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Partyby Tom Leveen
Synopses & Reviews
I’m the girl nobody knows until she commits suicide. Then suddenly everyone had a class with her.
You know the one I mean.
You don’t pick on her, because you don’t know she’s there, not really. She sits behind you in chemistry, or across the room in Spanish. You’ve seen her naked in the locker room after physical education—a contradiction in terms if ever there was one—but you don’t know what color her eyes are. What her name is.
What grade she’s in.
She’s always been there, like the gum under your desk in math class. And when you do bother to explore under there with your fingers, the first thing you do upon contact is jerk back and say, Ew And when that girl leaves, it doesn’t matter, there’s another one ready to take her place.
To be That Girl Who.
That Girl Who always reads comic books in the library during her free period or lunch. That Girl Who wears the long, flowy dresses and Rastafarian tam and peasant tops—except for that month freshman year when she wore a Tony Hawk T-shirt after seeing an absolutely spectacular X Games in San Diego with her best friend and her family. That Girl Who smiled at you once and who you maybe meant to smile back at, but couldn’t find the time because you just got a text from a friend you were going to talk to three minutes later in the hall.
It’s no big.
Girls like that are like that by choice. One way or another, we choose to blend in, keep our heads down, not cause a scene. Our individual reasons might vary a little from girl to girl, but the result is the same.
We avoid all the high school BS because the fact is, there are a lot bigger things going on outside those halls. Things that no one else knows about.
Like the girl who never participates in class? Goes to games or plays or dances or pep rallies? Or talks to anyone? Truth is, she doesn’t have time. She has to—had to—get home to take care of her sick mother. No one knows she’s living by herself now because her dad took off years ago and never exactly left a forwarding address, and she’s scared that someday the school will find out and make her go into a foster home. That soon the money is going to run out, which means she’ll have to drop out of school and work for minimum wage to try to pay rent. That her junior year in high school will have been her last.
These are the things no one else knows about.
Things no one else knows about me.
I miss my mom.
If she hadn’t added my name to our little—stress little—bank account in January, the month before she died, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I was sixteen by then and managed to take care of all the “arrangements,” as the funeral director called it. I had her cremated and spread her ashes on Shoreline Beach and in the Pacific. That’s what she would have wanted. There was no service, no funeral, no piles of ass-casseroles in the fridge brought by suitably sorrowful relatives and friends.
My mom was not like me. She was lively. “Free-spirited,” my father would call her, while secretly screwing a viola player fr
Attending a crowded, beer-addled, end-of-school-year party in Santa Barbara, 11 youths approach the evening harboring disparate agendas and perspectives that collide in unexpected ways. A first novel.
As eleven different high school students recount, in their own voices, events before, during, and after the same end-of-year party, the stories intersect and combine in unexpected ways.
About the Author
Tom Leveen is the artistic director and a co-founder of Chyro Arts Venue, an all-ages nonprofit visual and performing venue in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has been involved in theater since 1988, directing over 30 plays. He frequently works with young adults at Chyro's various events including theater, visual art exhibits, and especially the live music scene. Tom is an Arizona native, where he lives with his wife, Joy. Party is his first novel.
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