"The mystery revolving the situation kept me hooked, [...] I would recommend this book to any teen reader looking for a book boasting a little bit of everything: fantasy, dystopia, mystery, high school problems, three-dimensional characters... it's all here, and ready for you to read " - Kayla, Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Grape Merriweather has just moved to Sortilege Falls and already she knows something isn't right. A small pack of teenage models, too beautiful for words, holds the town in their sway. The models have no plans on making Grape's life easy. But no matter how cruel they are to Grape and the other “Normals”, no one can stay angry with them for long.
Grape's life changes for the better, or so she thinks, when Mandy, the only “nice” model, befriends her. But that’s when the trouble truly begins. Mandy's friendship places Grape smack in the middle of a medical mystery that has the entire town on edge. One by one, the models fall ill from an incurable disease. Grape quickly realizes that the models' parents are hiding a secret, even as they watch their children die. To save her only friend, Grape will have to find the truth–and that means putting her life in danger.
Behind the Scenes from the author:
“Welcome to Sortilege Falls” is my second novel.
My first, “Tough Girl” was about an eleven-year-old who is slowly starving to death and loses herself in an imaginary world to combat the misery of her life. I wanted to write something happy after that and WTSF is about as “happy” as my writing gets.
The idea was to come up with a main character whose very name sounds like a smile, thus Grape Merriweather was born. Stories grow and writers hardly ever end up writing the book they intended. That is definitely true with WTSF.
My “happy” story grew to encompass the themes of beauty worship, celebrity, as well as delving into the mysterious relationships between child stars and their parents. In the beginning of the novel, Grape is new at school and eager to impress. She was popular back home and has never had trouble making friends. She spends over an hour the night before trying on outfits and picking the perfect one for her first day. But she is ignored by students and teachers alike.
Everyone is too caught up with the beyond gorgeous models to bother with one new student. We discover this weird world along with Grape and I tried to stay true to her voice. It was very important to me that Grape wasn’t perfect, that she partially fell under the Models’ spell as well.
GRAPE IS SERENADED BY GRAESON:
Grape is in her backyard at night. Her brother, Brad, has just gone off into the woods to collect plants–Brad is a huge botany nut. Grape is staring into the distance, trying to see into the woods when she hears something behind her:
“Fancy meeting you here.”
“Calm down,” the vamp kid from school said, his hands raised in the air like a victim. He had switched his purple shirt for a black one and slicked his curly hair back as well. “It’s cool. It’s just me,” he said and reached out to grab her shoulder.
Grape pushed him hard in the chest, making him stumble backward. “Don’t touch me. What are you doing here?”
He regained his balance and rubbed his chest where she’d shoved him. “I wanted to see where you lived. That really hurt.”
She slit her eyes at him. “I’m glad it hurt. It was supposed to.”
“That’s not very nice.”
Grape grabbed the lawn chair and held it above her head. “Are you a stalker?”
“You’re sneaking around my house at night wearing all black.” She readied herself to swing the lawn chair. It was pretty light and wouldn’t do much damage so she decided to aim for a vulnerable spot—his face.
“No. I just thought... I don’t know. I thought you looked nice.”
“Do I look nice now?” She gave the chair a swing, missing his nose by inches. She hopped back a little and held the chair up high again. He got one warning shot, that was it. The next swing would break his nose.
“I’m sorry. I thought this would be romantic.” He reached into his baggy pants pocket and pulled out an iPod with a little set of speakers attached. “I was going to play a song for you.”
“No. Really, listen.”
He pressed play and an unholy mix of instruments blasted out in a tinny blare. He shut it off quickly. “Wrong song. One second.”
He looked up at her with heartbreak in his eyes. “I just need one second.”
“Shoo! Go! Off with you!” She shoved the chair at his chest, driving him backward.
He gave her one last dejected look and walked around the corner of the house toward the street.
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About the author:
I was born during a blizzard. I’m told it was pretty cool but I have no memory of that time. I grew up in two tiny towns in Virginia and spent most of my twenties moving around the US. I’ve lived in Virginia, Florida, Missouri, and Washington. I’ve settled down, for now, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
I’m a writer and improviser. I studied acting in college but spent more time rewriting lines than memorizing them. My first play, Fourth Wall, was produced my junior year. Since then, I’ve written several full length plays, one acts and screenplays. I started writing fiction in my late twenties. Now, I focus mainly on novels but still dabble in theater.
Fun facts about me: There are none. I’m sorry to disappoint you so soon. But, I do love to read, write, and run. My hubby is my favorite person on earth. Dogs are my second favorite. All dogs. I love orange juice, especially when it’s mixed with club soda. Carbonation is better than alcohol. Jaws is my favorite movie. Everything I’ve said so far is true.
Puschcart Prize Nomination for “Grow Your Own Dad” – Published by Mixer Publishing
Semi-finalist Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference – “STUFF”
Honorable Mention The Ohio State Newark New Play Contest – “The Last Day”
PO Box 58251
Raleigh, NC 27616