Chasing Eveline (July 11, 2017, Pen Name Publishing)
Sixteen-year-old Ivy Higgins is the only student at Carmel Heights High School who listens to cassettes. And her binder is the only one decorated with album artwork by 80s band Chasing Eveline. Despite being broken-up since 1989, this rock band out of Ireland means everything to Ivy. They’re a reminder of her mom, who abandoned Ivy and her dad two years ago. Now the music of her mom’s favorite band is the only connection she has left.
Even though Ivy wavers between anger and a yearning to reconnect, she’s one-hundred percent certain she’s not ready to lose her mom forever. But the only surefire way to locate her would be at a Chasing Eveline concert. So with help from her lone friend Matt—an equally abandoned soul and indie music enthusiast—Ivy hatches a plan to reunite the band.
The road to Ireland won’t be easy, though. And not just because there is no road. Along the way they’ll have to win over their Lady Gaga-loving peers, tangle with some frisky meerkats, and oh yeah, somehow find and persuade the four members to play a reunion gig. It’s a near-impossible task, but Ivy has to try. If she can’t let go of the past, she’ll never find joy in the present.
They say music is the key to the soul. Or maybe it’s the heart. I can’t remember exactly what my mom said that day she danced into my room with a new record for me to hear. I was only in the fourth grade, but I became a believer. I remember so vividly how the drums rattled deep within my chest and the lyrics that I didn’t even understand seemed to whisper secrets meant for only me. The song lingered inside me for days. My mom swooned and told me that’s why music must be shared.
So when I saw the desperate school blog post calling for a volunteer DJ for tonight’s Back to School Dance, I jumped at the chance. The music my friend Matt and I plan to play is a giant master key. I just hope it will open the teenage hearts in this musty gym and linger inside them long after the last balloon deflates. This music is important to me.
I nudge Matt, whose face is glued to the computer screen at our DJ table. A vibrating speaker to our left thumps out music, so I yell into his ear, “Is the set list ready?”
He tilts his head toward me. “Geez, Ivy. I just plugged in the flash drive.”
“Okay…sorry.” I step away. He sweeps his blond hair out of his eyes and returns his focus to the computer.
I pace behind him, a nervous left followed by an excited right and back again. The musical brilliance of the greatest guitarist of all time will soon weave through these bodies and drift into every ear. My heart floats up with the blue and yellow balloons hovering overhead like a latex fog.
My hand strums on my thigh while Matt continues to fidget with the computer. Ugh.
Near the gym entrance, Principal Henry stands with Narc 1 and Narc 2, and a wave of yawns travels across them. The newbie freshmen line the walls and cluster in groups. The scene resembles a casting call for an acne medication ad.