Salvation by Anne Osterlund – Excerpt & Giveaway

Author Anne Osterlund

Anne Osterlund is the author of four young adult books, including Aurelia and its sequel, Exile. Her second novel, Academy 7, won the OCTE Spirit of Oregon Award and was an ALA/YALSA Popular Paperback nominee. Anne works as a full-time author and presents for schools, conferences, and writing events. She grew up in the sunshine ofeastern Oregon and earned a BA from Whitworth College, where she majored in elementary education with Spanish and English teaching fields. Anne lives in a cute little yellow house with her new feline friend, Simba, and her own library of young adult books. She and her characters can be found on her website at www.anneosterlund.com . Salvation is her fourth novel, and she has dreams of many more in the future.

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Salvation

Salvador Resendez–Salva to his friends–appears to have it all. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations, and Salva intends to fulfill them. He’s student body president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone loves him.

Especially Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. Dreamy and shy, Beth is used to blending into the background. But she’s also smart, and she has serious plans for her future.

Popular guy and bookish girl–the two have almost nothing in common. Until fate throws them together and the attraction is irresistible. Soon Beth is pushing Salva to set his sights higher than ever–because she knows he has more to offer, more than even he realizes.

Then tragedy strikes–and threatens to destroy everything that Salva has worked for. Will Beth’s love be enough to save him?

Read the Previous Excerpts First:

SALVATION Blog Tour: Excerpt Part 8 of 8.

CHAPTER 2: A GRAVEYARD BUTTERFLY—SCENE 2

Beth smiled as she reached the graveyard. “Morbid,” her mother would have said about her daughter’s desire to visit the cemetery, but Beth kicked off her sandals and waded through the fresh-cut grass. The cool strands tickled her ankles and the sweet scent of late roses clung to the air. Pale yellow, blue, and pink tombstones scattered the green in a pastel palate.
            A squirrel rushed across the grass and scurried up an old oak tree, the fluffy gray tail disappearing among the branches. Beth approached, watching to see if it would emerge again, but when it did not, she swung off her backpack and slid to the ground beneath the tree’s outstretched shadow. And beside the slender pink stone with the name Gloria May Courant etched in the center.
            “Hello, Grandma,” said Beth. “I’m sorry I’m late.” She explained about Nalani’s meeting. “You know she always has something happening. I’m sure you aren’t surprised.” It felt right to be here. Grandma had always expected Beth to share about the first day of school, a ritual that Beth hadn’t wanted to stop now.
“It was a pretty good day,” Beth went on, “for the first, you know. I’m not sure I’ll survive trigonometry; but I thought the same thing about algebra II, and it turned out all right. All the answers are still in the back of the book, so I’ll know when to ask Nalani for help.” She knew Grandma would remind her that Beth’s final math scores had outpaced Ni’s all the way through school. But grades, and confidence in math, were two different things.
A robin hopped down onto the grass about twenty feet from the pink tombstone. Beth stopped talking so that she wouldn’t frighten him. He pecked his way closer, hopping four or five inches at a time and up onto the mound of turned earth. The grass there had not quite grown in yet. The robin preened, raising his chest and showing off, then disappeared in a sudden rush of wings.
            Beth’s head swam with the questions her grandmother had always asked. Do you like your teachers? Did you make any new friends? Were you on time for everything?
Obediently, Beth answered the questions, though she skimmed through her problems with being late. She told herself the aversion had nothing to do with crashing into Salva Resendez, though Grandma would have wanted to hear about him so she could repeat the story, for the hundredth time, about how she had dropped her cupcake during her grandaughter’s third-grade Valentine’s Day party, and Salva had given her his.
            The sun continued to shine as Beth talked. And talked and talked, letting her tongue flow as easily as her pencil when inspiration struck. She kept talking even when her throat grew dry and she had to clear it every few seconds. But then her stomach began to growl, and she realized it must be dinnertime. She’d forgotten her watch, of course. It seemed silly to wear a watch in a building where every room had a clock timed down to the exact second.
            Reluctantly, Beth reached for her backpack. “I should probably go. I’m on my own for supper tonight. Mom’s taking classes after work and attending meetings.”
            Grandma would be happy with that, though she wouldn’t have said. She didn’t like to encourage false hope. Still, she would want to know.
            “Love you ever.” Beth stood, then wound her way once around the oak tree, her eyes peering up to check for the long-lost squirrel. No tail flashed so she turned her attention down, slid back into her sandals, and headed for home.
            The weeds had grown clear up to the trailer. She should mow them, but it seemed a waste now that no one stayed here during the day; and soon it would be fall, the season defined by nature’s refuse. She picked her way along the path of flattened cheatgrass and tugged on the screen door.
It stuck. She rattled the latch and jerked harder, until the door swung free with a bang.
            The trailer smelled of sour milk from cereal bowls. Beth sighed, letting her backpack obey gravity, then she stepped from the worn carpet on the right half of the room and crossed to the peeling linoleum on the left.
The sink was disgusting. She forced herself to reach into the scum-covered water to retrieve a frying pan and wooden spoon, then turned over the dishpan and watched the cold liquid disappear down the drain. Beth flipped on the faucet, letting it run while the hot water decided whether to work.
She detoured to the fridge and yanked open the freezer, too fast because a paper slid off the door. Eagerly, she reached into the open Popsicle box. One left. She grinned and tugged out the treat.
            The clear wrapper peeled away, and she tossed it into the garbage can, along with the box.
Back to the sink to test the water. Hot. She slid the dishpan under the faucet, poured in the soap, then tasted the Popsicle. It was red, the flavor a bit like children’s medicine, but at least the treat was cold.
            Suds in the dishpan threatened the rim, and she turned off the water, then caught sight again of the fridge. And frowned. Her eyes swooped to the floor, where they spotted the fallen paper sticking out from beneath the stove. Quickly she scooped up the sheet, held it straight against the freezer door so the paper would be easy for her mother to read, then secured the Alcoholics Anonymous pledge with a bright pink-and-green butterfly magnet, Grandma’s favorite.

Copyright @ 2013 by Anne Osterlund. Used by permission of Speak, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. All rights reserved.

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