Author: Shani Petroff
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Understudies never get to perform
. . . which is why being Juliet’s understudy in the school’s yearly “Evening with Shakespeare” is the perfect role for Emily. She can earn some much-needed extra credit while pursuing her main goal of spending time with Wes, aka Romeo, aka the hottest, nicest guy in school (in her completely unbiased opinion). And she meant to learn her lines, really, it’s just:
a) Shakespeare is HARD,
b) Amanda, aka the “real” Juliet, makes her run errands instead of lines, and
c) there’s no point because Amanda would never miss the chance to be the star of the show.
Then, Amanda ends up in the hospital and Emily, as the (completely unprepared!) understudy, has to star opposite the guy of her dreams. Oops?
I clicked on an album from his family’s trip to Disney World. It was him, his parents, and his brother, and they were all wearing Mickey Mouse ears. They looked goofy and fun. And totally adorable. I tapped over to his brother’s page. I’d seen all of Wes’s pics before, maybe his brother would have some hidden gems.
Neal had the same eyes as Wes. It was nice seeing them together. I kept clicking through his albums. There was one of them celebrating their dad’s birthday. Another with their dog in the park. Some of Neal alone on a bike path. I wondered if Wes took those photos.
My computer froze as I tried to move to the next picture. “Come on,” I whispered to the screen and started tapping my mouse like a madwoman. I hated when this happened. Instead of a car, I probably needed a new laptop. I hit the power button. And as it asked me if I was sure I wanted to power off, my Internet started running again, so I hit no. A bunch of screens raced past. All that clicking I had done was going through. It was as if GroupIt had a mind of its own. Pictures of Neal at a race, playing chess, and doing who knows what were moving at warp speed. I tried to stop it. I tried to go to my profile page. But it wasn’t listening to my commands. Instead, crazy things started happening. Do you want to tag Emily Stein in this photo? popped up. NO! I did NOT want to tag myself in one of Wes’s brother’s photos. What had I hit? I tried to click no, I tried to stop it, but the screen just passed me by. Why wouldn’t it go back? Why wasn’t it working? Did it do it? Did it tag me? Why wouldn’t the stupid machine behave? I powered it off and grabbed my phone.
My heart was racing as I logged on to Neal’s GroupIt page. It’s going to be fine. Nothing’s happened. You didn’t tag yourself. Yet my reassurances weren’t calming me down. I still had that nagging feeling as I clicked through his photos. So far, so good. There was no sign of me yet. My breathing was returning to normal. Then it happened. A new notification message popped up. Neal Rosenthal commented on a photo you are tagged in.
I closed my eyes. Maybe this was a dream. A bad nightmare that I’d wake up from. But when I looked back at my phone, I knew that wasn’t the case. This was really happening. The notification would take me straight to the picture, but did I really want to see it? My finger shook as I decided whether to press the screen.
I didn’t want to, but I had to know for sure.
I went for it.
No, no, no, no, no, no, nooooooooooo. I threw my phone down on the bed.
It was worse than I could have imagined.
I stared at the spot where the phone had landed. It was like a nuclear bomb that was ready to blow up my life. The picture I had tagged myself in wasn’t just a regular picture of Neal. (Of course not. Why would my life be that easy?) Instead, it was a picture of Neal holding his hands in a heart shape. A picture that now had my name smack on top of it.