YABC Scavenger Hunt: Almost Paradise (Corabel Shofner), Plus Excerpt & Extra Giveaway!
Today we're excited to share Corabel Shofner's excerpt as part of the YABC Scavenger Hunt! Read on for more about Corabel and her novel!
And don't forget to answer the question from this post on the Scavenger Hunt form for a chance to win the Grand Prize!
You can find Scavenger Hunt rules HERE!!
Meet Corabel Shofner!
Corabel Shofner is a wife, mother, attorney, and author. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English literature and was on Law Review at Vanderbilt University School of Law. Her shorter work has appeared or is forthcoming in Willow Review, Word Riot, Habersham Review, Hawai’i Review, Sou’wester, South Carolina Review, South Dakota Review, and Xavier Review. ALMOST PARADISE is her first novel. Find her on Twitter @corabel, or online at corabelshofner.com
Meet Almost Paradise!
Twelve-year-old Ruby Clyde Henderson’s life suddenly changes the day her mother’s boyfriend holds up a convenience store and her mother is wrongly jailed for assisting in the crime. Ruby Clyde and her pet pig, Bunny, hide out during the robbery, and then afterward, terrified and very much alone, they find their way to her estranged Aunt Eleanor’s home. Aunt Eleanor is an ornery, solitary nun who lives in a peach orchard on Paradise Ranch. Can Ruby Clyde and Aunt Eleanor heal old wounds, save Ruby Clyde’s mother, and bring the whole family back together again?
~ Excerpt ~
I woke up alone in the backseat of the Catfish’s car. That was my mother’s boyfriend. Don’t get me started on the Catfish. His real name was Carl but I called him the Catfish, because that’s exactly what he looked like. The distance between his eyes was enormous, and he had skinny lips and a pointy mustache. If I’d been older when he came around, I never would have allowed him into our lives. But honest to God, I had no entire clue how to get rid of him once he was wedged into our family. You may as well know, Mother was no help at all, but don’t hold that against her: she’d been real fragile since my father died, which was before I was born. I was still inside Mother at the time and his shooting death actually made me come out.
Anyway, Catfish wasn’t in the car and neither was my mother. The sun was all over me, and I was tangled up in the blanket, staring up at the ceiling—thumbtacks held up the saggy material. And you know, at first I didn’t even wonder where I was. I mean, I knew I was in the Catfish’s car, but to think outside the car would be like wondering where my planet was in the universe.
I sat up to look for Mom. She was just outside, sitting on an upturned log by a burning campfire, watching coffee perk into the glass knob on top of a metal pot. A lady holding a carton of milk sat on the log beside Mother. I thought she was the nurse from school, with those blond curls all around her face. But then I realized that I’d never seen her before.
It still hadn’t hit me how much we were not home—really, really not at home. I rested my cheek on the window and watched Mother watch the coffee brew. She sat real dainty, with her feet and knees together. My mother was always a pretty person, even in the morning. Her dark hair was thick and wavy around the shoulders of her favorite dress. Pale pink flowers, green leaves with an occasional bug; she’d replaced missing buttons at least ten times. She kept herself real clean too, which was something I could stand to learn.
What’s more, she was calm, being outside and all, so I knew Catfish was nearby. Mother’s almost like those agora-something people on TV, the ones who can’t go out of the house, but she’s not mentally ill. There’s no medical words ending in-oids or-icks for what she was. It’s just that, after my father died, she stayed inside so much that she forgot how to get along in the world. It all seemed like chaos to her, she said. The Catfish got her to go outside more, but so what? We didn’t need him.
Speaking of outside, we were surrounded by those big RVs, tents, and pop-up campers, all under the trees. It was organized, somehow, like an outdoor hotel, and then I started to think—Where the heck are we? I went to sleep at home and woke up in some kind of vagabond camp.
Inside, the car was all packed up—that should have told me something. It was stuffed full of my toys and workbooks, clothes, and two horrible orange lamps. Looked like all our belongings, but that didn’t upset me right away. I only got upset when I tried to get out of the car and put my foot down on a flimsy box. I knew what it was as soon as I felt the cardboard crush. My heart sank.
My birthday cake! I had stepped on my birthday cake. The one I had bought for myself at the grocery store; the one my friend Bunny and I were supposed to share at home that afternoon for my twelfth birthday. (Mother could never celebrate my birthday, because of Father and all.) But I couldn’t figure out what my cake was doing there on the backseat floor of the Catfish’s car. I pulled the box up on my lap and lifted the busted top.
Inside it said:—PY—DAY—UBY.
I cried big tears. I was no crybaby but I was so surprised to wreck my own name that the tears just leaked out. HAP and BIRTH could fall by the wayside, but losing the R from RUBY—now that hurt; it hurt bad. I knew from the Bible that when somebody got a name change, God was about to let it rip. So I knew then, just sitting and looking at that UBY, that even though it was only my twelfth birthday, my life was turning upside down.
By: Corabel Shofner
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Release Date: July 25th, 2017
One winner will receive a copy of Almost Paradise (Corabel Shofner) ~ (US & Only)
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I love the old-fashioned cover illustration. I think it adds charm.
The synopsis sounds like a very cute, heartwarming, coming-of-age, "life is tough, learn to be tougher" type story.