Chapter One

“You’ve got two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you talk,” is Sister Mary Michael’s favorite thing to say. Only Ash Collins got enough mouth for four people and ears so small she don’t ever hear nothing you say unless it’s got her name in it.

Now ain’t no different, the way Ash got her jaw moving the same time Sister’s up there chalking the board with her crazy maths. Ash don’t get how she just rude, but when she gets to telling a story ain’t nothing short of the sun going out gonna keep her from finishing. So I ain’t surprised at all when Sister Mary Michael stops her figuring long enough to turn and chuck that chalk right at Ash. What I am surprised by is how it don’t get swallowed up by all that mouth, but it don’t. It just bounces off Billy Gilbert’s in-the-way shoulder onto the floor. Ash knows what’s going on, too, only she’s deep into it, that story about how her and some college fool whose name she don’t even know was out behind the Big Boy last night when her old man pulled up to the drive thru. Nearly run the boy down when he saw them like that.

Of course, Ash smooth-talked her way out of getting switched. That’s what a jabber-jaw like her is best at, talking you outta something or into something before you even know it. Like the way she snared me into giving my word at lunch. I mean, I go to that used book store down on Elm and Gray every Saturday to swap out books. So what reason I got to go in there and come out again with something I ain’t even swapped for?

Be damned, though, if she didn’t sidewind me right in front of everybody into saying I would.

(excerpt from YA Novel Lyric Jones)