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All Our Worst Ideas
When two teens meet at the record store where they both work, sparks fly despite their differences.see full description
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AUGUST 11, 2020
When Amy, on her way to becoming valedictorian of her graduating class and getting accepted to her dream school, gets dumped by her long-term boyfriend, she takes a job at a record store to ease the pain. She needs a distraction, badly.
Oliver, Amy’s record store co-worker, isn’t so sure about Amy—his complete opposite—but what he is sure of is his decision not to go to college. He just can’t figure out how to tell his mother.
As they work late-night shifts at the record store, Amy and Oliver become friends and then confidantes and then something more, but when Amy has a hard time letting go of what she thought was her perfect future with her ex, she risks losing the future she didn’t even know she wanted with Oliver.
My feet take me across the street. When I step into Spirits and walk down the first aisle of records, grazing my fingertips across the cardboard sleeves as I go, I feel like I can breathe for the first time in months. Between SAT scores, getting my Stanford application ready, and trying to prove that I deserve the Keller Scholarship, I haven’t stopped to smell the vinyl.
There’s a boy behind the counter, and I sneak a look at him as he goes through a tall stack of records. He examines each one, his face giving away no emotion, and then promptly files them into one of two stacks. As I pick up a Nick Drake album and scan the back of it, my eyes pop up to the boy again. He’s easily over six feet, has red hair, pale skin, eyes that are just a little too wide-set, and is wearing a faded maroon t-shirt with a breast pocket. I’ve seen him before, standing behind that counter when I came in to look for new music, but I’ve skimmed over him the way I skim over most people.
As I’m watching, a girl comes out of a back room. I recognize her, too, from my frequent visits. She looks like she might be in her mid-twenties, but I can see from where I’m standing, right at the end of the aisle, that she has a badge pinned to her clothes that says manager. Half of her head is buzzed close to her scalp, and the other half is slicked back. She walks straight over to the boy, slaps a stack of papers on the counter beside him, and sighs.
“I have got to stop hiring college kids,” she says. “I can’t take going through this stupid process every time a new semester starts.” She rifles through the papers in front of her. “I know I’m not supposed to be judging them on their musical taste, but dear God, the last girl couldn’t name all four Beatles.”
The boy laughs. He has a nice smile. And then his eyes flicker up to me, and I look away quick. I don’t want him to know that I’m eavesdropping.
“I have to get someone in here on the weekends,” the manager goes on, and something strums in my chest. “It’s getting too hard for just you and Morgan to be running cash-wrap. Don’t you have music-savvy friends that want to work here?”
The boy snorts. “Maybe you should lower your standards.”
I open my mouth. “Excuse me?” I haven’t even realized I’ve walked up to them until there’s nothing but the counter between us. They both look up at me. “Um, you’re hiring?”
The boy taps his fingers on the counter and regards me. I don’t miss the way his eyes slide down my body in a completely stoic way, like he’s just sizing me up.
"A contemporary love story that goes deeper than most, exposing teen angst in its many hiding places with believable characters and situations. Recommended for all collections." —School Library Journal
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How to Breathe Underwater:
"A compelling debut that will tug at your heartstrings and leave you breathless. ... Overall, this is a really sweet and refreshing read, and I highly recommend it." —Buried in a Bookshelf
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