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Lost Summer Paperback – August 1, 2006

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Ask the Dark
"Ask the Dark"
Gripping and powerful, this masterful debut novel comes to vivid life through the unique voice of a hero as unlikely as he is unforgettable. Hardcover | Kindle
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About the Author

Alex McAulay, author of Bad Girls, Lost Summer, and Oblivion Road, is a graduate of Brown University, and holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also an indie-rock musician who has recorded several albums under the name Charles Douglas.  He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Lisa.  Visit him online at www.alexmcaulay.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



Caitlin Ross slammed the door to her bedroom, locked it, and stood there fuming. She was fighting with her mom again, which was a pretty typical scenario for the two of them. Since Caitlin's dad had left home a year ago, she and her mom had been at each other's throats. But in the last month, things had gone from bad to unbearable. Caitlin didn't know if she could stand it anymore, but she didn't know what else to do, short of stealing her mom's credit cards, hijacking the Mercedes, and running away for good.

Caitlin could hear her mother moving around angrily in the hallway outside her room, talking to herself. Caitlin crouched down to look under the door, trying to see if her mom was heading in her direction. It was too hard to tell, so she stood up and leaned against the wall.

They'd been fighting over the usual suspects again. The argument had started over Caitlin's clothes, but then spread like a virus to her hair and makeup, and then to the million other things her mom always nagged her about.

At least she isn't banging on the door trying to continue the fight, Caitlin thought. She took a deep breath through her nose, counted to six, and then exhaled through her mouth, like she'd learned in yoga. It didn't help her feel any better, so she walked over to her bed and knelt down to extract a small, silver flask from underneath the mattress. She pulled it out, opened it, and took a sip, which burned her lips and made her cough. Vodka neat. Like her boyfriend Ian once said, it tasted like crap, but made the pain of living hurt less. Of course, he'd been drunk at the time . . . She took another sip as she fumbled around for a pack of cigarettes. Usually she didn't smoke in the house, but today was an exception.

As she sat on her bed and lit the first cigarette with her chrome lighter, she heard her mom start calling for her again, implacable and relentless. Ah fuck, Caitlin thought, closing the flask and slipping it back into its hiding place. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water . . .

"Caitlin!" her mom yelled. Caitlin studiously ignored her, taking a long drag on the cigarette and breathing out slowly. Her mom started rattling the doorknob. "Open this door right now and talk to me!"

Fat fucking chance. "If I wanted to talk, I wouldn't have locked you out," Caitlin muttered to herself. She cranked the iPod connected to her stereo, and her mom got drowned out by the blaring sounds of the Killers. But under the pounding drums and churning guitars, she could still hear her mom banging on the door. Caitlin turned the music up even louder, feeling the bass in her chest.

Caitlin knew from experience that her mom would get tired and go away pretty soon. But she also knew that this would just be a brief détente, and the fight would continue at a later date. Her mom couldn't resist an argument; she was like a pit bull once she got started.

If only Dad were still around to help balance things out, Caitlin thought. Her dad had been her champion and kept her mom's chaotic tendencies reigned in. Yet the divorce was final, and her dad was living in a Manhattan penthouse with his new girlfriend, Sofie. She was a nineteen-year-old model from Paris whose vacantly beautiful face Caitlin sometimes saw on the covers of fashion magazines.

Caitlin tried not to think about it as she stared around her room because the emotions were too painful. Instead, she focused on her surroundings, and thought, God my room is a mess -- what the hell's wrong with me? I'm turning into a bigger slob than Luke.

Luke was her eleven-year-old brother, five years younger than her, and his room generally looked like Osama bin Laden had sent a suicide bomber to visit it. Luke had three main passions in life: playing games on his Xbox, watching violent gangster and horror DVDs, and shooting at cars with his paintball gun. Other than that, he was kind of lazy and slobby, and didn't have many friends. He dressed mostly in black, had a scruffy haircut, and was about twenty pounds overweight. Caitlin felt sorry for him, but also a little embarrassed that he was her brother.

The Killers gave way to 50 Cent, which amused Caitlin because she knew her mom hated hip-hop more than anything, especially if it were laden with profanities. Not that her mom didn't swear all the time, which was fairly hypocritical of her. If anyone ever said anything to Caitlin about having a potty mouth, which sometimes happened, Caitlin always made sure to say she'd picked it up from her mom. That and her drinking, and occasional smoking. She drew the line at those bad habits, though. Unlike her mom, she didn't constantly pop Valiums, Percocets, and other pastel-colored pills like M&Ms. Her mom was taking so many pills these days, it was frequently impossible to deal with her at all.

Sick of looking at the mess, Caitlin got up and opened the blinds on her two huge picture windows, unveiling a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. Her spacious bedroom looked down over the La Jolla Cove far below. Sunlight sparkled on gentle waves under the vivid blue sky that seemed to stretch to infinity over the water. The house, which was nearly a mansion, was located up high on the crest of a steep hill.

Caitlin sometimes felt guilty about living in such a lavish home. It had seven bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, a huge pool, and a gleaming kitchen larger than some people's entire houses. In Southern California's inflated real-estate market, the house was worth over five million dollars: one for the house and four for the land. Her dad had given it up in the divorce, along with so many other things. Caitlin didn't blame him for the collapse of her parents' marriage, although she'd been devastated at first, thinking he'd abandoned her and Luke. With time, she'd gained some perspective. She still loved her dad and most of the time she just missed him a lot. If only Mom hadn't driven him so crazy!

As Caitlin looked out at the admittedly spectacular view, she mused that prettiness could be so boring. In fact, the more she'd looked at the idyllic scenery over the past year, the more depressed she'd felt. Maybe she was just letting her parents' divorce spoil everything, but recently it seemed like there was nothing interesting whatsoever about La Jolla. Not all of Southern California was exciting and glamorous, like it seemed on TV. La Jolla was mainly populated by old people with garish mansions, too much money, and yachts they never sailed.

It's hard to believe I loved this place so much once, when I was a little kid, Caitlin reflected. Things had certainly changed since then, when she'd imagined spending her entire life here on the coast. She'd since realized the town was like a cute guy with nothing upstairs: superficially attractive, but not a good long-term prospect.

Caitlin pushed back a strand of her dark, wavy hair and stubbed out her cigarette on the edge of her oak desk, where it left a round scar. She immediately regretted it and tried to rub it away, but failed. With a sigh, she went over to her bed and slumped on a pile of pillows, under her framed poster of Donnie Darko. For some reason, she loved that movie, even though all her friends hated it, and whenever anyone saw the poster for the first time, they'd ask, "What the fuck is that about, Caitlin?"

Caitlin knew the poster didn't square with the stereotypical image of a spoiled, rich, fashion-conscious SoCal princess. And so what? She wasn't that kind of person anyway, and had never been, despite appearances. Besides, she'd discovered that it was an asset to seem unpredictable -- to her mom, her friends, her boyfriend, and pretty much everyone else in between.

50 Cent faded into an old Weezer song, and Caitlin tapped her fingers on her knee in time with the beat. Judging from the fact that she didn't hear any banging and screaming under the music anymore, she figured her mom had gone away. Probably back downstairs to take some pills, and then call one of her friends to complain about me. She stared up at the ceiling, listening to the music, and felt like a pathetic refugee from one of those stupid Gossip Girl books she used to read.

Suddenly she sat up. Shit! All the drama with her mom had made her forget that she was supposed to call Ian at 3:00. She checked her watch and saw it was already 3:20. She was surprised and a little disappointed he hadn't called her. She took out her cellphone, which no longer displayed images because she'd spilled beer on it the week before, and turned the music down a little. Then she called Ian, lying back on her bed. Just as her call was about to go to voicemail, Ian picked up.

"Hey," he practically grunted, articulate as ever. Caitlin had never figured out why boys got so awkward on the phone. In Ian's case, he wasn't much easier to communicate with in person. He was only her second long-term boyfriend, and they'd barely been going out for three months. She wasn't sure they'd make it too much longer.

"It's me. Don't you miss your girlfriend?" Caitlin asked.

"Sure, I miss you," he said. "Weren't you s'posed to come over today, like at three?" He sounded distant, maybe even annoyed, but perhaps she was reading too much into it.

"Was I? I thought I was supposed to call you then . . ." Their plans were always getting mixed up. I hope I didn't flake on him, Caitlin thought. "Maybe I got things confused," she said, plowing ahead hopefully. "But anyway, I got in a big fight with my mom today. Huge. So I'm sorry I didn't call."

Ian didn't sound very interested in what she was saying. "It's okay, I guess."

In the background Caitlin could hear someone trying to tune an electric guitar, and failing. Ian was the bassist for an up-and-coming band called Box of Flowers that sounded, for better or worse, a lot like Green Day. Even though he was only seventeen, they already had a demo deal with a major la... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: MTV Books; 1 edition (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416525734
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416525738
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Divorcee Kathryn informs her sixteen years old daughter Caitlin that they will spend the summer on Danbroke Island on the North Carolina Outer Banks because she feels her two children are out of control. Caitlin is outraged as she planned to sing backup with her boyfriend's band while her eleven years old brother Luke accepts a four wheel bribe from his wealthy mother.

After traveling from La Jolla, California the three Rosses reach their destination, the Pirates Lodge, owned by Bill Collins, Kathryn's high school boyfriend. Her two children realize they are across the country because their prescription crazed mother was hoping to renew an old fling. The teen makes friends with an out of place Goth Danielle, but as a hurricane approaches she fears Bill, who always leers at her when he is not "accidentally" touching her. She has no one to turn to as her mom hides behind her drug stupor, her brother continues to be the same lunatic he was on the west coast, and her dad abandoned the family last year.

LOST SUMMER is an interesting family drama starring a beleaguered female teen with no place to turn to except to a degree another isolated peer as Bill increasingly tries to take unwanted liberties with her while her mom pretends all is well. Kathryn and Luke are purposely made extreme out of control stereotypes so that their hedonistic destructive behavior negatively impacts Caitlin especially during the isolated LOST SUMMER.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
After reading Lost Summer by Alex McAulay, I was at a loss for words. This book was amazing! It captured me with its words. It kept me hanging off the edge of my seat. And some scenes were so descriptive, I actually thought I was there. The genre is teen fiction, making it perfect to read for students like me.

This book was about a 16-year-old girl named Caitlin, her deranged brother Luke, who was always getting into mischief, and her drug-addicted mother. After her dad left, her mother decides to take Caitlin and Like to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, far from their mansion in La Jolla. During a long trip, Caitlin finds out this trip was not meant for a family vacation. It was actually an attempt for her mom to rekindle a high school fling she had with Bill Collins, the owner of The Pirate's Lodge (and the only place on the island for them to stay). Meeting new friends, staying clear of Bill, and trying to occupy herself on a deserted island is all Caitlin can look forward to this summer. Until a new group of friends changes her life, dramatically.

Caitlin would have to be my favorite character. She's my favorite because she has to deal with her family, her boyfriend, and new friends on the island and she somehow makes things work. When Caitlin confided in her mother about Bill, and she refused to believe her, I couldn't believe her nonchalant reaction. I would have totally lost if my mother didn't listen, but she kept it together.

Having read Lost Summer, I have a new perspective about the importance of family. I would recommend this book to teenaged girls who enjoy dramas and horrors. But my strongest reason for recommending this book, is that after you have read it you will have a better understanding of how to make the most of a bad situation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By *Caligirl_08* VINE VOICE on August 17, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i picked this book up because i fell in love with mcaulays 1st book Bad Girls two years ago. Lost Summer exceeded my expectations! The characters are very realistic (trust me, I live in San Diego, I know all about the spoiled rich kids here b/c i am one (La Jolla is a small township in san diego) Luke is a perfect replica of what can happen to unsupervised, neglected rich kids out here! or probably anywhere!)

this book was also very informative about the Outer Banks region in North Carolina. I believe the island they stay on is modeled after Ocracoke but i could be wrong. I do want to visit the OBX one day and when I do I'll definitely bring this book along to re-read!

what is the book about? bascially caitlin's mom is a refugee from the valley of the dolls, shes so cracked out on perscription pills shes lost complete touch with reality. apparently she gets in touch with an old b/f from high school and decides to drag 16 year old caitlin and 11 year old luke cross country to the outer banks in North Carolina which are a set of islands. theyre not like the hamptons or the caribbean, theyre barely populated! the biggest one has maybe 1000 people in it total! they dont even have a movie theater. it's really horrifying for someone who is used to the luxuries a city has to offer (i mean they dont even have a starbucks!!!) and worst of all you can only get to the island by ferry or helicopter or you are trapped! oh... and did i mention hurricane season??? (for contrast just imagine la jolla as laguna beach but wealthier, way more cosmopolitan and way more stuff to do)

so yeah, caitlin and luke are miserable. but ill leave it there, you find out for yourself what happens next!!!

one thing that bugs me though... why were the filipinos speaking SPANISH? they should be speaking Tagalog.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dorrie Wheeler on August 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
Lost Summer is the second MTV Books title from author Alex McAulay. He is the author of the book Bad Girls. Bad Girls should be coming to movie theaters sometime in the future. Gossip blogs have been having a field day tossing around names of young starlets who may appear in the screen adaptation of the book.

Lost Summer is a really fantastic read. Alex is a very strong writer and his novels are suspenseful and engaging. Lost Summer is about a young girl named Caitlin who had her entire summer in California planned out when her mother drags her across the country to the remote Outer Banks of North Carolina. Caitlin's mother has issues it would be safe to say and Caitlin is pretty much on her own as far as entertainment. She meets a strange friend named Danielle. Then she meets some cool guys and it seems like the summer might not be so bad after all--until she witnesses a murder. To top things off a dangerous hurricane is headed their way. Lost Summer is an awesome book and hopefully this title will also be adapted into a movie.
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