Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not

by Ellie Terry

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Overview

Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn't mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn't long before the kids at her new school realize she's different. Only Calliope's neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is—an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?

As Calliope navigates school, she must also face her mother's new relationship and the fact that they might be moving—again—just as she starts to make friends and finally accept her differences.

Ellie Terry's affecting debut will speak to a wide audience about being true to oneself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250144010
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 25,492
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

Ellie Terry is a poet, writer, and reader who is diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. She loves baking brownies and has a slight obsession with the moon. She lives in Utah with her husband and their three children.

Read an Excerpt

Forget Me Not


By Ellie Terry

Feiwel and Friends

Copyright © 2017 Ellie Terry
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-09628-9



CHAPTER 1

PART ONE

AUTUMN


Saturday Morning

I open my dresser drawers,
find them

empty
empty
empty.

What the heck? Not again.
I check the closet, the hamper,
under my bed.
"Mom?" I yell so she can hear.
"What did you do with my clothes?"

She doesn't answer me,
which means,

we're moving.


Kitchen Rags

I find her in the living room —
eyes half-closed,
lips pinched tight.
She dumps an armful of socks
into a brown moving box.

"It's over," she says.
"Let's go," she says.
"Don't forget the kitchen rags," she says.

I let out a long sigh.
I won't even get to say good-bye
to my teachers.

I sneak into the bathroom,
close the door so she can't see
me pulling out my hair.


My Hair

My hair is the only thing
I've ever liked about myself.
It's long and wavy and golden.
Dad used to call it
"amber waves of grain"
like in that song,
"America the Beautiful."

Which is why I wish
I didn't wind
strands of it around my finger —
twirl them once

    twirl them twice

yank them out.
Ouch.

I flush the hair down the toilet.
Can't let Mom see.
Mom said
the next time she sees,
she's going to
cut it.


Fastball

Coach Todd (my private pitching coach) holds a baseball between his fingers as though he's showing me something breakable. "Fastballs are the most important pitches to learn," he says.

Aw, man. I was hoping we could work on my curveball this morning.

"If you can learn to throw them hard," he continues, "you'll be a step ahead of your competition by the time spring rolls around."

Spring. That means I've got five months until Little League tryouts. Five months to learn to throw faster. Harder.

My buddies — Duncan Gray and Nyle Jacques — have done club ball with me for the past four years. Now we're ready to move on to bigger things. Like getting drafted to play on the Royals. Those guys are seriously good. The best of the best. Most of them are expected to make the All-Star team next year.

It would be awesome if Duncan, Nyle, and I could all make the Royals. Problem is, there's three of us, and only one open position (and rumor has it, it's pitcher).


Don't Look Back

It would be nice
to stay in one place
long enough to make a best friend,
to keep a best friend.

But

every time Mom breaks up
with one of her crazy boyfriends,
it's

    grab the keys
    pack the car
    hit the road
    don't look back.

So here we are
driving,
again,
to who knows where,
maybe just away,
tires dizzying themselves
as they speed across the pavement
like all the times before,
the white dashes blurring together into

one
long
line.

We won't slow down until Mom's grip
loosens
and her smile returns.
Then we'll pull over,
make a new home
in whichever town we're in.


Breakfast

Mom tosses me
a bag of cheese puffs.
"Eat."

I scowl,
toss the bag
back.

Nothing,
not even cheese-covered puffs of yum,
can fill the gaping hole
inside my heart —

the gaping hole
where a friend should go.


This Is the Place

We roll to a stop
in St. George, Utah:

bright blue skies,
hills the color of rust
speckled by sagebrush

unlike any town I've seen,
looks like someone took a paint brush,
dipped it in a sunset

wish that pretty paintbrush
could sweep away this feeling
of hot air suffocating me.


New Neighbor

I'm sitting by the living room window when a small yellow car pulls into the parking lot of our boring apartment complex. A girl climbs out of the passenger's side, wearing cutoff jeans and a faded blue T-shirt that reads Gimme Some Space in large black letters. The afternoon sunlight bounces off her hair like a pot of sparkling gold. Wow. The only girl I've seen with hair that long is Beatriz Lopez. (And hers looks nothing like a pot of gold.)

The girl and the woman with her — I'm guessing her mother — carry boxes of stuff up the stairs. On their second trip up, the girl spots me through the window and smiles, making me forget what I was doing by the window in the first place.


Unpacking My Stuff

Hang up my clothes.
Blow up my bed.
Pull out my rocks.
Stack my astronomy books
in a corner.
Done in seven minutes.


The Usual

Mom's sniffling in her bedroom,
so I walk in,
wrap my arms around her waist,
let her tears fall onto my face,
listen to her promise
that someday she'll meet
someone who's

handsome
and funny
and kind
and most of all

    financially stable,

because
two incomes
is double just
one.


Towels

Mom wipes her eyes.
"Let's finish unpacking,
then we'll go get dinner."

I open a box of bath towels,
groan. Oh no ...
I left the shampoo bottle
open,
packed it upside down.

The towels are soaked,
but on the bright side,
they smell like sun-kissed pears.

Mom presses her hands
to her temples.
"How about I go get dinner
and a new bottle of shampoo,
while you wash the towels?"

I nod,
tell her I'm sorry.

She kisses my forehead.
"Love you, Sweet Pea."


After Dinner

The new girl trudges down the stairs with a basket of towels in her arms. (I happen to be sitting by the window. Again.) She makes her way over to the laundry house that all of the residents here share.

I should probably go down and meet her. After all, one of my duties as Black Ridge student body president is to assist in welcoming new students.

I run to my room, sliding down the hall in my socks, and grab some dirty clothes off the floor. "I'm going to do some laundry!" I yell, before heading out the front door. My younger brother, Chonglin, follows me, but I reach the laundry house way before he does and lock him out.


Jerseys

A boy lifts the lid
on a washing machine,
keeps glancing at me
while he puts in his clothes —
mostly baseball jerseys,
like the one he's wearing now,
like the one Dad wore
on Saturday mornings before
everything changed.


Number Fourteen

"I'm Calli," I tell him.
"I moved into number fourteen."

The boy slams the lid,
    presses start,
smiles at me with eyes
the color of cinnamon.


Pears

Calli looks about my age. And she smells like pears, my favorite fruit. I take a huge breath. Ahhh.

"Next door lives Jinsong," I tell her. Idiot! "I mean, I'm Jinsong. I live in fifteen. So, what grade are you?"

"Seventh. You?"

"Same."

She lifts herself onto one of the washing machines. Her hair is so long, she's sitting on it. She fans her face with a hand. "Is it always hotter than a volcano here?"

I laugh. "It's cooled down some. You should've been here in the summer. It got up to one hundred thirteen this year."

She shakes her head. "That's awful."

"You'll get used to it."

"Yeah." She smiles. "Maybe I will."

Calli keeps winking and doing this thing with her lips where she pulls them together. It looks like she's going to kiss someone. And she does it so often that I can't help thinking, she must like me or something. (Sweet.)


Tourette Syndrome

By the time I was four,
Mom could tell I had a lot of
"quirks,"
her word, not mine.

I'd chew my nails to bloody stumps,
eat my food in a certain order, and
worry
worry
worry
about everything.

Sometime during second grade,
I started having tics —

    twitching my nose
    tensing my arms
    humming quietly

nothing too bad
nothing anyone paid attention to.
Now my Tourette's
is harder to hide,
but I have to try
if I want to make friends.

I have to try.


Watching TV on Sunday

I don't realize I'm doing it,
twirling and yanking,
until Mom reaches for the craft scissors.
"Okay, Sweet Pea.
Time to fix this little problem, huh?"
She pats the cardboard box in front of her.

No! Please.
Cut off my arm,
but not my hair!

I stare at the screen,
pretend I didn't hear her,
but she's standing there, waiting,
and I don't want to make her upset,
because maybe she'll cry
and she's done enough crying
already.

I drag myself over, slump onto the box,
hold
still
still
still
while she cuts, hacks, chops,
my precious amber waves of grain

short

as short as my new neighbor,
Jinsong's. He
is a boy.

I
am
not
a
boy.

I like wearing skirts.
I like flowers and lace.
And I have two blossoming buds.

Sort of.


Gone

I fight back tears as I stand,
see thousands and thousands of wavy strands
spilled at my feet
like pools of golden blood.


Mornings

Mom says the new haircut
will stop me from

    ratting
    knotting
    pulling out my hair.

She also thinks it'll be quicker,
easier to fix in the mornings,
that I can just run a comb through
while she toasts the bread.

I think it makes
my bald spot more noticeable,
since I can't hide it under my bangs,
but I don't tell Mom this,
she needs more time in the mornings.
No matter how early she sets her alarm,
she's always running late.


Monday Morning at School

I burst through the doors and head straight for the commons, where everyone hangs out until the first bell rings.

A group of girls yell my name, and then giggle to themselves as soon as I look over. (Girls are so weird.)

After stopping to give high fives to some other guys, I finally reach my group.

"Hey, Jin!" Duncan says as he and I clasp hands and bump shoulders.

I turn around and give knuckles to Nyle.

"Jinsong," he says, "what's up, bro?"

I shrug. "Not much." I want to tell them about my new neighbor, Calli, but I don't know if she's starting school today or not. I hope she is.


Black Ridge Intermediate School

I stand on the curb
of my tenth new school
wearing a vintage floral shirtdress
with a sailor-style collar and bright red trim.
It's hideous.
But it'll help hide my tics.

Mom rolls down the window
of our Volkswagen Beetle,
aka the Bug.
"Oh, and don't tell anyone about —"

"My Tourette's?
Yeah, Mom. I know.
Bye."

She blows me a kiss and I pretend
to catch it,
put it on my cheek
like always.

I creep toward the big double doors,
breathing in for a count of five,
then letting it out for a count of five.
Mom has to get to her new job at
Rosamelia's Flower Shop,
    she's already late,
so I take the necessary papers
to register myself in the office.
A woman whose badge reads

    MRS. RIVERS

sets down her Diet Coke.
With a broad grin,
she hands me my schedule
and a small pink slip:

    Student: Calliope Snow
    Grade: 7
    Homeroom: D. Kahn, 203



Snow

Snow.

  Snow.

    Snow.

      Snow.

Snow took
my daddy away,
now it mocks me every time
someone says
my name.


Before Going into 203

I dig in my bag for my lucky pen,
so I can change my last name
on the slip.

I scribble hard.
The ink won't flow.

I fish around for a pencil instead,
but D. Kahn sees me through the glass,
motions for me to come in.

I push through the door,
stand before
an entire class of strangers.

And then,
my tics show up.


My Tics

Wiggle my nose
pucker my lips
roll my eyes
clear my throat
clap my hands
tap my feet.

So much for keeping them hid.


What in the What?

When Calli stumbles into Mr. Kahn's classroom during first period, I nearly fall out of my chair. What did she do to her hair? When I met her the other day, her hair was so long, she could sit on it. And now — I can see her ears. Which is fine. I don't care. She still looks pretty. She just looks really different. And what in the name of Little League is she wearing? And why is she clapping and tapping like that?

I don't have to wonder what Duncan and Nyle think. I hear them whisper, "Freak Girl." I see the smirks on their faces. And one thing's for sure: I am not telling them that I know her.

Calli's eyes wander around the room until they land on me. She smiles. Uh-oh.

I nudge my pencil off my desk. Take a long time picking it up. Send a silent wish to the universe (that Calli won't be in any more of my classes).


Welcome

Twenty-seven pairs of eyes stare,
hopefully at my dress,
not at my hair.

D. Kahn extends his hand.
"Hi-de-ho, whom do we have here?"
I give him the slip,
hoping he won't look at it.
"Calli June," I lie.

He winks.
"Welcome to Black Ridge."


Last Names

Truth is,
June's not my last name.
Last names come from fathers

and mine,
is gone.

He left when I was only three,
left Mom and me to be
on our own.


A Day in June

I don't remember much about Dad

but I know we played,
    played in the yard
just him and me
on a warm summer's day

and I know we ran,
    ran through the sprinklers
again and again,
laughing until
we were soaked to the bone

and we shared an orange Popsicle
    out on the deck,
the juice dripping cold
down our chins and our necks

and he caught me a toad,
    a most handsome toad,
set it on my dress so I could hold it,
then he combed his fingers
through my hair
and told me that he loved me.


Introduction

D. Kahn wants me
to tell the class about myself.
I knew he would.
Teachers always do.
And I hate it more each time.

"I — um, I just moved here
from Salt Lake City."

My voice is barely above a whisper,
but I can't help it.
I wish this ugly carpet would

swallow
me
whole.


The Middle

D. Kahn glances
at the pink slip.

No!

"Class, this is Cal-lee-OPE Snow."
He looks at me, winks.
"Did I say it right?"

I shake my head,
feel my face turn red.
Didn't he listen when I told him my name?
"It's just Calli," I say, then add in quick —
"June. Not Snow. June."

"June," D. Kahn murmurs.
"Well, that's in the middle,
we'll have to shift desks."

Almost everyone stands,
groaning as they carry their things
to their new alphabetical place.
D. Kahn reminds everyone
to save a spot for "Beatriz,"
whoever she is,
because she's absent today.

I wish I could take the chair in the back
next to my neighbor,
Jinsong,
or the broken one in the corner.

I'd be happy to hide away
like a turtle inside its shell,
but D. Kahn points to the now empty seat
in the middle.


Garbage Cans

Calli tiptoes into the cafeteria and sits at the empty table next to the garbage cans. Guess she doesn't know there's a reason no one sits there. Who wants to sniff piles of putrid meatloaf while they eat? I wish she didn't have to sit alone. But it's not like she can sit at my table with Duncan and Nyle. No way.

I spot some girls I know in the lunch line and get an idea. I slide my chair from the table. "I'll be right back," I say. "I'm gonna go throw away my food." Duncan and Nyle stare at me like I've lost it. (And maybe I have.)

I make my way over to the garbage cans and slowly scrape the food off my tray, even though I haven't eaten any of it.

"Psst. Psst."

Calli looks over her shoulder at me. "Oh, hey, Jinsong!" she says too loud.

I sweep my eyes across the cafeteria to make sure no one's looking. "Hey "— I talk quickly — "you should move. Away from the garbage cans. They're ... infected."

"Infected?"

"Yeah, with, um, hand, foot, and mouth disease."

Calli makes a disgusted face. "Ew. Really?"

I sweep my eyes around the room again. "Yeah. Really. You should move over to that table." I nod to the one Ivy Andrews sits at. If Calli makes friends with the popular girls, maybe Duncan and Nyle won't think she's so weird. And I won't have to pretend that I don't know her.

Calli picks up her tray. "Okay! Thanks for the tip!"

"Yep." I rush back to Duncan and Nyle. I don't think anyone saw.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry. Copyright © 2017 Ellie Terry. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
Part One: Autumn,
Part Two: Winter,
Part Three: Spring,
Author's Note,
Acknowledgments,
About the Author,
Copyright,

Customer Reviews

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Forget Me Not 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up at the library for my 12 year old daughter. We started reading it together this afternoon. I ended up finishing the book this evening. I just had to read the rest of the story. It is the best book I have read in a while and I highly recommend it to everyone, especially middle school kids (and their moms).
BentNeedle More than 1 year ago
------------ Ancient Greeks called the planets planetoi because it means “wanderers,” and because planets don’t stay in one fixed place they’re constantly moving, wandering between the stars, like me. ------------ Calliope June has Tourette’s Syndrome. She also has either an extremely heartbroken or extremely immature mother, I can’t decide which. I waffled between feeling sorry for her mom, or being absolutely furious with her. Regardless, Cassie has lived in 10 different places in the past 9 years. Every time her mom breaks up with a guy, they move. With no warning. While Callie recognizes that her mom loves her, she also slowly comes to see that she is also wrong in some of the ways she “shows” her love. I was really happy when, towards the end, Cassie found the inner strength to confront her mother about some of those things. Callie’s tics cause her a lot of embarrassment. She tries so hard to control them, but that only seems to make them worse. Her consciousness of them and yet the constant betrayal by her body were very eye-opening. I’ve never known anyone with TS and my only real media exposure is the bartender in The Boondocks Saints. It’s sad that there isn’t more education on this condition and that so much fun is made of it. The kids at Callie’s school never thought twice, and even her own mother is embarrassed by it. HER MOTHER! Callie is embarrassed enough, she certainly doesn’t need anyone telling her to try to stop, or hide her tics. Despite all that, she is such a huge-hearted person and continues to pick herself up and continue on. Sure, she has emotional moments – but we all do, and most of us don’t struggle with a health condition that has our own body backfiring on us every second of every day. I loved the verse in this book – and I am so, SO far from being a poetry person. In fact, when I first saw that this book was written in verse I nearly didn’t look any further because of that. But I was intrigued by the concept, and I’ve never read anything that had a character with TS, so I read the excerpt on Amazon and I had to have the rest of the book RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. Turns out that there are two points of view in the story: Callie’s, the verse, and Jinsong’s, the prose. It works beautifully. The verse feels like a stream-of-consciousness narration. The characters took me back to middle school. Callie and Jinsong are so very real. Jinsong made me angry for awhile, because even though he likes Callie at first he feels too embarrassed by her to stand up for her. It was really sickening…but he grows. He finds his backbone, and his heart, and it’s just the most adorable thing ever. My heart broke for Callie the entire way through the book. The amount of resilience and tenacity she shows is incredible. Even when the very person who should help her and care for her the most barely gives her the time of day. Also, kids are so, so MEAN. I loved that as embarrassed and hurt as she would sometimes be though, Callie still found it in her to fight back. ------------ “They all have friendship lockets. Every girl at Black Ridge has one, except you.” I glance at Beatriz’s neck. “And you.” ------------ BURN, baby, burn. This was a phenomenal book. I really felt like the author put us right into Callie’s shoes. The writing was flawless – not once did I feel jolted out of the story by any sort of author intervention, and the ending…well. It hurts, but it fits, and there is hope.
AlexandraOtt More than 1 year ago
This book is so, so beautiful. I read it in one sitting, as it's told mostly in verse, and I absolutely adored it. It's about making friendships and losing them, about accepting oneself, about finding one's voice. Calli is an incredibly endearing protagonist; she struggles with her Tourette's and attempts to make friends as her mother constantly moves them from one place to another. The poetry is absolutely gorgeous, and Calli's story is lyrical, lovely, and heartfelt. It resonated so deeply with me. Highly recommend.