Authors: Lisa Greenwald
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Greenwald, Lisa.
Dog Beach / Lisa Greenwald.
Summary: Eleven-year-old Remy loves the traditions of Seagate, the island where her family spends every summer vacation, but after her grandmother and a special dog dies, and her relationships with best friends Bennett and Micayla change, Remy takes comfort in the company of Dog Beachâwhere she hatches a plan to bring her friends closer and recapture the Seagate magic.
ISBN 978-1-4197-1018-6 (alk. paper)
[1. SummerâFiction. 2. VacationsâFiction. 3. BeachesâFiction. 4. FriendshipâFiction. 5. DogsâFiction. 6. Dog walkingâFiction.] I. Title.
Text copyright Â© 2014 Lisa Greenwald
Title page spot art copyright Â© 2014 Vivienne To
Book design by Maria T. Middleton
Published in 2014 by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.
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115 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
For Aunt Emily, dog lover extraordinaire
And in memory of my beloved apricot poodle Yoffi, the best dog in the history of dogs, who I still believe may have been part human
On Seagate Island, there are three kinds of people:
the lucky ones, the luckier ones, and the luckiest ones.
The lucky ones are the people who come for a weekend or maybe even a week. They stay at the Seagate Inn or they find a last-minute rental.
The luckier ones are the people who rent a house for the whole summer, Memorial Day to Labor Day. They usually come back summer after summer and stay in the same house.
And the luckiest ones are the people like me. I don't want to sound conceitedâI'm grateful for how lucky I am. Because when it comes to Seagate Island, there's no doubt that I am the luckiest. I've spent every summer of my life on Seagate Island in my grandmother's house.
I was born at the end of May, so I spent my first three
months here. And I'll spend every summer here for the rest of my life. It's probably weird for me to think that far ahead, since I'm only eleven. But trust meâI will.
“Remy,” I hear my mom calling from inside the house. I give her a few minutes to come outside and find me. It's kind of an unofficial house rule that if one of us is outside, the other one has to come out if they want to talk. No one should have to go inside to talk unless it's raining. On Seagate Island, our time outside by the sea is sacred. We've only been here for a week, and we have the whole summer stretched out in front of us, but we still don't take our outside time for granted.
I hear the quiet creak of the screen door, and then my mom pulls over the other wicker chair to sit next to me.
“Don't be mad, okay?” she asks, but it sounds more like a command than a question.
This can't be good.
“I just ran into Amber Seasons, and she's in a pickle,” my mom starts. I wonder why people use the word
to mean a problem. In my mind, pickles are one of the most delicious foods. But I also get why people hate them. Bennett hates pickles. In fact, if he orders a hamburger and someone puts a pickle on his plate, he has to send the whole meal back. He feels bad about it, but he does it anyway. That's how much he hates pickles.
But Amber Seasons's being in a pickle isn't surprising. I've known her since I was born, pretty much, and she's
always been in a pickle. She's fifteen years older than I am, and no matter what's going on, she always seems frazzled.
“What kind of pickle?” I ask.
“She offered to teach an art class for Seagate Seniors on Monday and Wednesday mornings at ten. But then her babysitter ended up staying in New Jersey for the summer, and now she needs someone to watch her son. She told me that's when he naps, so you'd just be sitting in her house every morning for a few hours.”
I can't believe this is happening. This was going to be the first real summer that Micayla, Bennett, and I were allowed to roam free, all day, and do whatever we wanted.
In previous summers we were allowed to go off on our own, but only for a few hours at a time, and we needed to check in and always tell our parents where we were. But this summer was going to be different.
We're eleven now, going into sixth grade. That's middle school for Bennett and Micayla; it'll be the last year of elementary school for me.
And now I have to cut into that completely free time to watch Amber Seasons's son.
On the other hand, babysitting is kind of cool and something real teenagers do. I guess I'm older now and my mom thinks I'm more mature. I'm flattered that she thinks I can handle it.
“Please, Remy,” my mom says. She's sitting on the wicker armchair with her head resting on her hands, and she looks
pretty desperate. It's not even a favor for her, it's a favor for Amber Seasons, but I bet my mom already said that I'd do it. My mom has this weird thing about helping people solve their problems. She gets all jazzed up and has this intense, burning desire to help them, like she can't stop until she makes whatever situation they're in a little better. Helping other people makes her happier than anything else.
“Fine.” I sigh, all defeated, but knowing I would never get out of it. “Maybe Micayla and Bennett can come with me some mornings?”
My mom considers that for a moment. “Well, you can certainly talk to Amber and ask her if it's okay.”
She goes inside to finish getting ready for her afternoon swimming session, and I sit back in my chair and think. How bad will it really be? It's only a few hours two mornings a week.
My mom always says how good it makes her feel when she helps other people. So maybe I'll be like that too. I'll help Amber, and then I'll feel better. About everything.
Being sad on Seagate is kind of an oxymoron. The two things don't go together at all. But this year is different. I'm sad on Seagate, and I can't seem to help it.
“I got you two scoops,” Micayla tells me when she walks through the house and finds me on the back porch. That's another thing about Seagateâno one locks their doors, and we all just barge into each other's homes. It can be awkward sometimes, like when I saw Bennett's mom getting out of the
shower, but she had a towel on, and we just laughed about it. But the rest of the time it feels like the whole island's our home.
The turquoise ice cream cups from Sundae Best, Seagate Island's oldest and best ice cream shop, somehow make the ice cream taste even more delicious. I always get espresso cookie, and Micayla always gets cherry chip. When it comes to ice cream, we are as different as can be. But when it comes to almost everything else, we're pretty much the same.
Well, except that I'm white and she's black. And then there's also the difference of our hairâshe wears it in braids year-round, and I have thin, straight, boring, not-quite-blonde and not-quite-brown hair that barely stays in an elastic band. Hers always looks good, even after she's just woken up.
Her parents are both from St. Lucia, in the Caribbean. They moved to the United States when they were kids but didn't meet until college. They have amazing accents, and when we're a little bit older, they're going to take me with them when they go back to visit Micayla's grandma in St. Lucia.
We take our ice cream cups and walk down the wooden stairs of my deck to the beach. Even though I do this at least ten times a day, I feel lucky every single time. On Seagate, the beach is my backyard, and I'm pretty sure there is nothing better than that in the whole world.