Heart in a Box
YA contemporary romance
Each heartbeat leads Joss closer a shocking truth that will change everything.
Joss Olstad has finally talked her clingy, stoner mom into springing Joss from her stifling private school and into the labyrinth of a prestigious Brooklyn public high. Searching for “a way out, a way in, and something I can’t even put into words, yet” Joss longs to find missing pieces of herself she lost when the father she never met died on a faraway road in India. All she has of him is a painted box he made. Joss is also itching to escape the hippie hell of her mother’s bong shop, and the hypocrisy that is her life. With her honey skin, and long brown hair, she passes for white, even though she’s half Indian. This culturally diverse school will be her chance to find out who she really is.
Day one, and Joss is terrified by how different things are. Has she made a horrible mistake? Before long, she gets into the pace. Her sights are set on her own “Bobcat in black denim”, the tall, handsome Will Torres. She’s met Katya too, a popular glam queen, who’s a blast to hang out with. She’s even joined an Indian Culture Club, who invites her to live music clubs. Life is perfect!
Or is it? Her friend, Katya starts acting like a royal slut, her mom’s flinging insults and lies at her, and the Club girls are pressuring Joss to reveal her sketchy pedigree. Joss finds herself spinning stories about her past to fill in the holes. Even Will becomes leery of her. And the Personal Iconography class that Joss signed on for because kids claimed the teacher was “nuts in a good way” is the toughest class she’s ever taken. In it, Joss starts to make her own, heart-shaped boxes, with private messages in them. They help guide her forward. Not only is she forced to figure out who she is beyond the “nice girl” she always hid behind, her search leads her to the fringes of the outer boroughs, to a scary industrial section of Queens, and a shocking family secret that changes everything.
About the Author
Catherine Stine writes YA and romance. Her novels span the range from futuristic to supernatural to contemporary. Her YA sci-fi thrillers Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire are Amazon bestsellers and indie award winners. Her YA, Dorianna won Best Horror Book in the Kindle Hub Awards. She also writes romance as Kitsy Clare. Her Art of Love series includes Model Position and Private Internship. She suspects her love of dark fantasy came from her father reading Edgar Allen Poe to her as a child, and her love of contemporary fiction comes from being a jubilant realist. Visit her at catherinestine.com and subscribe to her newsletter for news of releases, workshops and appearances.
Catherine’s Media links
Interesting how the world’s becoming one enormous neighborhood to explore. I sigh, and settle in to history class.
I open my binder and take out a pen, glance up. A tall, slim boy with wavy brown hair weaves toward me, through the rows. A bobcat in boots and black denim. He hesitates a beat, then sits right next to me and grins.
Hot, hot, hot, I stutter silently.
“Hey,” he says, grabbing a bunch of books from his pack. His binder slides down under his elbow. It smacks the floor and careens under my chair. With my foot, I nudge it, lean over to pick it up then begin to straighten up. Speckled eyes the color of rust stare into mine. I’m buzzing. He reaches to take the notebook. The hair on his arm grazes mine, and I smell limes. The room drops away.
The two of us are on some Hollywood set, not a sugary and over-the-top High School Musical one, more of an urban fascination set in a dark club. The set swirls us around to the thrum thrum of Skrillex or Pharrell.
Hey, I don’t know this guy from John Q. But love at first sight? Heck yah! He whispers thanks as we lift the book together.
My deity in the flesh.
I peek at the name scratched on his spiral binder as he pulls it away.
William. William Torres.