For Alexandria Hyatt having a fabulous life is easy: she knows what she wants and also she knows how to obtain it. Gift glamorous and also rich is just what she was born come be. When Alexandria is arrested because that shoplifting, having to drag herself right into court to challenge a judge simply seems prefer a major inconvenience. However Alexandria has remained in trouble before–and this time she can’t find a way to system out the the consequences. Prior to she knows it, she’s ~ above a airplane headed to Kenya wherein she has actually been notified to work-related for an international charity. End 7,000 miles away from house with no hot water, no cell phone reception, no friends or family, Alexandria is confronted with a land as unfamiliar together it is unsettling. Over the food of she month in Africa, Alexandria will face a fact she might never have actually imagined, and also will have to look within herself to check out if she has actually what it takes to confront it.


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Eric Walters’ young adult novels have actually won many awards, including the silver- Birch, Blue Heron, Red Maple, snow Willow, and Ruth Schwartz Awards, and have obtained honours native UNESCO’s worldwide award for literature in the organization of Tolerance. He resides in Mississauga, Ontario.

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Chapter OneMy mother tried come straighten the collar of mine blouse and I brushed she hand away.“I’m just trying to make sure you look every right,” she said, sheepishly.“I watch as great as I have the right to . . . In this outfit,” ns said. “But no as great as I could have looked if girlfriend hadn’t picked out my apparel for me.” i was simply so glad that none of my friends were there to view me dressed choose this: boring brown secretary skirt, white blouse with a Peter Pan collar, beige pantyhose, and flats . . . Shudder!My mother’s style was pretty lot classic–nothing however the best–but it was old-people fashion. She wasn’t increase on the latest.“She was just doing what ns instructed her to do,” stated my lawyer, Mr. Collins. “Appearance method a lot.”I huffed. I knew much more about appearance than he ever would. The nerve of this man to decide exactly how I should dress! Wrinkled suit, a stain on the tie, and the broad of his lapels was so much out that fashion that it to be almost ago in again. Because that the lot of money my parents to be paying him, you’d have thought he’d have the cash to dress better.I heard the sound of a door opening and I spun approximately in time to view my father rushing in to the courtroom. Pretty of that to find the time to make it.“Sorry, website traffic was terrible,” he said.Traffic is constantly terrible as soon as you don’t acquire into your vehicle on time, ns thought.He come up and also gave my mom a small kiss on the cheek. That looked really awkward. Ns hadn’t checked out them kiss because that years before the divorce, so what to be this every about? were they placing on a present just because that me, or demonstrating how sophisticated they were to people in general? Divorced, but still friends. The sounded like an illustration for Dr. Phil.Either way, that was just wrong top top so plenty of levels. Favor a small show of affection to be going to make me forget those last couple of years? The yelling and screaming, the threats, the family objects chucked at every other? i wasn’t about to forget. In fact, i still offered all the ammunition to mine advantage. A little bit the guilt walk a lengthy way, and also a lot of guilt goes also further.My mommy didn’t look at well. She was really pale, and also I thought she was even shaking a little. She looked for this reason fragile. Whoever stated it’s difficult to be too thin never met my mother. She was painfully skinny. I constantly thought the a solid wind can blow her away and she’d just go paris off right into the sky. Funny, she did look a little like a bird.My father glanced at his Rolex. “It looks favor the referee got captured in website traffic as well,” the said. “Do girlfriend think he’ll store us waiting lot longer?”“His court, his time,” Mr. Collins said.“It had much better not be long. I have places to obtain to,” ns said.“You’d ideal put that attitude away, young lady,” my father scolded.I wanted to call him that my attitude was miscellaneous I’d inherited from him, however I didn’t speak a word. Never mind, i think my expression pretty well claimed it all.“You simply let your lawyer perform the talking,” my father warned me sternly.“First I’m told just how to dress, and also now I’m not allowed to talk. Is that all right if ns breathe the means I generally do?”My dad shot me a look, and I knew I’d be advertise it to say noþeles else, although i was severely tempted.“She’s simply a little nervous, that’s all,” my mom said.She placed an arm around my shoulder but I edged away from her grasp.“There’s nothing to be fear of,” she continued.“I’m not nervous, and I’m definitely not scared,” ns snapped.“Maybe you should be afraid,” my father said. “This isn’t a joke. This is a court the law.”I started to chuckle however stopped myself. We both knew–we every knew–that mine last pilgrimage to court to be no large deal, just a slap top top the wrist. It price my parental time and a the majority of money in legal fees, but for me it to be nothing an ext than a minor inconvenience. This wouldn’t be any type of different. It wasn’t like I was going to obtain life in prison for steal a couple of tops and a purse.“I’m sure there’s nothing come be involved about,” my mom said. She turned to mine lawyer. “Right?”“We can hope,” the said.“For the money ns pay her firm ns expect more than simply hope,” my dad said. “I intend certainty.”“Nothing is details in a court of law. The outcome is solely in the hands of the judge. You have to hope he’s in a good mood . . . That he wasn’t recorded in traffic.”“I’m certain it will certainly go just as well as the last time, sweetie,” my mommy said, soothingly.“I’m afraid that could be the problem,” claimed my lawyer. “Generally, judges are quite expertise the very first time you appear before them, yet I don’t think judge Roberts will certainly be happy to see you in his court again so soon. Periodically they feel that you’re not simply breaking the law however defying them. They take it very personally.”“How deserve to he take it it personally?” ns asked. “It’s not favor I stole his clothes.” uneven he’s attract something frilly under that black robe, ns thought.“But you did defy the by violating the regards to your probation,” Mr. Collins said. “He could feel that, in essence, friend lied to him.”“Lied? exactly how did i lie?”“You provided him her word the you would certainly not rest the regulation again. And also yet here you are, much less than 2 months later, ago in his court.”“But it helps the she pleaded guilty in the pre-sentencing, right?” my mom asked.“It certainly shows the she is ready to accept duty for she crime.”“Crime? ns didn’t kill anybody. I just took a couple of things, a few little things.”“Breaking the law and also violating probation aren’t generally taken into consideration ‘little things’ by most judges. They tend to take it the legislation rather seriously. That’s why they made decision to end up being judges in the very first place.”“And ns even readily available to pay because that them ideal then and there,” ns said. “I pulled the money the end of my purse, yet the store human being wouldn’t take it.”“Stores usually operate on the premise the you pay willingly for their products, not merely offer to pay if friend get caught trying to take them. They’re funny that way.”Now i was getting attitude from mine lawyer! Actually, where was my genuine lawyer? Why walk I have actually this junior associate rather of the lawyer I’d had actually the very first time I was in court? This male was method too young to be a lawyer. And how an excellent could he be if he couldn’t afford better clothes, or shoes that didn’t look like they came from Payless?“You need to understand that this could be serious,” that said.“Whatever,” i snapped. “What’s he going to do, litter me in prison?”There was an uneasy silence and also I felt a shiver walk up mine spine. Ns looked native my mother to mine father. Both to be looking at the floor and not at me.“He can’t send me to jail . . . Can he?” i asked my lawyer.He smiled. “Of course not.”I feeling a rush of relief. How stupid that me to also think–“Prison is only for adult offenders. You’d be sent to youth detention.”The anxiety came rushing back, just worse.“Could girlfriend please define to united state what youth detention is?” my dad asked.“It’s a secure setting for young world who have committed crimes but are no old sufficient to be inserted in one adult facility, i.e., a jail.”“What does that mean, certain setting?” ns asked.“Locked doors, bars on the windows, locked rooms.”“But that sounds choose a jail!”“It is,” the said. “It’s a kiddie jail. Cells, guards, no an individual possessions, including, of course, no telephones.” that pointed in ~ my purse. He’d made me turn off my phone and stash the in mine purse because it had been ringing so much while us were waiting to come right into court. Was it my error that i was popular?“You would certainly share a room with two or three various other prisoners,” that continued.“I’d be v prisoners?” ns gasped.“You would be a prisoner.”“Mr. Collins, isn’t that a tiny bit harsh?” my mom asked.He shook his head. “That’s what they’re called. People who room in detention space prisoners. Many rooms have one or 2 sets the bunk beds and a mutual toilet in the corner.”“The toilet is in the room? That’s . . . That’s simply disgusting!”“And, that course, you’re issued a typical detention uniform.”“You median I couldn’t wear my own clothing?” ns gasped. “But what would certainly I wear?”“Everybody costume in the same jumpsuit.”“But nobody put on jumpsuits any kind of more! They’re therefore yesterday!”“That’s what lock wear. Orange jumpsuits.”“Oh God! ns look dreadful in orange! anyone looks dreadful in orange!” ns felt my reduced lip start to quiver. I was on the verge the tears–the actual kind, not the make the efforts to-get-my-own-way type!“Please, Mr. Collins, there’s no allude in acquiring into any type of of this,” my mother said. She sheathe an arm roughly me. This time i didn’t brush it away.“It’s my job to permit you recognize what could happen,” the said.“But you’re scaring her!”“Still, detention time is one of the possibilities.”“How possible?” my father asked.“It’s hard to say.”“Ballpark it for me. What do you think the odds are of her serving time?”“Umm . . . I hate to do a forecast . . . Maybe less than a 10 percent chance.”“I like those odds,” my father said. “I’ll constantly take a business deal whereby there’s a 90 percent chance of success.”Suddenly this had come to be a company deal? i didn’t know whether I need to be honoured or insulted. After all, ns knew just how much his company meant come him.“And if it every did go south and also she was sent to detention, what sort of time would certainly we be talk about?” that asked.“There are developed guidelines because that each offence, yet the judge has a many discretion within those guidelines.”“So, what’s the worst-case scenario? How poor could the damage be?””Up to six months.”“Six months!” ns exclaimed together I jumped to mine feet. “That’s crazy! it was simply a couple of things! it wasn’t like I eliminated somebody! I’ll call the judge i won’t do it again!”“Unfortunately, that’s what you told him the critical time,” Mr. Collins said.“Anyway, simply calm down,” my dad said. “You can’t lose your cool. People smell are afraid in organization deals.”“This is mine life, no a company deal!” ns protested.“Everything is a company deal. Besides, we’re not talking about what will happen, just what might happen.”“But girlfriend won’t let me walk to juvenile detention, will certainly you, Daddy?” ns pleaded. “Your father has very tiny say in this,” Mr. Collins said before my father can answer.“But still, 6 months because that shoplifting, that renders no sense,” my mommy argued.“This wouldn’t simply be for shoplifting. That would include the fee of violating probation and likewise the reinstatement the the original charge the vandalism.”“How can that be fair?” ns protested. “I also paid because that her vehicle to it is in repaired.”“Your dad paid,” Mr. Collins said. “And that doesn’t readjust the fact that girlfriend pummelled a auto with a golf club, causing thousands the dollars in damage and terrifying the girl who was in the vehicle during your temper tantrum.”Hey, it wasn’t a temper tantrum. The was around getting even, acquiring back, no letting somebody obtain away with something. I practically smiled in ~ the memory. She deserved to have a golf club taken to her car. Now that little tramp would certainly think twice prior to trying to steal anybody’s boy­friend again.“A many will count on the pre-sentence report, prepared by the court-appointed social worker,” Mr. Collins explained.“Have you seen it?” my father asked him.“It’s only for the judge to see.” Mr. Collins turned come me. “Do you have a sense of what the report can say?”“How would certainly I know?”“The social worker walk interview you. You to be there.”“Of course i was there,” i snapped.“Well, how did the interview go?”“It go fine . . . I guess.”“You guess?” my dad asked.“Well, she to be late and I had actually an meeting to have actually my hair done and I couldn’t cave around.” ns turned to my mom. “You understand how hard it is to gain an appointment v Mr. Henri and how angry he gets once you’re also a minute late.”“He can throw quite the little hissy fit,” my mother confirmed.“Please don’t phone call me you go out off the interview because of part haircut!” Mr. Collins exclaimed.“First off, it was a style, no a cut.” I almost said something about him desperately needing a great stylist since apparently he cut his own hair, however that was alongside the point. “And second, i did do the interview.”My lawyer let the end a huge sigh that relief.“Although i refused to answer some of her questions.”The shocked look at on mine lawyer’s challenge actually startled me.“Well, few of her concerns were just so personal. Ns thought, who does she think she is? What right did she have to ask me questions?”“She had the appropriate to ask girlfriend anything she wanted,” Mr. Collins said. “She had the authority of the court! She was questioning the concerns that the judge want the answers to!”“It wasn’t simply the questions,” ns said. “It to be the method she request them. She was completely rude. She had actually quite the attitude.”“She had actually an attitude?” Mr. Collins questioned.I knew what he to be implying yet I determined to display some class and ignore him.“Yes, the nerve of part woman that shops in ~ Wal-Mart, and also doesn’t even have the feeling to have actually her bag match her shoes, to think that she can sit there and judge me!”Mr. Collins placed his head down on the table.

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How unprofessional! no to point out that from the angle his hair was also less flattering. Forget the hairstyle, a shampoo would have actually been useful for a start.The door turn off to the side of the bench sprang open and a big man in a uniform come in.“All climb for the Honourable judge Roberts!”