By Kristi M Turner
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Nicole is an 18-year-old, juvenile delinquent who desperately wants to take control of her life but must find a way to overcome her own self-sabotage and a judge who will not easily let her escape her past. She keeps food on her plate and clothes on her back by stealing. It is far from the life she wants, but she has known little kindness in her life and, therefore, gives little back. When Judge Newton charges her for the first time as an adult, Nicole recognizes a separating path. She can stay on her path to destruction or she can accept the unexpected generosity of the Kutcher family, whose house she is charged with burglarizing.
Child psychologist, Cynthia Kutcher, believes she can help Nicole confront her anger and build back the self-worth she lost when her father abandoned her to a drunken uncle after her mother’s death.
Along the way to building a more valuable life, Nicole meets Keagan, an affluent young man with whom she begins an often overwhelming love affair despite the conflicts their disparate pasts bring.
Rock-bottom. That’s all that I can think of as I’m handcuffed and roughly shoved into the back seat of a police car; saturated with the stench of urine and sweat. The cushioned seat is wet with God only knows what already.
I glance out the window, and look at the family whose most valuable possessions I was trying to take and I remember my mother saying to me one time, “Baby girl, people have gotta hit rock bottom before they’ll ever willingly turn their life around.” At the time she was talking about my cracked-out father. Little did she realize her daughter would be at the bottom of that rock several years later.
The family stands as still as the columns that hold up their two story house while Burkley, the policeman, that I’ve come to know, fills out the report. They weren’t supposed to be home. Why are they not at
work? It’s morning. A young boy with light brown curls poking out from underneath his gray, flat bill cap and a girl who looks to be a couple of years younger, with her scattering freckles and deep auburn hair pulled back in a neat bun, stare back at me; their faces scrunched up in disgust.
If you only knew, kids, I think to myself. I do what I have to do to survive. Not everyone gets to live in a big fancy house with parents that will fulfill their every want and need. I bet neither one of those two has ever had to steal anything they needed just to survive.
The father of the family, looking a little worse for wear with his slightly mussed comb over and wrinkled navy khakis, steps away from his wife and Burkley. Pulling hard at the knot in his tie, he walks toward the kids. He says something as he puts a hand on the young man’s shoulder and points toward the house. Both kids start making their way towards the front door, the girl, turns to look back over her shoulder with mock curiosity. Once his kids are inside, the man walks back over to his wife and leans down to whisper in her ear. They both turn to look at me, pity highlighting their face.
I hold their gaze for a few seconds before narrowing my eyes in resentment. They seem to have the disgustingly perfect little life I crave. I know what I tried to do is wrong, but this is my way of life. I stare down into the vomit stained floorboard; by the time I glance back up, Burkley is ripping a sheet of paper out of his book and handing it to the man. Burkley then gets in the car without saying a word, buckles himself up, and puts the car in drive. When he reaches up to flip the lights and siren on I say to him, “Are those really necessary?”
He grunts and flips the switch. “Cuts down on the time it takes to get to the station.”
He drives like he is auditioning for the next Batman role, slamming me hard up against the side door with every curve. I am being bounced all around the backseat. “Hey! Watch it! You forgot to buckle me up.”
“I didn’t forget.” He looks at me in his rearview mirror. “Why should I waste my time buckling you up?” His eyes go back to the road. “At the rate you’re traveling in life, if we wreck and you die, the world is less one piece of trash burglar.”
I’m outraged. “I am not a piece of trash! I can’t help the bad hand I was dealt in life.”
He keeps his eyes on the road. “Oh stop it! A lot of kids are dealt bad hands. I have a nephew, poor kid, who has a druggie for a momma and who knows for a daddy. He’s never met him. You know what he does? He studies hard to make good grades so he’ll get a scholarship. He stays out of trouble. That’s what he does. That boy is going places. You, on the other hand, have quit school, and you’re constantly in trouble. I personally have transported you to juvy two times in the past year.” Coming to a stop, he looks both ways, before pulling out onto the next road. “Maybe this time will change you. I doubt it, but for your sake I hope so.”
Kristi M. Turner grew up in a quaint little southern town in central Alabama. After high school, she went on to further her education at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. She never dreamed that one day she would become an author, however, sometimes, life throws you curve balls. After her precious daughter was born, she suffered from post-partum and all the self-help books tell you to write your feelings down. For her, that didn’t work. Instead, she wrote Gybe. Kristi M. Turner currently lives in Curry, Alabama with her husband and daughter, along with their Shih-tzu, Bingo. She enjoys reading, writing, Hulu, Netflix, music of all kinds, the beach, and bantering with her husband on a fall Saturday over football. For their house is divided. Her husband is a hard-core Bama fan, while she roots for the Auburn tigers.