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Alterations

Alterations

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Alterations

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (2 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
301 pagine
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Dec 6, 2016
ISBN:
9781681191928
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

In this YA retelling of Sabrina set in the glam fashion world, Amelia is whisked off to an amazing New York City fashion internship that changes her life--and quickly finds herself caught between two brothers.

A RITA finalist for Best First Book


If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they'd think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn't know that all the plans she's made for them are just dreams, and that she's the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family.

When Amelia's abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can't imagine leaving Miami--and Ethan--for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan's awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app.

As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The "new and improved" Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she'd have to make.
Pubblicato:
Dec 6, 2016
ISBN:
9781681191928
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Stephanie Scott writes Young Adult stories about teens who put their passions first. She enjoys dance fitness and cat memes, and Pinterest is driving her broke. Born and raised in Kalamazoo where there are no zoos, she's a Midwest girl at heart. She now lives outside of Chicago with her tech-of-all-trades husband. You can find her chatting about TV and all things books on Twitter and Instagram at @StephScottYA. Alterations is her first book.


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Alterations - Stephanie Scott

Bio

CHAPTER ONE

I’d like to think I wasn’t the crying type, but I’d be lying.

I cried. Dampness saturated my pillow, making the pillowcase even grosser than its already-gross coating of end-stage flu germs. My heavy bangs matted against my forehead. Kicking a leg out from beneath the covers, I tore my scarf away (because even in sickness, I accessorized). The scarf hung limp against the side of the bed. Limp and lame like my life.

My sixteenth birthday, alone. No bonfire on the beach with my bestie, Maya, and friends from school. No cute boy on my doorstep holding daisies like in the movies.

No Ethan Laurenti.

For as long as I could remember, I’d dreamed of two things: to become a fashion designer, and to be with Ethan Laurenti. I dreamed, elaborately, of Ethan Laurenti. Of going to prom with him. Of falling in love, slowly and completely. I dreamed of seeing the boy I’d watched grow up realize his true feelings—that his OTP (One True Pairing) had been here all along. (That girl would be me, by the way.) Only the flu struck, just in time for another potentially perfect love declaration moment to pass by.

Yesterday’s half-eaten slice of cake stared at me from atop my dresser. Usually, I loved birthday cake, but now the frosted polka dots arranged across the icing turned to mocking eyes. They focused their confectionary judgment at me, solidifying my loser status.

"You’re the loser!" I shot back.

I buried my face in the pillow—I just yelled at cake.

My bedroom door opened. Amelia. Only my abuelita would barge into my room before noon on a Saturday. Time to get up. The day is wasting.

I forced a lid open. My eyes stung like they’d run an underwater marathon. Abuelita yanked the curtains open and I shrunk back with a hiss. "Too early."

Not too early.

She kept talking, and I reluctantly rolled over to peek out the window. Beyond the palm trees framing our carriage-house apartment, garage doors yawned open at the estate house. The well-worn cobblestones joining our family’s living quarters to the old-Spanish-style mansion were like a direct invitation for snooping. A figure emerged. Lean, dark hair, carrying a box. My heartbeat picked up pace.

You won’t get anywhere staring out that window, Abuelita said behind me.

In the estate’s drive, the figure turned. Not Ethan, but Liam, Ethan’s not-identical twin brother. He shoved the box into the trunk of his SUV, followed by a second, open-top box with electrical cords spilling out.

You didn’t finish your cake, Abuelita said. You didn’t like it?

I sighed and turned from the window, letting the gauzy curtains fall back into place. I still wasn’t feeling well. Abuelita’s cakes were perfection, but that wasn’t the issue. The issue was my scorecard now tallied two birthdays in a row that completely imploded. Which birthday was worse was a toss-up. This year’s plague-ridden, boyfriendless, bailed-on-by-my-best-friend tragedy, or last year’s quinceañera, where Uncle Pablo’s infamous drunken candelabra dance ended headlong into the bar. (Fire plus flammable liquids equaled Epic Disaster.)

Abuelita sat beside me. "Pobrecito, mi Amelia." She bunched up her legs and curled around me.

I burrowed into her. She still smelled like cinnamon from baking her Saturday morning coffee cake for the Laurentis. She stroked hair away from my face and smoothed the strands down my back. My breathing leveled out.

A sudden jab needled my side. Ow!

Mila. Abuelita sat upright. Time to do something. No more lazybones. She tested my forehead with the back of her hand. "Just because your mamá fears somebody’s mommy will blame you for spreading lazybones to their children doesn’t give you an excuse to do nothing." Abuelita stood, all five feet and one inch of her. She’d lit a candle for me at church, so in her mind, my sickness was as good as cured. Any further sympathy she reserved for the truly ill, like those with typhoid or the plague or whichever diseases were barely plausible in the modern age.

I swallowed my grumbling. There was no arguing with Abuelita, even though my mother tested that rule regularly.

Abuelita, who could never leave my room without straightening, poked at papers on my desk.

Wait, don’t—

Her poke flipped over the layout for my planner page dividers, still in their unglued stage. Scraps of spring fashion lines sailed to the floor. I smacked my forehead.

I thought you moved on to digital? She made little clucks of disapproval at the haute couture confetti now littering my floor.

I use both. I gathered the bits, like a game of 52-model pickup. I paper collage my planner pages. Remember the planner? The one you bought me? Willful forgetfulness, that’s what this was. The planner helped me schedule my Instagram posts. RunwayGirl12 had 10.5k followers, thank you very much.

Abuelita took the plate of cake. I know you’re sad about Maya not spending your birthday with you. A sympathetic look crossed her face. Now, get ready and come talk over breakfast. She glanced at my vintage alarm clock. Lunch. She closed the door behind her.

I cast another look out the window, but the SUV was gone. Watching the Laurentis come and go was as regular to me as Abuelita’s wake-up routines.

After washing up, I dressed in a short-sleeved yellow tunic and one of my hand-sewn scarves. I added plastic pineapple earrings and layered on beaded necklaces. I debated shorts but I hated wearing shorts. Give me a long, lightweight skirt any day. Hippie, bohemian chic was my current spring style, as reflected in the runway collections I’d just featured on my feed. That was my thing: I curated the best of the fashion world, posted the pics, and people clicked their Likes.

My own sewing table sat neglected after a week and a half of killer flu. Dance movie DVDs stacked next to Johnny, rendering him pretty useless. (Abuelita named the ancient machine Johnny Cash, after the legendary countrysinger, since it had good rhythm.)

In the kitchen, a gale-force assault of espresso beans hit my senses. Abuelita poured a cup of café Cubano fresh from the stove and set it on the small island. We always ate here if Mami was off at her second job catering.

Abuelita scanned my hair, which was currently in last place in the battle of the frizz, and then set a bean-and-cheese omelet in front of me. This is a special day, Mila. Her gold tooth in the far back glinted. The first step of many. One small journey, then the world!

I raised a brow. Those espresso beans were really kicking things up a notch today.

Her hands clasped in front of her. She motioned with her head toward something lying next to my plate. A piece of paper.

New York Fashion Institute, the letterhead declared in a sans-serif, artistic font.

I sucked in air. "Dios mio."

Do not curse, Mila. Read! Her excitement was so close to bursting, she barely contained a hopping motion.

I took a breath to steady my trembling hands. This couldn’t be . . . I slid my nail under the envelope’s seal and unfolded the letter.

Dear Ms. Amelia Blanco:

The staff at NYFI are thrilled to inform you of your acceptance to the student summer internship program. Our highly-competitive summer program prepares entering junior and senior high school students for the rigors of design school. Upon completion of the program, our students have a ninety-percent acceptance rate enrolling at top design colleges.

I stopped reading. What is this? My words came out low, hesitant.

See? New York City. The world!

A low-grade panic set my heart to a frantic beat. But I didn’t apply. I just printed out the application from the website. Junk mail had slowly piled on top until I’d conveniently forgotten about the papers and the internship. Conveniently because dreaming of spending the summer in New York City and actually going were two totally opposite realities.

Abuelita gestured to where we stacked the mail. I found the papers next to an open water bottle, almost ruined. Good thing the application was to be completed online. I copied the information for you and clicked submit. She actually mimicked the sound of a mouse click. I couldn’t let your dream slip away.

I stared at the acceptance letter. Oh my gosh. My abuelita filled out an internship application for me and it actually worked. Sure, fashion design was my dream (I did, after all, have a framed photo of Project Runway’s Tim Gunn displayed on my sewing table), but a dream is just that—a vision, a goal to aspire to. This . . . this was happening!

I set the letter down and let it fold in on itself. I can’t go to New York. I don’t know anyone. It’s super far away. New York definitely wasn’t Miami, where my summer plans neatly lined up: beach time with Maya, catering jobs with Mami, and two and a half blissful months to finally make something happen with Ethan before his senior year. After next year’s graduation, he’d take off for college along with any hope of us getting together. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. The internship is expensive. There was a separate scholarship part you would have had to—

I filled that out, too. And I included the recommendation from your art teacher. I emailed her to send it along to the school.

Suddenly, my body felt like an overheating furnace. I stood and fanned myself. Airplane, New York City, New York freaking Fashion Institute. This was unreal.

You look so worried, Mila. I thought you wanted this? Abuelita set her coffee down. In this family, we work hard. Your mamá and I, we work to give you the chance to do something more.

I know. Which was why the summer program seemed like a good idea two months ago. One version of me jumped at new opportunities, but another was cool with sticking close to home. Daydream Amelia talked to Ethan Laurenti instead of watching him from a distance. Daydream Amelia didn’t deal with the invisible but very clear line marking them versus us. Daydream Amelia flew on a whim to New York City.

Not me.

Abuelita drummed her fingers on the counter. "Do not tell me my Johnny Singer machine is gathering dust. You’re good, Mila. So talented. The dress you just made looks like it came from a store."

Abuelita was family and by default her DNA dictated her love of anything I made. Even the lopsided ceramic giraffe from fifth grade, which looked more like a coyote with an abnormally long neck.

I unfolded the letter and reread it, including the mention of the scholarship money. Everything was set for me, but no way was it that easy to up and leave. I’d never left home before.

Mami will need me this summer, I blurted. Now that I’m sixteen, I can make my own money. I can serve at catering jobs instead of filling cheese trays. Even though I was much better at draping a dress form than filling cheese trays (you might not think filling a cheese tray required skill, but you’d be mistaken), Mami would never get close enough to starting her own catering business if I wasn’t around to pitch in. Which reminded me. What does Mami think?

Just then, the side door opened leading into the kitchen. What does Mami think about what? My mother, Queen of the Cheese Tray, walked in wearing a stiff white shirt with long black pants and black rubber-soled shoes. She dumped a bag and purse on the chair by the door.

Abuelita clapped her hands together. She got in!

Mami blinked, looking between us. New York? She got in? She rushed over to me. You got in?

So, I was last to know? I handed over the letter so she could read for herself.

Amelia! Her tired eyes showed renewed spark. "I’m so proud, mija. This is so big! You get to go to New York!" Within seconds her arms flew around me, smothering me with lingering traces of fried cheese and marinara sauce and whichever body spritzer she tried to mask those smells with after she clocked out.

She pulled back and pushed my bangs off my face. I shook them back. The cover gave me room to think. Were you part of this? Sending in my application without telling me?

She couldn’t hide the splash of guilt across her face. We didn’t think you’d go through with it. We knew this opportunity was perfect. She held on to my arms, keeping me close. Honestly, I was surprised she was about to let me go, since she not-so-secretly enjoyed how my social life involved sticking close to home. You’re not excited?

Of course I am. I pulled away and swept up the letter. It seemed less real the more times I read through. The school’s name so important and otherworldly. New York Fashion Institute. An entire institute dedicated to fashion. The program started in late June. In one month.

This was potentially my last summer while Ethan still lived here. The design program would take me away for half the summer.

I twisted my scarf. Made by Amelia, the custom tag read. I wouldn’t move past scarves and altered thrift store finds if I never left Casa Amelia.

I needed a good, long think session and some time spent rearranging my Pinterest boards.

Abuelita and Mami smiled at each other, clearly proud of their sneaky ways.

I already made a list for us to prepare for your trip, said Abuelita. You, Miss Amelia, are going to New York.

CHAPTER TWO

Summer in New York. Me, in New York. I paced my room, trying on the experience in my mind. I pictured myself in one of the Garment District’s legendary fabric stores Mood Fabrics, patiently listening to Tim Gunn explain the troublesome aspects my choice of silk charmeuse fabric would hold for day wear. Okay, so the internship was not Project Runway. Still, I was freaked.

I scanned my recent Instagram activity. Four new followers and eighty new Likes. Not bad considering my last pic was a lazy repost of Jessica Simpson’s spring shoe line. I tossed my phone on my bed. Ugh. I’d been cooped up in the house for days. The last thing I wanted was to obsess over New York alone in my room. I needed to get out.

I watched Abuelita walk the connecting path to the big house, carrying a light cardigan over her arm. Then I sneaked out the other direction to the stables.

The familiar scent of hay and horsehair pulled me in like a fishing line cast out. Afternoon sun shone through the open stable doors, illuminating dust like a shaken snow globe. Only two of the six stalls were occupied now that the Laurentis’ horse racing days were long in the past.

Hiya, Magnus, I said to the mahogany-and-white-spotted Appaloosa. I let him sniff my hand and stroked his soft face. Were you groomed today? You sure feel like it. I picked up a brush. Can I go through your mane again? Didn’t hurt to ask.

When I was younger, I’d watch Liam and Ethan’s riding lessons from the courtyard by our apartment house. Gigi Laurenti let the boys ride an old mare—old and slow so the horse would never take off. I’d watched them so often, daydreaming of climbing into the saddle any time I wanted. The Laurenti’s trainer let me brush the horses in the stable, and he probably would’ve let me ride if I’d ever asked, but asking was off-limits. My family told me as much—I was not to ever ask favors of the family. Unless it was offered, I had no business with the Laurentis’ horses.

Sounds from the driveway leading to the stables sent my hand snapping back from the horse.

Peeking out the doors, a car drove into view and stopped by the main house. The estate grounds were large enough for guesthouses and stables, but not huge and sprawling, so the car wasn’t too far off. Flashes of color emerged from the slick sedan. Black, then pink, then green.

Oh. My. God. The realization hit so fast it knocked me back a step.

The colors were dresses. Gowns. Prom wear.

Ethan’s prom.

I leaned back against the inside stable wall, out of sight from the driveway. Ethan Laurenti’s prom. You’d think I’d have the date memorized, but I tried not to be that obsessive.

Never mind the secret Pinterest boards I’d tagged with articles about Ethan’s private school, or his soccer matches—okay, I was a little obsessive.

I stole another look. The black color belonged to a suit. A guy, escorting one of the girls up the drive. Another car pulled in behind the sedan. Ethan’s friends were meeting here before the prom.

My chest flared with a sensation I hated to name. I grit my teeth. It should be me out there.

Which of course was ridiculous. Obviously I couldn’t be Ethan’s prom date. Partly because I’d been bedridden days earlier, but mostly because Ethan had no idea how I felt about him. Being around Ethan turned my insides to goo and my mouth forgot basic vocabulary. In my daydreams, Ethan and I, we were perfect together. Destined for prom. Destined for each other.

The other hitch: my family worked for his. Mami and Abuelita were the ones employed by the Laurentis for cleaning and cooking, but technically, I lumped right in with them. I was the help, too. A little fact my daydreams glossed over.

A new wave of jealousy left sticky imprints on my skin, and I couldn’t shake them off. If Ethan’s friends were meeting here, they would take group pictures. Honestly, I couldn’t not peek in on Ethan’s date, I was too dang curious. I could check her out, and then die a million deaths comparing myself to her while marathoning the Your Move: Season Four reality dance competition.

I headed to the main house, using the back entrance into the staff kitchen.

Abuelita paused from stirring a sauce on the stove. Mila! Stay away from the food. She fluttered a hand in the air. Your flu.

Oh, right; now she considered my sickness legit.

"Since you’re here, por favor, can you find the navy-blue linens for the table? Not the royal blue, but the navy blue. We moved them to the closet near Mr. Laurenti’s office."

I tended to tread lightly near Mr. Laurenti’s office, where he often yelled about stocks and market rates via speakerphone. He was some sort of investment guru—I never totally understood what he did, but he had a good enough career to have attracted the super-rich Gigi Laurenti, heir to some other fortune I also didn’t fully understand. The family owned not one yacht but two, because, hey? Why not own two yachts? If I had millions of dollars I’d buy as many yachts as possible and throw parties all the time.

Plus, finding the table linens gave me an excuse to check out the prom pictures.

I trekked through the back hall to the closets by the first-floor laundry. I found the table linens and matching cloth napkins. Bundling them up, I turned and froze.

Ethan Laurenti himself was walking toward me.

Oh! I took a step back. Holy Moses. He wore an ink-black tuxedo, no tie yet, and his collar a little askew. I resisted an acute urge to straighten it.

Hey, Amelia. Ethan was the type of guy who addressed people by name, and always with a smile. Usually a hint of mischief hooked into that smile, as if he’d just gotten away with something. He tugged at his jacket sleeve. I feel overdressed.

I glanced down at my sunshine-yellow tunic. This was probably the last item in my closet I would have chosen for an up-close with Ethan. It was just so yellow. Whatever. Ethan was right here in front of me in an empty hall. I forced myself to speak. You look great. I mean, with prom you kind of have to go all out.

He noted the linens in my arms. Ah, Dad’s business dinner. My mom freaked that he planned it the same night as prom, but, he shrugged, these dances are all kind of the same after a while.

I knew for a fact Ethan attended prom as a freshman, having gone with a junior girl who’d asked him. Sophomore year, too. Lucky guy—he’d have four years of proms, including next year.

Next year with me?

"I’m sure prom will be amazing. Take lots of pictures." I internally cringed. Why was I giving Ethan advice?

Totally. Ethan said, as if my suggestion was not only necessary but helpful. Ethan’s phone chirped. I’ve gotta take this. See you around, Amelia.

I watched Ethan walk toward the stairs, imagining myself beside him at next year’s prom. I’d wear red, or burgundy. All of my favorite designers’ gowns were red or burgundy. The accessories would depend on the prom’s theme. Since proms tended to repeat common themes (based on my research), I’d already put together several accessory boards on Pinterest for future reference.

I returned the linens to the formal dining room, which happened to be the perfect spot to watch over where Ethan’s friends gathered in the foyer.

"Oh my God, you look awe-sooome!" a girl’s voice rang out, followed by heels clicking and swishing skirts. The telltale sounds of prom wear.

A very tan, very blond girl wearing an emerald-green gown worthy of the Oscars talked animatedly to the other girl I’d seen exit the sedan dressed in floor-length pink. A third girl wore a skintight coral minidress, her skirt length barely reaching what Abuelita would deem respectable. All very different, but very in looks. The girls stood talking to a very bored Liam Laurenti.

Seeing Liam was like looking at the inverse of Ethan. While both brothers were of similar height and weight, whereas Ethan had purpose to his laid-back style—casually swept aside hair and shirtsleeves rolled up—Liam’s entire look appeared to be an afterthought. Hair thirsty for products and cut short with no style, as if he walked into the salon and asked for the Regular. Baggy, shapeless T-shirts and ratty sports sandals paired with anything and everything.

He was wearing them now. Shoes that flopped against the marble floors like dead plastic fish. Uh, my brother should be down soon, Liam said to the girls. He shifted his weight, his body dwarfed by a too-big polo shirt that for all I knew could have belonged to his father.

"Leee-um!"

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  • (4/5)
    A 2017 RITA finalist, Alterations is a smart, funny, upbeat story of a young Hispanic woman named Amelia who loves all things sewing and fashion. When her grandmother pushes her toward an opportunity to go to New York for a month-long fashion internship, Amelia gathers her courage and her prom dress designs and leaves the safety of her Miami home to pursue her dream.