L’ultima volta che la sedicenne Mandy Matteo a infranto una regola, sua sorella è morta. Da quel giorno tutto ciò che ha fatto è quello che ci si aspettava facesse, ma la vita da santarellina ha fatto di Mandy una persona noiosa e tutti i suoi amici l’hanno abbandonata. E lei ha rinunciato a farsi notare da Ethan, il ragazzo di cui è innamorata da sempre. Disperata, Mandy esprime il semplice desiderio di essere felice.
Il suo desiderio viene esaudito e la felicità arriva sotto forma di Lexi, la sua immaginaria amica d’infanzia prende vita. I desideri magici, tuttavia, hanno una condizione: una volta iniziato, il desiderio non può essere alterato o fermato. E, quando Mandy sembra tornare ad essere felice, Lexi deve tornare da dove è venuta. Ma Lexi ama essere viva e farà di tutto per restare così.
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It had been twelve years since I’d broken a rule. I found that life flowed along more easily if I didn’t rock the boat. Expectations were understood and outcomes predictable. Tonight was going to be different though. Tonight I’d step out of my carefully controlled comfort zone. If I wanted to have any friends at all, it was my only choice.
I’d promised Brooke and Crissy I’d go to the party tonight, even though it wasn’t my kind of thing and they knew it. But I really wanted the three of us to be together and this was what they agreed on. Besides, if I didn’t go I’d spend my sixteenth birthday alone.
Things weren’t going as planned though. Brooke had promised to pick me up at seven-thirty. At ten minutes to eight I’d received a text saying her brother had taken her car and she’d gotten a ride from someone else. So there I was, ready and willing and no way to get to the party.
Well, there was one way. My birthday present from my uncle, an old Ford Escape he’d been fixing up for months, was waiting in the barn for me. There was the minor detail that I didn’t have my license yet, but my road test was scheduled for tomorrow morning and I knew I’d pass. So what the heck, I was already stepping out of my box, what was one more step?
Brooke was supposed to bring me her silver sequined miniskirt so I was back at the I-have-nothing-to-wear stage. The whole time I stood there staring into my closet, an invisible Jiminy Cricket sat on my shoulder reminding me that I was breaking a rule. You know what happens when you break a rule.
“Yeah, yeah,” I said, flicking Jiminy to the floor, “civilizations collapse and planets implode. Alert the media, Mandy Matteo is about to break a rule.” But the room spun a little and my stomach flipped as those words came out of my mouth. I looked down to see if Jiminy was still there. He wasn’t, of course, so I called out, “It’s just one party. Mom won’t be home ’til Sunday. No one will ever know I took the Escape.”
Finally dressed in something other than sweats, I grabbed the “sweet sixteen” key ring from the rack by the front door, ran out to the barn, and hopped in the car. At the end of the driveway I paused, waiting for a sign that planets were in fact imploding. With my luck, the first party I ever went to would get busted. But no space debris fell out of the sky to block my path. My phone didn’t ring with Mama intuitively calling to ask what I was up to. No voice from above told me to turn away from the dark side I was about to cross into. So I pulled onto the county highway and headed for town.