Excerpt from Torn:
A funeral without a body is like a wedding without a bride. Or a groom.
Except this isn’t officially a funeral – it’s a memorial service. Instead of a coffin, there’s an easel with a huge photo. She looks pretty. Hopeful, even.
The church is jam-packed. People standing at the back, craning their necks to get a good look at the family. There were even photographers outside when we arrived. It’s a zoo. A snivelling, wailing zoo. Not that I can talk – I’ve been snivelling too. Dad pressed a hanky into my hand as soon as we got here. Now it’s sodden and snotty, so I’m guessing he won’t want it back.
No one’s wearing black. Black is officially banned. Apparently she used to joke about her funeral, saying she hoped everyone would wear crazy neons and wave glow-sticks around. Well, no neons as such, but I did manage to pour myself into my purple skinny jeans (what was I thinking?).
Sometimes I used to imagine my own funeral. It was nothing like this. And it certainly didn’t involve the school choir singing ‘Keep Holding On’ by Avril bloody Lavigne. Polly Sutcliffe is centre stage. New haircut. Highlights too. She manages to get through most of the first verse before dissolving into tears. Real, actual tears, just like the ones I’ve been crying for days and days.
Tears of shock.
Tears of sadness.
Tears of guilt.
School has been weird since it happened. It’s all anyone can talk about. The first day back, every teacher said a few words about her at the start of each lesson. Some were more convincing than others. Miss Daley hadn’t even known her – not really – but you could tell she was genuinely upset.
Daley arrived at the start of the school year, fresh and new and vulnerable, a tiny bird-lady with I’m a newly qualified teacher, please take advantage of me tattooed on her forehead. So we did what we always do – try to find a weakness, see how far we can push her, wondering if she’ll cry if we take things a little too far. But she held up pretty well .She took everything we could throw at her – even Tara’s major attitude.
I keep looking over at Cass; I can’t help it. She’s picking cat hairs off her skirt, like she always does when she’s bored. Except Cass hardly ever wears skirts. Her mum must have talked her into it. Looks like she’s had a haircut too. It seems like everyone’s got spruced up for the occasion. I catch Cass’s eye and she half waves in my direction. I shake my head, just a tiny bit so no one else will notice. She shrugs and goes back to grooming her clothes. Jesus.
I shouldn’t be surprised that she’s not crying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her cry. Not even when Boots Mark 3 got run over last summer. And Boots Mark 3 was her favourite of all the Bootses. Boots Mark 4 isn’t quite matching up, apparently. He’s certainly hairier than the last one. I try to steer clear, since I’m sort of allergic to cats. Not properly – just enough to make my face itch when I’m around them.
Cass prides herself on being strong. She thinks girls who cry all the time are pathetic. Crying at the end of a Disney film? Pathetic. Crying because the boy you fancy doesn’t even know you exist? Pathetic. The entire school crying on and off for the past couple of weeks? Pathetic pathetic pathetic.
Luckily she makes an exception for me. I’m allowed to cry whenever I want, and she’ll do anything she can to cheer me up. Which usually involves making me laugh. She can always make me laugh. It’s one of my favourite things about her. Although I hate it when she does it on purpose when I’ve got a mouthful of orange juice or something. That’s just cruel.
The singing is over, thank God. I check the order of service: a reading by the three witches. Of course it doesn’t actually say ‘witches’, but that’s what Cass calls them. They’re not that bad – individually, at least. Just normal girls: Gemma, Danni and Sam. But put them together and they transform into something bigger, something badder. And if you add their fearless leader into the mix, they mutate into a multi-headed monster of popularity. A monster that teachers love, for some inexplicable reason. A monster that boys love even more, for very obvious reasons. A monster that the rest of us bow down to – out of fear mostly, but also a kind of grudging respect. And jealousy.
But their fearless leader is no more.
Torn is available on December 22nd, 2011!
Synopsis: Four girls. One dead body. A whole lot of guilt.
Alice King isn’t expecting the holiday of a lifetime when she sets off with her classmates on a trip to the Scottish wilderness, but she’s not exactly prepared for an experience beyond her darkest nightmares…
Alice and her best friend Cass are stuck in a cabin with Polly, the social outcast, and Rae, the moody emo-girl. Then there’s Tara – queen of mean. Powerful, beautiful and cruel, she likes nothing better than putting people down.
Cass decides it’s time to teach Tara a lesson she’ll never forget. And so begins a series of events that will change the lives of these girls forever...
A compelling story of guilty secrets, troubled friendship and burgeoning love.
Preorder Torn Online:
The Book Depository | Amazon UK
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Cat, Thanks so much for allowing me to post an excerpt from Torn! Sounds like a great beginning to the new book, and I can't wait to read it! Also, thank you so much for having me host this giveaway for an ARC copy.
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