SST: This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup

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Synopsis (GR):
High-school radio host Jasmine Torres’s life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health–not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

“Seriously,” he says quietly. “Why?”

            “Why what?” I dig in my bag for the water bottle that caused me to lose my balance in the first place. My mouth is all Sahara desert and besides, I don’t want to talk about it.

His hand on my arm stops my rustling and when I look up he’s still staring at me.

“Come on,” he says. “Let me take you on a non non-date.”

            “No.” Screw the water. This whole thing was a mistake. I’m not ready for this. I zip my bag and push around him. The trail levels out and I pick up speed. His footsteps soon fall in step with mine, beside me. Infuriating.

            “What if it’s a really bad date?”


            “If I make it terrible, it will hardly count as a date at all, really.”

            I walk faster.

            “You can pay for yourself! Hell, you can even pay for me, if you want. It will be the non datiest date ever.”

            I shake my head.

            “What restaurant do you hate? I’ll take you there.”

            My lips betray me by twitching into a smile. Thankfully he’s behind me and can’t see.

            “We’ll even sit at different tables. You can pretend you don’t know me.”

            Giggles start to bubble up my throat, like some elementary school volcano science project.

            “You just don’t give up, do you?” I say, out of breath. I turn around with my hands on my hips.

            He trots up beside me, all smiling and disheveled from our trek and, thanks to me, tumble on the trail.

“I’m feeling a little hopeful,” he says. “Is that what I should be feeling?”

            I start down the trail again, more slowly this time. “I’m not going out to dinner,” I say.

            “Breakfast? Lunch?”

            “No. A meal is definitely a date. And don’t even think about suggesting a movie.”

            He hands me his canteen and I stop to drink the cool water. Instant relief. Never mind that my lips are touching where his lips just were.

            “Next weekend,” he says. “How about Saturday? I’ll come up with the worst plan ever. I promise.”

About the Author:
Award-winning author Jennifer Walkup is most often found writing, reading, and spending time with her husband and young sons. A member of SCBWI and RWA, Jennifer also works as an editor and creative writing instructor, and is an advocate for Epilepsy awareness. This Ordinary Life is her second novel.

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