Excerpt from How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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How to Make Friends with the Dark

by Kathleen Glasgow

How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow X
How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2019, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2020, 432 pages

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Michelle Anya Anjirbag
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I had a pack of lime Jell-O, and my stomach is screaming for food, but I don't tell her this. I just keep nuzzling her.

My mother pulls away and laughs. "Grace," she says. Hearing my real name makes me cringe. "Gracie, that pajama top doesn't quite fit you anymore, baby doll."

I pull defensively at the hem of the T-shirt and cross my arms over my chest.

My mom sighs. I know what's coming, so I prepare my I'm bored face.

"Tiger," she says firmly. "You're a beautiful girl. I was just teasing, which I shouldn't have done. You should never hide you. You're growing into something wondrous. Don't be ashamed."

Wondrous. She and Bonita are crazy for the affirmation talk. Cake likes to say their mission in life is to Build a Better Girl Than They Were. "You know," she said once, "their moms probably put them on diets of cottage cheese before prom and told them to keep their legs closed around boys."

I roll my eyes and groan. "You have to tell me those things," I answer. "You're my mom. It's in your job description."

Her face softens and I feel guilty. Once I overheard her say to Bonita, "I try to tell Tiger all the things I never got to hear, you know?"

And I always want to know, what didn't she get to hear? Because she's tight-lipped about her early, non-Mom, kidlike days. Her parents died when she was in college, and she doesn't like to talk about them.

My mother rummages around in the cabinets and somehow, somewhere, finds a lone can of Coke, even though I scoured the cabinets last night for spare eats. She takes a long, grateful sip and then wipes her mouth. She fishes in her purse for a cigarette.

"Go get dressed, Tiger. I'll drop you at school and then I've got a lot of things to do. Today is going to be one hell of a day, I promise. Food, Pacheco, the works. I'll make up for being out of it, okay?"

"Okay."

Mom heads out in the backyard to smoke and I hit my bedroom, where I frantically try to find something suitable in my closet of mostly unsuitable clothing. My mother thinks finding clothes in boxes on the side of the road is creative and fun and interesting and environmentally conscious ("One person's trash is another person's treasure!") and not actually a by-product of our thin finances, but sometimes I wish I went to school dressed like any other girl, in leggings and a tee, maybe, with cute strappy sandals to highlight pink-polished toenails. Instead, I mostly look like a creature time forgot, dressed in old clothes that look like, well, old clothes.

I drag on a skirt and a faded T-shirt and jam a ball cap on my head, because the water in the shower is starting to look suspicious, too, so a shower is out of the question. I brush my teeth like a demon in the bathroom and splash water on my face.

Then, like I always do, I allow myself a minimum of three seconds to wonder: Who the hell is that? Where did she come from?

Because the dark and straight hair is nothing like my mother's short, light mop. My freckles look like scattered dirt next to her creamy, blemish-free face.

So much of me is from The Person Who Shall Not Be Named. So much of me is unknown.

But here I am, and for now I need to get my mother in gear, get to school, make it through zero period and the little five-day-a-week shit-show I like to call "The Horror of Lupe Hidalgo," which, if I survive, leads to Bio, and to Kai Henderson, the very thought of whom makes my heart start to pound like a stupid, lovesick drum, and who is one of the things I need to talk to my mother about.

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Excerpted from How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow. Copyright © 2019 by Kathleen Glasgow. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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