ISBN 9781770863941 | 5″ x 7.625″ | TPB | $12.95 | Age: 9-12 | 168 pp
ISBN 9781770863958 | EBOOK | $9.99
A summer trip to Greece seems like the perfect chance for thirteen-year-old Dani to spend some time on the beach, help her bookish best friend Cathy get her first kiss, and maybe find some summer romance of her own. But when bad luck begins to strike over and over, and continues to strike when she returns to her home in Toronto, Dani starts to wonder if she is cursed. Literally. Cathy tells of the “evil eye,” and warns that a curse may have been put on Dani by a mysterious girl whose path she crossed in Greece. Dani gets sick, injured, and her family car is vandalized. Is it the “evil eye,” or is someone out to get Dani? And what bizarre lengths will Dani go to as she tries to get the curse lifted?
Combining the humorous and the sinister, Bye-Bye, Evil Eye is an engaging read from Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Deborah Kerbel.
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Shortlisted for the 2016 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award
– CM Magazine
“Bye-Bye, Evil Eye will give young readers a bit of escapism, a bit of boy-girl crushing, a little girl drama, and some mother issues. Reality and fancy all wrapped in a delightful tale in which not everything is as it seems.”
– CanLit for Little Canadians
“Kerbel has a knack for transporting you to wherever the story takes you, using strong sensory descriptions that don’t seem flowery or overdone.[…] Bye-Bye, Evil Eye was delightful, and had me reading the whole book in one sitting – a great read for your twelve-plus reader! ”
– Lost in a Great Book
Just in case he is, I grab Kat’s arm and hurry off in the other direction. We head away from the resort and far down the beach where it’s safe to speak without anyone overhearing us. The last thing I want is for Nick to know I’m talking about him. Normally I wouldn’t kiss and tell — but last night was so great, I just have to share the details with somebody. I figure Kat will appreciate hearing about it. She lives for those Harlequin novels, after all. And here’s a real-life romantic adventure happening to me.
I talk for about twenty minutes, doing my best to remember every detail for her. The hike through the olive grove, the glowing ruins, the dessert, the stars … and, of course, the kiss. For some reason, Kat’s unusually quiet after I finish. She definitely isn’t gushing and swooning like I thought she would be. In fact, she isn’t really saying anything at all. Slowing my steps, I turn and look at her. Her head is hanging low and her face is completely masked by a wavy curtain of hair.
“Kat? What’s wrong?”
I lean over and try to read her expression. She’s staring at her feet. That’s when the world around us goes dark. I turn and look at the sky. There’s a thick bank of clouds covering up the sun. Didn’t Mrs. P say they didn’t come out ’til winter? I shiver at the sudden loss of warmth.
“I — I can’t believe you snuck out last night and didn’t tell me,” comes a small voice from behind the hair. Uh-oh. An awful itchiness begins to work its way across my skin. Kat’s feelings are hurt. I don’t need to see her face to get that. I squirm in my flip-flops, feeling guilty for leaving her out of the secret. “Hey, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. But I … I just didn’t want you to have to lie if your mother caught me. What if she found out you knew I was sneaking around with Nick? Then we both would have been in trouble.”
She doesn’t reply to that. Three slow waves roll in and out while I wait for her to say something. Come on, Kat … look up … smile … tell me it’s okay. But she doesn’t do any of those things. Instead, she just shuffles her toes with her face towards the sand like she’s looking for buried treasure or something. My brain scrambles for a way to make this better. It takes me a while, but by the time the fourth wave rolls up the beach, a thought crosses my mind. An awful, cringe-inducing thought.
Oh no. Maybe it’s bothering her that I have a boyfriend and she doesn’t.
I open my mouth, ready to tell her that she doesn’t have to worry, that I haven’t forgotten about her, and that I’m still going to help her find a cute boy to kiss. But that’s when something strange catches my eye. A funny-looking little girl with big blue eyes is walking towards us. She doesn’t look more than eight or nine years old. She’s dressed in rags, her hair is matted and knotted, and her skin is a deep brown — but I can tell from the way it’s clumped around her knees and fingers that it’s been darkened from dirt, not the sun. Although she’s headed in the direction of the hotel, I can guess from her grungy appearance that she isn’t a guest. She looks like something the ocean might have chewed up and spit out — so out of place on this pristine beach that I can’t take my eyes off of her.
When she’s about three feet away, she notices me staring at her. Raising a dirty finger into the air, she stops dead in her tracks and stares right back. My eyes lock with hers. I don’t know how long she holds me there, imprisoned by that intense gaze. A coating of tiny pinpricks crawls over my skin. I want to move, but my feet feel frozen — like I’m standing in wet cement instead of sand. Her eyes are like water: cold, wet, bottomless. And floating on their surface is my own reflection, staring back at me.
Finally, Kat takes my wrist and gives it a shake. “Dani? You okay?”
Thank goodness for Kat, because at the sound of her voice the girl finally breaks her gaze and starts walking again. But I hear her mumbling something in a foreign language as she passes us. It takes a few seconds for my heart to stop racing and my voice to come back.
“W-why do you think she looked at me like that?” My words are quivering as they come out of my mouth. I take a deep breath, trying to calm myself down.
Stop being a drama queen, Dani. She’s just a strange little kid, I tell myself.
But I’m not very convincing.
“I don’t know,” Kat replies, letting go of my wrist. “Maybe she’s not used to seeing tourists on this part of the beach.” I rub at my arms, trying to erase the prickly sensation that’s still lingering on my skin. “And what was that she said before she left?”
Kat shrugs. “I’m not sure. It didn’t sound like Greek to me.” She peers at me closely, like a doctor examining a feverish patient. “You okay? You look kind of pale. Do you want to turn back?”
I shake my head. My eyes follow the girl’s trail of footsteps down the beach. She’s walking in the direction of our hotel. Another shiver passes over me at the thought of seeing her again. What I really want is to put as much space as possible between us.
“No, let’s keep going for a bit.”
Kat doesn’t mention Nick again, so neither do I. But the guilt is still nibbling on my conscience. I promise myself not to sneak out without telling her again. And to get her that first kiss by the end of the summer. That’ll put a smile on her face, I know it. You know it too, right?
After a few minutes, the sun comes back out from behind those dark clouds. We splash around in the shallow waves for a while before heading back to the resort. I try my best to forget about what happened there on the beach. But for some reason I just can’t. All day long, the image of that strange, raggedy girl keeps coming back to haunt me. And later that night, she visits my sleep and peers into my dreams with her blue, staring eyes.
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ISBN 9781770863941 | 5" x 7.625" | TPB | $12.95 | Age: 9-12
Shortlisted for the 2016 Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award
A summer trip to Greece seems like the perfect chance for thirteen-year-old Dani to spend some time on the beach, help her bookish best friend Cathy get her first kiss, and maybe find some summer romance of her own. But when bad luck begins to strike over and over, and continues to strike when she returns to her home in Toronto, Dani starts to wonder if she is cursed. (read more)
ISBN 9781770860902 | 5.38" x 8" | TPB | $14.95 | Age: 13+
Finalist for the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Text
A Resource Links Year's Best of 2012
Lily MacArthur has never been much of a sleeper, but since the death of her Aunt Su, she’s lost the ability to sleep completely. Looking for a way to spend her sleepless nights, she slips out of the house. She meets Ben, a newcomer to town, who has a troubled past — and future — that he keeps from Lily. (read more)
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