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Original Essays | September 4, 2014

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The Six Rules of Maybe

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The Six Rules of Maybe Cover

 

 

Excerpt

andlt;bandgt;andlt;bandgt;Chapter Oneandlt;/bandgt;andlt;/bandgt;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;bandgt;Yandlt;/bandgt;ou could tell something was different about Juliet the moment she stepped out of that truck. She was wearing a yellow summer dress and her hair was pulled back so that you could see her cheekbones and her straight nose and the blazing eyes that used to make all the boys crazy in high school. I donand#8217;t know how to explain it, but she seemed smug in some way Iand#8217;d never seen before. Like she had this satisfying little secret. Like something had been decided by her and her alone. She held her head as if she were the period at the end of her own sentence.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;We knew Juliet was coming home; we just didnand#8217;t know sheand#8217;d be bringing someone else with her, or several someone elses, depending on how you counted. Haydenand#8217;s dog, Zeusand#8212;he was one of those people-like dogs; he listened hard and looked at you with knowing in his eyes, even if two minutes later heand#8217;d decide to zip around the living room, slightly crazed, ears pinned back, taking the corners around the furniture like he was in his own private race with lesser dogs.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;When the truck door slammed outside, Mom looked out the window and gave a little andlt;iandgt;Itand#8217;s her!andlt;/iandgt; squeal and we hurried outside. The afternoon was just right warmand#8212;a May day that could have been a role model for all May days, and the air smelled wet and grassy because Mrs. Saint George across the street had turned her sprinkler on. The truck was one of those old kinds with the big wide front that could slam into a tree and still come out smiling its chrome smile. Juliet stepped out and she was all sunbeams in that dress. She was wet grass, and summer, and sunbeams, same as that day was. The thing about sunbeams, though and#8230; Well, it might sound unkind. Youand#8217;ve got to know that I loved my sister very much even if our relationship was complicated (and, anyway, arenand#8217;t andlt;iandgt;loveandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;complicationsandlt;/iandgt; basically words partnered forever, like andlt;iandgt;saltandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;pepperandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;husbandandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;wifeandlt;/iandgt;?). But a straight shot of sun directed at a mirror can set things on fire. Juliet and I had learned this ourselves when we were kids one August day on the sidewalk in front of our house. When I was seven (and, honestly, nine and twelve and fourteen), Iand#8217;d have held that mirror toward the sun for days even if nothing had happened, just because sheand#8217;d told me to.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Mom ran across the lawn to hug Juliet like she hadnand#8217;t seen her in years even though it had only been five months since sheand#8217;d been home last, three since Mom and I had gone down to Portland, Oregon, where Juliet had gotten her big break singing four nights a week at the Fireside Room at the Grosvenor Hotel. When you saw her onstage in that sapphire gown, her head tilted back to show her long throat, smoke from some manand#8217;s cigarette circling around her like a thin wisp of fog in some old detective movie, youand#8217;d never have thought sheand#8217;d come from tiny Parrish Island. Tiny and andlt;iandgt;inconsequentialandlt;/iandgt; Parrish Island, where the only important visitors were the pods of Orca whales that came every summer. Youand#8217;d never have thought Juliet was a regular girl who had graduated from Parrish Island High School only the year before. Barely graduated, I might add, almost flunking Algebra II had it not been for the tutoring of her younger sister, thank you, although Mom would say Juliet had never been a regular girl.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The driverand#8217;s side door opened, and thatand#8217;s when Hayden got out. I thought he was having a nice stretch before he got back in and went home, a friend doing a friend-favor, maybe. He was about twenty-three or -four, tall, with easy, tousled brown hair. He wore Leviand#8217;s with a tucked-in white T-shirt, and his jeans had a big wet spot on the leg, spilled coffee was my guess, which he was blotting with napkins.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;And then he looked up at us. Or at me, because Mom didnand#8217;t even notice him. Usually I was the invisible one in any group, but he was invisible along with me then. Mom was clutching Juliet to her and then holding her away again so that Julietand#8217;s fiery eyes could meet Momand#8217;s blazing ones. So his eyes met only mine, and mine his, and right then my heart shifted, the way it does when something unexpected begins. There are those moments, probably few in a life, where andlt;iandgt;beforeandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;afterandlt;/iandgt; split off from each other forevermore in your mind. That was one of those moments, although I wouldnand#8217;t realize it for a long time afterward. I saw something very simple and clear there, in his eyesand#8212;that was the thing. Honesty. But with the kind of hope that was just this side of heartbreak.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;He smiled at me, went around to the back of the truck. I guess anyone would have noticed the way he looked in those jeans. Of course I did. In the open pickup bed there was a big dog waiting to be let out. He was the sort of large, energetic dog that made Mom nervous. A sudden dog, and Mom didnand#8217;t like sudden things. She mistrusted squirrels and birds and men and anything that had the capacity to surprise. If she ever got a dog, sheand#8217;d say, it was going to be one of those white and fluffy ones, like Ginger, the Martinellisand#8217; dog, who looked the same as the slippers Mrs. Martinelli wore when she went to get the mail. You could put a dog like that into your purse like a lipstick and take it anywhere you wanted it to go, like women did in New York or Paris. A lipstick with a heartbeat that might pee on your checkbook, in my opinion, but this was Momand#8217;s dream, not mine. I liked a dog you could lean against.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The dog jumped down and made a galloping leap toward Mom, and the guy in the Leviand#8217;s lunged for his collar and said, and#8220;Zeus!and#8221; in a way that was both emphatic and desperate. Zeus, it would turn out, was actually a very well-trained dogand#8212;heand#8217;d do anything for Hayden. Zeus would look at Hayden in the complete and adoring way you privately wished and wished and wished that someone, someday, might look at you. But Hayden was a good dog father and knew his boyand#8217;s limitsand#8212;meeting new people turned Zeus into a toddler in the toy aisle, with the kind of joy and want that turned into manic jumping. Zeus leaped up on Mom, who was horrified to be suddenly looking at him eye to eye, and she held him off with a palm to his tan furry chest. She looked down at her clothes as if he might have made her muddy, although the ground was dry and she was only in her old cargo pants and a tank top, her hair in a sort-of bun stuck up with a pair of chopsticks.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;It was then that Mom realized that Juliet had not descended alone from the heavens. She looked surprised at the unexpected visitors and the facts in front of her: this truck, not Julietand#8217;s ancient Fiat convertible; this lanky, excited dog; this lanky, somewhat tousled and tangled guy grabbing his collar and#8230;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;And thatand#8217;s when we saw it. We both did, at the same moment. It caught the sun, so shiny and new was the gold. A wedding band. On the guyand#8217;s finger. We both did the same thing next, Mom and me. We looked at Julietand#8217;s left hand. And, yes, there was one there, too. That same gold band.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;My mother put her hand to her chest. I heard her gasp. And then she breathed out those two words, the ones I was feeling right then too, that multipurpose, universal expression of shock and despair.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Oh fuck,and#8221; my mother said.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#169; 2010 Deb Caletti

Product Details

ISBN:
9781416979692
Author:
Caletti, Deb
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Subject:
Social Issues - Emotions & Feelings
Subject:
Social Issues - Pregnancy
Subject:
Love & Romance
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
Sisters
Subject:
Family - General
Subject:
Situations / Emotions & Feelings
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-Emotions and Feelings
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20100331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
f-c jkt
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 14.35 oz
Age Level:
13-17

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Related Subjects


Children's » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Emotions and Feelings
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Pregnancy
Young Adult » General

The Six Rules of Maybe Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Simon Pulse - English 9781416979692 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "When 17-year-old Scarlett's older sister, Juliet, moves back home pregnant, she brings with her a romantic new husband 'she'd never before even mentioned.' While Scarlett's feelings for Hayden grow — she secretly reads the love notes he writes to Juliet and sneaks out to join him for late-night chats — he remains devoted to her pretty sister, who in turn seems fixated on her loser high school boyfriend. Caletti's (The Secret Life of Prince Charming) main characters are well drawn and complex, especially mature Scarlett, who, to her own detriment, is constantly looking after everyone else in her life. Readers may find some of Scarlett's neighbors over the top, such as an elderly couple whose belief in Internet scams leads them to Africa. Scarlett's devotion to them also seems extreme, but it clarifies both why 'being needed sometimes made me feel good' and why she feels connected to kind Hayden. In the end, readers will be willing to overlook some of the more outlandish characters to focus on the moving story involving Scarlett and her family. Ages 12 — up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Reminiscent of the best of Sarah Dessen's work, this novel is beautifully written, deftly plotted, and movingly characterized."
"Review" by , "Caletti is at her best as she makes the case for the Rules of Maybe, how to hope, ways to persist, when to give up, and how to go on."
"Review" by , "The fact that all three women, Scarlet, Juliet, and their mother, struggle with their view of men is explored with particular depth and subtlety..."
"Review" by , "Caletti is a wonderfully gifted writer. Her prose is infused with wisdom and wit, and her characters are all deeply layered. Readers of all ages will undoubtedly enjoy this."
"Synopsis" by , A funny, poignant, uplifting, and truly authentic novel by National Book Award finalist author Deb Caletti.
"Synopsis" by , When Scarlett Hughes's sister returns home from school pregnant and surprisingly married to a sweet man she has no interest in, Scarlett is forced to take a look inward for the first time. She discovers the necessity of dreams as well as the necessity of facing reality and speaking the truth.
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