Light as a Feather by Zoe Aarsen

Light as a Feather

byZoe Aarsen

Paperback | November 6, 2018

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Riverdale meets Final Destination in this fast-paced and deliciously creepy novel about an innocent game that turns deadly at a high school sleepover.

It was supposed to be a game…

Junior year is shaping up to be the best of McKenna Brady’s life. After a transformative summer, McKenna is welcomed into the elite group of popular girls at Weeping Willow High, led by the gorgeous Olivia Richmond. For the first time in a long time, things are looking up.

But everything changes the night of Olivia’s Sweet Sixteen sleepover. Violet, the mysterious new girl in town, suggests the girls play a game during which Violet makes up elaborate, creepily specific stories about the violent ways the friends will die. Though it unsettles McKenna, it all seems harmless at the time.

Until a week later, when Olivia dies…exactly as Violet predicted.

As Violet rises to popularity and steps into the life Olivia left unfinished, McKenna becomes convinced Olivia’s death wasn’t just a coincidence, especially when a ghost haunting her bedroom keeps leaving clues that point to Violet. With the help of her cute neighbor, Trey, McKenna pledges to get to the bottom of Violet’s secrets and true intentions before it’s too late. Because it’s only a matter of time before more lives are lost.
Title:Light as a FeatherFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:384 pages, 8.25 X 5.5 X 0.8 inShipping dimensions:384 pages, 8.25 X 5.5 X 0.8 inPublished:November 6, 2018Publisher:Simon PulseLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1534446036

ISBN - 13:9781534446038

Appropriate for ages: 14

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Read from the Book

Light as a Feather CHAPTER 1 UM, HELLO. YOU DID NOT mention that Henry would be home this weekend,” Candace said, interrupting Olivia’s sidewalk monologue about her pursuit of the perfect dress for the Fall Fling. The search had begun over the summer. Olivia could picture it in her head, and after having heard her detailed description twice during our after-school trip to the mall, we could all picture it in vivid detail too. The dream dress was the color of vanilla buttercream frosting, not so yellow as to be summery, less formal than a homecoming gown, and not so white as to be bridelike. Ecru would do, or eggshell, or any pale variation on white that would show off Olivia’s glamorous tan, obtained by rowing each morning at summer camp in Canada. Even my daily runs in Florida beneath the blazing sun hadn’t rewarded me with a tan as dark as Olivia’s. We were walking to the Richmonds’ house from the bus stop a few blocks away. Our plan was to sleep over at Olivia’s house that night to celebrate her birthday, and the straps of my overnight bag, which I’d carried with me to school that day and afterward to the mall, dug into my shoulder. It was the first week of September, and although I’d known Olivia, Mischa, and Candace my entire life, I’d only been hanging out with them since the beginning of the semester. There was no way I would have been invited to any of their birthday parties during our freshman or sophomore years, and I was highly aware that my admission into their group and consequential new popularity was due to the complete transformation I’d undergone over the summer. Just as I was still getting used to boys who’d never looked at me before suddenly checking me out, I was still getting to know my new circle of friends. Olivia was the last among us to turn sixteen, but none of us had our own wheels yet that September. Mischa shared a car with her older sister, who seemed to always have custody of it. Candace’s divorced parents were denying her access to wheels until she picked up her grades when report cards were released at the end of the semester, one of the few things upon which they agreed. Taking the bus home from the mall was hardly desirable, but it was less nerdish than having a parent pick up all five of us in an SUV curbside outside Nordstrom. We were in high spirits that afternoon after having slurped down sugary lattes at the mall, dropping our parents’ money on earrings and paperback novels just to have purchased something to carry back to Olivia’s house. Leaving the mall empty-handed felt strange and wasteful. I had bought a pair of chandelier earrings I thought might be cool for the Fall Fling, if any boy were to ask me within the next week. Olivia looked down the block toward her house, where Candace’s eyes had spotted Henry’s blue pickup truck in the driveway. Olivia’s angelic button nose wrinkled, and she put one hand on her hip as if objecting to her older brother’s presence within the three-story house. “Ugh. I didn’t know he’d be here,” Olivia replied. “Who’s Henry?” Violet Simmons was new in town. Only a girl who had moved to Willow over the summer could be ignorant of Henry Richmond’s identity. “My brother,” Olivia informed her with disgust. “Her totally hot brother,” Candace added. Candace had a big chest and a loud mouth. Her last name was Cotton, which was abundant reason for every kid in class to crack up whenever a substitute teacher read roll call in homeroom and announced her name as Cotton, Candy. She wasn’t as pretty as Olivia, but from a distance if you kind of squinted at her when the sun was shining in just the right way, you might believe it if she told you she was a runway model. During my two weeks as an inductee into Olivia’s popular circle, I had been endlessly amused by Candace’s gravel-voiced musings and observations. Candace suspected that Mr. Tyrrell, the biology teacher, was probably a good kisser. She had been suspended from school for three days at the tail end of our sophomore year, back when I was still the old version of McKenna, for getting caught by Coach Highland under the bleachers during gym class with Isaac Johnston. Candace said exactly what she thought, and even though she was hilarious, I was a little terrified of her. It was likely that Candace thought about nothing but fooling around with boys, every second of every day. “You are so gross, Candace.” Olivia rolled her eyes. But Candace wasn’t alone in thinking Henry was hot. I’d had a crush on Henry Richmond since just about the second grade, way back when it was still the custom in our small town to invite every kid in your elementary school class to your birthday party. Henry was two years older than Olivia and had just started college at Northwestern. He was majoring in sociology with the goal of getting into law school after undergrad. I only knew all this because I had practically committed every single photograph and mention of him in my yearbook to memory. Last year, it was likely that Henry had never even noticed me any of the times our paths had crossed in the hallway at school, when he was a graduating senior, already accepted at Northwestern with a generous scholarship, and I was an unremarkable sophomore. It was just as likely that if he had noticed me, he never would have remembered me as a chubby-cheeked second grader sitting at his parents’ dining room table, singing “Happy Birthday” in the dark to Olivia when she turned eight. “I think it’s sweet! He came home for your birthday,” Mischa said. Mischa was the complete physical opposite of Candace. Mischa was petite and nimble, the school’s star gymnast, with perfectly straight, thick brown hair that hung down her back to her waist, heavy and glossy. She was sharp-tongued and chose her words carefully, but in our two weeks of fast friendship I had gotten the distinct feeling that there was always a storm of thought going on behind her eyes. “He did not come home for my birthday,” Olivia corrected Mischa. “He’s probably home because of his stupid foot.” Henry had been on the school’s tennis team, bringing Willow High School its only state title in tennis in over twenty years. He had played most of his senior-year season on a stress fracture in his fifth metatarsal, and only after he won the championship in Madison did he go to the doctor and start hobbling around the high school in a soft cast. At graduation, he crossed the stage on crutches and Principal Nylander slapped him proudly on the back. I only knew this because I’d been at graduation, even as a lowly tenth grader, as part of the color guard team. I’d held my huge white flag throughout the entire commencement exercise in the hot June sun, watching Henry Richmond, a little in awe of his height, his auburn hair, his twinkling green eyes. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t pretty excited about Henry’s presence in the Richmond household the night of Olivia’s slumber party. As we approached the house, where we’d be setting up camp in Olivia’s carpeted basement for the night, my heart actually began to flutter at the prospect of catching a glimpse of Henry. Of having a chance to peek into his bedroom. As we marched across the Richmonds’ front lawn, all carrying our shopping bags from our mall excursion in addition to our backpacks, the glass storm door of the house opened and Henry stepped out onto the Richmonds’ front porch. “Well, look who’s finally home! It’s the birthday girl,” Henry called out to us. The keys to his truck dangled from his index finger. “Why are you back, nerd?” Olivia asked him, thwacking him with the backpack she pulled off her shoulder. He deflected it expertly, accustomed to their lifetime together of play fights. “I wouldn’t have missed your little princess party for the world,” Henry teased, looking us over. I felt color and heat rising in my cheeks under his gaze as he reviewed us, a collection of the prettiest sixteen-year-old girls Willow High School had to offer. Surely he knew Candace and Mischa from their years of friendship with Olivia. He was probably, at that very moment, realizing that one familiar face was missing from his sister’s gaggle of giggling friends: Emily Morris, the redhead with the big pout, had moved to Chicago over the summer. “Yeah, right.” Olivia smirked. “So, where’s my present?” “My presence is your present,” Henry joked. “And besides, your birthday is tomorrow. So even if I had brought you back something really cool from campus, you’d have to wait until the morning to find out.” I thought about the silver earrings in the shape of ribbons that I had brought with me, wrapped and tucked away in my backpack to give to Olivia in the morning as a gift. I’d spent the majority of the money I’d gotten from my grandparents and relatives for my own birthday on them. “Meanie.” Olivia replied. “Henry, you already know Mischa and Candace. This is Violet, and McKenna,” Olivia said, nodding her head at each of us as she made our introductions. “McKenna,” Henry said, r