"What are you doing Ryan?" Mum asked, glancing over to where I sat at the kitchen table.
I covered my work with my arm. "Nothing," I said.
"Is that homework?"she pestered. "That better be homework. Mrs Penman wasn't very happy with your homework last term."
"She's just one teacher. I have lots of teachers... and Mrs Penman doesn't like me."
"So what did you do to make her not like you?" Mum said, standing at the kitchen bench, squeezing the last home-made muffin into an old ice cream container.
"Nothing. She just doesn't like me," I repeated.
"You must have done something, Ryan." I could feel her looking over my shoulder. "So is this for her?"...
"I found myself standing outside Mallory's bedroom. The last door on the upstairs hallway. I'd seen those forensic crime shows on television. I know what dead people look like. In the beginning I'd imagined Mallory, pale, lying in long grass, her eyes closed. Just her face because I didn't want to see beyond it. But I couldn't do it any more. Mum kept telling me she was still alive somewhere. And one day she'd come home and we'd be a happy family again but that was one big fat stupid lie. Mum could tell it to herself but I'd stopped believing it ages ago."
Playing second fiddle to a 'missing, presumed dead' sister is soul-sucking for fifteen year old Ryan. There's no way he can ever compare with a perfect girl who's captured forever in one moment of time.
But as Ryan tries to move on with his life he begins to appreciate just how difficult growing up can be for a fifteen year old boy who just wants to hang out with his mates, and take his date to the school dance.
And now there's a stranger watching him. Will his family ever be whole again? Or did Mallory light the fuse that will blow it apart forever ...
|choose your story experience|
|P for play, E for ebook,
A for audio, R for read
Melinda writes picture books, short stories and novels for children and young adults. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Melinda loved books from an early age and soon realised she wanted to write stories just like the ones she most liked to read. However, she didn't know any writers and thought stories were only crafted by people living far away in other countries.
Melinda worked washing dishes, picking tomatoes, tending grape vines and spent a lot of time as a student studying Zoology (animals) and then English (books). After realising the world of management and administration where she'd ended up after university wasn't for her, Melinda stopped work, started a family and scribbled away on stories, practicing until she started to get them right.
Writing children's fiction for the last ten or so years, she won the Children's Choice Award at the 2009 NZ Post Children's Book Awards with her picture book The Were-Nana. This book is also a Storylines Notable book for 2009 and was short listed for the 2010 Sakura Medal. She completed her first junior novel during a mentorship, with Jack the Viking being published in 2008. Melinda has several new books coming out in the near future ranging from picture books to her first teen/YA novel, psychological thriller The Half-Life of Ryan Davis.
When she is not writing Melinda likes to keep fit walking and cycling and meeting friends for coffee. Hobbies include thinking, baking (especially with chocolate), going to the movies, and travelling to fun places with her family. She has three teenage children, a dog, a cat and a husband and lives in Mt Eden, Auckland, with a view of the mountain from her bedroom window. She is still a student (part time) and reading still is, and will always be, a passion.