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  • The Lighter Side of Life and Death
  • Written by C. K. Kelly Martin
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375893278
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The Lighter Side of Life and Death

Written by C. K. Kelly MartinAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by C. K. Kelly Martin


List Price: $8.99


On Sale: May 25, 2010
Pages: 240 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89327-8
Published by : Random House Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
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Acclaimed YA author C. K. Kelly Martin offers a sexy, soulful story of one confused boy, two girls, and all the complications that ensue in this romantic feel-good love story that celebrates friendship, first love, first lust, and second chances.

Sixteen-year-old Mason Rice is having the night of his life. He's just delivered an incredible performance in the school play, basked in celebratory afterglow vibes at the party of the year, and lost his virginity to one of his best friends—the gorgeous but previously unobtainable Kat Medina. His dreams are coming true, and the future looks golden.

Unfortunately, Kat sees things very differently. Crossing the friendship line was a big mistake, and all she wants is to forget it and move on, even if that means forgetting Mason altogether. What's a guy to do? Well, if you're Mason, you hang your hopes on the first attractive twenty-three-year-old you cross paths with. At first Mason wonders if he's imagining the chemistry . . . until Colette invites him over to her apartment. Suddenly Mason's living in a whole new world.

From the Hardcover edition.


There are certain things you know you'll always remember. Like the way Miracle stares at me when we hear the gunshot. Our eyes lock fast. Hers shine with resignation, pain and the kind of love I can only begin to understand. Suddenly I can't catch my breath. I'm beyond anything I ever wanted to feel. It's low and high, intertwined like a double helix, and I mumble to Monica G as I rush offstage, my body racked with dread.  

But this isn't the end. Not yet. I stumble back under the lights, bury my head in Miracle's chest and try to speak. Don't, she says. She has the last lines. There's nothing else for me to remember, nothing to do but watch her and let the final moments roll over me. My eyes burn as I look and listen but I don't fight it. I want to be fearless like Miracle. I want it to hurt so everyone can see.  

Then there's just silence stretched out in front of us in the darkness. I wipe my face as we scramble offstage, and Miracle grabs my sleeve and whispers something I can't quite hear. I nod anyway, feeling wounded and amazed. It's like we're all incredible--me,Miracle, Monica G, Charlie Kady, Y and Z, Jamie and everyone else who made this happen. We're even better than last night and the night before that. It makes me wonder just how good we could be if there was a next time.   Everyone claps for us. Not just polite applause but like they really got it. On stage we hold hands and bow, and the feeling just keeps growing. We did good; we did awesome. I love these people next to me, Miracle channeling Meryl Streep and Monica G squeezing my hand and Jamie pulling strings in the background and Y and Z looking deep in love with each other, beaming with pride. I tell you, if you could bottle what I'm feeling right now, you'd be a billionaire. My cells are singing an anthem.  

They're still singing when I stride out to the lobby afterwards. I'm swarmed by people clapping me on the shoulder and hurling praise in my direction. Then it's Dad's turn and he grins at Nina like he's showing me off for the first time. "Mason, you were fabulous," she says with a smile. "You should be so proud."  

Nina's the only one of Dad's girlfriends that I've ever spent more than thirty minutes with, and I thank her and shift my focus to Brianna, next to her. Brianna happens to be the only one of us who isn't smiling. She's a thirteen-year-old tragedy-in-waiting,that kid. The face of gloom. As far as I can see, it doesn't have much to do with Dad and Nina's engagement either. She's been like that ever since we met.  

"Your dad tells me you're off to celebrate now," Nina says with a cheerful nod. "Don't let us keep you."  

I smile wider because Nina's got my number. Yolanda Solomon's extremely cool parents have handed over their house until one-thirty. There's not a second to lose. "Say hi to Burke for me, okay?" I tell her. Burke is Brianna's six-and-a-half-year-old brother.He's so normal that you'd never guess they share DNA.  

"Will do," Nina replies. "I'll see you at the engagement shower."  

The engagement shower's doubling as a housewarming party. Everything but the wedding has been pushed forward on account of Nina's landlord selling their condo--they weren't supposed to move in with us until the end of September. Not that I mind. I only have a year and a half before I go away to university, and Nina's okay.  

"Do you need any cash?" Dad asks. He was here on opening night too but he wanted to come back with Nina.  

"Well, I won't turn it down." My jaw aches from smiling so hard. It's impossible to stop.  

Dad pulls out his wallet and hands me forty bucks, and then I'm edging my way through the crowd towards Jamie. "You guys got a ride?" Yolanda asks, tapping me on the shoulder. "Miracle still has a couple spots in the van."  

"We're cool," Jamie says, charging towards us. "We're going with Charlie and Chris." I never have a clue what's going on. Jamie always handles the logistics.  

"Perfect," Y says, scanning the lobby for Zoe. "See you at my place."  

"Have you seen Kat?" I ask, turning towards Jamie. Kat Medina was Jamie's discovery when her family moved to Glenashton from Kitchener three years ago. She's about five feet tall with this cute little Filipino accent and curves like Jennifer Lopez. I think Jamie meant to keep her for himself, but that didn't work out; Jamie can never hide anything from me. Besides, Jamie isn't Kat's type. Lucky for him, I'm not either, which means we all evolved into close friends instead.  

I can't count the number of nights the three of us have hung out in Kat's backyard along with her girls, Michelle Suazo and Sondra, barbecuing ribs and eating her mom's pancit noodles. Used to be that nearly every time a bunch of us would watch slasher movies together, I'd get a late-night call from Kat, scared to shut her eyes. I'd camp out on the phone with her talking about the funniest, most nonthreatening things I could imagine until she was too dog-tired to be freaked out anymore. Those movies don't spook her as much now but we still do the late-night conversations when one of us can't sleep.  

"I think she already left with Hugo," Jamie says. Hugo's this half-Asian, half-black senior from the track team--the flawless-specimen-of-the-human-race type that Kat always falls for. They've been together two months.  

"Okay," I tell him. "Let's roll."  

And we're off. Charlie cranks M.I.A. on the stereo and in no time we're pulling into Yolanda's drive, helping her and Zoe set up the coolers and munchies. "Can someone call for pizza?" Z asks, looking right at Jamie. If you want something done right, he's your man. He's always one of the most responsible people in a room, even when he's partying. Two months ago I saw him steal this guy Anthony's jacket (with his car keys inside) at the end of a party to stop him from driving drunk. He was scared Anthony would pound him into the carpet, so wouldn't admit to taking it at the time, but what counts is that he stopped Anthony from climbing behind the wheel. In the end someone else might've too, but Jamie's usually the first one to think of these things.  

"I'll start the pizza fund," I volunteer, fumbling around for one of Dad's twenties. People are already sauntering through the front door, grabbing beer, and I point them in the direction of the pizza fund and talk to Charlie Kady and Dustin over the sound of the music. None of us have come down from our performance high yet and we don't intend to. The music gets louder and the beer chills and before you know it everybody's there and it's happening just like Y and Z planned--the perfect party.  

From the Hardcover edition.
C. K. Kelly Martin

About C. K. Kelly Martin

C. K. Kelly Martin - The Lighter Side of Life and Death

Photo © Patrick Hickey

Many of my earliest memories contain books –— my parents reading me nursery rhymes before I could read them myself, flipping through the pages of Babar and Madeline books and listening to my parents read aloud from tThe Hardy Boys series. Later I devoured Judy Blume’s children’s books, the entire Anne of Green Gables series, fantasy novels like A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and still later contemporary teen novels about various social issues and romantic relationships (offerings by Richard Peck, Norma Fox Mazer, Norma Klein, and others).
I began writing my own stories at the age of seven. My third- grade teacher placed them on the shelf at the back of our classroom along with the published books so my classmates could read them, but it would be a long, long time before any book by me landed on the shelves again.
I never really stopped writing though. In high school, I used to pass on my short stories on to my favourite teacher, Mrs. Burns, to read and makes notes on. Between high school and university, I wrote a Choose Your Own Adventure book, which was promptly rejected by the publisher in New York who already had an entire team of people writing books for the series. In university, I penned several short stories (submitting a few, without any success, to literary journals) and did a bit of writing for the university newspaper. But somehow I sensed I wasn’t ready to devote the necessary time to writing so after graduating from York University in Toronto with a Film Studies Degree in the early nineties I gave in to the pull I’d felt towards Ireland since first visiting a couple of years earlier. In Dublin, I worked in an odd assortment of places –— including a couple of bars, a lingerie shop, video store, and a division of the Irish post office –— but spent most of my time hanging out and enjoying the buzz.
It wasn’t until I’d gotten married (to a lovely Irish guy) and was on the verge of moving back to Canada that I began writing my very first YA novel, inspired by the fantastic writing on TV show Party of Five. Several years (and books!) later Random House bought and released I Know It’s Over. Since then I’ve written many more YA books, but I’m not really any wiser now, about where the stories come from, than when I was seven years old. When asked, sometimes I say that I feel like medium Allison Dubois, only channeling characters instead of spirits. One thing I’m certain of is that the initial inspiration to write sprang from my love of an elephant king in a three- piece suit, a spirited little French orphan girl, and a collection of nursery rhymes from The Little Mother Goose.


Starred Review, Booklist, March 15, 2010: "A more genuine representation of teen life would be hard to find."

From the Hardcover edition.

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