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Read an excerpt from SHOUT!

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Laurie Halse Anderson’s stunning poetic memoir SHOUT is just around the corner, and we cannot wait to share a piece of it with you today!

Scroll down for an exclusive excerpt from SHOUT!

SHOUT

 

gauntlet, thrown

My high school was designed by an incarceration

specialist to make the herding, the feeding

and the slaughter proceed as efficiently as possible

that’s what we thought,

anyway

 

the isolated back hallway was an icicle

laid along the school’s spine,

I avoided it, cuz it was filled with jocks

but

after detention one day, at the end of ninth grade

tired of wasting my time

going the long way around

I walked down that cold hall,

itching for a fight.

 

A gym teacher stepped out. The short one

the intimidating one, radiating more energy

than Jean Grey on a cranky day, she pointed

her finger at me and I snapped to attention

and when she said I was a big girl

I said “yes, ma’am”

and when she said I should go out for sports

teams in tenth grade, I said

“yes, ma’am”

because I was terrified of that woman

 

In the fall, I dove

into the cold, bleaching water

swim practice;

my hair clean for the first time in a year,

I lost myself in underwater meditation

of lap after lap after lap after lap

 

and that winter I skied

in blue jeans, not caring

that I couldn’t afford snow pants,

not giving a shit what other people thought

cuz I was fast, so strong I carved my mark

on the face of the mountain

 

come spring, I threw shot put and sucked

at throwing discus, but I began myself again

stopped smoking

started chipping away at my concrete cage

went to class every damn day

cuz cutting classes meant I couldn’t practice

pulled my grades out of the toilet

stopped phoning in generic answers

and sleeping through class

didn’t need to, I slept

finally

at night, too worn out to entertain

the monsters in the closet and under my bed

the nightmares receded into the River Styx

for a while

 

I experimented with friendships

girls I met on the team,

dusting off the concrete, my fists

uncurled a bit, I stopped

being rabbit-scared

most days

 

God bless that short gym teacher

for caring enough

to call me out

and hold me up

 

high diving

Once upon a time, this fractured girl

wanted to fly

but was sore-afraid.

 

I watched teammates leap

off the high dive, flip

themselves into hawks

they called my name

but I chained myself in the far lane

pacing back and forth in the water

churning a wake of frustration,

still

every second stroke as I lifted my mouth

out of the water

to breathe

I opened my eyes to watch the hawks

spear the air

 

At meets, the diving took place in

the middle of the competition

swimmers turtled in towels on the deck

idle-watching, licking magic sugar powders

with cat tongues, as the divers flew

landing with a splash or a ripple

 

Once, a friend clipped her wings

on the way down, smashed

her head on the board

before she fell onto the surface

of the water,

they pulled her out, dazed and confused

scrubbed her blood off the board

my friend limped, but flew

a few weeks later, throwing herself

into the air, spinning

spearing

bruising the water

and getting up to try again

 

every second stroke as I lifted my mouth

out of the water

to breathe

I opened my eyes to watch

until one day my fins

began to grow feathers

 

SHOUT is hitting shelves March 12!

 

Know what else is coming in March? Checkout our list of every book hitting shelves this month

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