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Pete and Annabelle always believed they were a perfect pair—until junior year, when Annabelle became obsessed with astrology. Now they can hardly stand each other. Pete thinks Annabelle has bec...
Pete and Annabelle always believed they were a perfect pair—until junior year, when Annabelle became obsessed with astrology. Now they can hardly stand each other. Pete thinks Annabelle has become a total flake; she thinks he’s an uptight jerk. To prove her point, Annabelle dares Pete to open a summer business on the boardwalk giving advice based on the stars.
"You and me and an astrology booth. I dare you."
Annabelle knows Pete can never say no to a dare. Together they’ll run the Star Shack and read visitors’ charts for romance and see what happens. Will a simple dare lead to a summer to remember or to something even more?
You feel things deeply and passionately. Picking the right guy is important! This summer you may need a lion’s share of Leo’s courage and self-confidence when love hits a bump in the road.
You burn with passion, but on the outside you appear calm, cool, and collected. When you love, you love forever. This makes you cautious. Watch out for that stubborn streak and keep an open mind.
About the Author
Lila CastleWhen not writing LILA CASTLE can be found dancing the tango somewhere in her home city of New York or eating out at her favorite French bistro. She has a number of other interests, too, including travel, baseball, exotic hair-care products, and of course, astrology.
The first time I saw Annabelle Lomax, she was holding a gun.
It was pointed straight at the enemy of every single middle-schooler who ever spent summers at Gingerbread...
The first time I saw Annabelle Lomax, she was holding a gun.
It was pointed straight at the enemy of every single middle-schooler who ever spent summers at Gingerbread Beach. That enemy was Laser Tag Larry—and, yeah, the gun was just a laser-tag gun—but it’s hard not to emphasize the drama of the moment. This was Laser Tag Larry. When I saw Annabelle gripping the plastic pistol, her wild curls flying out behind her, I knew (shut up; it’s embarrassing enough to admit) my life had changed forever. Not that I’m one of those corny people who believes in love at first sight or soul mates or any of that stuff.
I’m definitely not. But three facts: 1) I was suddenly sweating even though it was cold and rainy on the boardwalk; 2) I couldn’t take my eyes off her; 3) I’d forgotten about the game of laser tag my friend Scott had challenged me to. At twelve, nothing matters more than a laser-tag challenge. Nothing. Hence the drama of pointing a gun at Laser Tag Larry. No one does drama quite like Annabelle Lomax.
The quiet thud of a raindrop hits the roof of my old silver Honda. The sun is still shining behind me, but the dark clouds directly ahead mean I’m getting close. I can’t help stepping on the gas just a little harder, even though I promised my mom I’d keep to the speed limit if my parents let me drive down from Vermont on my own in our other car. My parents are ski instructors, so you’d think they’d be fiends for land speed, but actually my mom is a paranoid control freak. I made sure to stop for gas right away so they couldn’t tail me. Not that my parents are so bad, but I didn’t want to spend the four hours driving to Gingerbread Beach hearing about the article my mom is writing on ski gear for Ski Now and having her gasp and reach for the door handle every time I passed another vehicle.
Instead, I wanted to spend the time listening to my iPod. I don’t have anything against other music besides the triumvirate (Sex Pistols, The Clash, and the Ramones), but really, no one says it quite like old-school ’70s punk. With my friends, I’ll listen to rap or whatever, but when I’m alone, I like the classics.
So once I ditch my parents at the gas station, it’s just me and Joey Ramone. At first, I’m mostly singing along, banging the steering wheel. But then the live version of “I Want to be Your Boyfriend” comes on, and it gets me thinking about the summer.
Before the spring, I was practically counting down the days to June 25 when we’d head back to our summer house in Gingerbread with the endless rain that’s a million times better than all the snow we get at home—see, rain has the added perk of keeping tourists away at a beach resort—and the boardwalk where Jed makes the best coffee ever at the Opera House Café. Where you can get a bucket of clams at Kitty’s Clam Shack next door, so fresh they are practically still breathing. But really it’s Annabelle. At least it always was Annabelle until a few months ago.
The rain is steady now. When I turn on my wipers, I remember that I was supposed to get new ones before the trip. No big deal; I’m almost there—and I know the route by heart since we’ve been coming here since I was in seventh grade. And although I’m not sure how things will go with Annabelle, if this really will be the summer we finally get together, I can’t help smiling like lunatic when I see the sign—Gingerbread Beach Scenic Drive 1 mile—up ahead.
Once I exit the highway, I’m really feeling it. I roll down the window, and the rain pelts the passenger seat, mixing with the salty smell of the ocean. I pass the Everything Beach Store that has all things necessary for a Gingerbread vacation: beach chairs, oversized towels, and most of all, a wide selection of rain gear. Rain suits, rain boots, rain swimwear.
Last year Annabelle decided she needed a pair of rubber boots. She got these ones with whales printed on them and a matching umbrella, and then danced around the parking lot warbling “Singing in the Rain.” I spit up my coffee, staining my shirt, so Annabelle went back in and bought me a bright pink T-shirt that says “Catch Me if You Can, I’m the Gingerbread Man” with a big print of lips on top. Then she dared me to wear it because she knows I can never say no to a dare. Jerk.
When you’re with Annabelle, you don’t even care that you’re wearing the most humiliating shirt ever to come off an assembly line; you actually think it’s funny. Not that I’ll wear it again anytime soon… I turn left at the gas station, and then I see it: the boardwalk. I pull into the parking lot where the road ends and the sand of Gingerbread Beach begins. Gingerbread gets so much rain that the sand always has a crispy covering—that’s where it gets its name.
“It’s a classic light-romance setup bolstered by Castle’s impressive grasp of the science of the stars... The story wrings a good deal of pleasure from the emotional hand-wringing. E...
“It’s a classic light-romance setup bolstered by Castle’s impressive grasp of the science of the stars... The story wrings a good deal of pleasure from the emotional hand-wringing. Especially fun is Pete’s unexpected skill at reading fortunes. Well, he does have a Capricorn rising, after all.
” - Booklist
““This novel gives summer romance a mystical twist with a “he said/she said” point of view, as Pete and Annabelle switch off with the first-person, present-tense narration. A starry-eyed, beachy, light romance.”” - Kirkus
Length: 7.75 in
Width: 5 in
Weight: 8.72 oz
Page Count: 224 pages