‘The Spite Game’ [EXCERPT]

Legs

After years of bullying, a young woman has a taste for revenge in Anna Snoekstra’s The Spite Game. (Photo by Spyros Papaspyropoulos, Flickr)

We all love a good revenge story. Just think of Stephen King’s Carrie or films like the ever popular Mean Girls. But Australian author Anna Snoekstra is turning the classic premise on its ear in her new novel, The Spite Game. Take a sneak peek inside the story in our exclusive excerpt. Enjoy! —Jathan & Heather


EXCERPT

It began in the changing room. The bodies of sweaty adolescent girls, the steam of the showers and the intensity of emotions gave the room a living pulse. The bad thing inside me took root there. Like mold, it grew in that hot moist place.

You won’t want to hear any of this. My story. I know that. But if you want me to confess, then you’ll have to listen. I need you to understand what has led me to be here, in this small concrete interview room, waiting for you to come and take my statement. This isn’t where I thought I’d end up.

Anna Snoekstra's THE SPITE GAME

Mira

First, I want to tell you about what I was like before. Before any of it started, back when I was just a normal seventeen-year-old girl, if such a thing is even possible. I’m going to tell you about that regular Sunday night at home with my mum and my sister.

I think of it as regular, because the details have blurred from distance. They have lost their sharpness in contrast to all that came after. At the time, though, there were things that stood out in the mundane. Like my mother’s eyes. She had done a double shift at the hospital, and they were more red than usual. Being a nurse she was used to death, we knew that, so it must have been something particularly bad that had made her cry herself out in the car before coming in.

My sister, Beatrice made her a cup of tea, I put on the radio and we told her we would make dinner. Standing in our small kitchen, Beatrice sautéed the garlic and I de-seeded a red chili. It was a hot night, really hot. That was irregular too. It was early March 2008. The heat had usually blown out of Melbourne by March, our shorts and summer dresses long packed away in plastic tubs under our beds. But the heat had lingered. My feet were bare, the cracked kitchen tiles cold against my soles. We had the windows open, letting the sizzling smell of the spicy curry we were making spill out the window.

We ate dinner, and Mum cheered up. I remember wondering how she did that. How she managed to draw a line between home and work, how she could hold someone’s hand as they screamed in pain and then come home and eat curry and laugh.

After dinner, we watched the news. Mum was in her armchair, Bea and I sharing the couch. She had her bare feet up on my lap, and every so often I’d push them off, but they’d always find their way back there. I wasn’t really watching the man on the television drone on about the Global Financial Crisis. I was thinking back over the day at school. It was only a few weeks into year twelve then. Everyone had come back from the summer with stories of holiday romances and new tans. Not me. Already, I was like a shadow of a person. Always watching, listening, but never quite part of anything. There were three girls in particular that I wished would be my friends, and I often spent my evenings wondering what they were doing with theirs.

Later, in our bedroom, Bea fell asleep before I did. She was two years older than me, but ever since she’d been diagnosed with epilepsy, I found myself always checking on her. Laying in the dark, I listened to the sound of next door’s television. We lived in a terrace house in the inner city suburb of Clifton Hill. The walls were like paper, and you could hear almost everything. That was normal, I was used to the constant hum of noise. Rolling onto my side to turn off my reading light, I stared at the line of Bea’s body under the sheet and easily fell asleep.

When I woke, it was very quiet. The neighbor’s television was off now. I couldn’t see Bea anymore. There was something in the way. Tilting my face on my pillow, I looked up to a shadow of a man. He was standing over my single bed. The street light shone through the open window, lighting up his face. He was staring down at me, a baseball bat in his hand. For a moment we locked eyes before I began to scream.

You won’t want to hear all this. It’s getting late. You might have someone to go home to, a husband or a wife maybe. You’ll just want to cut straight to the facts. You’ll want to know where she is. Melissa Moore. You want to know where she has gone and whether I had something to do with it. Of course I did. We both know that already. That’s why I’m here.

Truth is, I’m trying to get my head around it too. I’m trying to understand how I ended up here. I don’t know why exactly, but I do know it all started in the change rooms.

ABOUT THE SPITE GAME

Everyone does bad things when no one is watching.

Mercilessly bullied in high school, Ava knows she needs to put the past behind her and move on, but she can’t—not until she’s exacted precise, catastrophic revenge on the people who hurt her the most.

First, she watches Saanvi. Flawlessly chic and working hard at a top architectural firm, Saanvi has it all together on the surface. But everyone does bad things when they think no one is watching and Ava only wants what’s fair—to destroy Saanvi’s life the way her own was destroyed.

Next, she watches Cass. She’s there as Cass tries on wedding dresses, she’s there when Cass picks out a cake, she’s there when Cass betrays her fiancé. She’s the reason Cass’s entire future comes crashing down.

Finally, Ava watches Mel. Mel was always the ringleader and if anyone has to pay, it’s her. But one tiny slip up and Ava realizes the truth: Mel knows she’s being watched, and she’s ready to play Ava’s games to the bitter end.

Anna Snoekstra

Anna Snoekstra

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Snoekstra was born in Canberra, Australia to two civil servants. At the age of 17 she decided to avoid a full-time job and a steady wage to move to Melbourne and become a writer. She studied Creative Writing and Cinema at the University of Melbourne, followed by Screenwriting at RMIT University.

After finishing university, Anna wrote for independent films and fringe theatre, and directed music videos. During this time, she worked as a Christmas elf, cheesemonger, a waitress, a barista, a nanny, a receptionist, a cinema attendant and a film reviewer.

She invites readers to visit her at her home on the Web at AnnaSnoekstra.com, to like her on Facebook, and to follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

THE SPITE GAME
By Anna Snoekstra
336 pgs. Mira. $15.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase The Spite Game at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

The Spite Game is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

One Response to ‘The Spite Game’ [EXCERPT]

  1. Thanks for featuring this book for the tour!

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