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Excerpt from The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Fates Will Find Their Way

A Novel

by Hannah Pittard

The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard X
The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2011, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2011, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
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Print Excerpt


At ten p.m., half-spooked and more tired than we were willing to admit, relieved possibly that the curfew was finally upon us, we left Trey Stephens’ house through the sliding glass doors in the basement. We left the public schooler alone, in his sad blue-carpeted basement with a pool cue in his hand, and we ran to our own homes maybe two doors, five doors, six blocks away. Shivering, we ran through the night, through the leaves and the cold, shouting our good nights to each other, not bothering to stop until we were safely through our front doors.


Strangely, in the months to come, it was Nora’s younger sister, Sissy, who garnered much of our attention. We thought about Nora, of course. We wondered where she was, what she was doing. We told stories. But, the more time that passed and the more we began to understand she was really gone, the more we kept those fantasies to ourselves, saved them for the times we spent alone after school, in our bedrooms, or in the kitchen in the dark before anybody else was awake, when our stomachs ached from an emptiness both primitive and prehistoric.

With each other, we talked about Sissy Lindell, wondered what life must be like for her in that threestory Tudor at the foot of the cul-de-sac. Sissy, after all, was still among us. Still living, still real. Our fantasies about her were therefore safer, easier. Paul Epstein was the first one to notice how quickly she’d changed; how she’d gone, in one summer, from a middle schooler, a classic little sister, a complete annoyance, to a full-blown nymph, a dewy-mouthed ninth-grader whose mere promenade down a hallway drove varsity captains wild with boyish lust.

We felt bad for her father, especially the summer after Nora went missing, when we all noticed the change in Sissy. We felt bad when the two of them would walk down the sidewalks, still holding hands, which we all thought was a little weird. We felt bad because we couldn’t help watching her walk, the way her uniform skirt moved up and down, back and forth against her thighs. We knew from the uneven hem that she was one of those girls who rolled the waists of their skirts to shorten the length, which meant of course that she wanted us to look. We felt bad that Mr. Lindell had to have a daughter and that we had to exist to see her. We felt bad for aching to hold her hand, brush against her arm, for having thought not only about that other daughter then but also this daughter now, and about how she might shave her legs—sitting down or standing up or maybe not at all. How had she even learned without Nora or her long-dead mother there to show her? But we felt bad mostly that Mr. Lindell didn’t still have two daughters for us to look at the way we looked at Sissy.


There’d gone around town the suggestion that Halloween be skipped the following year—out of respect for the Lindells, of course, but also as a precaution for the other girls in our town. What if Nora really had been taken by a predator? What if the predator aimed to strike again? It was our parents who came up with the idea to do away with Halloween, but Paul Epstein—obsessed now with Sissy, convinced in fact of his love for her, his ability alone to see her sadness, her loneliness—persuaded Mrs. Epstein, who persuaded our mothers, even Sarah Jeffreys’ mother, who, it turns out, was the origin of the suggestion that the holiday be cancelled, that Sissy would feel too much guilt if we didn’t celebrate Halloween. She’d feel responsible, and how awful and unfair to add that to the poor girl’s worries.

Mrs. Jeffreys acquiesced on the condition that she be in control of Halloween, that its celebration take place only in her basement and not on the streets. Our parents all agreed, relieved, and even little Sissy Lindell—red-haired, pink-lipped, mole-covered Sissy—attended. No doubt Paul Epstein regretted his determination to observe Halloween, because his heart was broken the night of the party when the rumor finally made its slow way to his position at the foosball table that Chuck Goodhue had walked into the mudroom off the Jeffreys’ garage and seen Sissy Lindell with her face in the pants of Kevin Thorpe, a senior and starting center on the basketball team.

Excerpted from The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard. Copyright © 2011 by Hannah Pittard. Excerpted by permission of Ecco. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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