Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hello! Journal Update #003

Howdy y'all!

Welcome back to my page! I hope you guys had a fantastic Halloween night! This update is a bit late of course, but I just want to know what are you all reading today? I will admit that I'm lagging a bit behind on my trips to the library for some new check out material, but I do have good news! I have two new reviews coming up on this blog! One is for music: an album review on 'Love Kicks' by the ex-singer AKA The Japanese Hannah Montana, Kylee Saunders! Hooray! I've been meaning to do a review on this album that helped me through a lot of tough times in my adolescence! Secondly, the next review will be on a book called 'That Summer' by Sarah Dessen. Sounds exciting right? Can't wait for you guys to hear what I have to say for these two projects by two very talented women! Don't forget to subscribe to this blog for more updates, reviews, and more! Thanks so much you guys and have an amazing Thanksgiving! -Ice Winifredd

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Music Review #000: Love Kicks

Image result for kylee saunders 2008



Age: 23
Birthday: May 25, 1994
Birthplace: Chandler, Arizona
Album/EP: Love Kicks
Release Date: March 4, 2009
Label: RX-Records
Genre: Pop Rock
Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: S.A.U., You Get Me, Not For You, Empty-Handed

History: So let me give you a bit of history of our first artist for my music review. Kylee Saunders was born in Chandler, Arizona to a British father and Japanese mother on May 25, 1994. Her father aspired to be a singer and this dream may have rubbed off on his daughter because at eleven years old, Kylee Saunders passed an audition to sing the National Anthem for an NBA game and earned a standing ovation. It was this performance that sparked the interest of various music producers and sure enough, she was signed onto RX-Records.

On October 17, 2008, she released a digital single called "Vacancy" which was used as a theme song for the anime series X'Amd: Lost Memories. From there, on March 24, 2010, Kylee released another track called Kimi Ga Iru Kara (Because You Are Here). This was her first major label single under Sony Music Japan's label DefStar Records and was featured as the theme for the 2010 feature film, Memoirs of a Teenage Insomniac where she gave a cameo appearance. Her second major single, "Missing/It's You" was slated to be released on July 7, 2010 with "Missing" serving as the theme song for the anime series Heroman.  This led to her third single, "Everlasting" to be released following the second single and was used as the theme song for the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn OVA series.

On May 13, 2011, Kylee debuted her fourth single "Never Give Up" on NBC'S "Today" after a brief interview with the hosts, Hoda Kobe and Kathie Lee Gifford. The single was performed at her US concert debut in Baltimore, Maryland on July 31, 2011. With that, her fifth single "Crazy For You", was released on October 5, 2011 and the song was featured in a televised commercial for Nissan's 2011 Fall Collection. Lastly, on November 23, 2011, Kylee released her first studio album, 17, which spawned the following singles: "Unnoticed", "Brand New Wave" ft. Orianthi, and "Yours Truly". 

On June 9, 2016, Kylee released an official statement via her Facebook and Instagram accounts that she has terminated her contract with Sony Music Entertainment after 8 years together and shortly after her graduation from Stanford University in Stanford, California. No news of any upcoming music has been released since then.


Review:  Let's get down to business, shall we? 


  • Introduction: I can say that I have been a fan of Kylee Saunders since my Junior High days when I opened a secret MySpace account and accidentally stumbled onto her fan page while looking for some singers to follow. Her music was all rage for me and the rest of the early teenagers who were hyped about her edgy sound and entrancing vocals.  In short, Kylee's music had what I would have called the "Avril Lavigne" effect on my 13-year-old self: somehow, even though we were two teenagers with different histories, styles, and issues, her music was able to sum up all my inner adolescent turmoil in a 3 minute song that made me feel so connected to her, like she somehow understood who I was and what I wanted to be in this world without having to actually speak to me. And if you were in my shoes at the time, I often times felt so misunderstood with everything. At ends with my mother, fighting with my siblings, and still wondering where I stood with myself as well as where my place in the world qould be on this crazy ride we all call life. Things were spinning out of control, falling away from underneath me as the weight of a more complicated time sat on my shoulders like lead weights. Let's just say that Kylee had an effect on my younger self that she or even I would never completely understood. But that is a story for another time! 
  • Lyrics: I have to say that listening to Kylee's songs again really gives me butterflies in my stomach. I'm sitting here now in a public library in front of a lopsided keyboard and a YouTube tab in front of me playing through all the songs that got me through some of my tough times back in the day. So let's go back up to the track listing: 
                      1. S.A.U. 
                      2. You Get Me
                      3. That One
                      4. Not For You
                      5. Empty-Handed 
                      6. Wherever You Are Tonight  

  • I have to say that this EP does follow the standard manufactured blueprint of what an average teenage girl is now listening to this once again after more then ten years. There's sugar, there's Spice, but everything is generically nice or what I would call radio friendly. The lyrics are relatable to any teen who was into pop/rock and was going through the "typical" dilemmas most go through at this stage in life. With S.A.U., Kylee talks about an intense interest in a boy who she believes she has a deep connection with because he was "different from the start" and "I don't know why." She goes through the song explaining what it is that she likes about this mysterious boy, to being certain that their "connection" is real, to pledging to giving him all her love and wanting to "go on" the next time they see each other. Love at first sight right? 
  • The next song on the EP is "You Get Me" where Kylee sings about meeting someone who "sees who she is and embodies everything she has been dreaming of" in a person. She starts by telling us how she feels like a misfit or freak in her world and how when she tries to explain who she is, she is looked upon as if she is nuts until she meets the individual who understands/accepts her. This person seems to make her "fit right in" instead of the loser she believes she is and some examples include laughing at her jokes. She is in love now for once in her life. This song is one of my favorites on the EP. When young romance was clean and innocent and everybody at the time wanted someone they could trust with their heart in their hands rather then someone they could "Netflix and Chill" with. When the consequence of "love" was incoherent to our naive brains and hearts. Definitely would recommend this song. 
  • Next song is "That One" where Kylee sings about her quest in looking for her knight in shining armor and how she believes deep down that things will fall into place at the right time with the right person. She explains that as she searches for him, he may be searching for her and that once they find each other, he will save her from "the awful place" where she is. (Presumably loneliness and/or from the feeling of feeling unloved). Towards that second half, she imagines looking into his eyes and feeling the confirmation that they are meant to be. At the bridge, she is tired of dreaming about her significant other and no longer wants to wait. She wants to fall into his arms, for them to be together, and to finally feel complete with him. The song ends with her wishing for that day to come. 
  • Fourth song on the track list is "Not For You", which is a cover of the original song sung by Natalie Bassingthwaight. Kylee now sings about feeling unappreciated and knocked down. She notices that the love she had/has is losing its high or warmth and "everywhere she looks there is night." She is confused as to why things are the way they are, but she waits to see if things will get better with time. "She saw , but never opened her eyes" meaning that she sees what it going on but it does not register in her mind's eye that things are wrong, that the love is possibly fading between her and the other partner. They are bound by lies that they choose to believe and that they (presumably) tell each other. After tirelessly trying to get through this rough patch and failing, she realizes she is not with "him" anymore. Chorus wise, she questions whether if she offered the world to her lover, would it be "enough for you?" She then concludes that "not for you." He would not appreciate it. Towards the end of the song, Kylee now realizes that love isn't like it is in the movies or fairy tales: love can be a snake if you're with the wrong person and sometimes you fall in love with a fake, an image of a person that does not exist. Now she makes up her mind that she will leave the relationship and will not go through more blame or pain for "him" anymore. 
  • The fifth song on the list is "Empty-Handed" where Kylee sings about a lover who takes her for granted and as she tries to finds reasons behind it all, she comes up empty-handed. She notices the faltering smiles, the lies, and wonders when "he" knew that the relationship isn't right for him anymore. Kylee goes through describing how despite everything, "he's still lovely on the inside" and feels that she is fortunate to not have found any answers. She will move on because she is stronger because of this experience and knows where her heart is. Her resolves come and she decides to leave this lover with his falseness. 
  • Okay and now the moment we've all been waiting for....the final song on the list! "This one is called "Wherever You Are Tonight" where Kylee closed the EP by singing about a previous lover and wondering if "he" will ever come back. She goes on to say that at one point in the relationship, she believed they had everything, but somewhere along the way, they lost each other or "got off track." On the chorus, she says that regardless of where he is, he can always look up at the sky and see her love there as confirmation that she still loves him. She wishes him good luck with the one he's with now and hopes that her intentions with him are true. She says once more that despite their ending, she still loves him. She goes on to say that because of what he taught her in love, she is no longer the same person, but a part of him will always be in her heart. She ends the song stating that she will always care for him and seems content with who she is now and where they stand with each other. The end. 
  • Sound: I have to say that one thing that I liked very much about this album is the genre. If you know me, you'd know that rock influences like Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Amy Lee, Christine Lorentzen, and such have a significant impact on what I have always listened to. Kylee's decision to release this album in the pop rock genre for my personal opinion was a wise choice because I feel that it best relays the messages in her songs to her fans the most. It wouldn't have the same attitude, meaning, feeling, or impact had it been a country sound or hip hop based anthem. But to each their own right? All in all, I have to say that this was a great breakout debut for the young singer and I personally look forward to listening to her first studio album, 17. 
  • Overall Assessment: I will say that this EP will forever be my favorite era of Kylee Saunders within her music career. I personally liked the story that she spun throughout this CD: to me, I interpreted it to be a tale of the highs and lows of young love starting with a girl and an intense interest in a boy and coming out a young lady with more experience and knowledge surrounding the different things that can/will happen in a relationship and with love in general. On the negative side, in some songs, like "Not for You" or "Empty-handed", I was a tad bit disappointed over the fact that I found her vocals to be bland and boring. Nothing that particularly stood out to me at all. Sometimes, though I knew what she was trying to convey, her voice fell short in terms of emoting the feeling behind what she is trying to express. But, I would recommend it to anyone in need of a new album/singer to dive into. I had lots of fun reliving my adolescence again. 
Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a look at this review! I sure hope I didn't disappoint! First music review so give me a sign as to what you thought about it! See you all around! -Ice Winifredd

Monday, October 30, 2017

Time Flies Book Series

Hey Winifriends!




Welcome to my page once more! I'm so sorry that I haven't been updating as much these days! Life can be so demanding something, huh? IF anything, I should really learn how to take better care of my things. Ugh. Looks like my mom was correct on yet another things about me. How does she always do that? Parents have powers, perhaps? Anyways, if you haven't already guessed, my laptop has crashed yet again. I'm still amazed that despite all the abuse I put that machine through, it's still ready to keep working everything I have someone make repairs to it. It must seriously love me, right? Anyways, this time on this post, I just wanted to explained a bit more into an in-progress novel series of mine called Time Flies. Now, Winifriends, I have received some emails asking me when there will be any latest updates on my active work like S.A.U, Crazy Little Love Story, Call of the Zodiac, Cry of Destiny, and Hollow Planet: A Hellfire Renegade, and the answer to that is obviously simple: there are some chapters that have already been finished, but I'm not satisfied with the content so I'm currently re-writing them to suit the direction that I want to literary project to go in. As such, despite so much time going by since I've released any chapters, I want to make sure that my readers are entertained and receive nothing but the best that I, Ice Winifredd, can put out there for you guys since you've been so supportive of my writing and patience with my scatterbrained antics.




But for now, let's get back to the topic at hand, shall we?
 


Anyways, the concept of Time Flies is rather simple. Or at least to me as the author of the books. It's simply about time and how we relatively live on an island of hours so to speak. The books center around the female protagonist who realizes that as she gets older, life starts to get more complicated: you don't know yourself like you initially thought you did, you body and mind start changing in ways that can excite you and scare you at once, that things like young romance, friendship, responsibility, and growing aren't so black and white as one would expect, and just basically trying to navigate through the crazy maze of maturing as time passes and she blindly navigates through the unforgiving times of adolescence (where the craziness begins) and drives into the world of adulthood (where things seem to get worse before they get better). Chapters will be released as soon as I can get them out to you all. You all know me, right? A multitasked, but always delivering in the end. So, my friends, don't forget to subscribe to this blog for more updates on my writing projects, upcoming book/movie/manga/anime reviews, and more! I will see you all soon! Happy Halloween! -Ice Winifredd




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Email: icewinifreddbooks@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Journal 002

Yes. I'm bored. No, I've got nothing to talk about. Should I be doing something useful with my time? Definitely. Like...writing more chapters to my ridiculously long list of novels-in-progress that I never seem to gave time for these days? I would definitely agree, but its hard doing that when you're mind is on Pretty Little Liars and your body is too tired to get out of bed at 9:08 PM because I've spent my day sitting at a desk endlessly talking for eight hours. But sitting here like this gets me thinking. Thinking about a lot of things, I say! Like my past, my present, and more definitely my future. Pretty soon I'll be 30 years old and mentally ready to settle down and  start a family and all that jazz. I wonder how I'll view my current self now. Scatterbrained, curious, will, crazy. It's both fun and sad to see where all the time goes when you're getting older and getting even more caught up in the different obstacles you face in life. So many of us want to go back to those times again. When you're do young, innocent, and ignorant of the burdens you carry on your shoulders as you grow older and wiser. I'm grateful to gave grown up to the age I'm currently in right now. So many die before they truly get to live, not seeing to hearing the many beautiful things the world has to offer because of misfortune. All on all, at least I can say now that I'm grateful for another day that I got to live. I'm grateful for the bed I sleep it, the food I eat, the clothing o wear, the water I drink and bath with. Who knows? Maybe its because Christmas and the end of yet another year is fast approaching that I just feel like counting my blessings. So...to all the souls who inhabit the Earth, I wish you sweep dreams and a bright and very long future. Goodnight to the stars, the moon, and to you! -Ice Winifredd

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Journal 000

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a very magical merry Christmas! I sure did! In honor of the holiday season, I want to gift you all with a poem. To celebrate the rest of the year and such:

"Roses are red
Violets are blue
A very happy holidays
From me to you
Christmas has passed
This year about to end
So enjoy the chilly season
With laughs and smiles, my friend"

Okay, so I'm no Emily Dickinson or Edgar Allen Poe, but it's pretty good for something made up on the spot right?anyways, be good, be safe, and try to make the best of the rest of our days with 2015! 

Until then everyone! Happy Holidays!

-IceWinifredd 

Friday, December 18, 2015

She Wishes: Chapter One




 I stabbed my plastic fork into the soggy, ranch-drenched leaves of my salad to stop myself from looking up at what is happening across the table from me. If there is one thing I hate that people do when I eat is start making out with their boyfriends in front of me like they're filming a sex tape or something. Oh yeah. It included everything: tongues sliding in and out of their mouths, load moaning, frantic grinding, and rough squeezing in places that are sure to have you sitting in the principal’s office with your parents here at Nobel High if not expelled. I stabbed harder and brought the fork up to my lips. The least Sierra can do is go make out with Colby somewhere else. Not everyone wants to see where these daily make out sessions lead to. The cafeteria grew silent as everyone stopped what they were doing and gawked curiously in our direction. Scratch that. I don't want to see where this is going. Not with my ex-crush since seventh grade.

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Scarlet. Scarlet Elizabeth Reinhardt. A name given to me by my grandparents: Scarlet being my grandfather's favorite girls name and Elizabeth being my grandmother's middle name. But in my honest opinion, I always find my name to be a bit old-fashioned in comparison to my best friend's: Sierra Avery Dillon. Not bad right? Sierra will beg to differ. Our views on what the perfect girls names are are about as different as our appearances. Sierra is small and petite with a ridiculously curvaceous body and a mane of shiny, golden blond hair that gently waved down to her shoulders. Her eyes are round and electric green and her skin has a dewy, tawny color (something she achieved through the perfect summer's tan), with a light sprinkle of brown freckles dusting the surface. Her face is round and her nose is small and button-like, her lips pouty and naturally pink.

I, on the other hand, stand at the looming five-eleven with a head of thin, red hair that hung down to my waist in bone straight locks. My eyes are a muddy gray color—like that of rain puddles—and my skin is startling white like bed sheets, bones, or fresh powdery snow in the winter time. Why don't I go tanning you ask since I live here in Chagrin Heights? Because I burn instead of tan and I don't find the idea of hitting my thirties with skin cancer and looking like a wrinkled Oompa Loompa very appealing. On top of that, I don't have Sierra's killer curves because I'm like a pole: skinny and straight with a heart-shaped face, a thin line of a nose, small pallid mouth, and an abnormally high forehead, which has earned me the nickname Whiteboard among those of my senior class. So you see, boys and girls, what will a tan do to approve my nearly unattractive appearance? Nothing.

A chorus of excited hoots and whistles erupted in the air as Sierra let out a long, loud groan. A bout of laughter rippled through the cafeteria.

“I gotta go,” I mumbled and began to collect my things.

I didn't look up as I hastily picked up my lunch tray and bolted for the exit before either Sierra or Colby could say anything. And that is assuming that they even noticed I left. What's next? Taking off their clothes? Throwing themselves on the table? Nope. I don't want to stick around to see that thank you very much.

It's not that I'm jealous of Sierra or anything like that. Well, not anymore. I mean, Sierra always knew that I was crushing on Colby Flagstone back in seventh grade. I'm sure he must have known too if it was scrawled all over the the bathroom walls in pink and purple gel pen and Colby's friends use to tease me about it all through middle school. In my head, I figured it would happen like in the movies: skinny nerd girl with frizzy red hair, acne, braces, and hand-me-down clothes falls in love with the gorgeous, popular, dark-haired, blue-eyed Honor Student. He would feel the same way and after confessing to each other under the pouring rain, we'd become a lovely couple and have a magical, breathtaking relationship that every girl dreamed of. But, much to my dismay, life is not a movie and no one ever got to write their own scripts. So much so that Colby had laughed at me when I finally did confess my feelings to him. Even though he was supposed to be my friend. Or rather I assumed we were since he would always sit next to me in class when it was time to pick a partner to solve equations in math class.

Lucky me right? I fall in love and get my heart ripped out of my chest and shattered into tiny pieces. Not a great feeling let me tell you.

Before the humiliation was even over, I found out later that Sierra had gone behind my back and asked him out. And he didn't say no. What hurts more? The fact that I had to find out through a bunch of gossiping seventh grade girls in a bathroom where I was silently grieving my rejection. At least cornering Sierra and confronting her about what she did wasn't hard. She reluctantly admitted to doing so and apologized, promising to 'make it up to me'. I have yet to actually see this. So does it still look like I have feelings for Colby? Do I still have feelings for Colby? Yes and yes. My perfect Romeo and Juliet love story is happening with somebody else and there is nothing I can do about it. Not that I want to anyways. It's not like I'm mad at Sierra anymore.

Friendship is more important than romance right?

My sister highly disagreed. You ask yourself: why would a senior in high school at the time care about a junior high love triangle? It's not like I'm going to marry the guy. There's more fish in the sea as they say. If only I knew that back then. I made such a big deal out of this that my sister felt that she had to do the big sisterly thing and step up to the plate to help me grieve over my stolen crush in place of my best friend, who was off sucking on his face somewhere. It's pathetic and pitiful that I still have feelings for the guy the laughed when I poured my heart out to him, I know. But a girl wants what she wants. Can you blame me?

“She's such a slut,” a girl whispered as I walked by. “Do you see her in the cafeteria right now? Like, eew.”

I stopped at the locker three doors down and quickly spun my combination in. The door swung open and I dumped my bag inside and pulled out my Social Studies textbook. I don't need to look to know who is talking. Who didn't recognize Kristen Kelley’s voice when you heard it? Her three followers all giggled in response.

“Look at her. She's so desperate. Throwing her fat body all over him like that. What is she thinking?” Kimberly Crawford whispered and tossed her wavy, blond hair over one shoulder. She rolled her brown eyes in annoyance. “Like, totally nasty. I don't know what Colby sees in her anyway.”

“I know!” Trisha Marshall replied. Her blue eyes widened as she spoke. “Colby should have a girl that's just as hot as him! Not some smelly, hairy cow!”

Kristen threw her head and laughed. “I know!” she gasped through a fit of obviously forced giggles. “I suppose Colby has a type then doesn't he?”

Stella Vasquez furrowed her thick, dark eyebrows in confusion. Kristen rolled her eyes in vexation. “The fat, desperate kind. God, Stella. Keep up will you? Do I have to spell out everything for you or what?”

Stella muttered an apology and flushed in embarrassment. Kristen sighed and pushed her long side swept bangs out of her eyes. “Whatever. It won't last much longer anyways. They'll break up any day now. When he finds out about her... after hours activities.”

The surrounding girls all leaned forward simultaneously, their faces gone slack with shock. My heart skipped a heat. After hours activities? What is she talking about? I ducked my head forward and pretended to busy myself with my locker contents. Kristen smiled knowingly as she curled a lock of her dark hair around her finger, like a child who knows something the adults didn't. Kimberly bit down on her lip in anticipation.

“What do you mean? What do you know?” Trisha questioned. She hugged her book bag tightly to her chest. “Is she, like, you know...”

“I'm sure I’m not the only one that knows. Right Whiteboard?” Kristen replied and turned her head in my direction.

The girls mimicked her action and stared at me expectantly. A surge of anger rushed through me as I slammed my locker down shut and turned to glare at her. First she insults my best friend and now she's picking on me? Seriously?

“No,” I replied through gritted teeth, “I don't know what you're talking about. Why don't you tell me?” 

Kimberly, Trisha, and Stella and turned their unwavering stares back to Kristen, who shrugged carelessly. “I thought you and Sarah were tight. So how do you not know about what she's doing when she's not with you?”

“Sierra,” I hissed and balled my hands into fists. “Her name is Sierra and why do I need to know every little thing about what she does or doesn't do? I'm not her mom!”

Kristen sighed dramatically and tossed her head contemptuously, sending lengths of her brown hair swirling around her shoulders. “'What she does and doesn't do,'” she mused and shot me a mocking wink. “That's an interesting way of putting things.”

“What does that even mean?” I snapped. “Just say it already!”

“Why don't you go and ask your 'best' friend yourself?” Kristen barked. She turned to her friends without waiting for an answer. “Let's go girls. We've wasted enough time on... this one.”

With a snooty 'humph', the four girls strutted past me on their matching high-heeled boots without sparing me another glance. They disappeared down the hall, leaving me standing there in livid silence to contemplate Kristen's words. Hmm. After hours activities? What did she mean by that one? Sierra and I normally hang out after school on most days when I don't have to work or she isn't caught up with Colby somewhere. She would tell me if she was up to something with someone. How would Kristen know what Sierra does before me anyway? It's not like they ever hang out in the same places together. I don't see Kristen as the type who liked spending her weekends stuffing her face full of vanilla froyos and chocolate milkshakes at The Freeze downtown. She's just being stupid. I flipped my hands dismissively. It's Kristen Kelley at the end of the day. Nothing she ever said has any truth to it anyways. Sierra would definitely tell me if she was up to something.

The way she told you she was dating Colby? The question popped into my head so suddenly that I nearly dropped my textbook. With a short cry of frustration, I stomped down the hall to the bathroom before the salty surge of tears could escape my eyes.


“I wouldn't put it past her if you ask me,” Amanda replied as she flipped through the pages of yet another wedding catalog. We sat on the couch of her apartment that afternoon after school. The day has been a blur, mainly because I spent most of it sitting on the toilet of the girls' bathroom balling my eyes out. I know it's silly to cry. Kristen said mean things about people all the time: inventing rumors is like second nature to her. Like a superpower she was born with. But still. I don't know why it bothers me so much that I shed tears over it.

After all, who in school didn't know that Kristen herself is still hung up on Colby? It's so obvious in the longing in her eyes when she watches him pass by, the sickly high-pitched tone her voice takes when she talks to him, the way her body tenses when he is physically near her. They didn't go out for very long either, maybe about two months, before Colby suddenly broke it off with her to return to Sierra. Well, in a way, can I blame her? After all, I still have feelings for the same guy myself. Seeing him lip-locking with someone else after breaking it off with me without an explanation would definitely turn me into a vicious harpie like Kristen. Especially if it's in front of the whole junior grade. Well, it's not like I will ever know what it's like to be Colby Flagstone's girlfriend, so why do I even bother thinking about this?

“He-llo?” Amanda said and waved a hand in front of my face. “Earth to Scarlet. Are you in there or in La La Land again?”

I flushed and dropped my eyes to the dark brown carpeting beneath my bare feet. There I go again. Lost in the craziness of my 17-year-old brain.

“Sorry,” I mumbled. “I wasn't really listening. I was thinking of, uh, something else.”

“I noticed,” Amanda replied heatedly. She narrowed her gray eyes at me behind the lenses of her wire-rimmed glasses. “Are you thinking of something? Or a certain someone?”

I didn't respond. A warm rush of heat colored my cheeks again. Jeez. I'm such a spaz. I seriously have to get myself together one of these days. Amanda sighed and wearily ran her fingers through her curly, red locks. We both leaned back against the pillows of her couch and fell into silence. There is always something comforting about Amanda's place that made me feel at ease, like my mind isn't exploding into millions of pieces every twenty minutes. It was a nice place for her and her fiance, Malcolm, to share: beige-colored walls, dark brown carpeting, a dark green couch, a glass coffee table, a flat screen television against the wall by the door, and a heavy cream-colored curtain that absurd a single sliding glass door that led onto a mini patio in the back. The kitchen was a small square with a long granite counter top, dark wood cabinets, a single black microwave, thin white curtains that hung over the window, and an island that sat in the middle of the space, loads of abandoned grocery bags and unopened packages sitting on top of it. Three or four stools stood at each corner of the island and next to that was a hall that led into both the master bedroom and the spare they kept for guests.

“Isn't Malcolm suppose to be here to help you plan for the wedding? It's only, what, five or six months away right?” I sat up and turned to look at her.

Amanda sighed and removed her glasses. She kept her tired eyes on the ceiling. “Yep. That's the plan, but I don't know where he runs off to these days. I hardly see him. He says it's work related, but I know better. I feel like... like there's something going on that he's not telling me.”

I frowned in disapproval. “Well, that's lame. At this rate, he won't have a fiancee to come home to if he keeps this up.”

At that, Amanda let out a light laugh. She raked her fingers through her hair again and let the curls tumble down around her face like a halo of fiery springs. I wish my hair was like that. Not thin and straight, but thick and soft and pretty. Like Amanda herself. And unlike me, Amanda was gorgeous: five-four with a sexy thickset frame, flawless milky-white skin, and a face the belonged on the airbrushed covers of Vogue magazine. Out of the two of us, she looks more like mom with a full square face, small ears, a rounded dimpled chin, a short up-turned nose, and small even teeth. A tiny spark of envy ignited in my chest as I watched Amanda rise to her feet with a grunt and saunter into the kitchen. She even walked like a model, her wide hips swinging from side to side in a confident gait, her shoulders back, head held high.

“You want anything while you're here? Coke, Sprite, or coffee?”

“Sprite,” I grumbled and thew myself back against the couch with an irritated sigh. Amanda paused and turned to look at me. “Don't give me that, Scar,” she snapped.

She quickly rummaged through the contents of the fridge and resurfaced with two cold cans of Sprite. She slammed the door shut and narrowed her eyes again. “You're doing it again. That self-loathing thing.”

I didn't answer. What am I going to say anyway? She's right. I hate the way I look. Why can't I be meaty and curvy like Sierra and Amanda instead of a too-tall, too-skinny bean pole with boring hair and ugly features? Maybe this is why Colby didn't want me. I'm not his type—or anything remotely close. Even Kristen has some curves and she's pretty when you get to see her without the thirty pounds of makeup she has on most of the time. Is that why he doesn't like me? Because I don't wear makeup or shop for expensive clothes? Is that why he picked Sierra over me? Because she's so much prettier than me? 

A sudden tinge of tears prickled the backs of my eyes. I let out a slow, shaky breath and closed them. It isn't my fault I look like a boy. At least some boobs and a butt would be nice. But who am I kidding? This is me I'm talking about. Scarlet Reinhardt. The girl  that the charming prince won't ever look at twice. The girl who will always be every man's last choice. Story of my life.

“Hey,” Amanda said soothingly as she dropped down on the couch next to me. She handed me my can of soda and took a sip of her own.

“I wish I was pretty,” I whispered and wiped my eyes dry with the sleeve of my sweater. “I really do.”

“Of course you are!” Amanda replied. “Scar, you're so beautiful that it's ridiculous! You've got gorgeous eyes and a stunning smile. Your hair is so long and red! I wish I had that! Oh and you're so tall and skinny—”

“Being skinny isn't the perfect body,” I riposted. I tightened my grip on the soda can as it fizzled. “Being skinny sucks.”

“And I have the perfect body?” Amanda argued. She blinked incredulously. “I'm fat, Scar. Seriously overweight. Like Peter Griffin from Family Guy fat.” She pinched her sides with her hand.

I chuckled humorlessly and shook my head. “No, you're not. You're perfect.”

“Are you freaking kidding me right now?” She fisted her small hands on her hips. “I'm a size twelve, Scar. That's not exactly a killer pose-for-Calvin-Klein-Magazine-in-a-g-string-bikini body, you know. If I could be tall and slim just like you—”

“You're not fat,” I insisted. I dug my nails into the sofa. “And even if you think you are, you have someone who loves you just the way you are. Who finds you attractive and beautiful. Malcolm looks at you like a dog would look at a bone or a homeless man would look at free food at a banquet. Like he's never seen anything more amazing. The man you love loves you and your body and I... I don't have any of that.”

“I'm not too sure about that,” she whispered. “Lately it seems like he's not interested in me. Or my body.”

“He's just busy,” I offered with a small grin.

Amanda sighed glumly. “Maybe,” she whispered gloomily. “Maybe not.” She reached over and squeezed my hand. “You really are beautiful, Scar. You just have to see it.”

“And when will I see it? I've looked and looked in the mirrors all my life, but I still see an ugly, stupid girl staring back at me,” I hissed.

Amanda scowled at me and roughly gripped my shoulders. “You aren't stupid either!” she shouted. “Get that out of your head already!”

“I am!” I yelled and forcibly pried her hands off of me. “What kind of girl still has feelings for a guy that will never love her? What kind of girl has hope that one day she'll go from an ugly ducking to a beautiful swan to impress a guy that already told her that he's not interested? He laughed at me! Tell me Amanda!”

“That's not stupidity and you're not ugly!” Amanda retorted. “That's called love! You loved the guy for crying out loud! It's normal to feel like this when you're heartbroken—”

“I am ugly and stupid!” I bellowed. “I am! If I'm not, then answer me this Amanda. Why did the boy I loved reject me? Why didn't he want me than? And why does he mock me and my love by rubbing it in my face that I'll never be with him by accepting to date and constantly make out with my best friend in front of me?”

Amanda's mouth dropped open, but nothing came out. She just gaped at me in silence. My eyes stung with tears. We were both standing up, breathing densely as our eyes stared unwavering at each other. I quickly dried my eyes with the backs of my hands and plucked my backpack off the floor.

“Face it,” I whispered. “Reality is, not everybody is good-looking. Some ugly duckings just stay ugly.”

“Scarlet—”

I flung the door of the apartment open and tore down the hall without a second look back, leaving my sister behind to call out my name.