Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry
December 8, 2014
A summer road trip changes everything in this unforgettable new tale from acclaimed author Katie McGarry.
For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so . . . different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who's never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything--except the one thing Echo's just not ready for.
But when the source of Echo's constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants--even as foster kid Noah's search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.
Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah's more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he'd be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn . . . seriously epic.
He’s not replacing me. He’s not shoving me away. Yes, Dad has a new wife and a new baby, but I’m not being thrown out of this family. I’m part of it. I’ve talked this over with my therapist, Mrs. Collins, again and again, but the nagging doubt still slices through me like a ragged knife.
“What are your thoughts on my selling the house?” he asks.
I’ll miss sitting in the garage and watching Aires’s ghost work on his car as he counseled me through my high school life crises. I’ll miss staring at the constellations my mother painted on the ceiling of my room. I’ll miss the happy memories. That house has been one of the few constants in my life.
A knot in my throat keeps me from saying those things. My world’s changing again, and sometimes I hate change. “Mom called this morning.”
The hydrogen bomb I dropped alters the entire conversation.
I ram my thumb on the icon for Off and toss my cell onto the table. Blood swooshes in my veins, and each throb in my temple ticks me off more. Obviously, Dad and I were never meant to see eye to eye.
With his legs kicked out onto the sidewalk and his fingers laced across his stomach, Noah regards me from across the table. “Vexed?”
“Vexed? Did we enter medieval times?”
“It means mad,” he says.
“I know what it means. Why are you using it?”
He shrugs casually. “It was an ACT word. Figured if I had to learn the shit I might as well use it.”
I giggle in spite of myself then stop when dread weighs down my entire body. “Yeah, I’m vexed.”
Noah edges my ignored latte toward me. I pick it up and attempt to disappear by pulling my legs along with me onto the seat. “Dad doesn’t get it.”
He says nothing and glowers at the mountains in the distance. Noah overheard most of the conversation between me and Dad, at least my side of it. I drink, and the latte is like little shards of heaven in my mouth. A part of me relaxes with the introduction of caffeine into my system.
“What if I told you I don’t get it, either?”
With the coffee still poised at my mouth, I have to force the swallow. “What?”
“I don’t get why you’re interested in talking to your mom. What she did…it’s not forgivable.”
My forehead wrinkles as I set the cup on the table. “I never said I’ve forgiven her. I told Dad that maybe I should answer if she calls again. Maybe I should listen to the voice mail instead of deleting it. She’s my mom.”
“You talked to her before and didn’t get anywhere.”
“But maybe I should talk to her because…because…” Because…I don’t know, but I do know that there’s a hollowness inside me. This dull ache that screams that something’s missing. I felt this before—after I lost Aires and before I recovered my memories.
I believed that the cure would be this summer. That leaving home and spending time with Noah would heal the wound.
“I did get someplace the last time Mom and I talked. I remembered what happened that night, and I learned that she’s on her meds again, and that she’s being responsible about her condition. You don’t understand what life’s been like for her.”
“She tried to kill you.” He says it as if he’s telling me something new—something I don’t agonize over every single time I look in the mirror.
“Really?” I thrust my scarred arms into the air. “Guess I forgot.”
Noah swears and glances away. Two guys our age walk past, gawk at my scars then stare at each other. Ashamed, I lower my arms to my lap and close my eyes when I hear the whispered “freak.”
The table slams into my knees, and metal cracks against the sidewalk. My eyes flash open to find Noah’s chair flipped backward. I’m trapped by the table, and I press my hands against it, desperate for escape.
Noah grabs the nearest guy, twists the material of his shirt near his neck and pounds him into the wall. “Say it again, asshole. Say it to my fucking face.”
The table screeches against the sidewalk as I push it away and scramble to my feet. “Noah! No!”
And don’t forget to read the first books in the Pushing the Limits Series…
EXCERPT REVEAL SCHEDULE:
Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.
Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.