1The Queen of England Is in Our Bathroom
My mother’s wheelchair does not fit through the bathroom door, and I don’t know what to do about it. I pull the chair back an inch and then roll it into the door frame again. The clunk
makes Mom sit up straight. “You have got to be kidding me,” she says.
Actually, these are not her exact words. I am not allowed to repeat her exact words.
“Don’t worry,” says Dad, who stands inside the bathroom, ready to give Mom a hand. “We’ll figure something out.”
This is the first time my mother has been home from the West Glover Hospital in over a month. They only let her leave because she promised to stay off her feet for at least forty-eight hours. I put my hand on Mom’s shoulder. “What if we turn it around and back it in?”
“Lucy,” Mom says to me, “width is not a function of vector.”
Mom studied math in college. She’s a professional photographer now, but she’s always finding ways to work things like vectors and differentials and Hilbert curves into conversation. I rarely know what she’s talking about.
“We don’t have vectors in our math,” Elena calls from the kitchen.
“We’ll get to them in high school,” says Michael, who is in the kitchen, too.
Michael Buskirk and Elena Vallejo are my best friends. They were both on the front lawn waiting to greet Mom when we got back from the hospital. The three of us met back in kindergarten when Elena was a black-haired bulldozer in a pink dress and a leg brace, and Michael was a quiet skinny boy in short pants and Space Invader T-shirts. Now we are all in the eighth grade at St. Brigid’s Catholic School, where my dad is our principal.
Elena sighs. “Vectors and high school,” she says. “I can’t wait.”
Elena is certain that high school is going to swallow us up, spit us out, and crush us like bugs. It’s because she still looks like a little doll that Santa Claus would leave beneath a Christmas tree. I resemble one of those gawky stuffed giraffes that nobody ever wins at the carnival, but Michael is over six feet tall. He’s strong and easygoing with dark hair and brown eyes that match the color of his skin. I think he’s the best-looking boy in our school. He lives just across the street from me, so I see him enough to know that I’m right.
“Elena,” Dad shouts from the bathroom. “Please stop worrying about high school. It’s months away, and it’s going to be fine.”
“How do you know?” she yells back at him.
“It’s one of the things they teach you in principal school,” he tells her.
“He’s got you there,” Michael says to Elena.
“In the meantime,” says Mom, “I still really have to pee.” A few wisps of thin, brown hair have escaped the paisley scarf wrapped around her head. Dark circles beneath her eyes make it look like she’s been punched in the face. Cancer will do that to you.
Dad examines the doorway leading into the bathroom. “We’ll get another inch of clearance if I take the door off the frame.” At school, I’ve seen him unclog toilets, mop up vomit, set a broken bone, and rescue a wide variety of rodents, snakes, amphibians, and other classroom pets without even loosening his tie. Popping a door off its hinges
"Fans of the Harper Lee classic—and book nerds everywhere—should flock to this uplifting, unabashed tribute." —The Horn Book
"The banter among the three whip-smart friends would make John Green proud. . . . You won’t have to hide any copies of this to create demand." —BCCB
"Acampora’s well-written, resolutely cheerful offering celebrates books, reading, and life." —Booklist
"Funny, poignant, and quirky." —School Library Journal
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series will enjoy this look at how the power of creativity and the internet can cause a cultural movement. . . . Acampora’s novel is for lovers of literature, especially how the classics work in the current moment." —VOYA
"Literary terrorists hit Connecticut, but things go awry for a trio of well-meaning book addicts. . . . The spot-on dialogue combines with the irresistible appeal of young teenagers enthusiastically pursuing bad ideas for a fast, page-flipping read." —Kirkus Reviews
"This strong novel stands on its own as a testament to the power of reverse psychology, but will resonate with fans of the original Mockingbird
and maybe inspire a few to check it out." —Publishers Weekly