The Cellar

The Cellar

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Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster.

But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she’d ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she’s dating the living dead before it’s too late for both of them?

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: Paperback

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547232539

  • ISBN-10: 0547232535

  • Pages: 288

  • Price: $16.99

  • Publication Date: 05/02/2011

  • Carton Quantity: 24

  • Age(s): 12,13,14,15,16

  • Grade(s): 7-12

  • Reading Level:

    • Guided Reading Level Z+

A
Author

A. J. Whitten

A. J. WHITTEN is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump writing with her teenage daughter, Amanda. A shared love of horror movies and a desire to spice up the Shakespeare stories that are required reading in high schools led to their collaboration on The Well. They live in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
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  • reviews

    Praise for The Well:

    "[A] propulsive horror yarn. . . . Fright fans will be plenty satisfied with the homicidal happenings."--Booklist

     

    "Overall, this is at once frightening and a bit campy, making this a guilty—but still gratifyingly gross—pleasure for horror fans."--Bulletin

  • excerpts

    Chapter 1

    Some days, Meredith, I just . . . I just wish it was me who

    died,” my sister said that Tuesday morning in early September.

     I stared at Heather. At sixteen she was a younger version of

    me, with darker hair and browner eyes. I was only ten months

    older than her but some days felt like a decade older.

     I must have heard her wrong. She talked so softly now, I

    was always hearing something other than what she reallysaid.

    “You . . . you what?”

     “I just said I wish it had been me. That’s all.” Heather

    shrugged. Then she poured a crapload of Cocoa Pebbles into

    the new white bowls Mom had bought the week before.

    They were ridiculously giant bowls. One day my mother

    brought them home and, two seconds later, threw out all

    our old dishes. The ones I reallyliked,the yellow ones with

    the blue flowers, the same ones I’d been eating out of since I

    was four.

     That’s what she did now. Spend money. In the past six

    months she’d bought a lot of things we didn’t need. I was sure

    her Visa was going to start smoking at any second. A psychiatrist

    would have a lot of reallygood

    analysis for why.

     Too bad the only shrink my mother went to see was

    named Neiman Marcus.

     Our Aunt Evelyn, my mother’s older sister, had moved in

    six weeks ago with her twin sons and taken over as mom. She

    was the one who made dinner, who did the laundry, who

    pecked over us like a worried hen all day. Her twin boys — Ted

    and Tad, but we called them Tweedledee and Tweedledum

    because we were pretty sure they shared a solitary brain cell —

    didn’t do much more than go to school and play basketball.

    They were both seniors and already had full rides to some

    midwest university that liked them dumb, tall, and able to

    dribble. They had already left for school that morning, probably

    for one of their early scrimmages.

     “Pass the milk, will you?” Heather said.

     I held on to the two-percent.It was pretty much the only

    thing I had a hold on right now. My life, which used to seem

    so perfect, had become totally distorted. Everything I’d thought

    meant something — my friends, yearbook, school — now rang

    empty and cold. I kept waiting for some normalcy to come

    back, like the tulips my dad and I had planted in the front

    yard last year. Except the squirrels stole the bulbs, and only

    three of the twenty pink flowers encored.

     Maybe it was a sign. Like those big yellow billboards on

    the highway screaming at you to lose fifty pounds or quit

    smoking. The signs you ignore until it’s too late and all of a

    sudden, you’re lying in a hospital bed, on the wrong end of

    a scalpel.

     I pushed away my cereal. Wished Aunt Evelyn hadn’t

    gone to her Bible study this morning so we could have had

    bacon and eggs instead. Maybe then Heather wouldn’t have

    been in such a weird mood. “Heather, you can’t just say

    something like that. I mean . . .”

     “What?” She let out a sigh and sat back, turning her face

    away. When she did, the long curtain of her brown hair

    shifted slightly, exposing the scar that ran from her forehead

    to her chin, as if her face had been cut in half.

     It almost had. By a four-door sedan that had crumpled

    like a tuna can.

     Leaving Heather a bloody mess, and killing Dad.

    In two seconds, the Willis family had gone from being

    typical suburbanites — mom,dad, two daughters, living in a

    four-bedroomranch — to a tragic statistic. The psychiatrist

    we talked to would quote numbers at me and Heather, as

    though that would make us feel better. As if being part of a

    group of one point five gazillion kids whose parents had

    been killed in car accidents in the past two decades was some

    kind of top one hundred Facebook group we should join.

     “What were you going to say?” Heather asked.

     I opened my mouth, but nothing wise came pouring out.

    If I’d had anything smart to say, I’d have said it six months

    ago, when Heather was lying in a hospital bed and my mother

    was standing in a funeral home picking out a casket.

     So I passed the milk. We sat there and ate in silence.

     Ever since the “incident” — which was what everyone

    called it, as if one innocuous word could turn the crappiest

    day of our lives into something more palatable, like throwing

    cheese on broccoli — Heatherhad fallen into a dark pit.

    The perfect student had to be dragged to school. To soccer

    practice, where she was about as useful as a shrub in the

    middle of the field.

     I’d become the star student. Me, the one who had barely

    passed Geometry, and that was only because I’d begged Mr.

    Sanders to have mercy on me. Instead of my mom pushing

    us to be on the honor roll, my crappy C average became the

    new norm in our house. Yearbook layouts became the talk

    around the table, because I was the only one talking about

    what I did. Not that Mom plugged in any better than a

    faulty toaster, but at least we were all here.

     Existing.

     Yeah, that was what I’d call it. Existing in a bubble of silence,

    punctuated with the scraping of spoons against stupid,

    huge bowls.

     What we needed more than anything right now was

    something new. Something big. Something to wake us up.

     A movement outside the window caught my eye. A flash

    of red. The roar of an engine starting. I put down my spoon

    and crossed to the window. In the next driveway, gray smoke

    curled out of the exhaust pipe of a cherry red Camaro, one

    of those sports cars that screamed, Look at me! I hated those

    things because they made stupid people drive too fast and

    take risks that caused accidents that shouldn’t have happened

    otherwise. Behind the wheel sat a guy dressed in

    black, tall and thin, wearing sunglasses. White ruffle-

    edged curtains that hadn’t been there yesterday hung in the windows

    of the two-story Victorian, and a wicker rocker sat on

    the porch. “Hey, when did someone move into the house

    next door?”

     “Mer, that place has been abandoned for as long as we’ve

    lived here. Mom can’t give that place away.” Our mother

    was a real estate agent. Her trademark sign said Bringing

    You and Yours Home, now wasn’t on the lawn next door

    anymore. The house next door had been one of her few

    failures. Old and rundown, left to rot by the old lady who’d

    lived there for, like, five hundred years, the place hadn’t sold

    or been rented in years. “Who would want that piece of

    crap?”

     “Well, somebody did. And now they’re living there.

    Look.” I pointed out the window.

     Heather let out another sigh — sighing had become her

    thing lately — and got to her feet, slowly. She shuffled over

    to the window, pretended to look, then turned away.

     “You didn’t look.”

     “I did.”

     “You didn’t.” I grabbed her arm, spun her around, and

    held her at the window until she actually raised her head

    and looked past her wall of hair. “Look. People.”

     “Not ‘people.’ One person.” She huffed. “Big deal. I’m

    going to school.”

     Again, she’d shut me out. I shouldn’t care or let it bother

    me. It wasn’t as if I didn’t have my o...

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: Paperback

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547232539

  • ISBN-10: 0547232535

  • Pages: 288

  • Price: $16.99

  • Publication Date: 05/02/2011

  • Carton Quantity: 24

  • Age(s): 12,13,14,15,16

  • Grade(s): 7-12

  • Reading Level:

    • Guided Reading Level Z+

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