Excerpt: The Fix by Natasha Sinel

To read the excerpt before mine, make sure you head over to Kim’s blog Divergent Gryffindor.

Th e Fix by Natasha SinelAuthor: Natasha Sinel

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Publication Date: September 1, 2015


One conversation is all it takes to break a world wide open. Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone. On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.

But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.

The Fix follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that come with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.

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Advanced Praise for The Fix: 

“First shot out of the gate, Sinel bravely addresses tough topics, demonstrating that the weight of secrets can pull us under––and their release can save us from drowning.” —Holly Schindler, author of A Blue So Dark and Feral

“A bewitching, beautiful, and brave debut. Readers will marvel at Macy’s resilience. Natasha Sinel’s writing devastates and uplifts, by turns. An important story of one girl’s journey to rewrite the blueprint of her own life by facing the truth inside herself.” —Carrie Mesrobian, award-winning author of Sex & Violence and Perfectly Good White Boy

“In her YA debut, Natasha Sinel paints a riveting picture of a teenager haunted by her past and struggling with her present. Macy’s world is richly drawn, heartbreakingly real, and difficult to put down. The Fix shines.” —I.W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above


 “Because it’s so far.” I laughed awkwardly. And also Berkeley had one of the best undergraduate architecture programs in the country. “Where do you want to go?”

Sebastian shrugged. “So then, what are you doing this summer, now that you don’t have the internship?” he asked.

“In July we’re going to Nantucket. I always work at a T-shirt store while I’m there. What about you?”

“Babysitting my half-sister, I guess. My mom’s a nurse with a crazy schedule, and my stepfather’s got his own building company, so it’s looking like Sofia will get to go to Camp Sebastian.”

I wasn’t one of those girls who got all gushy about guys being good with kids, but I couldn’t help smiling.

I noticed a design on the top of his shoe, between where

the laces ended and his big toe.

“What about that one?” I asked. It was so swirly and intricate; I could barely make out its shape. “Is it a key?”

He looked surprised. “I didn’t think it was that obvious.”

“It’s not,” I said. “I can just sort of tell. It is, right?”

He nodded slowly. “To lock things up.”

“Like what things?”

“You know,” he said. “Stuff that should be locked up. Dirty magazines, money, bad guys, secrets.”

I stared at the key on his shoe—the blue swirls and whirls. I couldn’t see where they began or ended. I squinted to see the details in the dim light.

“What kind of secrets?” I asked.

“Any secrets. Most embarrassing secret. Go.”

“Oh, no,” I said. “I’m not playing this game.”

“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”

“Very funny. . . . Fine,” I said. “Here’s one. When I was eleven, I was dying to have this Barbie ski chalet—it seemed so cozy on the commercial. It had a pretend fireplace with logs and everything. But I was too old for Barbies, so I ordered it in secret with my mom’s credit card. When it came, I hid the box under my bed. After I finally put it together, my cousin caught me, and I never heard the end of it.”

Sebastian looked at me. “That’s the best you can do?”

“Yup. What about you?”

He shrugged. “I had a Ken.”


“I had a Ken, and all he had was a cardboard box for a house. I could have brought him over to your place.”

“Liar,” I said, punching him lightly on the arm.

“You too,” he said.

“I wasn’t lying!”

“Maybe, but the Barbie ski house is not your biggest secret. I know you’re hiding big stuff.”

“I’m hiding big stuff? You got that from talking to me for less than ten minutes?”

“Lucky guess,” he said. The way he looked at me—like he had my number—was impossibly frustrating and attractive at the same time.

“I didn’t say you were right,” I said. “What are you, clairvoyant or something? Telling everyone what’s lurking underneath the surface?”

He took my hand and turned my palm up.

“Ah, yes.” He traced a line along my palm. He furrowed his brow. “Many secrets, a tall, dark man, and a long life with some struggle but much happiness.”

He let go of my hand. I hoped he couldn’t see my cheeks burning red.

“So, what is it that makes me so completely transparent to a hack seer such as yourself?”

“Hack? Me? My skills are unparalleled. I am the most experienced observer in town. That’s what you learn to do when you come here from Spain in the middle of third grade and you don’t speak English. And the Latinos call you conquistador and want nothing to do with you. You keep quiet and you learn.”

“Well, you sure aren’t keeping quiet now,” I said.

“I know, right? I’m pissing you off. I didn’t mean to do that.”

His eyes met mine and didn’t stray. Finally, I needed to breathe again, so I looked down at my knees.

“So . . .” I said. “What about me made you think I have some big secret?”

I couldn’t help it. I had to know.

He hesitated.

“What? Go ahead. I can take it.”

“Nothing,” he said. “I just see there’s something else in there, besides all this—school, the parties, the drama shtick. But no one sees it because you hide it.”

What the hell? I had an urge to just get up and walk away, never talk to him again, but my body stayed where it was, unmoving.

“I hide it. How exactly do I do that?”

“Well, A) all your friends are in the drama club. You hang out with people who need the spotlight all the time so you don’t have to have it shining on you. And B) your expressionless face.”

“What are you talking about?” I said, my voice bitter.

“You kind of keep your face at a low hum,” he said.

“Oh my god, now you’re freaking me out.”

“See?” he said. “Like that. You didn’t raise your voice or change your facial expression when you said that, and I know you’re at least a little pissed, so you’re covering it up. You’re very good at it. That’s how I know you have a secret.”

What was happening? It was just a regular Saturday night in May.

Time to change the subject.

“You never told me where you’re applying,” I said.

“Don’t know yet. Don’t you get high? You didn’t go inside.”

He was just as skilled at changing the subject as I was.

“Me?” I said. “I’m the gullible dumbshit who believes those inane urban legends. You know, like the guy who hallucinated his face was an orange and peeled it off. You’re into it?”

He looked away from me, took a sip of beer.

“Maybe,” he said.

“Like in a bad way?” I asked.

“Is there a good way?”

“I don’t know. I guess not. But everyone here seems to have a good time.”

“Why do you hang out with these guys if you don’t get high?” he asked.

“Rebecca’s my best friend. She loves to party. And Chris. And the rest of them—the drama club guys—well, they are entertainers after all, so they’re very entertaining, especially when they’re high as hot-air balloons. And they don’t care that I don’t partake, if that’s what you mean.”

Sebastian looked at me as though he wanted more.

“And to keep the spotlight away from me, right?” I added, elbowing him gently in the side. He smiled and elbowed me back.

“Yeah,” he said. “Somehow I don’t really see you hanging with the cheerleaders.”

“No?” I tilted my head and batted my eyelashes. “No rahrah for me?”

“No rah-rah for you.”

“Why are you hanging out with these guys?” I asked. Sebastian hadn’t said much more than monosyllables to them—acknowledgements of “killer weed” or an occasional movie review.

“Well, your friend Chris invited me,” he said. I cringed at the mention of Chris and the way he emphasized the word friend. “And they’ve got good weed.”

“For such good weed, you don’t seem high,” I said.

“You should see me when I’m not high. I’m very, very sober when I’m not high,” he said, pulling his mouth down in a frown.

He looked at his watch.

“Am I keeping you?” I asked.

Want more? Click this link tomorrow to check out the next excerpt. And make sure you go enter the Goodreads giveaway for a finished copy of The Fix (ends August 18)!

Natasha is also raising money for RAINN as part of her book launch. Check out her campaign HERE.


Natasha SinelNatasha Sinel is a writer of young adult fiction. She graduated from Yale University with a BA in English and from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business with an MBA. Before beginning her career as an author, she was director of business development at Showtime Networks. Born and raised in Washington, DC, she now lives in northern Westchester, New York, with her husband and three sons.

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