Happy Wednesday and welcome to my stop on the When Summer Ends blog tour!! I’m excited to share an excerpt of the book with you today! Read on to find out more about the book, author, and tour, plus enter to win a print copy of When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington!
When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington
Published by Tor Teen on April 9, 2019
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Aiden Emerson is an all-star pitcher and the all-around golden boy of Riverton. Or at least he was, before he quit the team the last day of junior year without any explanation. How could he tell people he's losing his vision at seventeen?
Straight-laced Olivia thought she had life all figured out. But when her dream internship falls apart, her estranged mother comes back into her life, and her long-time boyfriend ghosts her right before summer break, she's starting to think fate has a weird sense of humor.
Each struggling to find a new direction, Aiden and Olivia decide to live summer by chance. Every fleeting adventure and stolen kiss is as fragile as a coin flip in this heartfelt journey to love and self-discovery from the author of Love Songs & Other Lies.
“Emerson!” my dad yells, the metallic clang of the fence in harmony with him. His voice has an edge of knowing sympathy. “It’s just muscle memory! Focus!”
Zander throws his face guard back and puts his hands in a T over his head as he trots out to the mound. I jab my toe into the hard dirt.
“Shake it off, bud.”
Despite his best efforts, Zander and I really aren’t buds. We’re more of a codependent two-person ecosystem. Without me, he can’t do his job. He can’t be amazing until I am. You can be an amazing catcher, but without the right pitcher, you’re just catching the ball. With a bad pitcher, you’re chasing the ball.
He grabs my head in his hands and pulls it toward him. Zander loves these big shows. The whispers of, “Look at him, bringing Emerson back down, getting him focused.” People love the idea that we’re some sort of dynamic duo, on the field and off. “Shake it off. He had it coming. He leaned into it, man.” I know he didn’t, I know I was off, too tight, too wild. I shouldn’t have tried for inside. I told Zander. I don’t say it, because this is a show, not a conversation. “You’ve got this next guy. You hold them here.” I twist my head and pull away—I don’t like his little shows. I nod, because I know he won’t let up until I do.
My best chances for a strikeout are now on first, second, and third, and the top of the lineup is striding out to home plate. He stops behind the plate, rolls up his sleeve, and pats his bicep. He’s inviting me to hit him, egging me on, mocking me. The all-state pitcher who just nailed a batter. All they need is one run and it’s over. I grit my teeth, and remember what my dad said.
Muscle memory, muscle memory, muscle memory.
I lock my eyes on Zander’s mitt and lean back. I try to relax, let my arms and legs do their thing. The same thing they’ve done for the last ten years. Thousands of batters, tens of thousands of pitches, probably.
I let the sticky leather roll around in my hand, squeeze it tight, and let it roll off the tips of my fingers. When I was a kid, I had to remind myself what to do after the ball left my hand. I’d count it out step by step: present . . . cock . . . knee up . . . release . . . pivot . . . so much of it is natural momentum. But at the end, when you bring your body back to the center, position your glove in front of you, and stand ready—that takes thought. But even that is muscle memory now. I’m not even thinking as I let my weight shift to my left leg; as my right comes down and swings to the side. There are no thoughts as my glove comes up to my chest and my leg pivots out. Not a single thought as the white blur of leather leaves the bat and makes contact with my face. No thoughts as I hit the ground, my mother’s shriek hanging in the air.
Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. She lives in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in her novel, with her husband Josh and their son, Rory. Love Songs & Other Lies is her debut novel.
Are you adding this book to your #TBR? I know I am! Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!