Chapters 1–4

After suffering a trauma, high school student Annabelle Agnelli decides to run 2,700 miles from Seattle to Washington, DC.
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. brittle
    not annealed and consequently easily cracked or fractured
    Well, sometimes you just snap. Snapping is easy when you’re already brittle from the worst possible thing happening. It is easy when you’re broken and guilty and scared.
  2. unhinged
    affected or as if affected with madness or insanity
    She’s getting sweaty and her mind is swirling, and it’s all a little unhinged for the straight-A student that she is.
  3. thoroughfare
    a public road from one place to another
    She’s halfway down Seattle’s busy thoroughfare of Broadway. Then she turns down Cherry, and before she knows it, Annabelle is on the path that hugs Lake Washington.
  4. luminescent
    emitting light not caused by heat
    There’s a bicyclist or two or twenty, speeding home after work, their wheels zizzing by her. Backpacks are slung over their shoulders. Their tight, shiny bike pants shoot past, meteor streaks of luminescent yellow.
  5. rosary
    a string of beads used in counting prayers
    She rarely goes to mass, but she’s got the required crucifix over the kitchen doorway, the rosary in the dresser drawer, and the stack of dead relatives’ funeral cards, held together with a rubber band.
  6. rabid
    marked by excessive enthusiasm for a cause or idea
    Also, Carl Walter: Mom’s occasional boyfriend, division manager of AT&T. Rabid Seahawks fan.
  7. hysteria
    state of violent mental agitation
    A wave of hysteria rises up. She almost laughs.
  8. whim
    an odd or fanciful or capricious idea
    The delicious smell of grilling burgers marches through her heater vents. On a whim, she pulls in. She’s suddenly starving.
  9. banter
    converse in a playful or teasing way
    She wants to be the kind of woman who says No man will ever and No one messes with me, who banters...
  10. naive
    marked by or showing unaffected simplicity
    “I’m not coming home. I’m going to run and keep running. I’m going to run until I reach Washington, DC.” Of course, this is crazy and impossible and doomed, even if she’s a long-distance runner and has two marathon medals hanging on the doorknob of her room. It is silly, and dramatic, and naive. Also—idealistic.
  11. idealistic
    of high moral or intellectual value
    “I’m not coming home. I’m going to run and keep running. I’m going to run until I reach Washington, DC.” Of course, this is crazy and impossible and doomed, even if she’s a long-distance runner and has two marathon medals hanging on the doorknob of her room. It is silly, and dramatic, and naive. Also— idealistic.
  12. shrew
    small mouselike mammal with a long snout; related to moles
    The heart of a shrew can fit on your thumbnail.
  13. incarnate
    possessing or existing in bodily form
    The problem is—well, there are lots of problems, but this one problem is—he is not just evil incarnate, not just the most vile and vicious monster, but a human who breathed and talked and ate lunch and took notes and held her hand, even.
  14. vile
    morally reprehensible
    The problem is—well, there are lots of problems, but this one problem is—he is not just evil incarnate, not just the most vile and vicious monster, but a human who breathed and talked and ate lunch and took notes and held her hand, even.
  15. unfathomable
    impossible to come to understand
    She loves the magical design of it all, the unfathomable architecture of the cosmos right down to the intricate masterpiece of the eye.
  16. akin
    similar in quality or character
    Also, that kind of naive kindness is akin to standing on a busy freeway and gazing at the beauty of the sun.
  17. neurotic
    affected by worry due to a mental disturbance
    Why did she have to be so neurotic and perfectionistic that she was online the minute registration opened for students with last names beginning with A through C?
  18. disheveled
    in disarray; extremely disorderly
    Gina busts in. Her disheveled, black-turning-gray-at-the-roots hair shimmers with raindrops.
  19. paralegal
    a person with specialized training who assists lawyers
    Angie helped get Gina the paralegal job at O’Brien and Bello’s Attorneys-at-Law.
  20. reconvene
    meet or cause to meet again
    “Mom, no,” Malcolm says. “I’ve got to go to bed. I’ve got a math test tomorrow.” And then to Annabelle, “Give me everything from your bag that you don’t need. Tomorrow, run to the red circle on the map, and we’ll reconvene.”
  21. bounty
    the property of copious abundance
    Under the big aluminum domes—a bounty. There are fluffy mounds of scrambled eggs, shiny sausage links, a bacon extravaganza. Annabelle wraps up a few bagels and muffins in napkins and puts them in her backpack.
  22. array
    an impressive display or assortment
    There is an array of sliced fruit laid out like a sunrise. Orange slices go in her pack, too.
  23. expansive
    marked by exaggerated feelings of euphoria
    Spring, renewal, life! Sure, this—this expansiveness—has something to do with the recent joy of consuming bacon (she shouldn’t have had that much salt), but it’s also from the road ahead.
  24. ominous
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    Honestly, it looks a little dark out that way. It looks ominous, like the deep forests of fairy tales. Fear crawls up her spine.
  25. atone
    make amends for
    This is one of Annabelle’s struggles, the sense that she must apologize and atone for other people’s actions.
  26. gnarled
    old and twisted and covered in lines
    As she runs through the cool, dark woods, she begins to realize how alone she is. It feels dangerous, like the trees may start talking with gnarled wood mouths and reaching for her with twisted branch arms.
  27. familiarity
    personal knowledge or information about someone or something
    It is alone-in-a-parking-garage fear, alone-on-an-empty-street fear, the kind of daily fear women are so familiar with that they forget how wrong that familiarity is.
  28. proprietor
    someone who owns a business
    Clearly, the proprietor of the Secret Garden has not read or watched the news in the last nine months.
  29. unnerve
    disturb the composure of
    The bed has a floral spread, and there are unnerving paintings of bunnies on the walls.
  30. potpourri
    a jar of mixed flower petals and spices used as perfume
    The house smells like potpourri and Lysol, and something beef-stew-ish.
  31. cynical
    believing the worst of human nature and motives
    Kat was more funny and brave than Annabelle, but more cynical, too.
  32. antsy
    nervous and unable to relax
    She got antsy watching science shows; she’d throw pillows and try to grab the remote, but if you interrupted her at the end of a book, you’d pay.
  33. hobble
    walk impeded by some physical limitation or injury
    She hobbles (and this is bad, very bad, the way the backs of her heels hurt) to the bathroom down the hall.
  34. gaunt
    very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold
    In the mirror, there is her once-lovely face, looking gaunt and wrecked.
  35. torrential
    pouring in abundance
    Crying can be a quiet drizzle or a torrential downpour.
Created on February 26, 2020 (updated March 19, 2020)

Sign up, it's free!

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