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  • The Time Capsule
  • Written by Lurlene McDaniel
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  • Written by Lurlene McDaniel
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307434029
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Written by Lurlene McDanielAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Lurlene McDaniel

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On Sale: December 18, 2007
Pages: 224 | ISBN: 978-0-307-43402-9
Published by : Laurel Leaf RH Childrens Books
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

In first grade, twins Alexis and Adam wrote down what they wanted to be when they grew up and put it in their teacher’s time capsule. Now entering their senior year in high school, they are surprised to find out what they wrote: Alexis wanted to “help people” and Adam wanted to be a fireman. But that was before Adam got sick and their family fell apart. Adam’s leukemia is now in remission but, sadly, so is the twins’ family. Their mother and father are always working—not only don’t they have time for Alexis and Adam, they don’t have time for each other. Alexis can’t even convince them to take a weekend off for one last family vacation to Disney World.

No one is prepared when Adam gets sick again, but this time Alexis is not alone. Adam’s illness reunites the family. And Alexis discovers that the time capsule predictions weren’t so far off the mark.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

One



"The school looks exactly the same," Alexis Chappel told her brother, Adam. Together they walked from the parking lot across the grounds of their former elementary school, toward the huge banyan tree that sheltered the playground.

"I haven't thought about this place since we moved," Adam said. "Everything looks so small."

"That's because we're bigger," Alexis said. "And I used to think about it all the time. I really missed it when we moved." Their family had relocated to the southwest side of Miami during the summer following fourth grade, and twins Adam and Alexis had transferred into a brand-new elementary school. Alexis remembered how she had cried because she had loved Woodland Elementary, which was just around the corner from their old house. The low-slung building of white stucco, yellow brick and awning-covered windows looked tired and dingy to her now, eight years later. "You think we'll recognize anybody?"

Adam grinned and pointed. "I recognize Ms. Lola."

Beneath the giant tree, Alexis saw a diminutive woman with a frizzy mass of red hair herding a group of children toward rows of benches. Behind the benches there were several rows of chairs where teens sat, some talking, some eating slices of pizza and sipping canned sodas.

"Is that our class?" Adam asked, pausing to check out the group.

"Did you expect everybody to be six?" Alexis teased. "The letter said our classmates would be invited." Adam was the shyer of the two, and Alexis usually felt as if she was either pushing him or dragging him to do something. But then, Adam's life had been a whole lot more difficult than hers.

Ms. Lola looked up, saw them and dashed over, her face lit with a smile. "I'm so glad to see you. My beautiful twins. Do you know that in all my years of teaching, I've only had three sets of twins in my classes? But you two were my favorite. I never had to worry about telling you apart!" She hugged them, and a jumble of warm, fond feelings flooded through Alexis. To this day, she'd never loved a teacher the way she had loved Ms. Lola. "You both look wonderful! Come, join the others," the teacher said. She led them to the rows of chairs and began to introduce them to eleven former classmates.

Alexis smiled and waved at each person, recognizing names because she had pored over their first-grade class photo and roster before coming. There had been twenty-eight in the class. Some she knew from the old photo, but others looked totally different.

"Grab yourself some goodies and have a seat," Ms. Lola said, then rushed off to greet a group heading across the playground.

"Want a soda?" Adam asked.

"Sure. I'll save you a spot."

Once Alexis had settled in, a girl two chairs over asked, "Remember me? Linda Cummings. I sat behind you in first and third grades."

"I remember." Alexis flashed her brightest smile. "You had long, curly brown hair."

Linda's hair was now short and was dyed pink and red. "And you wore a long braid that usually had ribbons going through it," she said. "I used to sit there and wonder what it would be like to have such pretty, straight black hair."

"It was monotonous. Nothing I did then or do now makes it curl."

Linda's gaze lingered on Alexis's long hair. Finally she shifted self-consciously and asked, "Where are you going to high school?"

"South Kendall. And you?"

"North Miami High."

"It seems weird to be back," Alexis confessed.

"I've lived in the same house since first grade." Linda sounded apologetic about it. "Ms. Lola had no trouble tracking me down. I couldn't stay away. I wanted to see how we all turned out. Plus, I want to know what's in that time capsule of hers. I don't remember writing anything. How about you?"

"I can't imagine what I wanted when I was in first grade. That was ages ago."

Linda glanced toward Adam, who was putting pizza on paper plates. "I don't remember what I wrote, but I remember what I wanted. I had the worst crush on your brother and wanted him to notice me. He's still cute."

"He's got a girlfriend."

"All the cute ones do," Linda said with a sigh. She added, "I used to envy the two of you."

"You're kidding. Why?"

"Because you got along really well together. My older sister and I fought like cats. I remember how you and Adam used to finish each other's sentences."

"We still do. It's because Adam and I were womb mates," Alexis said. Their peculiar link with each other was very real, and at times it seemed as if they could almost read each other's minds.

Linda grinned. "Womb mates--I get it. So who's older?"

"I am. By seven minutes."

"Are you and Adam in classes together?"

"No. He's into math and baseball. I like speech and debate."

"Debate. Isn't that when you argue with someone?"

"It's really problem-solving competitions. Teams get proposals or resolutions in advance and prepare arguments for and against them. It's fun." The competitions were tough, but Alexis loved the high that came when she scored enough points from the judges to advance to the next round. She was team captain and had racked up more points than anyone on her school team so far. Mrs. Wiley, the debate coach, was already prepping Alexis and the team for the state tournament to be held in Tallahassee, the state capital, in the spring.

"Do you want to be a lawyer?" Linda asked.

"Maybe." In truth, Alexis wanted very much to attend law school. She supposed the tendency for high achievement ran in their family. Their father, Blake, was an attorney, and their mother, Eleanor, was a top-selling real estate agent and a community activist interested in running for public office. "Ambitious parents create ambitious kids," Adam often said. "And one out of two isn't bad. With you, Ally, they're batting five hundred."

Adam returned, bringing Alexis a cold lemon-lime soda, her favorite, and a plateful of pizza slices. She introduced him to Linda, whose face took on a pink hue when Adam said hello.

"We were in the same class," Linda said, stating the obvious and blushing again.

"You want a soda?" Adam asked.

"Um, no thanks--I mean, sure, thanks."

He gave her a quizzical look. "What flavor?"

"Yellow. I--I mean, lemon-lime, like your sister's."

Adam left, and Linda groaned. "If he asks, tell him I don't get out much."


From the Hardcover edition.
Lurlene McDaniel

About Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel - The Time Capsule

Photo © Meghan Green and Jon Lancaster

“I write the kind of books I write because I want to help kids understand that nobody gets to pick what life dishes out to them. What you do get to choose is how you respond to what life gives you. No matter what happens, life is a gift. And always worth living.”—Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel is a recipient of the RITA Award and several of her works have received the IRA–CBC Children’s Choice Award.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Everyone loves a good cry, and no one delivers heartwrenching stories better than Lurlene McDaniel.

But there’s more to her books than that. McDaniel has written over 40 novels about kids who face life-threatening illnesses, who sometimes do not survive. These are powerful, inspirational stories about courage, love, and strength in the face of overwhelming trauma. McDaniel’s books touch the hearts and spirits of the teenagers and adults who read them. Her following is a devoted group of appreciative fans. McDaniel says: “These are books that challenge you and make you think.”

Some readers—and their parents—have wondered why McDaniel chooses to write about sad situations. “I tell them that sometimes tragedy hits people—kids, too. They want answers. They want to know ‘why.’ By using novels, I show ordinary kids confronting and overcoming great odds.” McDaniel’s books are ultimately optimistic and life-affirming. 

McDaniel began writing about young adults when her son Sean was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of 3. His illness changed the lives of everyone in her family forever. “I saw what life was like for someone who was chronically ill, and I experienced how it affected the dynamics of the family,” says McDaniel. She says she found that writing about the trauma and its effects was therapeutic.

To make certain that her books are medically accurate, McDaniel conducts extensive research. She interviews health care professionals and works with appropriate medical groups and hospice organizations, as well as the Tennessee Organ Donor Services. “I study medicine and traditional grief therapy techniques to give the novels a sense of serious medical reality,” she says. “I also study the Bible to instill the human element—the values and ethics often overlooked by the coldness of technology.”

Growing up, McDaniel lived in different parts of the country because her father was in the Navy. Eventually her family settled in Florida. She attended the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she earned a B.A. in English. She now lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In addition to her popular YA novels, McDaniel has written radio and television scripts, promotional and advertising copy, and a magazine column. She is a frequent speaker at schools, writers’ conferences, and conventions.

McDaniel’s books have been named to several bestseller lists, including Publishers Weekly. Three of her novels were
selected by children as IRA–CBC Children’s Choices: Somewhere Between Life and Death, Too Young to Die, and Goodbye Doesn’t Mean Forever. Six Months to Live has been placed in a literary time capsule at the Library of Congress, to be opened in the year 2089.

The One Last Wish books focus on the interconnected stories of the residents and counselors of Jenny House—a group home for critically and terminally ill young girls. Through the kindness of a secret benefactor, each girl receives a cashier’s check for $100,000, to be used to make her last wish come true. Every One Last Wish novel is a compassionate story of triumph and inspiration that makes McDaniel’s dedicated fans come back for more.

McDaniel’s works include To Live Again, one of the Dawn Rochelle books; Angel of Mercy, the companion to Angel of Hope; and How Do I Love Thee, three stories about young couples who are inspired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s beautiful sonnet. In her novel, Telling Christina Goodbye, McDaniel shows that everything can change in the blink of an eye.


PRAISE

ANGELS WATCHING OVER ME
“An interesting blend of romance, mystery, and problem novel. The characters are captivating and sensitively drawn and the plot is fast paced.”—School Library Journal

DON’T DIE, MY LOVE
“Touching scenes abound in this crisis novel. . . . Fans of tear-jerker teen romances will enjoy this offering.”—Booklist

I’LL BE SEEING YOU
“A satisfying story for those who like to take their romance with tears and gutsy characters who know what it means to live beyond the pale of ‘normal.’ ”—School Library Journal

SAVING JESSICA
“Readers of McDaniel will enjoy; it’s good to read positive stories about teens.”—VOYA

SHE DIED TOO YOUNG
“McDaniel has a way of getting you to look at the complicated emotions experienced by YAs with major medical problems. . . . Another winner in her One Last Wish series.”—KLIATT

STARRY, STARRY NIGHT
“[The stories] are absorbing, the characters are well developed, and the author does not resolve the girls’ dilemmas with pat solutions. . . . This has solid YA appeal.”—School Library Journal

TOO YOUNG TO DIE and GOODBYE DOESN’T MEAN FOREVER
“These companion novels . . . cast the events of high school into a meaningful perspective and allow for convincing character development. McDaniel’s writing is light and well suited to this refreshing and involving story.”—Publishers Weekly

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