ADDIE BELL’S SHORTCUT TO GROWING UP
by Jessica Brody
Tween Fiction (ages 10 and up)
Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Random House)
From “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”
I walk back to the unfamiliar dresser and yank open the highest drawer, determined to prove once and for all that my mom has clearly gone crazy. But I cover my mouth and let out a huge gasp when I see what’s inside.
It’s not just full of makeup; it’s practically overflowing with it!
And not like the cheap drugstore kind. I’m talking good stuff. All the brands Rory wears, plus a few I’ve never even heard of. I carefully riffle through the containers, growing more and more stunned by the second. There are at least five different eye shadow palettes, countless tubes of mascara and eyeliner, a handful of bronzers and blushes, and like a dozen shades of lip gloss!
What else is in this dresser?
I yank open the next drawer and let out another strangled sound. This one is completely dedicated to nail polish. There’s a bottle of every color known to man.
What is going on?
Whose room is this?
It can’t possibly be mine.
Do I even dare look in the closet? I’m not sure my heart can take it.
I ease open the door and am immediately knocked on my butt by the piles and piles of clothes that fall on top of me. It’s like someone was in such a hurry to clean that they just shoved everything they own inside and slammed the door shut.
I know this tactic well because I use it all the time.
I swim through the heaps of clothes—which are all way too cool and trendy to be mine—until I can finally see the closet behind them. My gaze lands on something on the top shelf and my whole body freezes.
I stand up and gently pull down the blue-and-gold antique jewelry box.
It’s about the only familiar thing in this entire bedroom.
The Box of Hidden Dreams.
A memory flashes in my mind. It’s faint and cloudy, faded with sleep, but it feels like it happened just last night. Or was it longer than that?
I remember writing words on a piece of paper. I remember placing the words in the box. I remember turning the key.
I peer down at the jewelry box in my hands. The keyhole is empty. I try to lift the lid, but it’s locked.
The words on the page come flooding back to me.
I wish I was sixteen.
My chest rises and falls in heavy breaths as I stare numbly at the box. I think about everything that’s happened this morning—the strange bedroom, the strange reflection in the mirror, the strange dog in my bed—and suddenly my brain starts to empty, until I’m only left with one single, mind-blowing thought.