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Authors: Karen Day

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A Million Miles From Boston

BOOK: A Million Miles From Boston
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O
THER
B
OOKS BY
K
AREN
D
AY

Tall Tales
No Cream Puffs

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

Wendy Lamb Books and the colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.

Visit us on the Web!
www.randomhouse.com/kids

Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at
www.randomhouse.com/teachers

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Day, Karen.

A million miles from Boston / Karen Day. — 1st ed.

p. cm.

Summary: Rising seventh-grader Lucy plans on a perfect summer at the Maine lake

where her family has owned a cottage for decades, but family of a classmate she dislikes

has bought a home there and her widowed father is bringing a girlfriend to visit.

eISBN: 978-0-375-89690-3 [1. Vacation homes—Fiction.

2. Summer—Fiction. 3. Single-parent families—Fiction. 4. Friendship—Fiction.

5. Dogs—Fiction. 6. Family life—Maine—Fiction. 7. Maine—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.D3316Mil 2011

[Fic]—dc22

2010016475

Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.

v3.1

For Jeane
And for Emma and Rebecca

Contents

an Richards walked around the corner of the nature exhibit at the mall, his long arms swinging. He had thick blond hair and a smirk on his face.

“Wanna see what I found?” He glanced at us: me, Annie, Rachel and Mei. Ian was one of the most popular boys in our grade, but he didn’t like me. I didn’t like him, either. “Come on,” he said. “Follow me.”

Mei turned to me. “Lucy, come on!”

My friends and I were celebrating the end of sixth grade, two weeks away. We’d had a great day, shopping and getting our ears pierced. I glanced across the mall to the restaurant where the moms sat talking. I’d much rather have gone back to them, but Annie, Rachel and Mei had already started after Ian.

Charlie and Michael, two boys from our grade, stood near the exhibit.

“Let’s be quick,” Mei whispered. Like me, she was kind of shy around boys.

“Look! Think they’re real?” Ian pointed to turtles on a long, flat rock next to a small pond.

“Cute,” Annie said. “But fake. They’re not moving.”

Trees, grass, bushes and pond took up the whole center of the mall. Water fell in a long, straight line from a boulder high above us, and the air was warm and damp. The birch trees had perfect branches with soft, shiny green leaves. I touched the white bark. Plastic.

Ian grinned and climbed over a low fence into the exhibit.

“What are you doing?” Annie tried to grab his shirt. “Someone’ll see you!”

Ian squatted in front of a turtle. “Are you real?”

“Dude!” Michael laughed.

A sign read
KEEP OUT. DO NOT FEED FISH OR TURTLES
.

I looked around. A man sat on a nearby bench, reading. A little girl watched us from across the pond. She looked about seven, the same age as my brother, Bucky. Her mom bent over a stroller.

I turned back to Ian. We hadn’t talked since we were paired for the water project the past winter. What a disaster.

Ian dropped to his hands and knees and lowered his face to the turtle. It was the size of my palm and it stared back at him, neck, face and limbs still. Then Ian rounded his back, pinched his lips into an O and sucked in his cheeks, making his eyes small.

“Be careful or the turtle’ll think you’re his mother,” Charlie said. Everyone cracked up, even me. He
did
look like a turtle.

“Hey, you alive?” Ian poked the turtle’s shell. Its head and limbs popped into its shell. Ian startled and sat back.

Michael laughed. “You afraid of a little turtle?”

Ian grabbed the turtle and jumped out of the exhibit. He thrust it at Annie. “Killer turtle! Gonna eat you!”

Annie and Rachel screamed and ran behind Charlie. Ian shoved the turtle in Mei’s face but she just put her hands on her hips and scowled. He went after Annie and Rachel, waving the turtle in front of him as if it were a weapon.

“Eew! Get that away from me!” Annie screamed.

“Killer turtle!” Ian lifted the turtle over his head, then zoomed it down at me.

I stared at the turtle, only inches from my nose. It had to be terrified, dizzy, maybe hurt. I glanced at the little girl who watched, her lips quivering.

“Stop it!” I said. “You’re scaring the turtle!”

Ian turned it to face him. “Turtles don’t feel.”

I yelled, “How would you like it if someone swung
you
around that way? Of course he can feel. He disappeared inside his shell!”

“Oh, so you’re an expert on turtles, too?” Ian glared at me.

“You two aren’t going to start fighting again, are you?” Annie asked.

Ian and I had gotten into a big argument during the water
project after he had pulled up a photo of a naked man on our librarian’s computer and blamed it on me.

“Miss Perfect Student!” Now Ian grinned at the others.

“God, Ian,” Mei said. Then she added, “So annoying,” under her breath.

“We gotta go,” Charlie said. “Just put the turtle back.”

I walked up close to Ian. How would he like it if I called
him
a name?

I glanced at the little girl watching, then down at the turtle. Its shell was beautiful, with different shades of brown and black and white speckles. I lowered my voice. “See that little girl? She’s scared. Let me have the turtle so she doesn’t have nightmares about this. Okay?”

I hadn’t planned to say this and Ian seemed as surprised as I was. He let me take the turtle.

I climbed into the exhibit and set the turtle next to the water. I waited, but its body stayed inside its shell.

“Lucy! What are you
doing
?” Mei’s mom walked up.

“I was just …” I stood and looked at my friends.

“You shouldn’t be in there!” Mrs. Wu said.

“Shame on you, Lucy Goosey! Breaking the rules again!” Ian laughed.

“What?” I glared at him.

“It’s your fault!” Mei said to Ian.

He grinned and stuck out his hand toward Mrs. Wu. “Ian Richards. Nice to meet you.”

They shook and Mrs. Wu said, “What’s going on here?”

Ian laughed, knocked off Michael’s cap and grabbed it
from the ground. Then he ran toward the stores, Charlie and Michael following.

Ian had done it again, blamed something he’d done on me!

Mei told her mom what had happened. Mrs. Wu said, “I’m sorry I was cross, Lucy. I didn’t know the whole story. Girls, we’re leaving in ten minutes. Make sure you wash your hands, Lucy. We’ll wait at the restaurant.”

“He’s such a jerk,” Rachel said.

“True,” Annie said. “But he’s funny, don’t you think? And kinda cute?”

“Annie!” I said. Everyone laughed.

They walked over to a nearby store. I looked across the pond. The little girl was gone and the turtle remained inside its shell.

Sometimes my black lab, Superior, and I saw turtles in the woods at Pierson Point, Maine, where my family and I spent summers. Thinking of the Point made me happy. Who cared about Ian? Soon I’d be up there.

“Lucy, come on,” Mei called.

“Okay.” The turtle’s head inched out of its shell, and I smiled and ran off to wash my hands.

When I got back, the moms were still talking at their table.

My mom had died years earlier, so I was used to being on my own. But I really liked that my friends’ moms were always nice to me.

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