JENNY HAN meets POET X. Memphis. Summer. Jupiter Ray is a poet, carting around ignored wounds of losing her father too soon. Orion is the star athlete his father pushed him to be and a hopeless romantic, virgin, terrified to talk to girls. Being with Ray is the safest Orion's ever felt. And Ray’s starting to believe love might actually be worth the risk... Until she pieces together the truth about her father's death. A truth her own mother kept from her. A truth Orion knew. Ray must face the past that's been controlling her future, while Orion fights to ensure love wins.
Just once I’d like today to be about the day I was born, not the day my father died.
I pretend not to hear her the first time Momma calls my name. I know she’s standing at the foot of the stairs, but I wait for her to say it twice before I shuffle onto the porch of the treehouse. She knows not to come up to my art space uninvited. I keep my headphones on, on purpose. My own way of exercising some measure of control over my life today, of all days.
She smiles at the sight of me, which has the annoying effect of making me smile back. She taps her ear. I take the hint, but make a show of stopping my Walkman and slipping my headphones off.
“Hey, little girl.”
“Hey, momma.” There is just enough edge in my voice to not be disrespectful, yet still let her know I’m peeved.
“Happy Birthday, baby.” She holds up my favorite tumbler, purple with pink stars, filled with fresh-squeezed lemonade.
“Thanks. One second.” It’s easiest to take the treehouse stairs down backward. I take the mug from her and she kisses my cheek.