10 May 2016

Blog Tour: How to be Cool by Annie Carr

How to be Cool by Annie Carr
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Cascade Press
Summary from Goodreads:
Ethan will never be as cool as his twin brother Alex. Alex is a star football player and president of the senior class, while Ethan was born with cerebral palsy and needs crutches to walk. Laura will never be as cool as her perfect older sister Nikki. Nikki is everything Laura isn't—confident and gorgeous... until one night when Nikki is brutally raped and hospitalized, and Laura finds comfort in her new friend Ethan. Together, Ethan and Laura realize maybe you don't need to be cool tobe happy. Orto fall in love. And then a revelation about the attack shatters everything..

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I see  her out of the  corner of  my eye. Elsie  Kahn. Elsie of Mr.  Watson’s chemistry class  fame, the  girl  who  (accidentally?)  set  her  homework  on  fire  with  the  flame  from  her  Bunsen  burner. She got about as red as I’d ever seen a person get as Mr. Watson chewed her out in front of the whole class.It seems like Elsie isn’t having a better day today. She’s running for the last of the school buses, but  the  driver  doesn’t  see  her,  and  it’s  obvious  this  is  going  to  be  a  major  fail.  Her  hair  is whipping  behind  her  head  and  her  cheeks  are  all  pink  with  exertion.  She’s  screaming, “ Wait! Wait!” It probably needs to be said about Elsie: she isn’t pretty. I’m not saying that in a mean way like my brother would, just in a factual way. She’s not. Her body is pretty nice, or at least it was the day of the chemistry fire, when she was wearing a maroon skirt that fell just above her knees and a  clingy  black  shirt.  And  she’s  got  nice  hair  too—strawberry  blond  and  silky.  But  it’s  obvious even from where I’m standing that Elsie had been born with a cleft lip, and it didn’t get repaired right. You can see where the pieces of her upper lip don’t quite come together evenly.So Elsie isn’t pretty. Big deal. The fact is, she’s something even better than pretty.She’s attainable.Owen comes out of the school at that moment, and I can see the pit stains on his shirt under his open  jacket. He apparently worked up quite the sweat running to five different classrooms. But the  good  news  is,  he’s  holding  his  Spanish  book  triumphantly  above  his  head. “ It  was  in  the bathroom!”  he declares.The  bathroom?  Are  you  kidding  me?  And  now  this  book  is  going  to  be  in my  car?  Lucky  for him, I’ve got other things on my mind.“ Hey...”  I nudge Owen. “ Elsie missed her bus. Maybe we should offer her a ride home.” Owen looks up in Elsie’s direction. He makes a face like he’s not thrilled about the idea, but then shrugs and sprints  for the car. “ I guess so. But she has to sit  in the back.”  Did I  mention Owen has already claimed eternal shotgun?I look over at Elsie, and all of a sudden, I’m really nervous. If Elsie says yes, she will be the first girl  to  ride  in  my  car,  with  the  exception  of  my  mom.  I try  not  to  drive  myself  crazy  with  the possibilities. I run my tongue over my teeth, because I don’t want there to be any spinach stuck in them (or whatever that green stuff was at lunch). Then I tighten my grip on the handles of my forearm crutches, and start limping awkwardly in Elsie’s direction.Elsie’s got her phone in her hand and she looks like she’s seconds away from bursting into tears. “ Elsie?”  I say.  And of course,  my  voice cracks,  like I’m  freaking thirteen  years old. I clear  my throat, hoping she didn’t notice.Elsie looks up in surprise. “ Yes?”
“ Uh...”  I can feel the heat in my face—I’m sure Elsie can see it too. I focus on getting the words out  and  not  on  how  silky  Elsie’s  hair  looks. “ I’ve  got  a  car,  so,  um,  if  you  need  a  ride  or something...” Elsie  is staring at  me, which  if  you ask  me,  is kind of bad manners. First she  stares at my  face, but  I’m  okay  with  that.  There’s  nothing  wrong  with  my  face.  All  right,  I’m  not,  like,  Mr. Handsome or anything like my brother, but I’m not a guy who walked into a wall either.Then  her  eyes  drop  and  she’s  looking  down  at  my  crutches  and  my  legs.  That  part  I’m  not thrilled about. I’ve got braces going up to the knee on the right and up to the hip on the left. Even with the braces, my left leg always seems to rotate inward so that my left foot points about forty-five degrees toward the right one. Elsie keeps on staring for what feels like five hours, but if I’m being honest, it’s probably more like fifteen seconds. Not that it makes much difference. It’s long enough, anyway.Elsie glances over at a group of girls standing nearby, watching us curiously. “ No, thanks,”  Elsie says, then she turns back to her phone.Rejected. Ouch.Elsie  turns  away  from  me,  letting  me  know  that  there’s  zero  point  in  trying  to  persuade  her. Yeah, as if I would. If Elsie doesn’t want to be in a car with me, then I’m not going to beg. Let her find her own goddamn ride home at this hour. Good luck with that, Elsie.I make my way over to my car, where Owen is waiting. He’s leaning against the hood, probably making a huge dent in it. “ So is she coming?” I dig  my keys out of  my pocket and shrug  like I  couldn’t care less. “ She  found another ride,” I say.

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