The History of Hilary Hambrushina
Publication date: May 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Hilary has one goal for her first year in junior high: to become popular. But her plans are turned upside down when her best friend leaves for the summer and a quirky girl named Kallie moves in next door. Kallie paints constellations on her ceiling, sleeps in a hammock, and enacts fantastical plays in front of cute boys on the beach. Yet despite Kallie’s lack of interest in being -cool, – Hilary and Kallie find themselves becoming friends. That summer friendship, however, is put to the test when school begins, reigniting Hilary’s obsession with climbing the social ladder. As Hilary discovers the dark side to popularity, she must decide who she wants to be before she loses everything.
A Journey Prize nominee, Marnie Lamb earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Windsor. Her short stories have appeared in various Canadian literary journals. Her first novel, a YA book named The History of Hilary Hambrushina, is forthcoming from Iguana Books. When she is not writing fiction or running her freelance editing business, she can be found cooking recipes with eggplant or scouting out colourful fashions at the One of a Kind Show.
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After he dropped us off, we headed down to the beach. Kallie was carrying a big bag, and we were already in our costumes. The beach was getting crowded. Red striped umbrellas were planted in the sand, and potbellied old men dozed under their shade. Moms scrambled after squealing toddlers who were getting a little too close to the water. Several people were unpacking picnic baskets, and I smelt the mayonnaisey aroma of fresh potato salad, which made me hungry. The sooner we got this play over with, the better.
“O.K., now you remember what to say?” Kallie asked.
I rolled my eyes. She’d only gone over it a trillion times. “Yes.”
“Great.” To my surprise, she pulled two plastic swords out of the bag and handed one to me. “Here’s your sword. When you’re about to come to shore, just after you say your final line, raise it in the air in a show of boldness and courage.”
“What! You never told me about that!”
“Of course not. If I had, you wouldn’t have come.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but it was too late.
“And remember,” said Kallie in a low and urgent voice, “the orgs are on a reconnaissance mission. No one can find out about it. So try not to be too obvious.”
As we skulked towards the lake, I felt like I was on a reconnaissance mission, whatever that was. Kallie was crouched over, moving her arms like a mime trying to escape from a box, her sword sticking out from under her armpit. At one point, she stopped cold, gazing slowly all around her. As I waited for her to move, my feet sunk into the soft ground like it was quicksand. I poked her in the butt with my sword. “Come on, move it,” I whispered.
The crawl to the lake was painful, it seemed as if more eyes watched us by the second. Finally we arrived at the shoreline, and Kallie raced in, splashing up water. I followed at a more dignified pace.
When I reached Kallie, I stopped, and we both turned to face the shore. At least now the water hid our bulky clothes, and we wouldn’t have to wear them again on the beach. I noticed two good-looking guys laying down towels and grabbing Cokes from a cooler. Maybe this day won’t be so bad, I told myself.