Authors: Josephine Angelini
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Love & Romance
Starcrossed (Starcrossed #1)
by Josephine Angelini
How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she isno easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas togetherand trying to tear them apart.
But if you bought me a car now, it would be yours
when I go away to school in two years. Still practically
new, Helen said optimistically. Unfortunately,
her father was no sucker.
Lennie, just because the state of Massachusetts
thinks its okay for sixteen-year-olds to drive . . . Jerry began.
Almost seventeen, Helen reminded.
Doesnt mean that I have to agree with it. He was winning, but
Helen hadnt lost yet.
You know, the Pig only has another year or two left in her,
Helen said, referring to the ancient Jeep Wrangler her father
drove, which she suspected might have been parked outside the
castle where the Magna Carta was signed. And think of all the gas
money we could save if we got a hybrid, or even went full electric.
Wave of the future, Dad.
Uh-huh, was all hed say.
Now shed lost.
Helen Hamilton groaned softly to herself and looked out over the
railing of the ferry that was bringing her back to Nantucket. She
contemplated another year of riding her bike to school in November
and, when the snow got too deep, scrounging for rides or,
worst of all, taking the bus. She shivered in anticipated agony and
tried not to think about it. Some of the Labor Day tourists were
staring at her, not unusual, so Helen tried to turn her face away as
subtly as she could. When Helen looked in a mirror all she saw
were the basicstwo eyes, a nose, and a mouthbut strangers
from off island tended to stare, which was really annoying.
Luckily for Helen, most of the tourists on the ferry that afternoon
were there for the view, not her portrait. They were so determined
to cram in a little scenic beauty before the end of summer that they
felt obliged to ooh and aah at every marvel of the Atlantic Ocean,
though it was all lost on Helen. As far as she was concerned, growing
up on a tiny island was nothing but a pain, and she couldnt
wait to go to college off island, off Massachusetts, and off the entire
eastern seaboard if she could manage it.
It wasnt that Helen hated her home life. In fact, she and her
father got along perfectly. Her mom had ditched them both when
Helen was a baby, but Jerry had learned early on how to give his
daughter just the right amount of attention. He didnt hover, yet he
was always there for her when she needed him. Buried under a thin
layer of resentment about the current car situation, she knew she
could never ask for a better dad.
Hey, Lennie! Hows the rash? yelled a familiar voice. Coming
toward her was Claire, Helens best friend since birth. She tipped
unsteady tourists out of her path with artfully placed pushes.
The sea-goofy day-trippers swerved away from Claire like she
was a linebacker and not a tiny elf of a girl perched delicately on
platform sandals. She glided easily through the stumbling riot she
had created and slid next to Helen by the railing.
Giggles! I see you got some back-to-school shopping done, too,
Jerry said as he gave Claire a one-armed hug around her parcels.
Claire Aoki, aka Giggles, was a badass. Anyone who took a look at
her five-foot-two frame and delicate Asian features and failed to
recognize her inherent scrappiness ran the risk of suffering horribly
at the hands of a grossly underestimated opponent. The nickname
Giggles was her personal albatross. Shed had it since she
was a baby. In her friends and familys defense it was impossible
to resist calling her Giggles. Claire had, hands down, the best laugh
in the universe. Never forced or shrill, it was the kind of laugh that
could make anyone within earshot smile.
Fo-sho, sire of my BFF, Claire replied. She hugged Jerry back
with genuine affection, ignoring his use of the dreaded nickname.
Might I have a word with your progeny? Sorry to be so rude, but
its top secret, high-clearance stuff. Id tell you . . . she began.
But then youd have to kill me, Jerry finished sagely. He
shuffled obligingly off to the concession stand to buy himself a sugary
soda while his daughter, the chief of the food police, wasnt
Wacha got in the bag, dad? Claire asked. She grabbed Helens
loot and started rifling through. Jeans, cardigan, T-shirt, under
. . . whoa! You go underwear shopping with your dad? Ew!
Its not like I have any choice! Helen complained as she
snatched her bag away. I needed new bras! Anyway, my dad hides
at the bookstore while I try everything on. But trust me, even
knowing hes down the street while I shop for underwear is excruciating,
she said, a smile on her reddening face.
It cant be all that painful. Its not like you ever try to buy anything
sexy. Jeez, Lennie, do you think you could dress more like
my grandma? Claire held up a pair of white cotton briefs. Helen
snatched the granny panties and shoved them to the bottom of the
bag while Claire stretched out her magnificent laugh.
I know, Im such a big geek its gone viral, Helen replied,
Claires teasing instantly forgiven, as usual. Arent you afraid
youll catch a fatal case of loser from me?
Nope. Im so awesome Im immune. Anyway, geeks are the best.
Youre all so deliciously corruptible. And I love the way you blush
whenever I talk about underpants.
Claire was forced to adjust her stance as a couple of picturetakers
barged in close to them. Working with the momentum of the
deck, Claire nudged the tourists out of the way with one of her
ninja balance moves. They stumbled aside, laughing about the
choppy water, clueless that Claire had even touched them. Helen
fiddled with the heart necklace she always wore and took the opportunity
to slouch down against the railing to better meet her
friends small stature.
Unfortunately for achingly shy Helen, she was an eye-grabbing
five feet nine inches tall, and still growing. Shed prayed to Jesus,
the Buddha, Muhammad, and Vishnu to make it stop, but she still
felt the hot splinters in her limbs and the seizing muscles of another
growth spurt at night. She promised herself that at least if she
topped six feet shed be tall enough to scale the safety railing and
throw herself off the top of the lighthouse in Siasconset.
Salespeople were always telling her how lucky she was, but not
even they could find her pants that fit. Helen had resigned herself
to the fact that in order to buy affordable jeans that were long
enough she had to go a few sizes too big, but if she didnt want
them to fall off her hips, she had to put up with a mild breeze flapping
around her ankles. Helen was pretty sure that the wicked
jealous salesgirls didnt walk around with chilly ankles. Or with
their butt cracks showing.
Stand up straight, Claire snapped automatically when she saw
Helen slouching, and Helen obeyed. Claire had a thing about good
posture, something to do with her super-proper Japanese mother
and even more proper, kimono-wearing grandmother.
Okay! On to the main topic, Claire announced. You know that
huge kazillion-dollar compound that the New England Patriots guy
used to own?
The one in Sconset? Sure. What about it? Helen asked, picturing
the houses private beach and feeling relieved that her dad
didnt make enough money at his store to buy a house any closer to
When Helen was a child she had very nearly drowned, and ever
since had secretly believed that the Atlantic Ocean was trying to
kill her. Shed always kept that bit of paranoia to herself . . . though
she still was a terrible swimmer. To be fair, she could tread water
for a few minutes at a time, but she was rotten at it. Eventually, she
sank like a rock no matter how saline the ocean was supposed to be
and no matter how hard she paddled.
It finally sold to a big family, Claire said. Or two families. Im
not sure how it works, but I guess there are two fathers, and theyre
brothers. They both have kidsso the kids are cousins? Claire
wrinkled her brow. Whatever. The point is that whoever moved in
has a bunch of kids. And theyre all about the same age. There are,
like, two boys that are going to be in our grade.
And let me guess, Helen said, deadpan. You did a tarot reading
and saw that both of the boys are going to fall madly in love
with you and then theyll tragically fight to the death.
Claire kicked Helen in the shin. No, dummy. Theres one for
each of us.
Helen rubbed her leg, pretending it hurt. Even if Claire had
kicked Helen with all of her might, she still wouldnt be strong
enough to leave a bruise.
One for each of us? Thats uncharacteristically low drama of
you, Helen teased. Its too straightforward. I dont buy it. But
how about this? Well each fall in love with the same boy, or the
wrong boywhichever one doesnt love us backand then you and
I will fight each other to the death.
Whatever are you babbling on about? Claire asked sweetly as
she inspected her nails, feigning incomprehension.
God, Claire, youre so predictable, Helen said, laughing. Every
year you dust off those cards you bought in Salem that time on the
field trip and you always predict that something amazing is going
to happen. But every year the only thing that amazes me is that you
havent slipped into a boredom coma by winter break.
Why do you fight it? Claire protested. You know eventually
something spectacular is going to happen to us. You and I are way
too fabulous to be ordinary.
Helen shrugged. I am perfectly happy with ordinary. In fact, I
think Id be devastated if you actually predicted right for a change.
Claire tilted her head to one side and stared at her. Helen untucked
her hair from behind her ears to curtain off her face. She
hated to be watched.
I know you would. I just dont think ordinarys ever going to
work out for you, Claire said thoughtfully.
Helen changed the subject. They chatted about their class schedules,
running track, and whether or not they should cut bangs.
Helen wanted something new, but Claire was dead set against
Helen touching her long blonde hair with scissors. Then they realized
that they had wandered too close to what they called the pervert
zone of the ferry, and had to hastily backtrack.
They both hated that part of the ferry, but Helen was particularly
sensitive about it; it reminded her of this creepy guy that had followed
her around one summer, until the day he just disappeared
off the ferry. Instead of feeling relieved when she realized he wasnt
coming back, Helen felt like she had done something wrong. She
had never brought it up to Claire, but there had been a bright flash
and a horrible smell of burnt hair. Then the guy was just gone. It
still made her queasy to think about it, but Helen played along, like
it was all a big joke. She forced a laugh and let Claire drag her
along to another part of the ferry.
Jerry joined them as they pulled into the dock and disembarked.
Claire waved good-bye and promised to try to visit Helen at work
the next day, though since it was the last day of summer, the outlook
Helen worked a few days a week for her father, who co-owned the
islands general store. Apart from a morning paper and fresh cup of
coffee, the News Store also sold saltwater taffy, penny candy,
caramels and toffee in real crystal jars, and ropes of licorice whips
sold by the yard. There were always fresh-cut flowers and handmade
greeting cards, gag gifts and magic tricks, seasonal knickknacks
for the tourists, and refrigerator essentials like milk and
eggs for the locals.
About six years ago the News Store had expanded its horizons
and added Kates Cakes onto the back, and since then business had
exploded. Kate Rogers was, quite simply, a genius with baked
goods. She could take anything and make it into a pie, cake, popover,
cookie, or muffin. Even universally loathed vegetables like
brussels sprouts and broccoli succumbed to Kates wiles and became