Susie Magazine Excerpt

so over my head
Don't forget, Friday I'm drawing a name for a free copy of So Over My Head. I'm LOVING our question of the week, and am compiling a list of must-read books right now. Keep the suggestions coming. You can see contest details on Monday's post.

We have one of our first reviews for So Over My Head by the lovely Deena at “A Peek At My Bookshelf” blog. If Deena lived close by, I think I would have to stalk her with constant thank you's. You can read that review HERE.

(Police update: So far I'm happy to report the po-po has not come for me. But it's early in the week yet.)

Have you guys picked up a copy of Susie magazine lately? Once upon a time there was a magazine for teen girls called Brio, published by Focus on the Family. Then it got cut off at the knees and went away. The founder of Brio and editor, Susie started her own magazine, and I have to admit, I like it even better. And I'm not just saying that because my books and I are in the May issue (not shown above). A Charmed Life series is featured, along with some other great suggestions for books to read for those dreaded book reports, like Donita K. Paul, Sarah Anne Sumpolec, Cindy Woodsmall, Sandra Byrd, my friend Stephanie Morrill, Hayley DiMarco, and others. AND there's a fabulous article/devo called “A Day in the Life of Royalty” by kick-butt author and friend Natalie Lloyd, author of awesome book Paperdoll. (If you're not reading Natalie's blog, btw, you are totally missing out. I'm one of her groupies and never miss it.) Plus the magazine is PACKED with opportunities for major give-aways. Like 222 of them. Free! Prizes! Free prizes!

And I have a short story in there as well. I thought I would give you a little preview of the story. Here 'tis.

The Smallest Sparrow

I step onto the bus, inhaling exhaust fumes and anger.

I drag my eyes over all the seats, trying to find an empty one to escape to. Everyone is paired two by two, and I'm surrounded by their laughter and general good cheer. These people are excited to be heading to church camp. Me? I'd rather chew my own arm off.

“You can sit with me.”

My eyes drop to the left as a tall, brown-headed guy scoots toward the window. It's the only seat available.

“I'm Dawson.”

And I'm Miserable. A slave to my parents' twisted request that I return to the very place that has haunted me for the last two years.

“Do you have a name?” he asks.

A million smart remarks war in my head, but my counselor says I have to work on that. “I'm Melanie Bancroft.” I wait for the recognition to light his face.

It doesn't. I turn away from him and ponder this. People know my name because I'm the girl who watched her sister drown at Camp Samaritan two summers before. I'm the girl who dove in with her twin, the other half of her heart, and came up with nothing. I broke to the surface…but she did not. I'm the one who had to endure the stares. The pointing fingers. The whispers that were anything but quiet. I'm the one who had to go home to parents who told me they didn't hold me responsible, but like me, were never quite the same.

“Is this your first year?” Dawson, asks, clearly not  picking up on my don't-talk-to-me vibe.

“No.” I laeve it at that.

“You don't look too excited to be going to camp.” Dawson's brown eyes reflect concern.

“It was my parents' idea.” They thought if I returned to the camp, I might gain some closure. They seem to think I'm stuck in this time-warp of despair.

“My sister doesn't want to go to camp, either.” He gestures toward the back.

I nod my head, wondering why he's still talking to me. Usually people give up by now.

“My sister Brittany's the one with her life jacket on.”

I follow his gaze and see her. She sits int eh back row, surrounded by giggling girls who are just as polished and primped as she is not. Nor do they have Down Syndrome.

“It's her first time to camp, and she's really nervous.” He inhales deeply. “That makes two of us. I'm kind of protective of her. Hey–maybe you could help me. You know, keep an eye out for her.”

Dude, you do not want me in charge of keeping watch over anyone. “I don't think so.”

His expression darkens. “Yeah, sure. Forget I asked. Brittany's an awesome girl, though. In fact, she's pretty amazing.”

Great. Now he's offended. “I'm sure she is. But I'm not really good with…people.”

“Because she's different?”

No, because she has a pulse. Because two years ago I let my sister drown. Because I'm out of the business of taking care of anyone.

Dawson doesn't speak to me the rest of the three-hour ride. He turns and talks to everyone around us. It appears I ticked off the most popular guy on the bus. My backside is totally asleep by the time we lurch to a stop under some giant oak trees.

“Welcome to Camp Samaritan!” a woman calls as we gather in the front yard. “Campers, you'll be divided by age, so find a counselor and see what cabin you need to go to. Your counselors are in the red shirts.”

I catch sight of Dawson again.  He's wearing a red shirt. Super. He'll probably assign me to trash duty all week. I thought he was just one of us high-schoolers. Ten minutes later I toss my suitcase in the Acorn cabin. Other 17-year-old girls mill around me. I recognize a few of them, but maintaining friendships has not been my forte lately.

The screen door rattles on its hinges as a suitcase rams into it. I hear a small yelp.

One girl rolls her eyes. “That's Brittany.”

Dawson's sister pulls on the door, but it hits her suitcase. She picks up the bag, only to have no hands for the door. Throwing a disgruntled look at my roommates, I leap from the bed and fling open the door. I grab Brittany's stuff and set it inside.

“Thanks.” Wide eyes study me before taking in the room.

“I guess that's your bed.” I point to the remaining bunk. A top one.

She shakes her head, her earrings flying. “I can't. I can't sleep up there. I'll fall off. My mom told me I wouldn't have to sleep on the top bunk.”

A blonde roomie pipes up. “Brittany, you can handle it, can't you? If you can't sleep up there without falling out, then maybe you should call your mommy and go back home.”

I swallow back acid. The old me would take up for her. This me is just too tired. And it would require talking t o them–all those other girls. “You can have my bunk,” I say, anxious for peace.

“I do want to go home.” Brittany's  eyes fill with tears. “I want to go home.” She bolts out of the cabin, yelling at the top of her lungs for her brother.

After lunch, we gather in the courtyard for a quick meeting. Dawson blows a whistle to get our attention. The girls from my cabin dissolve into obnoxious giggles. I have to admit, the college boy is cute.

“You've got two options,” Dawson says. “You can either go with me for a bike ride through the hills, or you can go with Counselor Meg for a hike. Either way, you have to stay in groups of two or three. Don't lose each other.”

And where do you go if you don't want to do anything?

“I don't like bikes.” Brittany's bottom lip trembles as she slides closer to her brother. “I want to hike, Dawson. Please go with me. Please.”

“I can't.” He surveys the group of campers. “Who wants to partner with Brittany for the hike?”

There's an awkward silence as people shift together–away from Dawson's sister.

“I will.” I startle at my own voice. Did I just say that?

“Great!” Dawson's face splits into a grin. “Brittany, this is Melanie. She's going to be your buddy today.”

“Oomph!” I stagger backward as Brittany covers me in a bear hug. She clearly doesn't know about my no-hugging policy.

“Thanks, Melanie.”Dawson gives my shoulder a squeeze as he walks by, gathering his bikers.

To be continued…in Susie magazine! So pick up a copy to read the rest. or else you'll miss out on what happens on the hike with Brittany. And what happens between Melanie and Dawson. And the moment Melanie lets go of her old hurt. And…the aliens that carry them all away. And why Mt. Rushmore explodes and an ocean wipes out the Eiffel Tower.

Okay, so maybe not all of that is in there, but still check out the May issue of Susie magazine.

Have a great rest of the week.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 14 comments
Tammy - April 21, 2010

Awesome story! I cant wait to read the rest!

Siri - April 21, 2010

aw 🙁
I don’t have a subscription =:.( sad

Kristin - April 21, 2010

I read your story in Susie magazine and really liked it. =)

Yesterday I stopped by the Christian bookstore just to see…and they had your new book! What made me sick was that my wallet only contained $1 and some odd change. So I am heading back tomorrow to get it- really excited! =)


Sheila - April 21, 2010

love it!! Now I’m going to have to find a copy of Susie!!

ashley - April 21, 2010

Jenny, I love this story! You’ve left it almost like a choose your own adventure… I choose romance and corn dogs.

Darria - April 21, 2010

Well I’m interested…I can’t wait to find a Susie mag. now! I has a subscription to brio back in the good ol days but I obviously don’t have one now…I’ll just have to subscribe to Susie!

Alli - April 21, 2010

I subscribe to Susie so when I saw your name in the list of contributing authors, I quickly flipped through the magazine to find your story! I was not disappointed.

Darria - April 21, 2010

Oops I meant “had” not “has”!

Jae - April 21, 2010

Aww… yeah, I used to have a Brio subscription and loved it. I’m definitely going to look into getting Susie… but by the time I order it and it comes in, I will completely miss out on your short story! 🙁

Jenny B Jones - April 21, 2010

I’m pretty sure you can get Susie mag in Christian book stores. Somebody let us know if you see one. : )

Melena - April 21, 2010 I have like GOT to get a subscription for Susie mag. I love the story so far. : )

Raye - April 22, 2010

I have a Susie mag subscription and love it!! Every girl should get one and will love it!

Lynette Eason - April 25, 2010

Hey Jen, very cool post. Thanks for letting me know about Susie magazine. I just ordered a subscription for my daughter. I think she’ll really love it. Have a great week!

Victoria Graham - May 7, 2010

Hey! I was just wondering how i can submit a short story to you?? I have been writing tons of stuff and now I’m ready to make the journey of being published. So if there is an address and some guidelines about publishing a short story in you magazine that would be great!


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