She’s seventeen years old. Full of attitude, identity crisis and spunk, and soon she’ll be fighting for her life. Today I’d like to introduce you to someone I want you to be friends with: Sarah Thompson. She’s one of my favorite characters from the books, and I’m excited, because she has a huge role in the new one.
Before we start, press play. This song is on my playlist for The Last Hour, and it’s what I play during her scenes.
She’s cute. Irreverent. Funny. And just a little over-dramatic.
We first meet Sarah as a talkative six year old in A Song for Julia. Here’s what Crank had to say:
The dark haired twin, Sarah, saw me looking at her, and her eyes went wide. Then the funniest thing happened. She bared her teeth at me, like she was growling and then cocked her eyes, one open wider than the other. She was growling at me. Silently.
I stifled a laugh, then returned the fierce grin, and she giggled.
“Sarah, be quiet,” her mother muttered.
Sarah’s growl instantly disappeared, and she looked back down at her hot chocolate. Her eyes darted back up at me a moment later, so I winked at her. She flashed a smile and went back to her drink.
That kid was going to be a handful one day.
Ten years later, we meet her again in Just Remember to Breathe, and it turns out, Crank was right:
As they parted, my father’s eyes landed on Sarah. I waited for the explosion.
“Sarah,” he said, “Please go upstairs and change before dinner.”
Defiance immediately flared in her eyes. “But Crank isn’t wearing anything formal! I don’t want to wear a dress,” she said.
“If Crank were wearing a dress, I might ask him to change. But what Crank does is immaterial, young lady: Crank is a professional, who supports himself, and can choose to dress as inappropriately as he chooses. You, on the other hand, are still a junior in high school. And I’m paying for your food and housing for at least the next few years. Therefore, if I tell you to go change, you will go change. I will say nothing more on the matter.”
She threw a glare at my father, muttered, “God!” then stomped upstairs, her combat boots shaking the entire house.
Of course, that wasn’t the end of it.
Then Sarah walked in.
She’d changed into a dress, as my father had asked. But I didn’t think this was what he had in mind. First of all, she’d also put on makeup. Thick black eyeliner, black eyeshadow, and black lipstick. She was wearing the black lace dress she’d worn to Uncle Rafael’s funeral two years ago, and which decidedly didn’t fit her now. Her breasts were practically spilling out of the dress, and it was quite obvious she was wearing a black lace bra underneath. She still wore her scuffed combat boots.
I caught my breath, waiting for the inevitable explosion. My father gave her a cutting glance, but said nothing, instead choosing to return to his conversation with Crank…
Sarah was crushed. It was clear enough that she’d expected—even wanted—the explosion. Instead, both my father and mother ignored her. As she walked into the room and made her way to her seat, Jessica sneered at her.
Sarah shot Jessica a dirty look and took her seat to my left. But Crank fixed it with one simple and easy motion. He gave Sarah a big, obvious wink, and a smile. She instantly brightened, much to my parents’ displeasure.
Sarah is back, in a big way, in The Last Hour, which will be published May 15th, 2013. Here’s some unedited snippets:
“Wait,” I said. “The twins? What’s going on with them?”
“Honestly, I have no idea,” Mom said. “Sarah is completely out of control. She’s bleached a horrid white streak in her hair, and do you know, she’s ….” Mom’s voice dropped to a whisper. “She’s mutilated herself.”
I sat back, feeling my brows draw down. “Define mutilate,” I said.
“She’s had her naval pierced!”
I raised an eyebrow. She grimaced. “Mother used to dress us in matching clothes. Always. It’s not like we’re identical twins. It drove me nuts, because she insisted on it even as we got into middle school. She got us these dresses for Christmas in the eighth grade.”
“So … I don’t get it.”
“I don’t either. Because I took it downstairs to the basement and poured bleach all over it.”
She gave me a rueful look. “Mother threw a fit.”
“Yeah, I bet. Dramatic much?”
“You try growing up with no identity of your own.”
I looked at her for a moment. Before this visit, I’d met Sarah maybe half a dozen times. She was bold, assertive, a little cynical. She reminded me a lot of a couple of the goth girls I knew in high school. Nothing at all like her twin, Jessica.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’ve definitely got an identity.”
Ray (in a later scene):
“Sometimes we don’t get that chance,” I said. “You want to hear the truth? Well, here it is: you’re right. I don’t know shit. I’ve seen close friends blown all to hell. I’ve seen people I cared about with their lives ripped to shreds from bullets and bombs and seen the survivors turn on each other like fucking rabid dogs. Life is cheap, Sarah. So maybe it’s over. We had our chance.”
She backed away from me as I spoke, her eyes avoiding mine. Finally she just turned and started to walk away, following behind Jessica and Carrie.
“Sarah!” I called.
She ignored me, so I called louder, “Sarah, I’m sorry.”
She stopped, then finally turned around, and looked at me. “Just because you’ve been in a war doesn’t mean you’ve got a monopoly on shitty situations. And this is a shitty situation. So back to what I said before. Don’t tell me what to do.”
With that, she turned back around, the skirt of her dress swirling as she turned and walked away.