Isla Neal; Martin Leicht Mothership

ISBN 13 : 9781442429604

Mothership

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9781442429604: Mothership

Book by Leicht Martin Neal Isla

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CHAPTER ONE

IN WHICH OUR HEROINE FALLS ON HER ASS, LIKE, A LOT

As far as scientists have been able to determine, the primary function of the human coccyx, or tailbone, is to remind us that once upon a time we were all monkeys or something. But I happen to know that it can still serve a useful purpose. Say, for example, that a pregnant teenager three weeks from her due date, who weighs, oh, approximately 145 pounds (lay off, all right? The baby loves ice cream), were shoved down forcefully on a Treadtrack in gym class by a bitchy cheerleader. This so-called vestigial growth would most definitely act as a shock absorber, preventing serious damage to the rest of said pregnant chick’s body.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that evolution saved my ass. Well, evolution and the fact that when you’re orbiting the planet this high up, the artificial gravity is bound to be a little more forgiving. But that’s not nearly as poetic.

I guess I should be thanking my lucky stars, seeing as I’m still in one piece, but instead I’m furiously scrambling to yank my pregnant keister off the Treadtrack and away from Britta McVicker.

“Need some help?” she sneers in a tone that I’m sure is supposed to sound sincere. Britta is the aforementioned bitchy cheerleader. We go way back, Britta and me—too far, if you ask me. She doesn’t remember, but I’ve known the girl since she first mocked my Hercules lunch box in second grade. We are the only two students at the Hanover School who knew each other before the school year began. Because apparently the universe is not through punishing me just yet.

I scramble to my feet quickly so that I don’t roll with the Treadtrack all the way into the wall. Balance is not my strongest trait at this point in my pregnancy, but I still have the maturity and poise to flip Britta the bird without stumbling again.

Britta snorts. “Jeez, tubbo,” she says, beginning what I am already positive is going to be one of her classic McVicker slams, “how’d you ever trick anyone into pity screwing you?”

That’s when one of Britta’s innies comes over to take in the scene. She’s this girl who glommed on to Britta the second we launched into orbit and who spends so much time stroking Britta’s ego that in my head I only ever think to call her Other Cheerleader.

“Pity screw or not,” Other Cheerleader says, jerking her head in my direction, “the guy must’ve been blind and deaf.” And I have to admit, that one stings a little, until she decides to take it a step further. “And had, like, no sense of smell,” she adds. “And he also didn’t have—what’s the other one? Touch. Yeah, he was touchless.”

I bite the inside of my cheek as I yank my sweat shorts down at the hem. I avoid making eye contact with Britta. Would she be so smug if she knew that . . . ? No, I decide, staring at my shoes. I’m not going to go there. Britta McVicker is not nearly worth it.

But I guess I should’ve gone somewhere, because before I even notice what’s happening, Other Cheerleader has punched the Treadtrack control, jacking up the speed to max. I topple over again as the exercise track flies under my feet, and I crash into a girl running behind me. She falls on top of me, and together we slam into the wall, the track still running underneath us. The thing damn near burns a hole right through my ugly running shorts.

“Turn off the track!” comes a cry from the far side of the gym. It’s Dr. Marsden, Hanover’s school physician, rushing over to us past the station of Japanese fit-bots, with our PE teacher, Mr. Zaino. Other Cheerleader shuts the track down and tries to put a concerned look on her face. Although, if you ask me, it just looks like she’s eaten too many beans and is holding in a nasty moon rocket. When Dr. Marsden reaches us, he looks down at me with concern. “That was quite a spill, Elvie,” he says kindly, helping me to my feet. “You all right?”

Even though he’s my school doctor and all, I blush a little bit when he takes my hand. I am not into the whole May–December-romance thing, but you’d have to be from another planet not to think Dr. Marsden is one damn fine specimen of a man, standing nearly two meters tall with broad shoulders and just enough stubble to let you know that he’s sophisticated but still a little dangerous. But I try to play it off cool. “It’s not the last time I’ll fall on my butt,” I say with a shrug.

Zaino is more accusatory than inquisitive. “What happened?” he asks. Zaino’s a pretty good-looking guy himself, although he’s a little too rah-rah about dodgeball to seriously crush on.

Britta gives me this look like, You better not rat me out, and while nothing would give me more satisfaction than watching her and her doppelganger lackey run laps for the next hour, I know I won’t say anything.

“I just misjudged the speed,” I lie, dusting myself off. I turn to the girl who toppled over behind me on the Treadtrack. It’s this chick from my trig class who is, like, always chewing on her hair. She’s currently looking at me like I’m the world’s biggest doof—although, hello, she’s the one with an entire braid crammed into her mouth. “Sorry,” I tell her.

She mumbles something in reply, although who can tell what through all that hair?

“Are you sure you’re not hurt?” Dr. Marsden asks again. I look at Britta and smirk a little.

“Well, I am kinda sore, but I’ll survive,” I say with as much earnest reluctance as I can fake. “I’m mostly just worried about the baby.” I place my hands under my swollen belly and put on my most concerned frown.

The doc nods. “Why don’t you go back to your quarters and lie down for a bit? I’ll give you a pass to skip yoga next period, and we’ll see how you’re feeling at your checkup this afternoon.”

Game and match. I’m pretty sure there’s not one girl on this ship who wouldn’t give her right arm to get out of a single day of underwater prenatal yoga.

Chewie spits the braid out of her mouth. “Uh, maybe I should lie down too,” she says.

“Just run it off, Sanderson,” Mr. Zaino replies.

On my way out of the gym, I offer Britta and her friend my smuggest grin. “Enjoy yoga, ladies,” I tell them.

“I can see your fat ass through the hole in your pants,” Britta shoots back.

I want to ask her if when her baby’s born she’s going to cut the horns off right away, or wait until the kid is older. But I’m a civil sort of gal, and civil sorts of gals don’t say things like that.

Did I not mention earlier that Britta McVicker—former cheerleading captain and most popular girl at Lower Merion—is now simply another knocked-up teenager at the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers, just like me? Due to pop any day now too.

Okay, so it’s not like I actually wanted to end up preggers in outer space or anything. If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be here on this ship, and with Britta McFreakingVicker to boot, I’d’ve told you to check the dosage on your Phezalin prescription. But, you know, shit happens.

I guess, if you want to be specific about it, the first shitty thing that happened was that I got the hots for Cole Archer, which was the perfect example of what my dad would call “one’s loins speaking more loudly than one’s brain.” My dad finally stopped using that expression when I told him that saying the word “loins” was the most psychologically damaging thing a parent could do to a child. But maybe I should have let him stick with it, because when it came to Cole Archer, my brain didn’t stand much of a chance. His eyes were this unearthly blue-green-blue-again that could, like, make you melt or something. And that part wouldn’t have been so bad—the getting the hots and melting, I mean. But somehow that single, solitary time we got steamy, I—hello, biology class!—got knocked up. And then Cole totally bailed, leaving me with one bun and no baker. Which, you know, sucks and stuff.

The second shitty thing that happened was that I was forcibly enrolled at the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers. Since I’m a member of Hanover’s inaugural class, they don’t have a motto yet, but if they ever decide to get one, my vote will be for “Catapulting Troubled Young Ladies into Outer Space Since 2074.” Well, technically we’re in low Earth orbit, but that’s not as catchy. I’ve been here for three full months now, and even though my baby is due to pop fairly soon—the week before Christmas, like someone’s idea of a gag gift—I’ll be spending the rest of my junior year here with all the other Hanover girls. I mean, it’s not like they can just land the whole ship for winter break or anything. I can’t decide if life on board the Echidna will be better or worse after the baby is born. As meticulously scheduled as my every second is now, I get the feeling that once the Goober arrives and I hand it off to the adoptive services coordinator, I’m going to have a redonk amount of free periods. Which, given the bafflingly terrible connection speeds and limited flat pic library up here, could actually be more of a curse than a blessing.

As I travel the ten levels on the lift from the Health and Wellness Center up to the living quarters, I decide that a bruised coccyx is a steep but acceptable price to pay for an hour’s respite from the inane chattering of my classmates. I’m only a few steps from the door to my stateroom when I feel a buzz in my back pocket. I yank out my phone and check it. A blink from Ducky. Smiling, I tap the screen while the phone’s still vibrating.

check it out found britta’s online dating profile.

I tap the link and shut the door, and then flop down onto my bed in my holey gym shorts while the new site is buffering. It’ll take, like, nine hundred years. Shit takes forever in space. Which totally blows, because my blinks with Ducky are the only thing keeping me from going completely bonkers at Hanover.

When I finally get to the site, it’s not a dating profile. It’s a vid of a baby elephant peeing. Like, this fire-hydrant torrent of pee.

I snort so loud, a little snot comes out my nose. I shift my phone around until I get a good angle against my belly, and I blink back to Ducky.

britta’s never been that hot in her life. flippn skank just tried to take me out in gym. :(

I told Ducky once that Britta McVicker was my arch-nemesis, and he told me she was more like my arch-nematode. Which really just goes to show that while I was busy getting knocked up, Ducky was actually paying attention in life science. But nerd king status notwithstanding, he was right. Britta McVicker is a genuine grade-A worm. The lowest form of life on the planet—and now, God help me, in space, too.

I mean, really, I know that I’m not exactly a saint, but I swear that in my former life I must have been a claims adjuster or something, because there is no other way to explain why fate decided that Britta McVicker should follow me into the cosmos. If only I’d gotten a screen cap of my face three months ago on launch day, when Britta showed up with two trunks, eight garment bags, three totes, and a big-ass baby bump of her own. Up until that point I thought the worst thing I’d have to deal with until my love child popped out was suffering through morning sickness in zero grav. I didn’t even know the girl had gotten herself storked. But she had, of course. She trumps my due date by two whole weeks. Which made sense, once I did the math. But I don’t care to think about that particular math very often.

I’m guessing the surprise wasn’t a pleasant one for Britta, either. As soon as she saw me, she got a look on her face like she’d just accidentally used the wrong hair smoother. I think maybe I deal better with shock than some other people.

I feel a rumble on top of my bump. Another blink from Ducky.

:( heres something to cheer u up, E-fab.

I tap the link, and twenty thousand years later it opens. Ducky’s gone and bought me another poster. I smile. Damn you, Ducky. Way to make me cheer up just when I’m getting a really good funk on. I aim the phone at the last square of remaining white space on my wall, tap IMPRINT, and snap! The image is pasted on my wall next to the last poster he sent me, of The Godfather. Ducky knows I have a thing for classic flat pics, so lately whenever I’ve been feeling particularly gruesome, he goes and buys me a poster of one of my faves. So far I have The Princess Bride, Transformers 5 (totally the best of the series, no matter how hard Ducky argues for number 7), Rebel Without a Cause (Mom was really into James Dean, Dad tells me), and now, the crown jewel, Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus: The Musical. Call me a sap, but I eat up that tortured unrequited love stuff with a spoon.

As I’m rummaging through my closet for a change of clothes, I set a hand on my belly and feel around for the Goober—that’s what I’ve decided to call the mini Cole who up and ruined my life. Sure enough, the little bugger’s lodged itself lengthwise in my uterus. It’s weird to be able to feel a tiny thing inside you. That’s something they never mention in health class, that you can actually feel it, especially when they get bigger. Head here, over there an elbow, foot poking into what used to be your gallbladder. It’s a little gross if you think about it too hard, being a human hotel room for some kid you’ve never even met before. So I try not to think about it very often. Instead I try the trick Dr. Marsden taught me, rubbing my belly in tight little circles, slow and steady. Dr. Marsden says this calms the kid down, lets it know you care about it. I told Dr. Marsden that all I cared about was the little bastard not kicking me in the bladder anymore, and he just handed me my vitamins and told me the rubbing would probably work for that, too.

After I’m changed into my “favorite” pair of maternity stretch pants, I check my clock. Almost an hour until my physical, and not a thing to do.

Thank you, Dr. Marsden.

The trauma of gym class has left me famished, so I decide to make a trip upstairs to see what grub I can rustle up. I grab my phone as I head for the door, just in case Ducky decides to send me any other choice Britta vids, and make my way down the corridor toward the elevator.

The Hanover School is actually an old recommissioned low-orbit luxury cruise liner. The kind that folks my dad’s age used to travel on for tacky ooh-look-we’re-playing-shuffleboard-in-space style vacations back in the fifties and sixties, when being in orbit was still sort of a novel experience. These days, of course, you can’t throw a rock out the viewport without hitting a vacant ship or orbital station that’s floating aimlessly through the void. Most of them have been empty for decades, or are home to some less than desirable characters, but in recent years there’s been a real push to refit them as residential, commercial, and educational estates. “Ozone re-gentrificat...

Revue de presse :

Juno meets aliens, sort of, in this wacky debut novel. Sixteen-year-old Elvie Nara’s wisecracking voice is the perfect vehicle for her description of encounters with threatening aliens. An extremely clever premise that is skillfully carried off by the authors. Lots of humor, snarky teen comments, and earthy language abound. This reviewer cannot wait to see the next installment of Elvie’s alien encounters. Teens who like irreverent humor, as well as fans of science fiction, are going to enjoy spending time with Elvie and her friends.”
--VOYA

“This science-fiction–comic romp set in a space-based school for pregnant teens hits the funny bone and adds in an alien conflict for good measure. Elvie narrates the adventure, wisecracking the whole time. Leicht and Neal keep the focus mostly on wacky comedy, but it's a creditable adventure as well. Fans of science fiction and zany comedy should both be satisfied. Pure fun.”

--Kirkus

“The fast-paced action, laugh-out-loud moments, and memorable characters [are a] a whole lot of fun.”

--Publishers Weekly

“This action-packed first volume in the Ever-Expanding Universe series drips with sci-fi kitsch, including ray-gun-toting aliens and 1980s John Hughes nostalgia. There’s something refreshing about these witty, cursing, sarcastic teen mothers in space, led by a sharp, knowledgeable, and vulnerable young heroine.”

--Booklist

“Authors Martin Leicht and Isla Neal balance Elvie’s significant decisions about the future of herself and her baby with plenty of action, humor and interesting characters. This futuristic romp will delight readers and leave them anxiously awaiting the next book in what promises to be a fun, thoughtful trilogy.”

--BookPage

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Description du livre Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, United States, 2012. Hardback. État : New. 213 x 150 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Teen pregnancy is never easy--especially not when extraterrestrials are involved. The first in a new trilogy. Elvie Nara was doing just fine in the year 2074. She had a great best friend, a dad she adored, and bright future working on the Ares Project on Mars. But then she had to get involved with sweet, gorgeous, dumb-as-a-brick Cole--and now she s pregnant. Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship--and one of them turns out to be Cole. She hasn t seen him since she told him she s pregnant, and now he s bursting into her new home to tell her that her teachers are aliens and want to use her unborn baby to repopulate their species? Nice try, buddy. You could have just called. So fine, finding a way off this ship is priority number one, but first Elvie has to figure out how Cole ended up as a commando, work together with her arch-nemesis, and figure out if she even wants to be a mother--assuming they get back to Earth in one piece. N° de réf. du libraire BZV9781442429604

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Martin Leicht, Isla Neal
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Description du livre Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, United States, 2012. Hardback. État : New. 213 x 150 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Teen pregnancy is never easy--especially not when extraterrestrials are involved. The first in a new trilogy. Elvie Nara was doing just fine in the year 2074. She had a great best friend, a dad she adored, and bright future working on the Ares Project on Mars. But then she had to get involved with sweet, gorgeous, dumb-as-a-brick Cole--and now she s pregnant. Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship--and one of them turns out to be Cole. She hasn t seen him since she told him she s pregnant, and now he s bursting into her new home to tell her that her teachers are aliens and want to use her unborn baby to repopulate their species? Nice try, buddy. You could have just called. So fine, finding a way off this ship is priority number one, but first Elvie has to figure out how Cole ended up as a commando, work together with her arch-nemesis, and figure out if she even wants to be a mother--assuming they get back to Earth in one piece. N° de réf. du libraire AAS9781442429604

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