The story of ten friends struggling their way through their four years as students at a small college in Central Virginia--their triumps and tragedies, romances and heartbreaks, and especially their evenings playing games.
The history of Blue Ridge University is made up of many small stories: that of Cooper, an adult child of an alcoholic, torn between escaping her father's influence and protecting her younger brother; of Christie, planning to be a psychiatrist to help others make up their minds; of Bryn, wanting only to survive college and be with his love; of Sofia, an artist striving to preserve her failing eyesight; of Kanika, dreaming of Broadway...and marriage; of Frenchie, a free spirit wanting to be an international spy; of Logan, an obsessive gamer striving for ambition in order to prove his worth to the girl he loves; of Jazz, who sees herself as skilled on the trumpet and not very much else; of Juniper, a natural-born historian who struggles to live in the present instead of the past; and of Ruth, shy and uncertain outside of the college, fighting to escape the influence of her overbearing mother and make something of herself.
Ten friends. Four years. One unforgettable adventure.
It was a dark and stormy night in London. So thank God this story begins in a small Virginia town, where it was in fact a stark and dormy night. Cooper Glasgow, Coop to her friends, was settling into her new university accommodation, and had yet to put in posters, personal belongings, or, indeed, furniture. According to her catalogue, the dorm was supposed to have (at the very least) two beds, two desks, two chairs, two wardrobes, two dressers, and a “two-in-one unit”, which seemed to be a microwave and refrigerator combined. However, Cooper’s room was devoid of everything but one wardrobe and one dresser. She wanted to ask her mother if there was some mistake, but her mother was already gone, having dropped Cooper and all of her worldly possessions off and gone back to the hotel room to take a nap before making the long drive out to South Carolina with Cooper’s brother. Instead, she considered seeking out the R.A. before she became aware of another presence in the doorway.
Cooper turned to discover a girl about her own age with long blonde hair, blue eyes, and a definite pout on her pretty features. “Uh…are you my roommate?” Cooper ventured.
“No, you are my roommate,” the girl answered. Her voice was decidedly upper class, devoid of courtesy, and there was no mistaking the contempt. “I am Alyshia St. Joseph.”
“Nice to meet you,” Cooper said, even though it wasn’t at all. “Cooper Glasgow.” She looked around the room again. “I’m glad you’re here. I was going to call Res Life or go hunt down our R.A. or something, but I don’t have a cell phone and—”
“You don’t have a cell phone?” Alyshia said with derision. “I thought everyone had a cell phone nowadays.”
“I don’t,” Cooper shot back at her. “I don’t want one, either. Anyway, I was going to go call someone, but I wasn’t sure who to call anyway. Someone seems to have absconded with the furniture.”
Alyshia’s eyes widened at the word "absconded", and Cooper had to fight back a grin. It wasn’t like she couldn’t have just said "Someone stole our furniture", but she was fond of big words, always had been. Alyshia shook it off, however, and said, “You mean all that dreadful furniture that was in here before? I had it dragged out of here.”
“It was a disgrace. Not fit to be seen. My father will be bringing my proper furniture in a minute.” Alyshia narrowed her eyes at Cooper. “I wrote to you this summer and told you to make sure you brought your bed.”
“No, you didn’t.”
“Yes, I did. Your address was in my packet. Not your name, for some reason, but…”
“I never got a letter, from you or anyone else, telling me to bring my bed,” Cooper said hotly. “And if I had, I wouldn’t have done so.”
“Is there a problem in here, girls?”
Cooper and Alyshia both turned to find a tall girl wearing a Blue Ridge University polo shirt and carrying a clipboard. “I’m Virginia Rickey, your R.A.,” she said, leaning against the doorframe. “Call me Gin.” She looked around the room in surprise. “What happened to all your furniture? I swear it was here when I checked yesterday…”
“Oh, all that rubbish?” Alyshia smiled sweetly. “I wrote to Residence Life and told them I would be bringing my own furniture. I’m very aesthetic, you know, and I simply cannot sleep surrounded by such disgusting furniture.”
“Heaven help me,” Gin muttered. She flipped the page and studied a sheet. “Uh, are you Alyshia or Sofia?”
“Sofia?” Cooper and Alyshia echoed in surprised unison.
“Yeah. I have here, Room 219, Alyshia St. Joseph and Sofia Ahlgren.”
“Uh, my name is Cooper. Cooper Glasgow,” Cooper corrected the R.A.
“Glasgow?” Gin flipped through her pages. “Oh, honey, you’re in 229.”
Cooper groaned. “Res Life told me I was in 219. They even gave me a key.”
Gin grinned. “This happens all the time. My freshman year, they sent me to Appalachian 237. Took me forever to figure out I was supposed to be in Allegheny 207. Come on, Cooper, let’s go get you sorted out.” Turning to Alyshia, she added, “And—Alyshia, is it? Get all this furniture back in here on the double. I don’t care if you bring in your own bed, but the furniture that the room came with has to stay here. Got it?”
“Yes,” Alyshia grumbled. She glared at Cooper. “How could you have been so stupid as not to check to make sure Residence Life had given you the right room?”
“Gee, I dunno,” Cooper said, annoyed. “Maybe I was a little distracted by the fact that my brother was crying.” Before Alyshia could say anything else, Cooper had shoved her stack of boxes out of the room and followed Gin off to the Residence Life office.