Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew—just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road—diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards—this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.
I walked though the large doors of the auditorium, with my hands shaking and sweat beating on my forehead. This audition meant the world to me, it could change my life forever. I wouldn't just be an ordinary girl anymore, I'd be a star. Those horrible girls wouldn't be able to tease me any longer. I was tired of it. Tired of those girls thinking they're better than me and everyone else in the school. Well newsflash, they're wrong. And after this audition, I would be able to prove it.
I made my way onto the enormous stage, trying to act confident and sophisticated, but it seemed that the judges could see right through me.
"What is your name, dear?" asked judge number three. She was small and young with short brown hair and green eyes. Her voice was soothing, and helped me to calm myself so I could answer her question.
"Emma Taylor," I responded, trying to prevent my words from shaking.
"Okay, Emma. Now it says here on the application you are trying out for the lead in our new Broadway musical. So with that, you'll have to show us a dance combination and sing for us," ordered judge number two, an older man with glasses and spiky grey hair.
"Yes, sir," I answered. I hoped that all those months of preparing would pay off. It was my time to shine.
"I'll be singing No Good Deed from Wicked." I said nervously. Judge number three (who was a gigantic, scary looking man) raised an eye brow and scribbled something in this notebook. I took that as a cue to start.
I know my song was a really bold choice, and that's all I was thinking about as I began singing it. I'm almost positive that I looked like a mad woman up there, but I always felt like it was such a powerful song that showed so many emotions: anger, confusion, sadness. I wanted the judges to see how broad I can be with my acting. "Nessa....Doctor Dillamond....Fiyero..." Here was the big note. What if I mess up? Would they just stop me right there and tell me to go away? Oh God, help me. I didn't have anything to worry about. I hit it, and I hit it good.
When I finished, I was practically panting, and it took me a moment to calm down. The first judge, the woman, applauded lightly. The second just smiled a little bit, but the huge one made no sign that he had enjoyed it.
I was dancing to I Can't Do It Alone from Chicago. I've been a dancer since I was two years old, and I had never been this nervous about it. Somehow I managed to get through it. All the while, the judges were scribbling in their little notebooks. I finished my dance number and smiled a huge jazz smile at them until I finally got some applause from all three.
After my bold choice in dance, and even bolder choice in song, I decided to tone it down and keep quiet for a few minutes while they debated. After moments of agonizing silence, I heard a small cough from the female judge.
"Emma, you are dismissed," she spoke those words with so much contempt; it was obvious to me that I had not even had a chance from the start. I felt like screaming, but, as I walked calmly off the stage, the second judge, an older woman with dramatic black hair and red nails, winked at me. Confused, I walked into the railing of the orchestra pit, not paying attention. She smirked slightly, and I was even more confused. Walking into the arms of my mother, I glanced back at the woman, but she and the other judges were already enrapt watching the next audition.
Hours later, back at my house, I heard my mom scream. Rushing through the elegant halls of the lavish mansion my dad funded post-divorce, I sprinted downstairs. My mom happened to be very accident-prone and the last time she had screamed, she had nearly cut her finger off with a knife while making dinner.
Instead of bleeding, I found her clutching the back of the couch while holding her mini-laptop. She saw me and ran over, holding me to her chest. "You made it, Emmie! You made it! You got cast as Elena! You got the lead!"
I froze, my legs suddenly feeling weak. I pulled away from my mom and stared at her, not sure I had heard right. "I got cast?" I asked feebly. There was no way this was happening. I mean, this was what I had dreamed about for years—getting the role. Sure, I had been cast in some spots, but they were always minor characters. To hear my mom pronounce me being cast in the main role... it was amazing.
"Yes!" My mom shrieked. "I’ve got to call Gramma and Aunt Judy and—" She noticed right about then that I was standing there, my mouth wide open. "Emma, aren’t you excited?"
Those words knocked me out of my daze and I started bouncing up and down. "This has GOT to be a dream! Pinch me! Pinch me!"
My mom laughingly pinched my arm and after that, chaos broke out. I went running around the first floor, screaming and giggling. There were a couple of times when I bounced onto one of the couches, but for the first time in my life, my mom didn’t shout at me to get off. She was too busy calling people to tell them about my role.
Later on, my mom and I sat in the kitchen with bowls of pistachio ice cream—my favorite. My mom leaned forward. "Emma, I’m so incredibly proud of you."
I smiled tiredly and scraped my bowl to try to get the last bit out. "Thanks."
"I think your dad would be proud of you, too. Have you told him yet?"
I froze. It was an amazing occurrence for my mom to ever mention my dad. I was getting ready for the world to end then and there. "No….."I said slowly. "I haven’t called him yet." I wasn’t sure that I wanted to call him, but I didn’t tell her that.
"I think you should," she said quietly.
After saying good night, I walked upstairs to my room and flopped onto my four-poster bed. I stared at the ceiling for a little bit and then rolled over onto my stomach and stared at the phone.
Taylor Lynn's part-
Then, after a few minutes of simply staring at it, I suddenly lunged forward, grabbed the phone and dialed Dad's cell phone number. I knew that unless I did it now I would never make the call.
The phone rang five times, six times, and I was about to hang up when someone picked up on the other end.
"Hello?" my dad said.
"Dad? It's me. Emma," I replied.
"Emma! Hey, honey, how's everything going?" he exclaimed.
"Everything's going great, Dad," I answered. "I wanted to- Mom thought I should-"
"How is your mother, anyway?" he asked, full of energy. As always.
"She's fine," I said, uncomfortable. He didn't seem to notice.
"That's great, honey, just great. Hey, you'll never guess where I am now!"
Dad was a photographer for a travel magazine, and he was always in a new place. In the beginning, Mom had fallen in love and married him because she loved how adventurous and energetic he was, but they ended up divorced for the same reason. Dad couldn't stay in one place, and he was always traveling to new locations for his work. Mom just couldn't keep up, especially with a baby. Me.
Dad hardly ever called, but it wasn't that he didn't love me; it was because he got so caught up in his work that he didn't remember to. Or so we told ourselves.
"Guess, Emma. Guess where I am."
"Um... I don't know, Dad."
"I'm in Paris! Paris, France. Isn't that great?"
"Um, yeah. Sure."
"Hey, so, what's going on with you? What have you been up to?"
"That's actually why I was calling. I... I was cast as the lead in a new Broadway musical." Saying the words made me giddy all over again. I still couldn't believe it.
"Emma, that's fantastic!" Dad practically shouted. "Congratulations!"
"Thanks," I said, smiling a little.
"So, when should I fly in for the performance?"
I sat stunned for a minute. This was not what I expected to hear. Dad wanted to fly in for my performance?
What was I supposed to say?
Hana C’s part
“I-I'm not exactly sure when it is,” I answered.
“Oh, well that's okay!” Dad said, not losing a bit of his energy. “I'll be done in Paris in a week or so, why don't I make reservations at the hotel near home, and I'll stay till your performance is done.” I sat, stunned. There was little doubt in my mind that Dad had completely changed. I had expected him to be happy for me, but definitely not to come down here and see my performance.
“I, uh. . .” I mumbled, unsure of what to say. He didn't seem to notice.
“Great, I'll see you in a couple of weeks!” The phone went silent, letting me know he had hung up. I turned off the phone and plopped onto the bed, facing the stars my mom had helped me put on the ceiling so long ago. The ceiling was indigo, contrasting with the silver stars. My eyes widened, and my heart nearly stopped. I lay there frozen, staring at what was in front of me.
Well, not what I saw, more like what I heard. A voice I kept telling myself I never wanted to hear again.
I shot up, suddenly aware of the guy who was leaning against my doorframe. A thousand memories came rushing back with one look at his disheveled brown hair and clear blue eyes. That lopsided grin that used to seem reserved only for me. I wanted to melt away, right then and there. What was he doing here? He had absolutely no right.
“James? What are you doing here?” I said, my tone sharp.
“I heard through the grapevine that you’ve been cast as Elena. I just wanted to say congratulations,” he said, his voice still smiling.
“Why do you care? We haven’t talked in months.”
“That’s not exactly my fault,” he said, narrowing his eyes at me.
I swallowed the impact of those words. True, I fled, even though James was one of the greatest persons I’ve ever known. From the way he always cared, right down to his amazing voice. But I was scared of getting hurt. So I broke up with him, for no good reason whatsoever. And now he’s dating Lani Samuels, a dance major at our performing arts school, and it’s too late fix what I messed up.
“I know.” My words came out as a whisper.
“Anyways, I just thought I’d stop by and say congrats. And to let you know that I’ve been cast in the show as well. I’m Ethan.”
At first I thought I misunderstood. But then the words sunk in. Ethan is the male lead of the show.
I was starring in a Broadway musical, opposite my ex.
Dear FutureMe, Hey there future me! I'll bet you that a year from now when you open this, you'll be all confused
and totally forget all about me.
Yes, I totally did.
I hope you had an awesome summer '10 filled with beaches, friends, and burning to a crisp
(we both know you don't tan well.)
Just remember you're sunscreen, we do NOT want to get skin cancer someday!
So you're finishing up freshman year. I hope it's been awesome. Has the amount of homework killed you yet?
Probably. Did you make it through alive reading the hobbit last summer? Probably not.
Did you totally figure out your science fair project and ace it? I hope.
Were the honors classes as difficult as people said they were. Hopefully not.
Though The Hobbit was horrific, I'm still alive. Science fair was a success... Classes not TOO bad.
How was dance this year? Did competition go well? Are you student teaching?
I hope you made the high school dance team!
Competition rocked! Not student teaching... it's a sore subject :\
Hopefully chorus for you is better than it was for me this year.
I really hope you made concert choir and went to New York. I bet you had a blast if you did!
No concert choir. It's cool though because it's mostly an upperclassmen thing.
But chorus rocked. New York was amazing! It was a great show and just a great time overall!
You were in the musical, right? You better have been. I didn't expect you to get a lead or anything,
considering you're only a freshman year. But every small part counts! And I bet you had a blast with
all your old friends.
No, I wasn't. Don't get mad at me! Rehearsals were everyday, and it just didn't fit in with dance.
I hope this year you found a best friend. You know, someone who you're always with, and you can tell
everything to. They alway said high school is where you make your best friends, so that better be true
for you! I hate being in this weird friend funk - where like I talk to all these people, and they seem
like they're your best friend at school. But you barely ever do anything outside of the school. I hope
you're more social then I am.
Mission accomplished. It was a solid year.
How's Dancing Through Life doing? By now it'll be close to two year since you've started it! Crazy, eh? Congrats
on being an Inkpop top pick! (as I'm assuming you are by now.) I hope you're HarperCollins review was fantastic!
I wonder if you're finished by now. I hope WTPOL get's developed further, it seems promising.
I did make top pick wahoo! I got a harsh, but semi-helpful review. It made realize that I totally needed to rework the
story, so now I'm in rewrite mode, and I changed a ton of things!
I know you have plenty of time to decide what you want to do, but writing does seem to be your niche, eh? It's funny,
remember how we used to groan over the meer mention of a five paragraph essay? Now we're writing 57,000 word and
counting novels. It's crazy. On your fifteenth birthday, you BETTER have walked around all day singing fifteen by Taylor Swift.
If not, your fifteen and a half is coming up soon, so do it then.
Oh, I did :P
Did you accomplish your goal of reading 100 books in 2010? You dork!
Nope, I only hit 74. But I will make it this year!
You better have gotten in shape last summer! That was my goal for you. Bike rides every day. Maybe a jog once in awhile.
Hopefully Mom will finally let me use the tredmill. (I don't know why she thinks I'll break it. If anything, Vanessa would.)
Are there any cute boys that you're crushing on? There must be. In high school you're not limited to the stupid boys you've
known since Kindergarten. Who is it?
Pshhhh... no ;P
Whatever you do, DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT overwhealm yourself. I know you want to do everything, but the fact is, you can't.
Pick and choose. You need some down time, you know. In fact, you probably won't listen to me and you're probably stressed out as
we speak. With finals and recital coming up, things are always crazy during this part of the year. Just stay calm, future me. Deep
breaths. It's okay! In conclusion, you better have kicked some butt this year, and are tentatively awaiting Summer 2011.
Your friend, Past me :]
It's crazy to look at this and see how much I've changed as a person this past year. I lol'd quite a few times. I love this program, and I think I'm going to have to make it an annual thing!
I LOVE this costume! It's my competition tap, and the song is "I Saw Her Standing There" by the Beatles. It's one of my favorite dances that I'm in as well.