Aisha didn’t know why her childhood crush, Brian, asked her to homecoming—they haven’t spoken in years. Still, she puts on the dress, abandoning her plans to focus on her Stanford application for one night, and sets out for the dance. But when Brian stands her up, Aisha decides she’s done playing it safe—jumping into the first car she sees. After Aisha confides in the car’s driver, Quentin, they strike a deal. If Aisha helps Quentin pass math, he’ll help Aisha complete her wishlist of things that’ll make senior year soar—and maybe even get to the bottom of why she was stand-upable. Between adventures with Quentin, pursuing Brian, and applying to Stanford, Aisha feels unstoppable. That is, until she realizes that her wishlist might be full of all the wrong things…
There’s no Colonel-Mustard-did-it-in-the-study-with-a-candlestick way to summarize Brian’s crimes, but I’ll try.
Brian Wen and I used to be best friends. We spent summers catching fireflies in mason jars (and releasing them, after a scolding from Pa to respect all atmas on earth). There aren’t many Asian families in Arledge, so ours stuck together like Mrs. Wen’s sticky rice cakes. She tweezed the sesame seeds into a smiley, and Pa sent foil-coated burfi that beamed back.
Then, Mrs. Wen rose in the ranks at a local car company. Brian’s family moved out of our quaint neighborhood. Along with the sticky rice cakes, Brian stopped smiling at me.
He stopped being my friend.
Now, we’re two desks away in A.P. Literature, but Brian is oceans away. He’s docked on I’m-Rich-Slash-Hot Island, and I mean hot. For reference, I ordinarily reserve hot for Michigan summers, tea, and pockets.
Right then, Ms. Kavnick uncaps her expo marker with the gusto of unsheathing a sword. Before she addresses the class, Brian’s hand shoots up.