Amelia MacDonald liked her life.

Her parents were both teachers, which most kids would find annoying, but Amelia liked it just fine. Sure, her family was quirky -- with her 'Da' being Scottish and a bit on the Geek Chic side -- and her mom was actually fun to hang out with -- but that was the way she liked it.

Then everything changed. Fast.

Her mom died, her family broke. If that wasn't bad enough, the university where her father taught literally shut down without enough students to keep it open. Everything she thought her senior year -- her life -- would be just disappeared.

Now, she and Da are trying to rebuild their lives with only two-thirds of their family. She's in a new school where quirky isn't cool, and it's even more uncool when your father is the new English teacher and he's unlike any teacher any kid at this school has ever seen.

She could try to be like everyone else, try to blend in as best as any 'new kid' can, but that's not Amelia.

Taking a stand makes her plenty of enemies, but by Christmas her senior year, she's also made the kinds of friends who will last her a lifetime. They all live in the Land of Misfit Teens, but at least they live there together.

EXCERPT

"Advanced Mathematics, my butt," Amelia mumbled under her breath as she wandered the halls. "That was Algebra II, I did that freshmen year. I should be in Statistics. Now where the crap is my locker?" The hallway was just about empty. A student here or there but not like the main hallways. "Good thing, Amelia. They see you talking to yourself and you'll really make friends fast."

The hallway felt almost abandoned, creepy. She heard the noise of the main hallways, but was intrigued because not many were in this part of the school. She looked at the numbers on the lockers. They where getting close to the number on the paper with her classes on it.

 

"Aha!" she yelled as she found it. She opened the locker and put her math book in it. She was not carrying it around. Heck, even opening it would be unlikely. She'd mastered this class three years ago, thanks to her math teacher mother. She sighed. "This is going to be a long school year."

 

She slammed shut the locker door, and in the silence, she caught music drifting in the air. Violin music. Amelia picked up her bag and stood there absorbing the sound. It sounded like something her mother would play in the car, intricate and delicate. She hitched the bag on her shoulder and walked around the hall, hoping to find the source of music. It was melodic, but slightly creepy sounding, like some music you would hear in the background of a horror movie. The music got louder as she headed further down the hall. She reached a green door with chipped paint, and put her ear against it to hear if it was the room where the music played. It was.

The door creaked as she opened it. The person standing in the room paid no attention to her and kept playing, back facing her. Amelia looked around the room. It was a music room. Stands where toppled over and chairs were arranged in a lopsided shape of an arch, like students had left in a hurry. Amelia was never in band, but she had a few friends at her old school who always complained about the conductor letting them out late and they had to rush to class. Maybe that happened everywhere.

 

Amelia walked around the room, trying not to distract the boy playing. He was good. Really good. She wanted to see who he was. She came around in front of him, and stood silent while he played. His eyes where closed. He had the typical short haircut for boys but his hair was the same color as hers, brown, his head tilted into the chin pad of the violin. The only person Amelia had ever really watched play music was her mother when she played the piano. He mom would just let the music flow out of her, she said, she would feel it. Amelia watched as the boy standing in front of her did the same thing.

 

He stopped, finishing the piece. Amelia thought it looked like he was letting the last note, rest inside him. Her mom would say that when she finished a song. It was giving respect to the song. Then he looked at her. He looked confused, like maybe he hadn't noticed she came into the room. Amelia spoke first.

 

"That was really good. But do you know anything with a little more kick?"

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