About the Author

Tanya Lloyd Kyi

 

Tanya Lloyd Kyi has written over fifteen books of fiction and nonfiction for middle-grade and young-adult readers, including many award winners. Her recent titles for Annick Press include Extreme Battlefields: When War Meets the Forces of Nature (2016), DNA Detective (2015), and When the Worst Happens: Extraordinary Stories of Survival (2014). Tanya lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and two children.

 

Books by this Author
50 Body Questions

50 Body Questions

A Book That Spills Its Guts
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tagged : body
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50 Burning Questions

50 Burning Questions

A Sizzling History of Fire
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also available: Hardcover eBook
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50 Underwear Questions

50 Underwear Questions

A Bare-All History
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tagged : fashion
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Anywhere but Here
Excerpt

Anywhere but Here chapter 1 misguided dreams that interfere with perfectly hungover sleep
The first time I wake up, I lie there wondering what day it is. I can see sunlight poking through the curtains, high on the cement wall of my basement bedroom.

I roll over to look at the clock: 9:54.

Shit! Shit, shit, shit! I leap out of bed as if the mattress has caught fire and grab my pants off the floor. It’s Friday, and Lauren hasn’t called to wake me up because Lauren isn’t my girlfriend anymore, and calling lazy-ass guys to cajole them to school is no longer in her job description.

A minute later I’m back on the bed. Perched with my head in my hands, dry heaving, I wish I’d called Greg last night instead of hanging out with Dallas. Dallas had an unfortunately generous beer supply. And the pants I just pulled on smell distinctly of vomit.

I wonder if I puked before or after leaving his house. Hopefully after. Then I wonder what my statistical chances are of passing next week’s history final if I don’t go to the review class this morning.

I roll my eyes toward the ceiling.

Battle of the Plains of Abraham . . . 1759.

Leader of the French . . . Montcalm.

Leader of the English . . . Wolfe.

Winner . . . must have been the English.

Importance of the Plains of Abraham . . . no freaking idea.

But I’m going to pass, no problem. I yank the pants off again, crawl under the covers, and go back to sleep.

•  •  •

I wake for the second time in the early afternoon, stagger to the bathroom for two Tylenol and a drink from the faucet, then flop back onto my mattress. My book flies from where it was balanced on top of my headboard and almost brains me. The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook, by Chris Jones and Genevieve Jolliffe. One day, I’m going to make documentaries the way some of the people in this book make films.

Not today, though.

There’s a pounding at the basement door. It’s probably only a tapping, but in my booze-addled cranium, it echoes.

I stagger over and fling it open. “What?”

I’m still in my boxers. I wouldn’t notice except that Lauren is standing in the carport looking like the leggy blonde from a romantic comedy, wearing a bright red dress and movie-star sunglasses.

“You look nice,” I mumble.

“You look awful, Cole,” she says, slipping off the glasses. “Can I come in?”

Can my ex-girlfriend come in? She doesn’t look dangerous. As long as she doesn’t yell, I should be able to survive this. Our first, awkward, post-breakup conversation has to happen sometime, right?

I move aside. Waving good-bye to her friend Lex, who’s loitering on the sidewalk, Lauren sweeps past me through the hall and into my room, a wisp of vanilla perfume in her wake. She smells like a birthday cake fresh from the oven.

I follow her in and sit on my desk chair, crossing my arms and trying to look as if I have it together.

“Gross,” she says. “It’s like something died in here.” Without asking, she opens my window.

“How was school?” I’m hunting for a safe topic of conversation. It’s strange how you can talk to someone almost every day for two years and then feel suddenly so . . . separate.

“You missed the review session,” she says. Lauren is the most dedicated student I know. If the town of Webster were attacked by Shaun of the Dead zombies, Lauren would take her textbooks into hiding with her.

She’s good at commitment.

“What exactly did you do last night?” She picks up my jeans between her thumb and her forefinger and carries them to the hamper like toxic waste before straightening the quilt on my bed.

“Since when are you my mother?” I yawn.

I say it without thinking, but Lauren freezes.

“Sorry,” she says.

I shrug. “I didn’t mean it that way.”

“I don’t want to make you think about your mom.”

“Really, it’s okay.”

“I don’t want to bicker with you, either. I came over because last night, with my mom hovering in the kitchen, I felt like we didn’t get a chance to talk properly, and . . .”

“Sure.”

But just so we don’t have to discuss things right this second, I leave to find my toothbrush.

•  •  •

The third time I wake up, Lauren’s leg is thrown over mine. And it’s naked. This is another good thing about Lauren. You wouldn’t think that an honor roll student with the work ethic of John Ford and a religious fanatic for a mother would be willing to sleep with me. She always said it was okay because we’d been together forever and because we were going to be . . .

“Mmmmm,” she breathes, wiggling closer and brushing her fingertips across my chest. She looks up at me with those blue eyes that seem brighter when she’s happy. “I’m so glad we’re okay again.”

My whole body tenses. I try to smile, but I can feel it turning into a grimace.

“What?” she says. She’s like that. She picks up my feelings through my skin, using weird lizard senses.

“I . . . um . . .” I don’t get any farther than that. There are too many things going on inside my head, and none of them are good. Potential sentences are swirling together like water in a toilet bowl. Did I say we were getting back together? I didn’t. I’m hungover, not wasted. I definitely did not say we were getting back together. I did just sleep with her. And I’m not such a jerk that I can sleep with her and then shove her out of bed.

I could run.

“Oh, yikes!” I’ve never said “yikes” in my life, but that’s what comes out. “It’s four o’clock already? I have to be at the school. Guidance counselor. I gotta run.”

I pull on my jeans—clean ones—while I spout some nonsense about not wanting to miss the college application talk. It’s true that I have an appointment. We all automatically get one so we can talk about The Future before choosing our senior classes. Everyone knows the counselors spout a load of bunk. If they actually knew anything about the future, they wouldn’t be working as part-time high school fake-a-shrinks, would they?

I’d planned to blow off the appointment. Now, suddenly, it seems extremely convenient to go.

Lauren makes sounds in her throat as if she would like to talk, but I don’t even look at her. I tug on a T-shirt, grab my house keys from my dresser, and bolt.

“You might have to get dressed. Dad will be home from work in a while. I’ll see you soon,” I tell her as I dash toward the door.

I jog the first couple blocks down the hill, just in case she calls after me.

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Burn

Burn

The Life Story of Fire
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also available: Paperback
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Eyes and Spies

Eyes and Spies

How You're Tracked and Why You Should Know
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also available: Hardcover eBook
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La otra vida de Caz

La otra vida de Caz

(My Time as Caz Hazard)
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La verdad

La verdad

(Truth)
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Lowdown on Denim, The

Lowdown on Denim, The

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tagged : modern
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My Time as Caz Hazard

My Time as Caz Hazard

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Shadow Warrior

Shadow Warrior

Based on the true story of a fearless ninja and her network of female spies
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Excerpt

 

Koga, 1558

 

 

 

Chiyome dangled upside down from the cliff’s edge. The blood rushed to her head, and the pounding in her ears drowned out the calls of forest birds. The breeze, which had seemed so mild a moment ago, now threatened to tear her from the rock.

 

 

 

Her training partner adjusted his grip on her ankles, giving them a tiny tug. Chiyome held back a scream. The rocks at the base of the cliff were jagged and seemed heart-stoppingly far below. If she fell ...

 

Be patient. Conquer fear. Sensei’s words from that morning echoed in her head. She glimpsed her instructor on the cliff’s edge above, watching her silently. A dozen other students, all boys, clustered nearby. Most had already completed this particular challenge.

 

 

 

She forced herself to take long, slow breaths as their voices drifted down to her.

 

 

 

“She’ll give up soon.”

 

 

 

“Maybe. But you know who her great-grandfather was, right?”

 

 

 

“Who?”

 

 

 

“Mochizuki Izumo-no-kami.”

 

 

 

A murmur ran through the group at the sound of his name. He’d been one of Koga’s best fighters.

 

 

 

Chiyome felt her legs trembling. Be patient. Conquer fear, she repeated to herself. She remembered Sensei’s lessons about practicing zanshin: calm awareness. She tried to clear her mind, ignoring the boys and focusing only on the rhythm of her breath and the cold wind on her face.

 

 

 

For just a whisper of time the fear seemed to float away from her body before she heard Sensei speak: “Bring her up.”

 

 

 

Once again Chiyome began to shiver. Her partner gripped her legs tighter as another boy reached down for her hand, and together they hauled her up over the edge, the rough granite scraping her elbows and knees. She sprawled on the ground, gasping for air, and glanced at her partner. He looked as shaken as she felt. Then she forced herself upright and bowed to Sensei, who nodded his approval.

 

 

 

“Next,” Sensei called, and a boy to her right stepped unsteadily forward.

 

 

 

Chiyome leaned against a tree trunk. Another ninja test, and she had survived. Not only survived, but gained a rare nod from her teacher. Though she kept her face carefully smooth, she was beaming inside.

 

 

 

Once, her great-grandfather had helped establish Koga’s ninja traditions. Now, Chiyome would carry on his legacy. She’d serve as one of the guards and lookouts who ranged through the nearby mountains, protecting the local villages. Or she’d seek her fortune working for a faraway daimyo.

 

 

 

First, she needed to learn everything Sensei could teach: how to scale castle walls, how to make waterproof torches, and how to count the sleeping bodies in a darkened room. She’d practice disguising herself in the light and listening from the shadows.

 

 

 

Today’s tests had just begun. As the last boy pulled his partner up over the edge, Sensei pointed to the cliff’s face. Their next challenge, he explained, was to climb all the way across it, to the path on the far side, barely visible through the mist.

 

 

 

Chiyome looked at the sheer granite, her eyes seeking out tiny ledges and possible handholds. She glanced at the ground far below and swallowed hard.

 

 

Zanshin. Be patient. Conquer fear.

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The Blue Jean Book

The Blue Jean Book

The Story Behind the Seams
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also available: Paperback
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Truth

Truth

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also available: Paperback
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When the Worst Happens

When the Worst Happens

Extraordinary Stories of Survival
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