Weird Girl and What's His Name
978-1-941110-27-0 | 9781941110270
1-941110-27-4 | 1941110274
28 per carton
Title Rights: W
Product Safety: Information Not Available
Three Rooms Press
IndieFab Young Adult Fiction Book of the Year 2015!
Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books 2015!
In the podunk town of Hawthorne, North Carolina, seventeen-year-old geeks Lula and Rory share everything—sci-fi and fantasy fandom, Friday night binge-watching of old X-Files episodes, and that feeling that they don’t quite fit in. Lula knows she and Rory have no secrets from each other; after all, he came out to her years ago, and she’s shared with him her “sacred texts”—the acting books her mother left behind after she walked out of Lula’s life. But then Lula discovers that Rory—her Rory, who maybe she’s secretly had feelings for—has not only tried out for the Hawthorne football team without telling her, but has also been having an affair with his middle-aged divorcee boss. With their friendship disrupted, Lula begins to question her identity and her own sexual orientation, and she runs away in the middle of the night on a journey to find her mother, who she hopes will have all the answers. Meagan Brother’s piercing prose in this fresh LGBT YA novel speaks to anyone who has ever felt unwanted and alone, and who struggles to find their place in an isolating world. Ages 14–up.
“Rory,” Lula said, quite gravely, “I’ve just about had it up to here with all this horseshit alcoholic mumbo-jumbo nonsense.” Then, like punctuation, she threw her copy of The Sound and the Fury across the courtyard lawn. I laughed. We kept walking to class. I don’t know how she did on Mrs. Lidell’s William Faulkner test, but afterward I went back to the courtyard and plucked her book from the spot where it landed, fanned out in the low branches of a hedge. I kept thinking about what Lula said, wishing I had the nerve to say something like that whenever I would come home from school and see my mother had rearranged the furniture again. She did that when she drank. Put shit in the weirdest places. I wished I had the balls to say it to her just once. Patty, I’d say, quite gravely. I’ve just about had it up to here with all this horseshit alcoholic mumbo-jumbo nonsense. Then I’d take my sixth-grade soccer trophy out of the refrigerator and put it back on the shelf where it belonged.
Not that Lula was the type to go around throwing books. She was actually really smart, and she read all the time. Just not books about decaying old Southern families. Lula was more likely re-reading one of the Hitchhiker’s Guide or Lord of the Rings books for the third or fourth time. This was part of why other kids at school called Lula “Weird Girl.” Or, sometimes just to change it up, “Queen Weird.” The other part was that she wasn’t from some old Southern family—in fact, she was born in LA, of all the crazy places. And she wasn’t even from LA. It was where her crazy mother just happened to be living at the time. (I can’t even say it without imagining a room full of Junior League ladies looking stricken.) In our tiny North Carolina town, and even at our school, people actually cared about stuff like this, once they got wind of it. Some kids’ families had been here since before the Civil War, even, and it was like all those families got together way back then and synchronized their secret decoder rings or something.
No entry allowed into the Fortress of Southitude if you were from—heaven forbid!—California. (Me, personally? I occupied the weird limbo of a Hawthorne Lifer whose mom had the audacity to go off up north to a fancy college and marry a damn Yankee. She had the good sense to come back home, thank goodness, but she came home divorced and with clueless child. Also, my grandparents used to work in the mills that some of my classmates’ grandparents used to supervise or manage or even own. So they allowed me a strange sort of acceptance. They weren’t actively mean to me or anything, despite the fact that I was a big fat guy and therefore easily make-fun-of-able. For the most part, my classmates politely ignored the inconvenient fact that I kind of, you know. Existed.)
Lula didn’t seem to care about any of it, though. Which is one of the many things I liked about her. I mean, everybody cares what other people think about them, right? Especially in high school. But Lula didn’t care if other kids thought it was weird that she spent weekends golfing or playing tennis with her grandparents, or watching Clint Eastwood movies and DVDs of old comedy shows from the ’60s with her granddad, or if the girls in our class whispered behind her back when she decided to show up for most of tenth grade wearing her grandmother’s cast-off dresses from the 1960s and ’70s, all way out of style, all polyester in unbelievable shades. Because of her grandparents, Lula responded to our teachers with lines from Laugh-In like “You bet your bippy” and “Sock it to me,” and when other kids made fun of her, she always had a comeback, and it was usually pretty vulgar. You know that expression, “cusses like a sailor”? It might be relevant to note that Lula’s granddad spent most of his life in the Navy.
Lula liked to drop the f-bomb, and she made no secret of being, as my own grandmother used to say, contrary. But, at our school, a lot of kids were pretty cavalier with the colorful expletives, so, even paired with the excessive reading, it wasn’t enough to get a person labeled “Queen Weird.” My personal theory as to why the other kids called Lula “Weird Girl” was that Lula didn’t seem to mind not having any other friends besides me.
The rest of the school may have known us as Weird Girl and What’s His Name, but we had already taken the liberty of renaming ourselves. When we first met in Mr. Boyd’s history class back in junior high, we were Teddy and Tallulah, which Lula said sounded like a bad lounge act or a couple of professional jugglers. She’d always hated her full name, hated all the variations we thought up—Lu, Lula, Tally—until we saw an old episode of The X-Files with this lady bank robber named Lula, and then all of a sudden she thought it was the coolest name ever. My mom was the one who always called me Teddy, for pretty much my entire life. Theodore was my dad’s grandfather’s name, apparently. But Lula said I didn’t look like a Theodore or a Teddy and rechristened me Rory.
That was back in seventh grade. The first time Lula called me on the phone—she called to ask me about our in-class presentation for Mr. Boyd—we ended up talking and laughing for something like two hours, until her phone died and she couldn’t find the charger. It was hard to believe we hadn’t been best friends our entire lives. And it all started because we got paired up for some stupid library research project way back when. It’s weird to think how random that kind of stuff is—like how if Mr. Boyd had just paired me up with Stephanie Widdis or Mike Landy, Lula and I would’ve never become friends. Lula said we would have found each other, anyway. She said we have too much weird shit in common.