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The villains in this novel lend quite a bit of depth to the plot; it seems they're just as interested in Allie's moonstone as she is herself. Of course, they want it for their own nefarious purposes. The background behind the novel sounds like some sort of conspiracy theory, except that it's very real, within the setting of the novel. I was very much reminded of the Illuminati, which are a rumored secret society supposedly engineering world events, as well as controlling governments, for the purpose of bringing about a New World Order.

Needless to say, I found the entire thing totally fascinating! Brothers's writing is whiplash-sharp, her characters and setting totally believable. I really enjoyed the witty interchanges between the characters, even the ones involving the bad guys. Everything unfolded like a movie before my eyes, as the action developed into increasing complexity. The author kept the suspense high throughout, as well, with unexpected plot twists and clever resolutions to the challenges presented to the characters. This is a great start to a series that promises to deliver even more fascinating surprises and characters in subsequent volumes!

Moonstone is not just any YA novel, but one that is fresh, original, quirky, funny, suspenseful, and completely entertaining! I will go on to the other books in this series as soon as I possibly can, because I want to learn more about the Star Seekers, the Trimarks, and their wonderfully inventive, although sinister, adventures! I also hope we readers can look forward to a movie, at least of this first novel, very soon! Things only get weirder from there when a pot smoking hippie ghost shows up talking about prophecies. The opening was just off-putting for me for a few reasons. The first of which was they attempts at what I consider to be crude humor.

I kept reading because the description on the book sounded so interesting that I thought this book just has to get better and I was right it did. The further we moved into the story the more engrossing that story became, the attempts at humor diminished and the magic intrigue and danger surrounded you letting you lose yourself in the story. While Brothers idea is similar to other popular young adult series now she gives it a whole new spin bringing in beings not already created. Her characters are human with a something extra with purposes that are sort of explained but not fully. This book is definitely the start of what could potentially be a really great series.

They exchange a couple of kisses but claim to be only friends. The characters are fairly well developed, especially Allie, but a lot of what we know about them is told to us rather than shown. It is slow getting into it, but hanging on rewards readers with an excellent story. Mar 02, Kristina rated it really liked it Shelves: Originally published at Nose in a Book So this one is the whole series put together, offered by NetGalley.

So Allie is poor and lives with her mother who Allie calls Faye, which is an anvil if I ever saw one in a trailer park. Which is all very convenient for a girl about to discover her powers. And you know what else? I was so happy when that happened. You find out you have magic and you want things to remain the same? No, Allie, take the pendant and do something other than live in a trailer your whole life! Am I the only one who would have accepted my powers wholesale if this had been me? These things always end the same way.

And around this point, I really started liking what I was reading. After the initial resistance and that is something that always bugs me, no matter the heroine , Allie becomes kind of awesome. She saves her bully from a gang, she goes to confront her father, and learns she has siblings. A lot is happening to her all at once. I must know more about this prophecy! And the unexpected, unconventional romance was pretty cool. We know the names of the bad guys and we mostly know their motives.

I really liked getting to know Junior, though I ended up having suspicions of my own about him. This one has some problems with racial sensitivity and stereotypes, which is a hard thing to get over. Other than that, I liked this one a lot! Urban fantasy for teenagers, basically. Mar 29, Rebekah Peroutka rated it really liked it. An electrical zap from a TV antenna sets off Allie's weird p A sickly mom. If she can just survive everyday life, in the meantime Marilee Brothers takes an interesting spin on the magical world in her novel Moonstone.

Allie, a typical high school girl who doesn't have the best home life, is thrown into a world of magic on which she isn't prepared for. Challenges and regular life battles, Allie must figure out if she is wiling to live up to her destiny. Allie the main character is actually a very likable person. It is hard to write about a character and have her not be overly strong nor be overly whimpy. She is very easy to relate to and is very believable.

What I love about this character is that she doesn't automatically jump into situations and she actually thinks like the typical teenager. I don't know about you but I hate when a character just easily accepts things or has the personality of someone who existed a long time ago. Allie is everything you would imagine a girl her age to be which makes this novel easy to read and enjoyable. Character interaction is another thing I liked about this novel. The way Allie's family treats her, the simple crush she has on her step-cousin who isn't related to her at all. How her relationship moves on with her love interest.

The last is actually a big thing that I loved. I am simply tired of books rushing relationships between characters so it was refreshing to see that there are some that actually do take things slowly. It makes the novel more realistic and less likely to annoy people. Everything about the characters in this novel just worked and seemed to fit together perfectly. There was no confusion while reading this like I have had with some books. The story-line for this novel was very interesting. I loved how Allie was basically poor and not exactly miss popular. I also loved how the magic was slowly introduced into the novel.

Nothing really jumped around and the whole novel flowed smoothly. Also I'd like to point out that nothing in this novel felt rushed and that there was just enough action in several places to keep the reader interested. There was no point in this novel where I felt bored or could wait for some parts of it to be over.

This was a great book to read and I enjoyed very minute of it. Now this book was great but I should warn you. It was a very simple read it's meant for teens and it reads like it is exactly that. If you can look past that then I suggest you pick this book up and read it.

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Apr 28, Our Book Boyfriends rated it really liked it. I won a signed copy of this book, but I was in no way compensated for this review. Moonstone is the first book in the Unbidden Magic Series. After reading it, I'd say it's mostly appropriate for young teens. I know at least that my kids would love this first book. The book starts out with young teenaged Alfreida Carlotta Emerson "Allie" I won a signed copy of this book, but I was in no way compensated for this review. She gets zapped in the process. It doesn't take long for Allie to discover that something has changed about her.

She has super powers that just weren't there before. Allie finds herself struggling with these newfound abilities, and turns to her quirky neighbor for help.

Moonstone (Unbidden Magic, #1) by Marilee Brothers

Well, let's face it here. This neighbor is more than just a neighbor. She plays a significant role in Allie's life, since Allie's father took off before she was even born, and Allie's mother, well, let's say Allie's the adult in that relationship. Back to the neighbor, she is completely understanding of what Allie has been going through and tells Allie that it's time for her to have something - a moonstone pendant.

Allie is to keep it with her at all times, and it's absolutely imperative that no one else gets their hands on it. Of course, this whole deal just leaves Allie reeling. She really wants nothing to do with it. She wants her boring, dull life back, which is saying a lot. Allie lives in a travel trailer with her mom on her aunt and uncle's property.

Her aunt is disgusted that her husband is allowing them to mooch off of them. She goes so far as to turn to the CPS for help in getting rid of them. That would probably make sense, too, except at this point, Allie seems perfectly capable of taking care of herself for the most part. Allie's great at taking care of her sorry excuse for a mom, too.

That's the kind of person Allie is, though. She even takes care of the local kids that are bullied at her school. She doesn't back down from anyone. It doesn't take long for Allie to learn that people are willing to kill for this moonstone. Allie finds unexpected help in a boy, that becomes more than just a friend to her.

Let me say here, that this boy is the very last boy you'd ever expect it to be. Allie finds that in order to save herself, and probably the world, that she's going to have to embrace her own powers I thought the story flowed well from beginning to end. I was most intrigued with the character descriptions.

Some of the characters had me laughing out loud. I can imagine my kids finding Blaster the Bull quite amusing!

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  • Unbidden Magic Series by Marilee Brothers.
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The relationships between the characters didn't play out at all like I thought they would, and the story kept me on my toes. I can't wait to read the rest of this fun series! Oct 21, Devz Milady rated it it was ok. The plot is so ridiculous and stupid that it doesnt make any sense at all. There is no reason to a lot of things that happen in this book, no fantastic feel to the whole idea of moonstone and why and where of it.

The sheer number of stupid things in this book is amazing, so let me start with some I find superbly ridiculous. Allie stays with Kizzy tThis is a very rare book - cos I think this is the 1st time I am seeing a nice strong heroine in a shitty stupid plot. Allie stays with Kizzy every Thursday cos her mom has these 'sessions' with Big Ed.

There seems to be no relationship between Kizzy and Allie's mom Faye. There seems to be no relationship between Allie and her step-cousins in spite of the fact that they stay near each other. After just 1 meeting, Allie decides to trust Junior [what kinda name is that!!! Moonstone is apparently a super powerful stuff found by a guy in From there the whole history gets muddled in both books. So this guy Nicolae Romano cuts the stone. Then there is some gypsy who is an unknown person but somewhere Nicolae and Gypsy gets mixed up to become the same. Then comes Magda who travels to US and then somehow it gets into Trilby's hands - how and why, nobody knows.

And one fine day, Kizzy gets the idea to give it to Allie. So so convenient that all these people are in the same areas. So this "all-powerful" stone has so far been around the same family. Yet there is a whole group of people who either loves it or hates it. And they didnt do anything much to acquire it till Allie comes into picture. Moonstone makes a statue of Jesus open his eyes so he can protect Allie.

And then the all-powerful moonstone and Jesus does this amazing thing to scare away the intruders.. It falls down from the wall. The falling down from the wall of the statue affects the killers so much that they run away. Mike Purdy - Allie's dad has the whole star-business going on. Yet till Allie contacted him, he never bothered to check if his kid has the star thingy going on for her.

Trimark - another ridiculous name - has a whole bunch of weirdos hanging around. Yet only 2 attacks Allie at this crucial time. This is a totally ridiculous plot and novel. The only saving grace is Allie herself who comes off as a strong heroine. And if you think Moonrise would make any sense, well - it doesnt! May 15, Caedy Eries rated it really liked it Shelves: Moonstone Unbidden Magic 1 Author: Allie lives in Peakcock Flats, Washington with her mom.

Oh, Allie also has this prophecy to live up to about saving the world from evil. Her psychic abilities are jump started by an electrical jolt from a TV antenna which brings forth a hippy-dippy guardian angel and th Title: The story starts off a touch strange, but it quickly becomes exciting and more suspenseful as you progress. The characters are pretty well developed, and they are the type you can either love or hate.

Allie just wants a normal life, and actually wants her powers to go away when they first manifest themselves. She is also more grown up than her mother Faye, who you just want to shake and smack some sense into. Junior is the local bad boy, former gang member and now trying to right his wrongs and keep himself out of trouble. If you have any questions, comments or recommendations you can contact me at simplicity. Mar 14, Kelsey rated it really liked it Shelves: Moonstone was a really fun and exciting book.

The plot was original and by the middle of the book there was a lot of excitement. Mystery and suspense on every page, you never knew who to trust. At first I couldn't really get into it, but pretty soon I couldn't put the book down, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.

There were a lot of sub-plots as well that really kept the book interesting. I was wondering how all the points would work out in the end, but they did. Moonstone definitel Moonstone was a really fun and exciting book. Moonstone definitely left room for a sequel, which I'm really excited to read. The ending was perfect, but there was still some things that left you wondering what was going to happen.

This was a fun read for fans of mysteries because there were a lot of twists and turns in the plot that kept you guessing. And don't forget the romance. Allie, the main character, definitely had her share of romances. All in all this was a fun book, that might take you a little while to get into, but it's definitely worth it at the end. Allie was a really cool main character. She lived with her mother in a trailer on their Uncle's property. She never complained about her way of living and didn't ever think of using her powers to get them more than they needed.

Kizzy was also a great character. I loved how she lived in a big house and had tons of money, but never once overused it or acted like she was rich. Known as the town witch, from the beginning I knew something was going to happen with Kizzy. She was the one who gave Allie the moonstone necklace and told her about the prophecy. Allie has to figure out most of her powers and the facts about the prophecy by herself, but she does have a caring mom, and great friends to help her out, but I was glad Allie was mostly independent and didn't need everyone helping her all the time.

She was brave and could take care of herself. Another great aspect of the novel, was that no one was what they seemed. Every character was under suspicion at least once in the book. There were a lot of characters, but it was easy to keep up with who was who. I was surprised many times during the book, and was glad the ending surprised me. Moon Rise, the sequel, looks like it will be just as good, so I'm really looking forward to reading this. If you like mysteries, books about magic, or just a fun read, Moonstone is for you.

Definitely give it a read. Oct 28, Chibineko rated it liked it. As a long time fan of YA fiction, I'm always ready to discover something new regardless of genre. Allie's never really known "the good life". The only life she's known has been one where she's lived in a trailer behind her uncle Sid's house with her mother, a woman trying to gain disability fo As a long time fan of YA fiction, I'm always ready to discover something new regardless of genre.

The only life she's known has been one where she's lived in a trailer behind her uncle Sid's house with her mother, a woman trying to gain disability for an ailment she may or may not have. When a fall onto an electric fence jump starts her psychic abilities, Allie discovers that not only is she the proud owner of a slew of powers but also the inheritor of a moonstone necklace capable of great- or terrible- feats.

Many will find this a nice short book that'll be great for a quick read inbetween other series. The book isn't without its flaws, though. It just takes a while to really see why Allie would put up with her mother's antics because there's not a lot of emotion negative or positive shown between the pair of them. Allie states her mother's actions with a sense of ennui that did show her well on the way to becoming world weary but without enough "oomph" behind it.

This isn't the only relationship or element that could've been fleshed out a little more. It's just that I wish that there was a little more to it at times. ARC provided by NetGalley Overall, I enjoyed this story. While I certainly respect the opinion of other reviewers, and I can understand where many of the negative reviews come from, I have to somewhat disagree.

Granted, this was not a "deep" story, but we are talking young adult here. One of the things I liked about this book was that it was easy to read. I'm not a YA addict and most of the YA books I read are ones recommended to me by my sister, who is a 5th grade teacher and avid YA reader. I liked that this book was no Overall, I enjoyed this story.

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I liked that this book was not filled with "teenage angst", which seems to be what many YA books are about. These are issues that many kids in America actually have to deal with. I also really liked that this book was not filled with sex or sexual tension. Onne reviewer mentioned that at times Allie is incredibly intelligent and at others just stupid. To me, this makes Allie all the more real. Even themost intelligent among us at times do the stupidest things, let alone a 15 year old trying to deal with adult problems.

That Allie cannot always control her emotions and that her mouth often gets her in trouble is what makes her a more typical teenager, not taking her magical powers into consideration. I think that with many of the YA books and series that have emerged of late, we have begun to expect too much from YA books.

In my opinion, some of themore popular YA series should only be read by the older end of the YA group i. The Hunger Games trilogy and the Twilight series. Series like those are also more for the YA who is already interested in reading. I think Moonstone would be a great book to get some teens more interested in reading. Overall, I did enjoy this book. I am not sure if I will be reading the remainder of this series, though. One of the things I most liked about Moonstone was that it dealt more with real problems encountered by teens than it did with magic. After reading the synopses of the other books in the series, it appears Ms.

Brothers has gone on a more fantastical bend. Feb 10, Lissette rated it really liked it. Allie Emerson has had to grow up too fast and too soon. She's had to take care of her mother and her imaginary ailments for as long as she can remember. While this doesn't necessarily bother, she wishes for a different life sometimes.

Caring for her mother is a full-time job, and it's slowly taking its toll. An unexpected accident soon brands her with unexplained powers. At first, she wonders if what's happening to her is a side effect from the zap she received from the TV antennae. Yet as the li Allie Emerson has had to grow up too fast and too soon.

Yet as the little things start piling up, Allie's no longer sure. Seeking answers to her curious predicament, her zany neighbor soon gifts her with an extraordinary pendant - a Moonstone she says is meant for her. While the gift is certainly mind-boggling, Allie knows that's the least of her worries. She has her mother to take care of, and a bully to put in his place at school.

Not to mention that she also has to deal with her aunt, uncle, and the state's child protection services. Trying to make sense of the situation, Allie can no longer ignore just how different things have become. Whereas she was once invisible to the student body, so to speak, she's now garnered attention to herself in more ways than one.

She also has to contend with the unexpected attempts on her life and that of some of her friends. Deep inside, she knows there more to things than meets the eye. Deciphering what she needs to know, however, is going to be trying. Someone's out to get her, and she's not exactly sure as to why. If she's to come out on top, she'll need to learn her powers to the best of her ability and fast.

The Moonstone necklace is the key. The question is, can she learn how to use it before someone else is hurt in the process? This was honestly a very enjoyable start to what looks to be a very delightful series. Allie and her predicaments are definitely realistic, to some extent. Though she occasionally stumbles through each unique situation that she finds herself, the story itself is certainly endearing. Introduced to a slew of character's, they add intrigue as well comic relief on occasion. I enjoyed the story very much, and look forward to what comes next in the series.

Mar 01, Karissa rated it liked it. I got a copy of this book through NetGalley dot com. This was a book I had had on my "to read" list for a while. It was an okay book, a quick read and the characters were likable but not incredibly original. There are two more books in this series so far Moon Rise and Moon Spun Allie lives with her chronically sick mother in a trailer on her uncle's property. Her life isn't great, but it could be worse. Then she gets zapped by a power-line and starts being able to move things with her mind.

When I got a copy of this book through NetGalley dot com. When an old friend of hers gives her a Moonstone that she says is prophesied to be Allie's, things start getting even stranger. Allie finds out that she may be part of a prophecy involving two ancient races that have been fighting each other for centuries. This book was okay. Allie is a likable enough character and even Allie's mom who is definitely not mother-of-the-year is somewhat likable at times.

The boy who ends up helping Allie out is also easy to relate to. That being said none of the characters are very deep and they are all pretty 2D. The story is pretty simple, it basically involves Allie discovering her powers and trying to keep the Moonstone away from bad people. Nothing that happened in the story was very surprising or original. It was all just okay. Brothers writing style is readable and the dialogue natural sounding; the story was a quick read.

Things were wrapped up nicely but a storyline was definitely left open for future books. The purpose of this book seemed to be mainly to set things up for future books, so I am hoping the future books in this series have more complex and deeper stories to them. Overall this was an okay book. It wasn't an exciting read, but it wasn't horrible either.

When I finished it I mainly thought, "Huh, well okay guess I am done with that. If you are interested in a young adult book featuring a girl with telekinesis this may be the book for you. Personally though I would skip it or get it from the library. I don't plan on reading future books in this series. Feb 27, Vanya D. This is yet another book I got from Netgalley to review. It came in a bundle with the other 3 books of this series.

When I sat down to read it, I thought that it will probably be just like any other light book, but honestly - I liked it. It had a constant diary style voice, and in my opinion that fit with the narrator - 15 year old Allie Alfrieda. I loved her feisty character, loved how much she cared about the people she loved.

Well, I didn't like it when she was trying to lie to her mom, but This is yet another book I got from Netgalley to review. Well, I didn't like it when she was trying to lie to her mom, but point for mom Faye - she always saw through the lies. Also, until it came to be, I had no idea which of the boys would end up in a romantic relationship with Allie. But then came Junior Martinez - a total Latino hottie, who knew not to cross the boundaries with that particular girl.

Because she's dangerous, powerful and not one to mess with. The story was light, and at the same time intense. There was love, there was action, there was paranormal activity. Well, there were some grammar mistakes missing conjugates and such , so yeah it kind of needs some minor editing. But really, nothing major.

She protects her friends, and generally the weak. Sometimes she saves the bullies from the strongest of the day. Good thing is that she can also save herself, and she doesn't hesitate one second when she has to put her life in danger in order to protect her mom. She and Allie live in a trailer, and Faye doesn't care to do anything to change the situation. In many cases, Allie is the adult, while Faye is the disobedient child. But without her, I think that Allie might not have had half as much confidence in herself as she does now. He's the hot guy who grabs the girls' hearts and doesn't let go.

This is a very good book for year old girls. Aug 10, Maxie rated it liked it. Moonstone Series by Marilee Brothers Can you imagine being struck by lightning? It can happen if you hear thunder you can be hit according to science. Now move you attention to accidentally touching a fence powered by electricity Moonstone written in the YA Urban Fantasy genre by talented and imaginative author Marilee Brothers is a fun, easy read.

Brothers' main character is a normal 15 year old teenager by the name of Alfrieda Carlotta Emerson, also known by her nickname, Allie. Due to a series of unfortunate family issues she and her single mom live in 24 foot trailer Uncle Sid's land. Ally and her mom's depressing circumstances are very realistic and one that many readers can understand. Allie's dad left them when his parents threaten to disown him. Of course being financially strapped her mother fabricates an illness in order to received welfare from the government.

This lie also leads to an investigation by Children's Services. Allie incurs an injury from touching an electrical fence and this incident leaves her with psychic powers. Allie is considered a chosen one according to a prophecy. When Allie is receives a gift of a special moonstone, her powers increase so she is now Telekinetic. Allie is unaware that a cult is looking for this magical stone and they'll stop at nothing to have it. Moonstone is carefully crafted by Marilee Brothers, with inconspicuous clues tossed about leading up to a dark conspiracy. Allie uses her paranormal powers trying to save the world from evil along with the evil that runs rampant in high school bullying.

Brother's characters are believable because all of them has flaws just like all of us. Some of the incidents in the story are very predictable and others take you by surprise Moonstone is still enjoyable with touches of humor and empathy. Teens will certainly enjoy Moonstone Series and follow the series as Allie and friends work together to conquer evil with super powers and humor.

Moonstone, by Marilee Brothers 2 11 Oct 26, Other books in the series. Unbidden Magic 5 books.

Books by Marilee Brothers. Trivia About Moonstone Unbidd No trivia or quizzes yet. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. What's the Name o The Free Book Cha Moonstone, by Marilee Brothers. How else can an almost fifteen-year-old girl living in Peacock Flats, Washington learn to deal with special powers?

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Here's how it started The next minute, I sail off the ladder, graze an electric fence and land face-down in a cow pie. Though groggy and hurting, I rolled onto my back. A window in the trailer cranked open and I heard my mother scream. She'd spent most of the last two years in bed since, at age thirty-one, she Retired From Life. But really, call ? We had no phone and I was the only other person in the area. Who was she talking to?

I smiled weakly at the thought of Blaster in a phone booth, punching in with one gigantic hoof. Okay, technically, I landed in a bull pie, not a cow pie. The mess dripping off my face was compliments of my Uncle Sid's prize bull, speaking of which It was then my wits returned. I felt the ground vibrate, heard the rumble of hooves. I reared up to see a half-ton cranky bull racing toward me, head down, mean little eyes fixed on my prone body. Faye continued to scream shrilly.

I moaned and crawled toward the fence, looking over my shoulder at Blaster who bore down on me like a runaway train. When I tried to stand, I slipped in the wet grass and landed on my belly. Oh God, he was just inches away. I wasn't going to make it! I rolled into a ball and screamed, "No, Blaster! Burke, calls farting-and, of course, the reason Uncle Sid named him Blaster.

Suddenly my vision narrowed and grew dark around the edges. It was like looking down a long tunnel with Blaster front and center, bathed in light. A loud buzzing filled my head. The next moment, Blaster took a tentative step backward, then another, walking slowly, at first, then gradually picking up speed until he was trotting briskly backwards like a video tape on slow rewind. Mesmerized by the sight, I sat up and watched Blaster's bizarre retreat back through the tunnel.

At that precise moment, I should have known something strange was going on. But hey, I was a little busy trying to save my life. As I crawled under the fence, my vision returned to normal and the buzzing faded away. I stood and swiped a hand across my sweaty face. At least, I thought it was sweat until a trickle of blood dripped off the end of my nose.

Surprised because I felt no pain, I touched my face and found the blood was oozing from a puncture wound in the center of my forehead. I glanced up at Faye who continued to peer out the window, her pale face framed in a halo of wispy blond curls, her eyes wide with shock. She inhaled sharply and I knew another scream was on its way. I held up a hand. You're making my head hurt. I wasn't ready to go there. Two giant steps to the bathroom. I shucked off my clothes and stepped into the tiny shower.

She peered through the open doorway, paler than usual. Her right hand clutched the locket that held my baby picture, the one that makes me look like an angry old man. The only time she took it off was to shower. I heard you yell at him. Bulls don't run backward, Allie. Did it stop bleeding? I told you to be careful. Not that I'm a spiteful person but I blamed Oprah for my swan dive off the ladder. Late last night, a sudden gust of wind knocked over our TV antenna.

When I got home from school today, Faye insisted she had to watch Oprah. Like that's going to change her life. I finally got tired of hearing about it and borrowed Uncle Sid's ladder. I turned on the water, stood under the weak stream and checked for damage. Other than a slight tingling in my arms and legs and the hole in my head, I seemed okay.

I toweled off my curly, dark-brown hair and pulled it back into a messy ponytail. When I wiped the steam off the mirror, I saw a dark-red, dime-sized circle in the exact center of my forehead. I touched it gingerly, expecting it to hurt. Instead, a weird sensation shot through my head, like my brain was hooked up to Dr. Frankenstein's machine, that thing he used to make his monster come alive. I must have given a little yip of surprise because Faye said again, "You okay, Allie? Today's the twenty-ninth," I said. The state of Washington was very reliable when it came to issuing checks. I dug around and found clean underwear, a tee shirt and a pair of cut-off shorts.

I slipped into my bra, once again thinking how cool it was I finally needed one. Though I hoped for peaches, I'd managed only to grow a pair of breasts roughly the size and shape of apricots. Oh, well, apricots are better than cherries. Our valley is called "The fruit bowl of the nation," hence, my obsession with naming body parts after produce. I slipped into my treacherous flip-flops, headed out the door and spotted Uncle Sid darting behind the barn. Faye says Uncle Sid is not a people person but I thought he was just trying to avoid Aunt Sandra and her constant nagging. That woman's voice could make a corpse sit up and beg for mercy.

I trotted down the driveway, stopping suddenly when I spotted a pair of denim-clad legs sticking out from under the Jeep Wrangler parked next to Uncle Sid's house. Legs that belonged to Matt, Uncle Sid's son, older brother to spoiled brat, Tiffany. How can one kid-Tiffany-be so annoying and the other-Matt-so totally hot? I tried to avoid Matt because of the way I get when I'm around him. Though I'm normally loquacious last Wednesday's vocabulary word that I copied and vowed to use at least three times , one look at Matt and I lose my power of speech.

My jaw drops and my mouth goes dry. There's just something about him-sleepy blue eyes, light brown hair that usually needs combing, a crooked grin and a sculpted rock-hard body. It's not some creepy incestuous thing since Matt and I weren't real cousins. Sid was Faye's step brother. Nope, we don't have the same blood coursing through our veins. Matt's was probably blue, while mine came from the mystery man Faye refused to talk about. I tiptoed past the Jeep to spare myself further humiliation. I'd almost made it when he rolled out on one of those sled thingies and grabbed my ankle.

Sure enough, my lower jaw was heading south. He released my ankle and stood up. He's her lawyer, right? I narrowed my eyes and studied Matt's face, looking for a smirk or maybe a suggestive wink. Even though I didn't want to punch him, I could and I would. I knew how to punch. Faye had made sure. Wonder of wonders, he was looking at me. I mean, really looking at me with those sexy blue eyes. His gaze lingered for a long moment on my chest. Was he checking out my 'cots? I was suddenly aware I'd outgrown my shorts and tee shirt.

Not knowing what else to do, I shoved my hands into the pocket of my cut-offs and took a step back. If you ever need a ride somewhere, let me know. I got the Jeep running real good. Even though he called me "kid," clearly Matt had noticed a couple of new bulges on my formerly stick-like body. Had my tumble off the ladder followed by electric fence zapping released some sort of male-attracting hormone?

In spite of my mini triumph Matt-wise, a dull headache began to throb painfully at the back of my skull. I opened the mailbox and, as predicted, Faye's check had not arrived. There was, however, a familiar tan envelope from the Social Security Office of Adjudication and Review. Probably another form for Faye to fill out asking questions like, "Are you able to push a grocery cart? I'll let him deal with it. I took the hint. It was time for Fay's nightly ritual, two slices of peanut butter toast and two cans of Busch Light. The menu varied only on Thursday night. He always brought burgers, fries and a fifth of Stoli.

Not that I'm around on Thursdays. But, when I come home on Friday, the place smells of grease and vodka. Let me make this crystal clear. Big Ed is Faye's lawyer, not her boyfriend. That's what Faye said. He's been working day and night on her case for two years. That's what Big Ed said. I have my doubts.