Ruin FallsI’m not the pro—protagonist in Ruin Falls, I don’t think. Actually, I don’t really know what that word means, so I guess I could be. But I don’t think so because Ruin Falls is really my Mommy’s story. It started when we all went away on vacation. Me, my brother, Reid (he’s eight), and my mom and dad, of course.

That’s how come there was a problem. Cause of my dad.

It was fun at first. Vacation, I mean. Not the looooong drive when there was nothing to do but stare out the window. I thought I liked anything green and growing, but zillions of miles of corn? No way. It got so I couldn’t even think about popcorn, and don’t ever mention corn on the cob to me again.

Actually, I love corn on the cob. I wish we had some right now. Hold on for a second…

There are no tissues here. When I have to blow my nose (because I’m being a big cry baby like Reid says), I have to do it on my sleeve. Gross. Especially because we can’t really do laundry either. Just in the creek like we’re like the old-fashioned people in the colonial village the high school students set up every spring.

I wonder if I’ll ever go to that fair again.

Then when we got to the hotel, vacation started being fun. Reid took me into the lobby and he even got the whatdoyoucallit kind of machine to let out a candy bar and even though we didn’t eat it—duh, like Daddy would kill us—it was fun just to look at the wrapper, all shiny and with a picture of delicious looking chocolate on it. And then we got to go in a real live elevator! It didn’t go fast like a roller coaster but it was still fun.

The best part of the whole night was getting to sleep in the weird bed with Reid. A sharp part stuck up into my back, but I didn’t care. In real life I can’t hug or snug with Reid. That would be weird! And all our friends would laugh at us. But in this teensy, crowded bed, I just pretended I had to wiggle or roll around, and then I got to lie all scrunched up next to him.

That was really fun. But I didn’t know then that we wouldn’t be going back to our house where we both have our own bedrooms. That we’d be sleeping next to each other, in sleeping bags on the floor of a barn, for like forever.

Hold on a second…

I wish we had some tissues. What kind of stupid person misses tissues? I do.

The first baddest part of the night was when Daddy woke us up. It wasn’t morning and I was so tired, I fell back asleep in the car. It took all the way until it was light out till I realized Mommy wasn’t there. And when I asked Daddy how come, he just said for me to go play with Grandma. But Grandma doesn’t even like to play! And this farm isn’t like a real farm at all, not like our farm back home. That one I love. This one just has all these stinky cows on it and more of that stinky, stinky corn.

I hate corn and I hated that stupid farm.

Till we had to leave it. Then things got even badder.

When I went to look for Izzy is when the next thing happened. I should’ve known Daddy would never be smart enough to bring Izzy when we had to leave that great hotel. He’s stupid, this whole vacation is stupid, and all I wanted was to get Izzy back.

I asked Reid what I should do and that was the baddest part of all. Because my brother always knows everything. Except now he doesn’t. And if he doesn’t, who does?

My Daddy said he was going to get her for me, and he did, but he’s still just a big old liar. Otherwise, how come we’d be living in this place where there are no tissues and no laundry and not even any real house? I don’t think this is vacation anymore.

I bet my Mommy’s super scared right now.


You can read more about Ally and her mommy in Ruin Falls, published by Ballantine which was released in April 2014 to starred reviews and chosen as an Indie Next Pick. Though Ally plays only a small role in the book, she is absolutely right. Her mom is super scared—and will do whatever it takes to get Ally and Reid back home again.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 14 for the chance to win a copy of RUIN FALLS. (US entries only, please.)

Meet the author
Jenny Milchman is a suspense writer from the Hudson River Valley of New York State. Jenny is the winner of the JennyM2014 Mary Higgins Clark Award for her debut novel, Cover of Snow, published by Ballantine/Random House in January 2013. Her short story ‘The Closet’ was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2012, and another short story, ‘The Very Old Man’, was published in EQMM in 2013. The short work ‘Black Sun on Tupper Lake’ appears in the anthology ADIRONDACK MYSTERIES II.

Jenny is the Chair of International Thriller Writers’ Debut Authors Program. She is also the founder of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, which was celebrated in all 50 states and four foreign countries by over 700 bookstores in 2013. Jenny hosts the Made It Moments forum on her blog, which has featured more than 250 international bestsellers, Edgar winners, and independent authors. Jenny co-hosts the literary series Writing Matters, which attracts guests coast-to-coast and has received national media attention. She also teaches writing and publishing for New York Writers Workshop and Arts By The People.

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