Summer Reading Excerpt #7

Is there anything more wonderful when you’re a fifteen year old girl, than dancing through a summer evening with a boy you really like – except when he walks you back to your cottage after?

Becoming Ruby
Walking back to the cottage, Daniel keeps his arm around me all the way, and we talk some more and look at the moon. It’s ten to eleven when we get to the top of our driveway. Daniel leads me into the grove of white pines. Before morning their needles will be heavy with dew. Right now their scent mixes with the Jade East of Daniel’s neck. I’m not sure if the pulse I feel beating is his or my own.

His lips, when he kisses me, are full and soft. I kiss him back, my mouth open a little. I have never kissed a boy like that before. It’s like the first early morning ripple on a smooth lake happening inside me.

“See you tomorrow,” Daniel whispers, his lips still wet in the moonlight.

He walks me to the rectangle of yellow light into which I must go.

“Good night.”

In the brightness of the cottage, Dad looks up from his newspaper. Betty and Frank have already gone to bed. “Did you have a nice time, Ruby?”

He can’t see how I have changed since I left this room a few hours ago. I smile at him and nod.

Mom’s surprise with herself that she let me go to the dance is showing now in the tightness around her mouth. “I hope that boy was nice?”

“Yes,” I say, “he is.” What she really wants to know, I’m sure, is that he didn’t touch me once, not even when we were dancing. But Daniel did touch me, and I touched him, and we danced and kissed, and I want to do it all again and do it all some more.

That excerpt was from Becoming Ruby – perhaps my favourite of all my young adult novels. Because it was such fun remembering my own “Daniel” as I wrote it? Perhaps.

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson

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