Spell Fire by Ariella Moon
New school. New friends. New reputation. High school sophomore Ainslie Avalon-Bennett works hard to hide her Crazy Girl past. But as long as her best friend’s disappearance remains unsolved, she can’t shake the depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder that once landed her in a mental ward.
Ainslie’s tenuous control over her life shatters when her warring parents ditch her at Christmas. While they take a cruise to “work things out,” Ainslie must spend the holiday in Palm Springs with her aunt and uncle, owners of a struggling Mystery School and occult store. Plunged into the world of fire fortunes, dragons, entity eaters, and an ailing spell book, Ainslie is well beyond her comfort zone. Then she meets a boy who spikes her pulse and calms her OCD. But will she lose him once he discovers her past? Or will his deadly secret, hidden in plain view, be their undoing?
My parents never said it to my face, but I know they didn't expect me to survive middle school. I was fine until seventh grade, when my best friend disappeared. November twenty-sixth, the day after Thanksgiving, will forever be branded on my brain.
Sophia's foster parents weren't allowed to tell me anything. Their worried expressions said enough — she hadn't been moved to another foster home. Her social worker was another dead end. And I'm positive Sophia would have found a way to let me know if she were okay. She had even picked out an email address with a code name, Hope Huntleigh, so her biological parents couldn't trace her. When she didn't contact me and I couldn't find her, I knew something terrible had happened. The court must have allowed her parents to regain custody. Which meant Sophia's life was in danger — or worse.
When Sophia went from here to gone, in a way, so did I. Her disappearance detonated within me a deep depression, then crippling anxiety and paralyzing obsessive-compulsive disorder. I went from normal to the fetal position twenty-four/seven.
I'm better now. Not totally fine, not perfectly normal, but functional. I've pushed my memories of those times into a box and shoved it into the deep recesses of my mind. But I can see in my parents' eyes they haven't forgotten. Even though I survived — despite their dire expectations — and am now a high school sophomore, my every flash of anxiety or hint of OCD sets them against each other. Mom and Dad disagree on everything, from how late I stay up to how many after-school activities I should take part in. Their only shared belief is that my mental health issues would disappear if the other weren't such a lousy parent.
I'm afraid their marriage won't last past Christmas. Which is why I need to hide my mental illness. If they think I'm okay, then they'll stop fighting. They just need to hang in there for two more years. Afterwards, hopefully, I'll attend Columbia University and become an astrophysicist.
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