Quirk Books Hosts the ‘Looking for Love’ Fiction Contest

3 months to write a novel? Sure, why not.



The morning of my twenty-first birthday, I woke up early. The alarm clock on my nightstand read 5:00 AM, but my body disagreed. Despite the complete quiet, my mind refused to relax. Climbing out of bed, I tiptoed across the hardwood floors, avoiding a familiar creak, not wanting to disrupt the soft snores of my roommate, Charlotte. I made my way downstairs and out onto the back porch, sitting where I had so often the past few months when sleep refused to come. I watched, huddled and shivering in an old wicker chair, as the sun rose gradually, bringing with it the sounds of morning.

My mind wandered, reliving memories from the past year as people so often do on birthdays. I don’t know if it was at this moment that I first considered leaving or if it had been an idea brewing in me for some time. Either way, something changed in me. I was restless. I didn’t pay attention in class. When I was home, I wished that I was out and when I went out I wished I that was home. For the first time I saw how trapped I had become.

One week later, I stood under florescent lights in the airport bathroom. As I slowly washed my hands, I waited for the unknown woman to finish using the only occupied stall. It was again some hour early in the morning, but I had already been awake for hours. Sneaking out of my apartment after Charlotte went to bed, I had left the house, leaving a note by the door. It didn’t say where I was going, only that I was sorry that I couldn’t stay.

As I stood at the sink, my old jeans and T-shirt thrown in the trash, I breathed deeply, trying to settle my nerves. With a flush and a bang of the door, the woman emerged. She paused at the sink briefly to check her reflection in the cracked mirror, then made her way out the swinging door.

At last alone, I bent down and unzipped my yellow duffel bag, filled with the items I couldn’t bear to leave behind and the ones I would need for my transformation. I pulled out a bottle of bleach, some scissors, and a box of contacts, setting them all on the sink. Looking at myself in the mirror, I slid my glasses off. With a twist and a snap, they broke in my hands and I was ready to get to work. My eyes watered as I put the contacts on, changing my eye color from green to brown. I cut my newly dyed blonde hair short, the clumps and patched covering the floor.

When I was finished, I stepped back to examine my work. It might’ve been the dull lighting or the late hour, but somehow I couldn’t recognize myself. Staring back at me was as stranger, someone new and exciting, her future unplanned. Satisfied, I picked up my duffel bag and pulled my ticket out of the side pocket. The destination printed on the upper left-hand corner was irrelevant, a random city where I had never been. What mattered most was that I was finally leaving; taking a stand to reclaim the life that I had lost.

That morning on the plane, instead of thinking about my new freedom or stressing about all that I had yet to plan, I curled up with a blanket and pillow. For a moment a paused to listen to all that was happening around me. A little boy behind me was kicking at my seat, and a baby cried relentlessly. Businessmen clicked away on laptops as the screeching drink cart made its way down the aisle.

I turned my head and looked out the window, catching a glimpse of my second sunrise in a week. This time, however, I closed my eyes and slept. 

Review: Burn for Burn

Kat, Lillia, and Mary only have one thing in common: they each have someone who has wronged them and need to be taught a lesson. Joining together, they decide to take their revenge. But as they make the plans and starting acting on them, they realize that things aren’t necessarily what they seem–and that it is easy for things to get out of hand. 

I have read books both Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han before and have enjoyed them all. Burn for Burn was a fun, quick read. Kat, Lillia, and Mary each had unique voices and were all relatable despite their differences. I can definitely see the series being turned into a TV show in the vein of Pretty Little Liars. 

There were some sub-plots that were introduced and then sort of forgotten, but they might be picked up again in the next book. I thought the transition the girls made from strangers to friends was a little quick, but it worked considering the circumstances. They were also pretty flaky when it came to who they were mad at and when. That being said, it made sense in terms of their age and their assumptions. Overall, I’m pretty excited to read Fire with Fire, the next book in the trilogy! 

You can’t make one person your world. The trick is to take what each can give you and build a world from it.

Sarah Dessen

Her Eyes Are Blinded

I look at the magazine on the rack.

Kate Moss.

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,

She says.

Supermodel, making headlines.


I want to be like her.



You don’t.

I want to be like her.



I look up at the signs in front of me,

But I do not understand.

It is another language.

I turn to go in one direction,

Down the road to the right.

I walk,


I want to turn around, but I can’t.

There is no turning back.


I look in the mirror and hate what I see.

The reflection is not of me,

But an  imposter.


I drop it


With a crash,

It shatters.

Now, instead of one image looking back at me,

I see pieces.

This is who I am.

I am broken.



Her eyes are blinded.  

She looks,

But she never sees.




Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth but not it’s twin.

Barbara Kingsolver 

Review: Silver Linings Playbook

In Silver Linings Playbook, Pat Peoples details his struggle to reconnect with his estranged wife after being released from a mental institution. He spends his days trying to better himself–mainly by working out and reading his wife’s favorite literature–while constantly trying to find the silver lining in is less than ideal situation. 

I saw the movie before reading the book and wasn’t overwhelmed. Surprisingly, however, I thought the movie was much more successful than the book. The plot wanders without really going anywhere…Pat himself says that his goal is to “end apart time” which might go on “infinitely.” As a character, I was confused by Pat the entire time and wasn’t helped by the fact that Pat seemed to have forgotten the last three years of his life and the incident that sent him to the institution. He was a 34 year old man writing diary entries that sounded more like an 8 year old. If I thought Pat was bizarre though, he was pretty normal compared to Tiffany, who inexplicably falls in love with him. 

Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed and don’t think I’ll be reading anything else by Matthew Quick.