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Stacey Wallace Benefiel

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by Stacey Wallace Benefiel   

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Young Adult/Teen

Publisher:  CreateSpace ISBN-10:  1452858746


Copyright:  April 20, 2010 ISBN-13:  9781452858746


Zellie Wells has a devastating crush on Avery Adams, the son of her mom’s high school sweetheart. At her sixteenth birthday party, held in the basement of her dad’s church, she finally finds the courage to talk to him. Turns out, the devastating crush is mutual.

As Avery takes her hand and leads her out onto the makeshift dance floor, Zellie is overwhelmed by her first vision of his death; shocking because not only are they both covered in his blood, but they’re old, like 35, and she is pregnant.

Afraid to tell anyone about the vision, (she’d just be labeled a freaky black magic witch, right?) Zellie keeps the knowledge of Avery’s future to herself and tries to act like any other teenager in love. When they get caught on their way to a secret rendezvous by her mom and his dad, they are forbidden to see each other.

Convinced that their parents are freaking out unnecessarily, Avery and Zellie vow to be together no matter what. They continue their relationship in secret until Zellie learns that their parents are just trying to prevent her and Avery from suffering like they did. The visions are hereditary, they’re dangerous, and if they stay together the visions will come true.

Now Zellie must choose between severing all ties with Avery, like her mom did to prevent his father’s death, and finding a way to change Avery’s future.

I stared at the back of Avery Adams head, imagining what it would feel like to press my face into his wavy brown hair. I longed to experience the exhilaration of running my fingertips over his broad shoulders and down his chest, of standing that close to him, feeling the heat coming off of his golden skin.

He was two people ahead of me in the line to take communion. I tried to focus on the smell of his shampoo. Unfortunately, the two people between us were my mom, and his dad. With them blocking the way, all I could smell was tea rose perfume and extra strength drain cleaner. Not a pleasant combination.

The line moved forward. The woman behind me, Mrs. Hobby, stepped on the back of my heel, scraping it with the pointy toe of her white patent leather flat.

“Ouch!” I said, way too loudly. The congregants of my white bread Lutheran church were not prone to exclamation of any kind. I flushed my usual shade of flame as everyone looked at me, including Avery. Mortified, I wheeled around, facing Mrs. Hobby, accidentally knocking off her massive white Easter hat. I caught it mid-air and jammed it back on her head. “Sorry! I was spacing out,” I whispered, like the whole church couldn’t hear what I was saying.

“Zellie!” Mom hissed at me from the front of the church.

“Uh, here we go, our turn at bat.” I ran up to the altar and knelt down, bowing my head, touching my chin to my chest.

Someone in the back of the church snorted a laugh. It sounded like Claire. A giggle shimmied up my throat. Claire was my best friend and a frequent witness to my extreme dorkiness. She could also make me get the giggles at the most inappropriate moments.

I raised my head and took the communion wafer that my dad, Pastor Paul, offered, clamping my mouth shut before the giggles could escape and embarrass me even further. I glanced down the altar, wishing that the elder would hurry up with my tiny plastic cup of wine. I always seemed to get the communion wafer stuck to the roof of my mouth and then had to engage in some major tonguing in order to get it loose.

Avery leaned forward, taking his wafer from my dad. He swallowed it in one smooth gulp and then gave me a confused grin.

Oh, God, he must think I’m looking at him! I immediately stopped trying to pry the wafer loose with my tongue and put my chin to my chest again. What could I have looked like? I tried to float above myself, picture my face. What I conjured was not a flattering image. I had one eye closed, nostrils flaring, my tongue flicking back and forth. What the hell was my problem? I looked like a cat coughing up a fur ball. Ugh.

When everyone was served communion, I got up, avoiding my dad’s bemused look and went back to the second pew where me, my mom and my sister Melody always sit.

Melody shook her head and flicked me on the back of my arm as I stepped past her and sat down in the pew. “Way to make a butt of yourself, Zel,” she whispered into my ear.

“Whatever, hose beast.” I flicked her on the knee and scooted away from her, closer to Mom.

She rolled her eyes at me. “Like I even know what that means.”

Dad stepped up to the pulpit and shuffled his notes around in his hands. He was old school, writing his sermons in longhand on yellow legal pad paper. Assistant Pastor Morris wrote his on a computer and then downloaded it onto his BlackBerry, like someone from this century.

The sermon was my favorite part of the church service, not because my dad was such a charismatic speaker or anything, but because I could get in some good Avery daydreaming time. And, since he didn’t know I was alive, daydream time was the only quality time I got to spend with him.

I leaned forward and put my forehead against the pew in front of me, rubbing my temples as though I had a headache. Turning my head the smallest increment to the side, I looked past my mom across the aisle to where Avery sat.

He was so beautiful it kinda hurt my heart to look at him. Ah well, I was in church after all, let the self flagellation commence!

I began at his feet. Polished black dress shoes, black socks slouching at the ankles, a glimpse of beautiful calf, his khaki pants hiked up just a little.

Moving up, I lingered on his hand resting atop his knee, his long, thin fingers spread out. I took a deep breath and envisioned reaching out my hand and intertwining my fingers with his. Running my thumb across the top of his hand from wrist to knuckle, brushing my fingertips up his forearm.

In my imagination I was sitting next to him, pressing the side of my thigh against his, then elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder. My lips grazed the bend of his neck, the line of his jaw, the corner of his mouth, across his lips. Then we were forehead to forehead, my hands in his hair, I inhaled him in--

“Ow!” I sat up straight, smarting from the sharp elbow to the ribs Melody had given me.

“It’s time to sing!” She yanked me up and thrust an open hymnal into my hands.

On pastor’s daughter autopilot, I sang, “Christ our Lord is risen today, haaaaaa-le-loo-oo-yah!”

Professional Reviews

Jessica from A Fanatic's Book Blog
Jessica from A Fanatic's Book Blog 4/5 keys to her heart on June 30, 2010

Why I chose this:
I am a sucker for any books that deal with ESP, or any other future glimpsing powers. I still have a bit of hope held out that someday I might develop something cool like that....someday!

My Thoughts:
I am so impressed. So impressed with Stacey Wallace Benefiel's writing, and to be honest a little confused as to why a larger publishing company didn't snatch her book up! I'm so glad that independent publishing companies such as CreateSpace allow authors like Stacey to share their work with us. Truly, this was a book I loved and I'm already looking forward to the next one!

Zellie is smitten with Avery. So smitten in fact that she gets in trouble in church (her dad is the pastor) for spending too much time staring at him and dreaming. First off, how sweet is that? However it doesn't end there, no not buy a long shot. Zellie is a fiery and headstrong girl who knows what she wants and goes for it! Oh sure, her dad might disapprove if he found out but Avery is so good it just doesn't even matter.

I LOVED Zellie! I loved her tenacity, I loved how she is awkward at times and so brave and put together at others. I loved that Zellie is a typical teenage girl. She's someone who everyone will be able to relate to, almost like a "Jane Every Girl" of sorts. Layered on top of that also however, is a character who you will fall in love with from the very first page. Zellie says and does things that will make you laugh out loud at times, and make you feel deeply for her at others. I wish I could better describe this character, but really all I can say is just that she is amazing! You'll have to read for yourself.

Stacey's take on visions and seeing the future is really intriguing. Without going into too much detail, I will say that Zellie is fortunate to be able to do more than just see the future. In fact, her other power is so amazing! Sorry for the vague writing! I know. I'm actually hoping to tempt you more into reading this book. If that didn't work I have three words for you. Ghost Baby Daddy. Mmhmmm....take that as you will. Give this book a read! It is well worth your time!

Amanda Hocking
Amanda Hocking gave Glimpse 5/5 stars

Read in June, 2010
The thing that struck me the most about her book was the voice - it was perfect. Zellie always sounded like a teenager without being whiny or obnoxious. She was very likable and very realistic.

The story flowed beautifully. I think with a lot of debut novels, the biggest problems authors have is with flow and voice - they just haven't figured out how to hit their stride yet. But Stacey didn't stumble with either of those. It had a real honesty with the characters that I appreciated. Zellie and Avery were wonderfully drawn characters, and I couldn't help but feel their yearning.

The paranormal aspect (which I loved) was a bit different than what I'd encountered before. I'm not going to give it away, but it wasn't what I'd expected it to be, and that's always fun.

All in all, I'm excited to read the next books in her series, and I see tremendous promise in Stacey's writing and her future endeavors. Any fan of YA paranormal romance should definitely read this book!

Diana from Night Owl Reveiws
Diana from The Night Owl Reviews Staff- 4.5/ 5

Zellie Wells is just another ordinary teenager it seems. That is, until her sixteenth birthday arrives and her life drastically changes for her. While at her birthday party, which was held in the basement of her dad's church, Zellie seems to have to confront more than just her crush on Avery Adams. When he takes her hand and leads her onto the dance floor, she glimpses her very first vision and unfortunately it's wrapped around Avery's death. She sees the both of them in an accident while they're older adults, covered in blood and she's pregnant. Snapping out of her vision, she really doesn't know what to make of what just happened to her.

Not knowing how else to handle the situation, Zellie decides that it'll be better if she doesn't tell anyone what she saw in her vision. She fears she'll be labeled a freak or even a black magic witch. But as time passes and Avery and her start becoming more serious, her parents freak out over them having a relationship. Zellie doesn't understand what the big deal is that they're in love with each other and want to be together. Then she finds out the most bizarre thing. The visions she's having are hereditary and quite dangerous. If Zellie and Avery stay together, her visions will come true and Avery will die.

What is Zellie to do now that she knows why her parents are acting so crazy over her relationship? Does she tell Avery the truth about having visions and seeing his early death or does she decide to sever their ties in order to change his future? Would Avery even believe her if she did tell him the complete truth?

I found this YA novel to be very engrossing and I enjoyed getting to know Zellie on such a personal level. My heart went out to her because not only was it hard enough trying to be a normal teenager who's now in love for the first time, but also she has to learn what these visions are all about and how to deal with them. This would all be overwhelming for any sixteen-year-old and I felt that Ms. Wallace-Benefiel did a remarkable job steering Zellie through the many obstacles that were presented to her. I had the pleasure getting to know the characters and the author conveyed them as real people in the story not just cardboard cutouts. She also sprinkled a bit of teenage humor throughout that made me laugh out loud. Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed this first book in the Zellie Wells series and eagerly look forward to reading the next book!


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