IMAGINE THIS: The WORST Summer Vacation

Summer vacation. It’s supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, or a chance to experience new things, to have an adventure! But what if the vacation you dream of and the one your parents drag you on are two totally different things?

That’s what prompted this story … a teen girl and the worst summer vacation she could imagine!

Parents. Ya gotta love ‘em. At least until they do something totally idiotic like taking all your carefully crafted summer plans and blowing them straight to … well someplace even hotter than Oklahoma in July.

I mean, why in the world—this one or the next or any of the ones humanity might colonize in the next thousand years—would anyone think an intelligent, attractive, and eminently popular seventeen-year-old girl like me would want to spend the summer before her senior year in high school marooned in a cabin on a lake in the middle of nowhere?

Did Mom and Dad not realize I had plans? I had a cush summer job all lined up (lifeguarding at an exclusive country club pool). I had once-in-a-lifetime events scheduled (front row seats for an awesome concert with Julia, my best friend since preschool). I had a LIFE!

At least, I did until my parents announced we were taking a family vacation. A mandatory family vacation. No exceptions, no excuses.

And where were we going on this fabulous trip my younger siblings and I were being forced into? London? Paris? The Eastern Seaboard? No. The parental units were dragging us off to a moldering old house on the shore of Keuka Lake in upstate New York.

“It’s been in my family for over a century,” Dad explained as we boarded the plane in Tulsa.

Great, I thought, struggling not to say anything out loud. Mom had already lectured me on the dangers of negativity. We’re probably going to have to spend the summer repairing the roof.

“Will I be able to fish?” asked Tommy, my ten-year-old brother and the youngest of our tribe.

“Absolutely,” said Dad. “We can fish off the dock any time we’re not swimming.”

Jessie nudged me with her sharp little elbow. “Hear that, Amanda? We can swim!”

I gave my twelve-year-old sister my best how stupid can you be glare. “It’s a lake, Jessie. Of course we can swim.”

We settled into the miniscule slots the airline called seats and dutifully buckled in. Jessie and I sat on one side of the narrow aisle, with Mom and Dad and Tommy across from us. Tommy had the window seat, while Dad and I—the tallest members of the family—claimed the aisles.

I sighed, fantasizing about escaping the plane just before they closed the doors and hiding out with Julia for the summer. Instead, I pulled my iPad from my backpack, switched it to airplane mode and opened an ebook file while the flight attendants secured the doors. As we taxied to the runway, I bade a silent farewell to the awesome summer I’d planned and resigned myself to the boredom of life with the rug rats: Jessie and Tommy.


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