Chapters 14–22

After suffering a trauma, high school student Annabelle Agnelli decides to run 2,700 miles from Seattle to Washington, DC.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. panhandle
    a narrow strip of land projecting from a larger area
    Loretta is taking Annabelle through the narrow piece of north Idaho, which sticks up like an index finger. “The panhandle”—yes, she gets it now.
  2. willful
    done by design
    She carries a soda can filled with pebbles so the sound will ward off any dangerous creatures. She willfully ignores the fact that a soda can is nothing against a grizzly.
  3. grotto
    a small cave, usually with attractive features
    She spots flashes of The Taker in the dim grottos and murky hollows where the bears and the cougars might be.
  4. awry
    turned or twisted toward one side
    She knew he liked her, but it seemed like he hated her a little right then, too. And then there was the time he stormed out of class after he pronounced “ awry” awe-ree when he read aloud, and everyone laughed.
  5. stint
    an unbroken period of time during which you do something
    After every sixteen-mile stint in Idaho, Grandpa Ed is there just as he’s promised, in the location her “team” has scoped out.
  6. rectory
    an official residence provided by a church for a minister
    Malcolm finally told her that if she didn’t get help, he would go and live with That Bastard Father Anthony at the rectory of Saint Therese’s.
  7. fretful
    nervous and unable to relax
    His new, hip hair says I got this, but his fretful face gives away the fact that the whole deal is crashing and burning.
  8. abhor
    find repugnant
    If nature abhors a vacuum, an imagination adores one.
  9. endeavor
    a purposeful or industrious undertaking
    It is clear that this endeavor is much more about the head than the body. Well, it’s about the body, too—she’s had to ice her knee every day in the last week, plus take a few anti-inflammatories.
  10. crevasse
    a deep fissure
    Fallen into a depression. It sounds like a misstep causing a tumble into a dark and dangerous crevasse, which is exactly what has happened.
  11. sanity
    normal or sound powers of mind
    She’s lost track of why she is doing this. It’s easy to lose things on the Lonesome Highway. A tire, a life, hope. Your sanity.
  12. infatuation
    a foolish and usually extravagant passion or love
    This is about perseverance, not about Luke Messenger, who she will likely never see again. In her mind, he’s got a big X over him, as do all boys. As does flirtation and infatuation and love and sweetness and generosity and openness and belief and trust and safety, basically all the good stuff.
  13. exertion
    use of physical or mental energy; hard work
    Her cheeks are already warm from the heat of exertion and the April sun, but this is an actual blush.
  14. deluge
    a heavy rain
    It’s a deluge. Her hair is soaked.
  15. render
    cause to become
    From now until then, she will pretend that there is a big wall between her and them. Words and stuff can pass through it, but the wall renders every word meaningless.
  16. imposition
    an uncalled-for burden
    So Dawn Celeste and Luke’s generosity now—her imposition, sleeping in their bed, taking up their time, wearing their clothes (she hasn’t been in a boy’s sweatshirt since Will)—it all dumps a profound distress upon her.
  17. cadence
    a recurrent rhythmical series
    “The spot? The spot where we picked you up?” Dawn Celeste’s voice quickens and her eyes are bright. She is using the same excited cadence they use when trying to decipher what Bit wants when he sits and stares at them.
  18. anemone
    a marine polyp that resembles a flower
    From that distance, the figure is serpent-y, with wavy anemones on its top half. It’s a creature, walking out of the sea. It’s a man. A solitary man. Now, she sees that the anemones are messy curls and the creature is Luke Messenger.
  19. sect
    a subdivision of a larger religious group
    “It’s a sect of Hutterites. Super awesome. Similar to the Amish, but they embrace technology,” Malcolm says.
  20. gloat
    dwell on with satisfaction
    “The only one who ever beat me three for three was Sammy Jackson,” Dawn Celeste says. “There was gloating.”
    “He sounds like a sore winner,” Annabelle says.
  21. caftan
    a long cloak with full sleeves
    She’s changed into a caftan but wears a pair of fuzzy socks on her feet.
  22. insubstantial
    lacking in nutritive value
    “Red Vines are insubstantial.” Dawn Celeste bites the head off of a Twizzler.
  23. tranquil
    not agitated
    Dr. Mann’s hands are folded in her lap, and she quietly waits for a response, the tranquil painting of the mountains behind her seemingly waiting, too.
  24. seemingly
    from appearances alone
    Dr. Mann’s hands are folded in her lap, and she quietly waits for a response, the tranquil painting of the mountains behind her seemingly waiting, too.
  25. incinerate
    become reduced to ashes
    But that sorrow and that rage might incinerate her, same as that storm yesterday, with its lightning bolts speeding through this flat land, looking for the one thing still standing.
  26. prosciutto
    Italian salt-cured ham usually sliced paper thin
    He lifts the lid of the pan on the stove, and steam escapes, along with the rich, juicy smell of chicken saltimbocca—little jelly rolls of chicken breast stuffed with spinach and prosciutto.
  27. solemn
    dignified and somber in manner or character
    She sees the way those words have solemn weight...I have to do something. It sounds like a vow. It sounds like a vow every single human should make.
  28. inhospitable
    unfavorable to life or growth
    It is 1914, in the most inhospitable place on earth, and there is starvation and exhaustion and desperation, danger and isolation, a horrible sea and unforgiving ice, and a slide down a fog-shrouded mountainside for a last chance at survival.
  29. contemporary
    belonging to the present time
    And she is a contemporary young woman wearing a moisture-wicking sports bra, trekking in the balmy months of May and now mid-June, across North Dakota, then South Dakota, then through the southwest corner of friendly Minnesota.
  30. balmy
    mild and pleasant
    And she is a contemporary young woman wearing a moisture-wicking sports bra, trekking in the balmy months of May and now mid-June, across North Dakota, then South Dakota, then through the southwest corner of friendly Minnesota.
  31. butte
    a hill that rises abruptly from the surrounding region
    Number of additional ankle twists on the rocky grounds of North Dakota’s hills and buttes: four, maybe more.
  32. alma mater
    a school you graduated from
    He’s known for eating rice pudding and picking at his cuticles while he talks to you about attending Whitworth, his alma mater.
  33. aloof
    remote in manner
    She is cold, aloof, talks about other boys besides Will, exits the parking lot while pushing the accelerator a little too hard.
  34. barrage
    the rapid and continuous delivery of communication
    Annabelle is sure her mother drove her father away with her constant barrage of opinions, mostly about him.
  35. strew
    spread by scattering
    Bunches of them are already crushed and strewn around like weapons after the war.
  36. cryptic
    having a secret or hidden meaning
    Texts from The Taker way, way late at night, ones she jokes about the next day, but that feel cryptic and intimate: Why does it seem like a forest keeps secrets?
  37. intimate
    marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity
    Texts from The Taker way, way late at night, ones she jokes about the next day, but that feel cryptic and intimate: Why does it seem like a forest keeps secrets?
  38. bog
    wet spongy ground of decomposing vegetation
    It’s a bad week anyway. A bad, bad week, but the shores of Albert Lea Lake are boggy. Swampy, too. It’s a small, shallow lake, with psychedelic swirls of green algae on top.
  39. psychedelic
    having vivid colors and bizarre patterns
    It’s a bad week anyway. A bad, bad week, but the shores of Albert Lea Lake are boggy. Swampy, too. It’s a small, shallow lake, with psychedelic swirls of green algae on top.
  40. embolden
    give encouragement to
    Still, it emboldens her to do another thing she hasn’t been able to do—to see what she’s been missing. She peeks. She scrolls back in time on their accounts.
Created on February 26, 2020 (updated March 19, 2020)

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