Chapters 16–30

Willow Chance is an offbeat genius whose life is thrown off course when her adoptive parents die in a tragic accident.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. stammer
    speak haltingly
    He stammered: "Willow h-has an appointment. That's not something th-that's optional."
  2. recede
    pull back or move away or backward
    Because as I watched the school district offices recede into the distance, I was certain that the old dynamic between Dell and Mai and me was over.
  3. dementia
    mental deterioration of organic or functional origin
    One of the kinfolk is in the Valiant Village, which is a care facility for patients suffering from dementia.
  4. custody
    guardianship over
    Should they take me into something called "protective custody"?
  5. contradict
    prove negative; show to be false
    Dell Duke didn't contradict her because Mai was so convincing that he now half believed her story.
  6. consolation
    the comfort you feel when soothed in times of disappointment
    "It's not much consolation, but you'll probably never have any loss this big again."
  7. avalanche
    a sudden appearance of an overwhelming number of things
    Pattie tried to sort it out but it wasn't long until both of the police officers were standing in front of her getting ready to launch an avalanche of questions in her direction.
  8. relevant
    having a bearing on or connection with the subject at issue
    Dell hung around the cash register trying to be relevant.
  9. documentary
    a film presenting the facts about a person or event
    You don't have to watch many wildlife documentaries to know that the herd doesn't accept the lone straggler.
  10. eradication
    the complete destruction of every trace of something
    She saw more of me than any other student and we shared a love of germ eradication.
  11. rupture
    separate or cause to separate abruptly
    I cannot put on paper the idea that I want to scream, as loud as I can, until my throat ruptures.
  12. introspection
    contemplation of your own thoughts and desires and conduct
    Introspection requires you to think and analyze.
  13. anatomy
    the study of the structure of animals
    And I would also like all of the blue notebooks, as well as my clothing, the metal box under my bed with my life's savings, the orange towel in the bathroom, my humidifier, and my copy of Atlas of Human Anatomy by Frank H. Netter and Sharon Colacino.
  14. forensic
    used in the investigation of facts or evidence in court
    I would like to formally request a forensic autopsy be performed on both my mom and dad.
  15. sedative
    a drug that reduces excitability and calms a person
    I would like a sedative prescribed to help me deal with anxiety.
  16. compensate
    make payment to
    It is my hope that the Nguyen family will allow this, and be compensated for taking care of me.
  17. imperceptible
    impossible or difficult to sense
    And I don't move a muscle other than to take shallow, almost imperceptible breaths.
  18. imply
    express or state indirectly
    Finally, when it is obvious that none of her talking is working, the woman implies that force is an alternative.
  19. carotid
    of a major artery supplying blood to the head and neck
    As we drive up to the building, I put my index and middle fingers on my carotid artery just behind my ear to take my pulse.
  20. demolish
    destroy completely
    Below the caption I see my dad's demolished pickup, in pieces and burned black, conjoined with a mangled medical truck.
  21. transient
    lasting a very short time
    I hit my head on the elephant-shaped coffee table when I experienced syncope, or a transient loss of consciousness, more commonly known as passing out.
  22. glabella
    a smooth prominence of the frontal bone above the eyebrows
    And when I did, the sharp edge of the pachyderm's trunk sliced right into my glabella.
  23. profusely
    in an abundant manner
    Blood suddenly is everywhere because blows to the head bleed profusely.
  24. viable
    capable of life or normal growth and development
    Willow Chance, according to the assembled authorities—was he part of them now? It looked like it!—had no viable relatives.
  25. empirical
    derived from experiment and observation rather than theory
    I find no literature or empirical data directed to a middle schooler.
  26. empathy
    understanding and entering into another's feelings
    I feel overwhelming empathy for that group right now.
  27. absorption
    a process in which one substance permeates another
    Mai appears to understand the principle of absorption.
  28. deny
    refuse to let have
    Mai is thin, but I'm starting to realize that she has a monster appetite, especially for things that she previously has been denied.
  29. advocate
    a person who pleads for a person, cause, or idea
    I'm done with my job as consumer advocate/health adviser.
  30. noxious
    injurious to physical or mental health
    Now I take a deep breath and hold the noxious fumes in my lungs.
  31. swagger
    a proud stiff pompous gait
    One of his shoes is untied but, with his belly leading the way, he has a new swagger in his step.
  32. calamity
    an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
    But I cannot find my voice to do anything about these future calamities, because it is someone's idea of inspirational to release the bobbing weapons.
  33. pry
    move or force in an effort to get something open
    His parents finally manage to pry the ribbon from his clenched fist.
  34. agony
    intense feelings of suffering; acute mental or physical pain
    As the four-year-old sobs in agony, I know that he is the only one here who understands.
  35. compromise
    expose or make liable to danger, suspicion, or disrepute
    I know that I'm eating meat bits that escape this tragically simple procedure, but the principle of my decision is intact, even if the reality is compromised.
  36. sanctuary
    a shelter from danger or hardship
    Maybe that was why so many apartment complexes around town were named for ferns and wet, wooded sanctuaries.
  37. yearning
    prolonged unfulfilled desire or need
    It was "an expression of the yearning of a moisture-challenged climate"
  38. desperation
    a state in which all hope is lost or absent
    Dell tried, in desperation, to add up the events of the long and challenging month.
  39. scrutiny
    the act of examining something closely, as for mistakes
    He knew now that he was being observed. And if there was one thing Dell Duke understood, it was that he didn't do well under scrutiny.
  40. reliable
    worthy of being depended on
    She found the new catalog from her most reliable supplier and circled a shade that she thought Willow would approve of.
Created on August 21, 2014 (updated September 4, 2018)

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