by J.M. Reep
First published © 1996
Revised Edition © 2009
Cover image: Girl Reading Book by Laura Loe
LEAH NELLS sat silently in the passenger seat of the car while Mrs. Nells navigated through the sleepy suburban neighborhood. With one hand on the steering wheel and a list of addresses in the other, Mrs. Nells checked the addresses against the numbers on the houses of the shady street, searching for one house in particular. This morning, mother and daughter were on a tour of local garage sales, and as their second hour of driving and shopping came to an end, Leah already felt exhausted. She wished she were back home in her bedroom, but with only one chapter left before she finished the geography book that her mother bought for her, along with several other books, at the start of the summer vacation, Leah was almost out of reading material and needed to go on this shopping trip.
She had already found four new books to read this morning. While her mother looked for the next house on her list, Leah looked at the spines of her new books and read the titles silently to herself: The Little Book of Earthquakes and Volcanoes, The Biomechanics of Insect Flight, Attracting Birds to Your Backyard, and The Social Construction of the Ocean. All of the books were hundreds of pages long. Some had pictures; others hardly had any at all. The bird book had the most pictures, and Leah was beginning to regret choosing it. Still, it was over 300 pages long, and it had only cost her mother forty cents. Leah decided she would read it first just to get it out of the way. She had found all of these books at the first garage sale that she and her mother had visited. Since that first garage sale, though, she hadn't had any luck finding books that appealed to her.