Nate: And, he said, boys at twelve aren't exactly slick with the ladies.

It's funny how two people can grow up in the same town, go to the same school, have the same friends, and end up so totally different. Family, or lack of it, counts for more than you'd think.

I am the middle sister. The one in between. Not oldest, not youngest, not boldest, not nicest. I am the shade of gray, the glass half empty or full, depending on your view. In my life, there has been little that I have done first or better than the one preceding or following me. Of all of us, though, I am the only one who has been broken.

It hadn't even occured to me that somebody would believe mine.

So when we met that first night, I said, by the fence, you thought I was friendly? I didn't think you weren't, he said. I wasn't very nice to you. You were jumping a fence. I didn't take it personally.

That was one of the things about the night. Stuff that would be weird in the bright light of day just wasn't so much once you passed a certain hour. It was like the dark just evened it all out somehow.

Most people put off my mother's erratic behavior to the fact that she was a writer, as if that just explained everything. To me that was just an excuse. I mean, brain surgeons can be crazy too, but no one says that's all right. Fortunately for my mother, I am alone in this opinion.

You couldn't just pick and choose at will when someone depended on you, or loved you. It wasn't like a light switch, easy to shut on or off. If you were in, you were in. Out, you were out. To me, it didn't seem complicated at all. In fact, it was the simplest thing in the world.

So I narrowed my world, cutting put everyone who'd known me or tried to befriend me. It was the only thing I knew to do.

Relationships evolve, just like people do. Just because you know someone doesn't mean you know everything about them.

Your actions is like a raindrop; it falls into the pond making ripples and then its over...

It's a funny feeling, being suddenly airborne. Just as you realize it, it's over, and you're sinking.

Silence is so freaking loud.

Maybe" she said. "I just wish we'd have a little mishap.It would be reassuring.

Oh for God's sake,' Heather said, 'I wish you two would just go out, fail miserably as a couple, and get it over with.

There's a kind of radar that you get, after years of being talked about and made fun of by other people. You can almost smell it when it's about to happen, can recognize instantly the sound of a hushed voice, lowered just enough to make whatever is said okay. I had only been in Colby for a few weeks. But I had not forgotten.

Life is full of screwups. You're supposed to fail sometimes. It's a required part of the human existance.

The was just not fair. To get a taste of freedom, only to instantly be punished for it.

I'd only met him once, at the mall. He was tall, with a big floppy shock of blond hair he was always getting out of his face by jerking his head suddenly to the side, whiplash-style. Rina found this incredibly sexy. It made me nervous. - Caitlin about Jeff.

Now we were both in motion again, moving ahead. So what if there were questions left unanswered. Life went on. We knew that better than anyone.

Maybe it was the absence of thought that she loved about being out there, the world narrowing to just the pounding of the waves as the water moved in and out.

Something I had seen as slid–not perfect, but solid–was suddenly crumbling. I felt like I was falling to pieces right along with it.

I reached up with my finger and traced the scar over my eyebrow, remembering when that was the greatest hurt I'd ever known.

What do you do when you finally hear everything you've always thought said aloud?

In every friendship, at some point comes a test. Never before in my experience, however, had it involved food.

My books are so tame!

This life was fleeting, and I was still searching for the way I wanted to spend it that would make me happy, full, okay again. I didn't know what it was, not yet. But something told me I wouldn't find it here.

I mean, it's not surprising, really. Once you love something, you always love it in some way. You have to. It's, like, part of you for good.

I never expected anything from anyone. Which was not the same thing as not wanting, ever, to be surprised.

Maybe it was a stupid exercise, and you couldn't grow things in winter. But there was something I liked about he idea of those seeds, buried so deep, having at least a chance to emerge. Even if you couldn't see it beneath the surface, molecules were bonding, energy pushing up slowly, as something worked so hard, all alone, to grow.

But you don't have to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

You bought me some forks. And knives. And spoons. Because you love me!

In high school, I was lucky enough to have a big group of girlfriends that have really inspired a lot of the stories in my books. I'm still close with my friends from that time, so it's never very hard to put myself back into that place, that voice.

See for me, it's immediate. Silence is so freaking loud.' This seemed either deep or deeply oxymoronic. I wasn't sure which.

In a way, I was almost happy to see her. The worst part of me, out in the flesh. Blinking back at me in the dim light, daring me to call her a name other than my own.

There comes a point when things are undeniable and can't be hidden any longer. Even from yourself.

Morning would come before we knew it. It always did. But we still had the night, and for now, we were together, so I just closed my eyes and drank it all in.

I love YA, and it's been a really good fit for me. But at some point, I would like to try something else: a collection of short stories, or writing about something other than high school. A lot has happened to me since I was eighteen.

As long as I didn't say it aloud, it wasn't real.

I didn't want to leave things the way we had, unresolved, ... and tried to tell myself he cared about me enough not to look elsewhere for what I wasn't giving him.

No one ever sees everything the same way you do; it just doesn't happen. So when you find one person who gets a couple of things, especially if they're important might as well hold on to them.

Each time I thought I'd felt all I could for him, there was more.

As Isabel acted out her date, both of them laughing, I stayed in the kitchen, out of sight, and pretended she was telling me, too. And that, for once, I was part of this hidden language of laughter and silliness and girls that was, somehow, friendship.

I wondered which was harder, in the end. The act of telling, or who you told it to. Or maybe if, when you finally got it out, the story was really all that mattered.

Life isn't fair," Owen told her. "Get used to it.

We can all be beautiful girls.

I knew I had to keep him to myself, as I'd slowly begun to keep everything. We had secrets now, truths and half-truths, that kept her always at arm's length, behind a closed door, miles away.

Me and Ethan, dancing in the dark at the end of the world.

Then I'd crawl back into bed, smelling her all around me, and tell myself that next time, I would lock that window. But I never did.