Today we're spotlighting Sara Wolf's novel, Remember Me Forever!!
Read on for more about Sara, her novel, the first chapter reveal, and a giveaway!
Meet Sara Wolf!
Sara Wolf lives in San Diego, California, where she burns instead of tans. When she isn't pouring her allotted lifeforce into writing, she's reading, accidentally burning houses down whilst baking, or making faces at her highly appreciative cat.
Meet Remember Me Forever!
Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, forty-three weeks, and two days. Or so she thinks.
The boy she maybe-sort-of-definitely loved and sort-of-maybe-definitely hated has dropped off the face of the planet in the face of tragedy, leaving a Jack Hunter–shaped hole. Determined to be happy, Isis fills it in with lies and puts on a brave smile for her new life at Ohio State University.
But the smile lasts only until he shows up. The menace from her past—her darkest secret, Nameless—is attending OSU right alongside her. And he’s whispering that he has something Isis wants—something she needs to see to move forward. To move on.
Isis has always been able to pretend everything is okay. But not anymore.
Isis Blake might be good at putting herself back together.
But Jack Hunter is better.
3 YEARS, 43 WEEKS, 2 DAYS
IT SEEMS TO ME THAT OLD PEOPLE really like to tell you to enjoy your life while you’re young. Said people are usually forty-nine hundred years old and drive Volvos. Not that there’s anything wrong with Volvos. But there is definitely something wrong with being forty-nine hundred years old. This is primarily because having too much experience makes you boring and flat as week-old soda.
Exhibit A: Jack Adam Hunter.
Exhibit B: Immortal vampires, probably.
Exhibit C: Grandparents.
My grandma is the one and only exception to this rule in the entire world. My grandma is tremendous. When I was two months old she took me for a ride in the basket attached to her Harley-Davidson. I’m slightly positive this experience full of wind and exhaust and bawling crafted me into the dashing heroine I am today. Mom and Dad sent her to an old people’s home, since I guess taking your infant granddaughter for a spin with your bike gang is the first sign of dementia or something. But now that I’m in Georgia, we are reunited at last. There were tears. And snotty tissues. That lasted for roughly five minutes. Now there’s mostly a lot of insanity.
“I’m not one to question the validity of doing neat things,” I say as I hand Gran another fistful of fireworks, “but if I were the sort of person to do that, you know, someone really boring and lame and definitely not me, my question would be along the lines of, ‘what the hell are we doing on this roof at four in the morning, question mark.’ At least four question marks go after that. And like, a very concerned emoji.”
Gran makes a tut-tut noise and stuffs the rest of the fireworks into the chimney’s mouth. There are so many that I can’t see the dark brick inside anymore. We ran a fuse up through the chimney an hour ago, and now Gran ties it to the huge combined fuse of all the fireworks. She sits back on her heels and wipes wispy dyed-green hair from her eyes, flashing a wicked grin at me.
“As chairman of the Greeting and Farewell Committee of Silverlake Home for the Elderly, it’s my duty to give the girls and guys here a proper sendoff. None of this funeralprocession, boring-priest nonsense. Viola was a good woman, with a lot of love for life. She’d never want a dull sendoff, but her kids are forcing that on her. Even after she’s dead!”
“The horror!” I gasp in sync with her.
“Exactly.” Gran points at me. Her eyes are the same as mine, reddish-brown. Dad’s reddish-brown. “Horrible. The things people do these days to disrespect the dead are just awful. So we’re going to respect my dead friend properly.”
“By stuffing the chimney full of fireworks.”
“By stuffing the chimney full of fireworks,” she agrees. “When the nurse comes by in the morning and starts the fire, she’ll light this whole damn place up! Viola would’ve gotten a good laugh out of that.”
I smile and help Gran down the fire escape. She’s tall and in shape for a seventy-year-old, but she’s still thin, her fingers tiny. When we’re back on solid ground and walking across the lawn to her building, Gran throws an arm around my neck.
“What about your funeral, eh?” she asks.
“You mean the one that is never going to happen ever because I am going to gather the seven Dragon Balls and wish for eternal life?”
She laughs. “Yeah, that one. What would you want for it?”
I muse it over for all of six and a half seconds. “Make-outs. Naked dancing. Maybe a cake.”
Gran smirks at me as we walk up the whitewashed stairs.
“What? What is it? Why are you giving me That One Look?”
“Oh, nothing. You’ve grown so much, is all. You said ‘makeout’ without turning five shades of purple.”
“Yes, well, now I am an extremely mature, responsible adult, and I can do things like discuss the trials and tribulations of adolescence calmly.”
“Uh-huh,” Gran says expectantly.
“Such as making out. I did actually make out with someone.”
“I mean, I punched him before I made out with him. But it was a mature punch.”
Gran laughs, full and loud. I point at her as she opens the door to her room and sits on her bed.
“Don’t you dare start naming stuff you want at your funeral. Because I know from movies that when old people say stuff it usually comes true, and if you die I will be exceptionally bummed out.”
“It comes true because we’re wise, dear.”
“It comes true because you guys have freaky awesome brain powers that seem to do everything but grant you immortality. And teeth.”
Gran laughs, easing out of her slippers and lying back on the bed. “Come here.”
I lumber over to the bed and sit on it. She takes my hand and pets it, slowly, looking me right in the eyes.
“A lot of people in your life are going to tell you how they think you should live. Some might not say it outright at all. Some of them might just convince you without saying anything that you need to live a certain way.”
She looks out the dark window dotted with stars, smiles, and then looks back to me.
“Listen to me carefully, sweet girl. Don’t live any other way than the way that makes you happy. If you aren’t happy, leave your lover. If you aren’t happy, quit the job. If you aren’t happy, do more to make yourself happy. Because you are the only one who can make yourself truly happy in this life.”
I open my mouth to argue, but she hushes me.
“I know. I know other things and other people will make you feel happy. But they won’t make you happy. That comes from you. That comes from your own heart. Letting happiness grow in you—that all comes from inside. Some people never learn that. Some people never let happiness in, or they let it in too late. Some people never let it in because they’re afraid. But that’s the worst thing you can do to yourself. That’s punishing yourself. Lots of folks don’t even know they do it. So. I want you to know. I want you to try to be happy, for yourself.”
I feel my eyes watering. If I cry now, I might never stop.
“There was a girl,” I say. “A-A friend. Sort of. She never— she never let it in. She was sick. Really sick.”
“And where is she now?” Gran asks patiently.
“She…” I tighten my grip on Gran’s hand. “She killed herself. And I was the last one—I w-was the last one to talk to her, Gran, and I—”
Gran’s strong, thin arms engulf me, the smell of lilacs and musty linens wafting up from her.
“I could’ve—I should’ve seen it, I should’ve—”
“There was nothing you could’ve done.” Gran’s voice is iron.
“But I—I was with her, and I knew her, and I knew how sad she was—”
“She must have been very unhappy.”
“We all knew that! B-But…but we thought—”
“And what about now? Do you think she’s still unhappy?”
“Wherever she is now, she’s happier than when she was here.”
I pull away. “She’s not! She’s just dead. She can’t feel anything. If she…if she’d kept living, she could have had the chance to be happy again, here, with everyone—”
Gran’s eyes are somber, but they glint. “That sounds an awful lot like someone else telling a girl how to live her life.”
My mouth gapes with a retort, but I close it. She’s right. Who am I to tell people Sophia would’ve been happier if she’d kept holding on to life? It’s not my place. Gran moves her arms and hugs me closer, drawing my head to her chest, and I let her. It’s like coming home.
“Cry for her, sweet girl, not for what you did or didn’t do. And then get up. Find what makes you happy,” she murmurs. “Life is too long to be so sad. I’m sure she’d want you to be happy.”
All of Sophia’s twisted, angry faces compound in my mind.
“I don’t think so,” I say.
“But you said she was your friend.”
“Yeah, but—I hurt her. I did things to hurt her.”
My breath catches before I can say yes. I mull over my kiss with Jack. Our war. The laughter and the righteous anger and the tender, soft moments. The memories sting, like lemon juice in a paper cut.
“N-No. I was trying…to help?”
Gran raises a thin eyebrow. I shake my head.
“That’s how it was at first. I was trying to help another friend, Kayla. But then…but then I started to really like him. I was hurting Sophia by liking him. Every second I liked him was more hurt to her. S-So. I take it back. I wasn’t trying to help. I was being selfish.”
“It sounds like you were trying to be happy with this boy.”
I scoff. “But that hurt her. Us, we hurt her a lot. I got between them. I— She probably felt like she had nothing left, with him moving on. So she…she…”
The white dress on the green lawn flashes in my mind. Sophia’s blue eyes, empty, her hair like a banner of corn silk and moonlight, caked with blood where her head met the ground. The tiny silver bracelet that said Tallie glinting back at me.
She’d lost everything. And I took the last person in her life from her. I did it without even thinking, without even considering how it might hurt her. I just barreled ahead and did what I wanted to because I was selfish. Because I wanted to be happy.
Because I wanted love when I knew I didn’t deserve it.
And now, I’ll never deserve it.
I am the evil thing.
I am the darkest dragon who ate the saddest princess.
My thoughts are rudely interrupted by Gran’s finger flicking my forehead.
“I can hear the cogs in your brain turning. Don’t go down that road. That’s arrogant. You think too much of yourself and your effect on people. If she went and killed herself, she did it because her life was miserable and she’d thought about it for ages, not because you did one little thing.”
“But I contributed. I—”
Gran leans back in her bed and huffs, pulling the cover over her. “I’m not gonna argue with you when you’re all wrapped up in self-pity, you hear? Come back when you’re thinking clearly. I wanna talk to my granddaughter, not a silly martyr who’s trying to take all the blame.”
I go quiet. Gran must realize how rare an occasion this is, because she sighs.
“I’m sorry, kiddo. I know it’s hard. But you’re making it harder on yourself.” She leans up and kisses me on the cheek. “Come back at nine. The nurse lights the fire then.”
A small, grim smile tugs at my lips.
The drive home is all dark roads and a pale, gold-white gibbous moon lurking on the horizon. The same color as Sophia’s hair. I hear her voice clearly in my head.
You tried to help. You tried to help, and for that I can never thank you enough.
I drive back to the nursing home at eight in the morning, and Gran and I park our butts in lawn chairs, with sunglasses and lemonade, and wait for nine o’clock.
Then nine comes, and the chimney spews fireworks— oranges and blues and greens incinerating the clouds. Gran laughs and toasts the sky, toasts her dead friend. I lean back in the chair and do the same with a soft, quiet nod.
Remember Me Forever
By: Sara Wolf
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
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