Exclusive Excerpt: Michele Jaffe's Minders (and Judy Blume anecdote!)

We recently came down with a wicked case of FOMO (fear of missing out, doncha know) when we spied a Tweeted picture of three of our favorite YA authors hanging out together. People: Meg Cabot, Michele Jaffe and JUDY BLUME dined together, and we were not invited. Sob. Once we recovered from our disappointment, we emailed Michele for details (we are not ashamed). Here’s what she had to say:

 

Michele, Judy and Meg

"Judy's son, Larry Blume, and I have been friends for a long time, so it was great to finally meet his mom. She is as smart, funny, enchanting and stunning as you would imagine her to be--times 100. Being seated at a table with her and Meg Cabot is like being in the middle of a Charmnado."

Michele, being the lovely lady that she is, also wanted to share an excerpt of her latest YA, Minders, a trippy, futuristic tale of mind-hopping, privilege and romance. Take a look while you nurse your disappointment, right along with us.

At nine forty-five on a sunny Thursday morning, Sadie Ames took a sharp left “at the birdhouse” as directed by the instructions she’d been e-mailed, and went from a single-lane road to a rutted mud track overhung with trees. As she came around the curve, pebbles pinged against the side of her Saab convertible—red, at her father’s insistence—and her tires jiggled over an uneven patch of mud.

Sadie’s hands curled around the steering wheel, knuckles going white. No no no, she thought to herself. It was a warm June morning, but she felt a chill of apprehension. This could not be happening. She was not going to be late to orientation. She’d allowed an hour and a half for what was only supposed to be a forty-minute drive; even with the accident backing up things on the Zipway, everything was going fine.

Until she got lost.

“Something’s wrong,” she said into the speakerphone. “This can’t be the place.” There was no way that an elite research facility would be down an unmaintained trail barely big enough for a bike.

Pete’s voice came through her earpiece: “What does your GPS say?”

“Nothing. I’m out of range.”

She heard him chuckle. “No wonder you sound so panicked. You without a GPS—”

“—is like a bun without a burger,” she interrupted the familiar litany. “I know.”

Pete said, “I just think it’s funny that a girl who knows exactly where she’s going has such a terrible sense of direction. It’s like one of nature’s jokes.”

“Hilarious.” Sadie had slowed almost to a crawl now, the branches of the bushes scratching against the sides of her car.

It was true, she did have a terrible sense of direction, but he didn’t have to harp on it. She secretly thought he did it because it was one of the few things he was better at than she was. She enjoyed the competitiveness of their relationship—as Pete said, it made them both sharper—but sometimes it could feel a little petty.

Not that she would tell him that. Although movies and books said being in love meant sharing everything, she’d learned early in her relationship with Pete that sharing often led to pointless drama.

His voice broke into her thoughts. “Look, tell me the address, and I’ll find the directions.”

“I’ll be fine,” she said, hoping she sounded calmer than she felt. The clock on her dashboard flashed 9:49.

“Oh, that’s right.” The tension in Pete’s voice was palpable even through the speakerphone. “You can’t reveal the location of your secret spy camp.”

“It’s not spy camp,” she said, her jaw tight. Glancing in her rearview mirror at the narrow, brambly track she’d just come point-eight miles down, she thought that going back looked even worse than going forward.

“I still don’t get why you want to do this,” Pete’s voice went on, as though he wouldn’t have leapt at the chance to do it the previous year when he was eligible—if he’d been accepted. “It’s just some glorified exchange program. You’d learn more about how other people live by going to Mexico and building houses for a few weeks like I did last summer. And we could hang out on the beach together.”

Agree with him, she told herself. There’s no reason to go over this again. “That does sound—” She rounded a curve and then stopped herself midsentence. “There’s a guardhouse in front of me. I wasn’t wrong after all.” Relief flooded over her like a warm bath.

“Oh, great,” Pete said. Did he sound disappointed? No, she was just being touchy because she was excited.

“This is it. I should probably go.”

Pete said, “Aren’t you going to say you’ll miss me?”

Read The Full Excerpt >>

Awesome, right? Minders is available online and in stores now. And for more trippy teen tales, visit our Everything YA page.