Reaper by L.S. Murphy
Paperback, 212 pages
Published January 7th 2013 by J. Taylor Publshing
There’s no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.
She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.
It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.
Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.
Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic.
Maybe … just maybe … that’s okay.
It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.
A spitball stops in mid-air less than an inch from my nose.
It hangs there. I assume everyone else notices the wet wad of paper too, but when I turn to my bestie Jordan, her mouth is stuck open with her eyes half closed.
She was just laughing. Now she’s ... frozen?
The sudden silence is louder than a room full of gossiping teenagers.
Mini-quakes creep up my spine like a centipede hurrying toward my hair.
I’m not entirely sure my heart is beating. I wave my shaking hand in front of Jordan, hoping this will break her free of whatever happened.
Why am I moving?
So many times, I wished Jordan would stop talking. Now is the one time I need her high-pitched voice to pierce my ears.
Quin, relax. It’s okay. No way this is real. I pinch my arm hard, but it doesn’t change anything.
A loud pop makes me spin around in my seat. A man stands in front of the chalkboard in a bluish-white robe staring at me through blizzard white eyes. He holds a staff in front of him that looks like melting glass.
“Hello, Quincy,” he says in a deep velvet voice. “How would you like to see your future?”
I stand and stumble toward the back of the room. “Who are you supposed to be? Gandalf?” I’m unable to keep the tremor out of my voice.
“One person dresses up like me in a movie, and that’s all I hear.” He leans back on Mr. Spragg’s desk. “I’m far more attractive than him and so much more fun.” He winks and lifts his robe, revealing a pair of yellow and red striped Bermuda shorts and orange flip-flops.
My eyes pop wider at the mismatched mess, but I keep my thoughts about his sense of fashion to myself. “Who are you?”
His sigh echoes off the walls. “I’m Destiny.”
Rolling his eyes, he raises the staff high to his left. Like a swordsman, he stabs and swooshes it down in an arch. The air ripples as a dark slit opens. A man in a deep brown pinstripe suit steps through. His cheap sneakers don’t match the formality of the tan fedora and horn-rimmed glasses.
A pony-sized white German shepherd saunters in behind him, and I take an automatic step back. The dog turns his head, black orbs where its eyes should be.
Pinstripe man glances my way before turning toward the person who calls himself Destiny. His features contort and a maroon tint creeps over his face.
“What the f—”
Destiny flips his finger and the new guy shuts up. After a moment, he does another finger move.
“We said when she was eighteen, Des.”
“I’m aware of that, Forsyth.”
“She’s not eighteen.”
“Really? I never would have guessed.” Sarcasm fills each word as Destiny raises his eyebrows like a flag on the Fourth of July.
Forsyth glares. “Then why am I here?”
“I let you pick the date, but I never agreed to honor it.” Destiny pats the dog on the head with sneer and wipes his hands on his robe. “Now is the time. Teach her.”
Q & A with Quincy Amarante
Hi Quincy. Thanks for stopping by for a little chat. I promise the next ten questions will be harmless.
Thanks for having me. Although, harmless questions don’t exist.
Why do you say that?
*rolls eyes* Because you may not like the answers. Duh.
Ooookay. We’ll keep it simple then. Do you have a nickname?
Most people call me Quin. Other than Ben, nobody calls me anything other than that. *blushes* Ben’s called me Q-Tip for as long as I can remember.
That’s sweet. Where did he come up with that?
Let’s just call it a bad hair day and leave it at that.
Moving on then. What’s your dream job?
Attorney. Follow in my grandfather’s and father’s footsteps, you know.
Do you like to argue?
Ha! Who doesn’t? Arguing is so easy. You can get what you want just by twisting someone else words back on them. Yeah, I love to argue.
Why do you let Jordan change the radio station in your car?
Look, Jordan has to be up on everything hip. She can’t fake it like I can. She doesn’t know how to pretend like she cares. She has to force herself to care about things like popular music or what’s fashionable and why. So, I let her change the radio station. She can’t NOT like what everyone else likes. She doesn’t know how.
*crosses arms* What do you think?
Alrighty then. If you were stranded on –
Don’t. *waves hand in front of my face* Not that question. I’ve answered it somewhere else. Just… No.
Fine. List of Favorites it is. What’s your favorite book?
A Wrinkle in Time. *smirks*
Death Becomes Her.
Favorite style of car?
Ford Mustang. I love my stang.
*blushes* I’m not answering that one. It’s way to personal.
Hold up. That’s number thirteen. You said ten.
Yes, I guess I did. One more though?
*nods* Yeah okay.
*grins* Lucky number thirteen of course.
Thanks for stopping --- *looks around* Where’d she go?
About the author:
L.S. Murphy lives in the Greater St. Louis area where she watches Cardinals baseball, reads every book she can find, and weaves tales for teens and adults. When not doing all of the above, she tends to The Bean (aka her daughter), her husband and a menagerie of pets. “A Reason to Stay”, a contemporary romance novella, is available as of November 2, 2012. Reaper is her debut young adult novel and will be released on January 7th, 2013.
She is a co-rep for the Southern Illinois region of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild.