and avoid pitying looks.
strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at
night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would
says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever
is inside is watching her.
night, Belleza’s life changes forever. So famous, her only choice is to hide
her secret from the world so she can silence small town bigotry.
14+ due to adult situations
couldn’t think about losing another one of us. We’d each done all we could to live without Aziza.
our house and moved us to a new town. Still, we weren’t over that December day.
around the corner daring any of us to chase her. Teasing, begging for attention, which we gave because we couldn’t resist her…
preening in a sunny spot around the back of the house. I went out to sit with
her, stroking her fur and surveying the weedy backyard that Mom hadn’t had time to think about. She kept saying she planned to hire a gardener, but there was always something that
derailed that plan. In September, it was the new show at the museum that she
had to set up by October. She was in charge of staging the Egyptian pieces
coming on loan, but she was shorthanded and putting in extra time to make up
for only having two assistants. It was going to be a while before the toilet
and other debris disappeared.
glanced at the windows of the house across the street. I almost expected to see
someone staring out at me. I couldn’t shake the creeped out feeling I got every time I looked at
fears, old thoughts . . . at least for a while. I was at the end of the block,
deciding which way to turn, when I spotted Grandpa. I went in the opposite
direction, so neither one of us had to pretend that everything was all right
since that letter from Dad.
location. It also had one of the best academic ratings in the valley. Another
reason she told me she zeroed in on our cozy cul-de-sac.
on my SAT’s. I’d bombed on almost everything, hadn’t I? My grades, my friends––being a
stomach balling up with worry just on the edge of dread. That first day was
going to be the worst.
and sat on the wooden slats and thought about how it was going to be when
school started. Everything new. Everything different. The stares all newbies
get. Nobody would know who I was or why I was here. They wouldn’t know my mom was famous for her books on Egypt, or that my dad was an archaeologist—the one people called when they dug up important ancient anything in the Middle East. But they’d know something was different about me the minute they heard my name. Cleopatra wasn’t on any baby name list they’d ever read. Neither was Aziza, but she was too little for her name to embarrass her. She’d only just learned what it meant. Precious. And she was that. She was.
the healing process wasn’t just slow, it was uneven, too. Sometimes Aziza was only a
whisper inside me, and then her image would spring from around the corner just
like she used to, full of mischief and giggles. Then there would be that moment
when the memory of the chilled air of our old entryway blasted across my face.
didn’t have a devil at my back, but I had a tiny ghost that shadowed me when I stayed still for very long.
Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa
Cruz Mountains where she lives with her family and miscellaneous pets—usually
strays that find her rather than the other way around. She writes most of the
time, gardens and hikes and does yoga a lot, and then travels whenever she can.
Her favorite destinations are Turkey and Nicaragua, but because she had family
in England, Switzerland, and Spain she goes there when she can.
today’s teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on
the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her
second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses
everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. She just published
her first middle grade novel titled Alligators Overhead.