Excerpt from Rebel Angels by Libba Bray, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Rebel Angels

by Libba Bray

Rebel Angels
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2005, 560 pages
    Jan 2007, 592 pages

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"Y-yes, Mrs. Nightwing. I don't know how I could have been so unkind," I blabber.

Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Felicity and Ann hunched over their ornaments as if they were fascinating relics from an archeological dig. I note that their shoulders are trembling, and I realize that they are fighting laughter over my terrible plight. There's friendship for you.

"For this you shall lose ten good conduct marks and I shall expect you to perform an act of charity during the holiday as penance."

"Yes, Mrs. Nightwing."

"You shall write a full account of this charitable act and tell me how it has enriched your character."

"Yes, Mrs. Nightwing."

"And that ornament needs much work."

"Yes, Mrs. Nightwing."

"Have you any questions?"

"Yes, Mrs. Nightwing. I meant, no, Mrs. Nightwing. Thank you."

An act of charity? Over the holiday? Would enduring time with my brother, Thomas, count toward that end? Blast. I've done it now.
"Mrs. Nightwing?" The sheer sound of Cecily's voice could make me froth at the mouth. "I hope these are satisfactory. I do so want to be of service to the unfortunate."

It's possible that I shall lose consciousness from holding back a very loud Ha! at this. Cecily, who never misses an opportunity to tease Ann about her scholarship status, wants nothing to do with the poor. What she does want is to be Mrs. Nightwing's lapdog.

Mrs. Nightwing holds Cecily's perfect ornaments up to the light for inspection. "These are exemplary, Miss Temple. I commend you."

Cecily gives a very smug smile. "Thank you, Mrs. Nightwing."

Ah, Christmas.

With a heavy sigh, I take apart my pathetic ornament and begin again. My eyes burn and blur. I rub them but it does no good. What I need is sleep, but sleep is the very thing I fear. For weeks, I've been haunted by wicked warnings of dreams. I cannot remember much when I awaken, only snatches here and there. A sky roiling with red and gray. A painted flower dripping tears of blood. Strange forests of light. My face, grave and questioning, reflected in water. But the images that stay with me are of her, beautiful and sad.

"Why did you leave me here?" she cries, and I cannot answer. "I want to come back. I want us to be together again." I break away and run, but her cry finds me. "It's your fault, Gemma! You left me here! You left me!"

That is all I remember when I wake each morning before dawn, gasping and covered in perspiration, more tired than when I went to bed. They are only dreams. Then why do they leave me feeling so troubled?

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Excerpted from Rebel Angels by Libba Bray Copyright © 2005 by Libba Bray. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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