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Mark knows grief. Ever since the accident that killed his twin sister, Grace, the only time he feels at peace is when he visits the bridge on which she died. Comfort is fleeting, but it’s almost within reach when he’s standing on the wrong side of the suicide bars. Almost.
Grace’s best friend, Hanna, says she understands what he’s going through. But she doesn’t. She can’t. It’s not just the enormity of his loss. As her twin, Mark should have known Grace as well as he knows himself. Yet when he reads her journal, it’s as if he didn’t know her at all.
As a way to remember Grace, Hanna convinces Mark to complete Grace’s bucket list from her journal. Mark’s sadness, anger, and his growing feelings for Hannah threaten to overwhelm him. But Mark can’t back out. He made a promise to honor Grace—and it’s his one chance to set things right.
I think I’m one of the few in class who actually enjoys the theory. It’s like studying another language. Maybe I’m good at it because I know English and Tagalog. I’m not super-fluent in Tagalog, but I know more than just how to ask where the bathroom is. Any time I’m around the Aunties, Dad’s sisters, they make me practice with them. Tagalog is technically my first language, though I dropped speaking it outside the house in the first grade. It was hard enough when the other kids, mainly white because of the practically all-white suburb we used to live in, would see what Mom had packed Grace and me for lunch.
“Longanisa,” I would say, as if they’d never seen sausage before. It’s awesome, even though it makes your breath stink. And you burp it up all day. So I started asking Mom for peanutbutter-and-jelly sandwiches with the crust cut off, grapes, and a pack of chips.
Carrie Arcos is a National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature for OUT OF REACH. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. You can find more about her at carriearcos.com