"Leila's quest to find the Northern
Lights takes readers on a captivating cross-country journey, where four
strangers' adventures collide into one riveting tale of finding yourself." ―YABooksCentral.com
“This will likely be a popular summer
hit, especially for older teen about to embark on their own journeys of
HUDSON COULD HEAR the car’s engine from blocks away. He stepped outside the garage and closed his eyes, listening, picking apart the sounds so that he would know exactly what he’d have to fix before he even popped the hood.
Standing there against the garage, listening to the still-far-off car, Hudson could forget about everything else. About school and girls and his future and whether his friends were actually jackasses or just acting like them. With his eyes closed, Hudson could reduce the world to a single engine and nothing more; a world where he could not only name every little part but knew what it was for, how it worked, how to fix it.
He opened his eyes when he heard the car’s brakes chirp as it slowed to turn into the garage. It was an old Plymouth Acclaim, the kind of car you either happily sent off to die or loved with your entire heart and refused to let go of. It had seen better days, its red paint job chipped and faded, its muffler not doing much muffling. He waved the driver forward to where he was standing. He was still identifying the car’s problems when the girl killed the engine and climbed out.
He only allowed himself a quick glance at her, knowing as soon as he saw her that she was the kind of girl who could make you think your life was not complete unless she was in it. She was a jumble of contradictions: short but with long legs, fierce green eyes but a kind expression, baby-faced but wise. She was wearing a snug, plain red T-shirt that matched her car. Her hair was down, the black locks reaching just past her chin.
“Afternoon,” she said, offering a polite smile.
He replied in kind, trying to adopt the professional tone he used with most customers. He asked her to pop the hood and then walked to the front of the car to release the latch. He meant to bury himself in work right away, but against instinct he stole another glance. How long would the memory of her face haunt him? Days? Weeks? “You having trouble with anything specific?”
“Well, not really,” she said, slipping her hands into the back pockets of her shorts, which made her posture change in a way Hudson couldn’t help but notice. The quiet world outside the garage noticed the change in her posture, the damp Mississippi air noticed, even the various grease stains spread out on the garage floor noticed. “I just got started on a road trip, and it’s making a lot of noise, so I wanted to be sure it’s in shape.”
Hudson grabbed a clean rag off a nearby shelf and checked the oil and the transmission fluid. He liked working in relative silence, nothing but the subtle sound of the cooling engine, his hands and tools on the machine. Something about this girl, though, made him chatty. “Where you goin’?”
“North,” she said. “All the way north.”
“You from around here?” He suddenly felt self-conscious about his drawl, the hitch in his vowels, the overall lackluster quality of his presence.
He chuckled as he ran his hands around the engine, checking for cracks in belts. “Born and raised.”