Tuesday, October 14, 2014

RELEASE DAY: Lesley Downie "Tunnels"

Katherine Goldstein, the sleuth of all sleuths living in Citrus Grove, has uncovered amazing finds from the past. Join Kat and her friends as she delves into another mystery surrounding her city. Will she uncover the truth? Will Kat finally get the chance to talk to her crush? As you turn the pages of Tunnels, be ready for adventure, intrigue, and a fun, all-around story written for children. A very ‘tween type book, but fun to read as an adult as well. This would make a great family read-aloud. -Pamela Bunch, Youth Services Librarian, A.K. Smiley Public Library
Lesley Downie divides her time between writing, work, and family in Redlands, California, the very place where her current story began so long ago when she was a kid running over and under the historical streets of her hometown. Tunnels is Lesley’s second novel.
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Chapter One
Bet I can beat you for most embarrassing moment. I'm living it right now and no, it doesn't involve a toilet paper tail stuck to the bottom of my shoe while walking down the hallway at school. Instead, four firemen (why can't they be ugly?) just yanked me out of a sewer hole and were staring at me like I was insane. But it wasn't the three super old twenty-somethings who made me want to die. It was the one on the end who made me squirm and doubt whether I should give them my real name.
Because I absolutely knew who he was. My crush. David Perkins, a whole grade older than me and the cutest guy in the seventh grade class, let alone all of Crossley Prep. Only he could take my mind off of my Life's Mission. But more on that later—just as soon as Mr. Perfect, the guy most unlikely to be my first boyfriend, isn't right in front of me. I stared up at him. His junior fireman-in-training badge glimmered in the sun.
Sigh. He was never going to think of me that way. Instead his eyes said, This girl's psycho for sure. And clearing up the crazy question was most def out. That would mean I'd have to tell him the real reason I'd ended up six feet below street level. Rule number one about a top-secret investigation: keep your mouth shut and look nuts if you have to. Definitely had an A+ in that department.
"Hey," David breaks the stare-down. "I know you from somewhere?"
But before I could answer, one of them plops this box in front of me and pulls out some pretty official doctor-y stuff from it. The others began talking to each other because apparently I've worn out their interest. Except David. He's still staring like I'm some hot new…circus act.
"Okay, Katherine, is it?" the guy asks, practically choking me with this ugly collar thingy. "I'm Matt. Hold still while I get your vitals. We need to monitor you to make sure you aren't in shock."
The padded collar was tight and I couldn't move, which I guess was the point. I pushed my hair out of my eyes. My curls were super annoying, bouncing around like everything was great.
"But I'm fine!" I finally said. "I don't need you to monitor anything." And I was. I'd taken CPR two years in a row so I could be a junior lifeguard. I was breathing, my heart was beating, so back up, fella. But no one was listening to me. Instead they were all jokey-jokey with each other. I mean, excuse me for not being closer to death.
"Fine, huh?" Matt said. "Let me be the judge of that, Red." He tousled my curls like I was a cocker spaniel. Or maybe I should say like a puli, because I'm the human equivalent with my big, fat, red cigar curls. You know those dogs that run around looking like an old-fashioned mop? Cute hair on a puli, not so cute on an almost-twelve-year-old girl like myself. David laughed and his eyes got all squinty, but in a cute way. Too bad he was laughing at me, not with me.
Then I overheard some official fire-chief-guy (thought they only wore those big red hats in the movies) say, "Yes, Mrs. Goldstein, we're at the scene right now. Your daughter's okay and you can meet us over at Citrus Grove Community."
Crud. The rest of my day was about to become epically messed up. Solitary confinement once the Unit (Unit = Mom = the General) gets ahold of me. I know there'll be mounds of dishes to wash and toilets to scrub. She'll never understand I had a good reason for doing what I did. I mean, what would you rather do? Study for a stupid math test or carry out your Life's Mission, aka hunting for secret tunnels? Talk about total unleashing of parental ridiculousity—made up words are sometimes the best words—on me. Did I mention yet that being in sixth grade has serious drawbacks?
But wait. What if I seemed more hurt? Would I still be grounded for life? I started second-guessing my injuries. Was that a muscle spasm in my back?

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