Chapters 9-12

After the death of her parents, a teenage girl struggles with her identity.
Copy this list to... Buy the Book

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, untie!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. debauchery
    a wild gathering involving drinking and promiscuity
    Ostensibly a series of showcases during which salty rodeo contractors came to bid on the finest in debuted bronc stock, it was the four days of debauchery in the form of street dances, tractor pulls, and authentic cowboy shenanigans that lured in city folk from both coasts and boosted the town’s economy until the next go-round.
  2. smattering
    a slight or superficial understanding of a subject
    “But you’re on your own...” Ty announced, swaggering over to us, working his way around a smattering of two-stepping couples, weirdly elegant in his dress Wranglers and vest.
  3. perverse
    deviating from what is considered moral or right or proper
    “Why don’t I drop you off with Pastor Crawford and you can ask him to pray for your perverse disease.”
  4. knack
    a special way of doing something
    Coley had the knack for smoothing things over, making people smile and go along, but I guess it didn’t always work.
  5. stint
    an unbroken period of time during which you do something
    After Coley’s stint as runner-up on a crepe papered flatbed float in Saturday’s parade, the two of us decided that we were officially tired of Bucking Horse.
  6. frock
    put a one-piece garment on
    Coley drove us out to her ranch and we spent the afternoon frocked in Ty’s gigantic sweatshirts, drinking sugary mugs of Constant Comment (Coley’s favorite) and watching MTV, hiding out from the social obligations of Bucking Horse.
  7. chauvinist
    a person with a prejudiced belief in his own superiority
    I’d sent a similar mix of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers tunes to Lindsey as a kind of thank-you for all the artists she’d mixed up for me, but when I’d asked her what she thought of it during one of our phone conversations, she’d told me that Tom Petty was a male chauvinist...
  8. prurient
    characterized by lust
    ...and that his role as an Alice-eating Mad Hatter in the video for “Don’t Come Around Here No More” was just additional fuel to a fire already started by what Lindsey claimed were lyrics showcasing his “limited abilities as a songwriter and his prurient interest in teenage girls.”
  9. ether
    a medium that was once thought to fill all space
    “Okay, it’s into the ether,” she said, standing up.
  10. labored
    requiring or showing effort
    She patted her soft, old hand on top of mine just a few times and then got up from the table, which was a labored process, and took her bowl, the spoon rattling against it, into the kitchen.
  11. garish
    tastelessly showy
    I’d nicked those dolls from Ben Franklin’s craft aisle, had stuck them inside my track sweatshirt in the silk flower section, which was in the front corner of the store and completely overgrown with plastic vines and garish birds of paradise, a perfect place to hide loot.
  12. affinity
    a natural attraction or feeling of kinship
    If you didn’t just work on your parents’ ranch or have an affinity for burger flipping, the two best summer jobs available to a high schooler in Miles City in 1992 were Scanlan Lake lifeguard and flagger (usually flag girl) for the Montana Highway Department.
  13. don
    put on clothes
    While Coley donned an orange mesh vest outlined in strips of pearly reflective material for night jobs and got herself planted on an eight-mile stretch of roadwork hell between Miles City and Jordan, I spent a week with twenty or so fellow lifeguards learning the cross-chest carry, the submerged-victim approach, and, most difficult of all, the dreaded spinal rescue complete with deepwater backboarding.
  14. flapper
    an unconventional young woman in the 1920s
    Despite being in her sixties, Coach Ted’s mom, Hazel, was still in charge, her steel-wool-colored hair in a close-cropped bob like a 1920s flapper, and had she smoked her menthol Capri cigarettes from a long-stemmed holder like a flapper, I’m not sure that it would have surprised any of us.
  15. soiree
    a party of people assembled in the evening
    Sometimes somebody managed to pack some booze to these in-the-water soirees, and we’d swim a few cans of beer out below the lake’s surface and crack them open beneath the cover of that sun-warmed wood.
  16. sconce
    a decorative wall bracket for holding candles or lights
    My dad had told me that the theater hadn’t changed much since he was a kid, and it sure hadn’t changed any since my first memories of it: burgundy carpeting, big orange and pink light sconces that I knew were art deco because my mom liked to go on about them, and behind the snack bar and down just a couple of stairs, a lounge area with stained velvet couches and the entrances to these amazing pink-and-green-tiled bathrooms, one on either side.
  17. respective
    considered individually
    And after that first afternoon in my bedroom we seemed to have outlawed our respective houses without actually saying as much.
  18. myriad
    a large indefinite number
    That gave the chemical enough time to kill some lake weed, a bunch of those swimmers’ itch snails, and a myriad of additional lake life, mud puppies and small fish, things we’d find floating on the surface the next day; but also by then it was supposed to have stopped its dangerous toxicity so that human swimmers could again enter the water.
  19. reconvene
    meet or cause to meet again
    Firepower didn’t meet regularly in the summer save a weekend camping thing that happened in August, a big kickoff to a school year of spirituality, so this reconvening was billed as truly a special something.
  20. smarmy
    unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating
    “Well, we certainly appreciate any and all of those,” Rick said, smiling back at her, not smarmy like a televangelist either, but with a genuine sort of smile.
  21. peruse
    examine or consider with attention and in detail
    She picked up one of the pamphlets and pretended to nonchalantly peruse it and then slipped it into her purse.
  22. primordial
    having existed from the beginning
    Lindsey once tried to explain to me this primordial connection...
  23. crony
    a close friend or associate
    She was at her new apartment, the one that had been swarming with family and friends the last couple days, Ty and his cowboy cronies hauling furniture and hanging shelves; Mrs. Taylor’s crowd, nurses and GOP-goers, bringing old dishes and pots and pans; people stopping by with cases of soda, with frozen meals, with potted plants.
  24. mull
    reflect deeply on a subject
    I mulled it over in the shower, where I used Ruth’s extensive lineup of personal body scrubs and moisturizing washes and refreshing rinses—all of them in various shades of creams and greens, perfuming the whole bathroom with their natural plant extracts and fortifying vitamins and minerals.
  25. tout
    advertise in strongly positive terms
    I’d bring The Hunger, tout it as a wacky vampire story, put it in the VCR, and let things happen from there.
  26. slapstick
    characterized by humorous horseplay and physical action
    “Ohhhhh,” Randy said, doing a slapstick kind of elbow jab in my direction.
  27. corroborate
    give evidence for
    Once Ruth could pull herself together enough to stand, and that took hours, the two of them had searched my room, and there it all was: the mail I had wrongly thought of as the cause, not the cause at all but instead the corroborating proof to Coley’s accusations...
  28. mottled
    having spots or patches of color
    “All of us,” Ruth said, meeting my eyes, her own puffed up and mottled with mascara, the return of Sad Clown Ruth.
  29. rigorous
    rigidly accurate; allowing no deviation from a standard
    Our purpose is to provide support and direction while nurturing students’ spirituality and personal growth through one-on-one and group support sessions, appropriate gender-modeling activities, constant spiritual instruction, and rigorous academics.
  30. disciple
    one who believes and helps spread the doctrine of another
    Many disciples who come to God's Promise struggle with a variety of current behaviors and past histories that they are not equipped to deal with on their own.
Created on April 18, 2018 (updated April 19, 2018)

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.