Fall in love with this runaway romance now a major motion picture on Netflix! Two star-crossed teens embark on a journey to Spain to discover the meaning of love, death and everything in between.
Mia has had a heart condition her whole life. She's not afraid of dying but something has always stopped her from her biggest fear: tracking down her biological mother in Spain...until now. Before her next surgery, Mia wants to meet the woman who gave her away once and for all.
Kyle has always been the life of the party...that was until the car accident that killed his best friend. Since then he's been reeling with guilt and willing to do just about anything to escape his reality.
After a twist of fate, Mia and Kyle meet and make the decision to travel to Spain together in search of answers they both desperately need to mend their broken hearts...but did the universe bind them together to change how they feel about death and love forever?
See You on Venus is a heartwrenching novel perfect for readers looking for:
- Contemporary teen romance books
- Complex emotional YA stories
- Books to finish before or after seeing the film
- TikTok favorites like If He Had Been With Me, Girl in Pieces, You've Reached Sam and Five Feet Apart
- Colleen Hoover and John Green books
An Excerpt fromSee You on Venus
I was born with an expiration date far too close for comfort. My guess is that’s why my mother walked out on me two days after my birth. And since dying before knowing if I guessed right is not an option I’m willing to consider, I have no choice but to ask her myself—even if that means crossing the Atlantic and becoming a runaway.
As soon as I hear the high-heel clicks of Katelynn, my foster mother, receding down the hallway and the squeak of the front door as it opens and shuts, I run to my bedroom and look under my bed. Yup, it’s still there, my vintage suitcase, the one I bought at a yard sale a year ago. The sewn flags that conceal its worn green leather speak to me of stunning destinations I can’t even pronounce, places I’ll never be able to visit. I put the suitcase on the bed, and after ransacking my side of the closet, I pack up all of my stuff: two pairs of pants, three T-shirts, my lucky cardigan, and two sweaters; some underwear, my three diaries, my coloring pens, and my most cherished possession—my camera. I grab the pink wool scarf that hangs on the back of my door like a Christmas ornament and rub the soft fur against my cheek, and although I know that spring is already here and I’ll never use the scarf again, I just can’t bring myself to leave it behind, all alone.
As I take it down from the door a shadow darts across the room. Spinning around, I find my own startled reflection staring back at me from the window. I shriek, then burst out laughing. I’m new at being a prospective runaway, and it shows.
I’d like to think that my heart chose to be different, to be one of a kind, and that this is why I was born with no less than three heart defects. Not that it mattered to me, because I had a plan: in exactly one year and two days, on my eighteenth birthday, I would set off to Spain to find my mother. Noah, a friend of mine from photography class, was coming with me. Well, that plan is no longer an option. This time I was in the hospital for two weeks. The doctors informed me that the surgery could not be delayed any longer, but I don’t agree. I’ll never agree. They don’t seem to understand it, but then again, I’ve given up trying to justify myself.
I’m just not afraid of dying. That comes with being born with a very short shelf life. But I am afraid of operations, of getting my heart pried open without having someone who cares about my broken heart in the first place. Sorry, but you can count me out.
The Rothwells never let me travel much, let alone to another continent, which means the moment I board that plane to Spain on Sunday, I’m officially a runaway, the kind that ends up in a missing person report. That leaves me with just two days to find someone willing and able to go with me. My heart begins to pound against my ribs. And although the doctors said the new pills were for emergencies only, I quickly pop one. No way I’m going to risk another relapse, not now.
Shutting my suitcase, I make a mental note of documents to take on my trip. My forged parental travel consent, check. Birth certificate, check. Fake passport, check. My real passport—whoops, almost forgot that. I climb onto my chair, then onto my tiny desk, praying it doesn’t collapse under me. Reaching up, I run my hand over the top of my closet. My friend Noah, who was supposed to join me on the trip, hid my passport up here so that my foster family couldn’t take it away. Up on tiptoe, I reach even farther and feel around—nothing, apart from some enormous dust balls.
I kneel and make a pile of my senior homeschooling books, which I won’t be needing anymore. Then I carefully climb onto those and reach up all the way to the far end of the closet top. As the passport’s rough surface finally grazes my fingertips, the front door squeaks open and slams shut. Uh-oh. I snatch the passport, then do the whole thing in reverse: books, desk, chair, floor.
Noisy footsteps are racing down the hallway, but I can’t make out whom they belong to. I throw the suitcase on the floor. The bedroom door swings open just as I nudge it under the bed with my foot.
“Mia, Mia, you will not believe what happened at school,” Becca yells as she barges into the room like a gust of wind. Becca is my younger foster sister and my roommate. She also happens to be my favorite person in the world.
I let out a gasp. “Becca, you scared the life out of me.”
Becca flings her backpack to the floor, shuts the door with her heel, and rushes up to me. “I skipped remedial class. I just had to tell you about this. Remember that girl who called me a moron in third grade? Well, today she bombed an English test. And—” She stops short, staring aghast at the passport in my hand, then looks up at me with her small, pleading eyes. “You’re leaving?”
“We talked about this,” I say in the most soothing tone I can muster. “Remember?”
She shakes her head, and her misty eyes tell me that no, she doesn’t remember. Becca was born with a cognitive impairment, and some things simply escape her. I guess that’s why we share this room in a family that isn’t ours. Her folks decided to get rid of her when her problem became too noticeable. She was five.
I take her soft, freckled face into my hands and give her a smile. That always calms her down. “I’m going to photograph the northern lights, remember?” I whisper. “And it’s our secret; you can’t tell anybody, ever.” I cross my fingers, raise them to my lips, and nod: our secret sign, the one I learned at St. Jerome’s, the group home I grew up in.
Becca grins, looking so excited it hurts me to lie to her, but I learned years ago that some things are safe only if they remain unspoken. Besides, how can I tell her that I’m never coming back? I guess it doesn’t matter much since Becca’s attention is already focused on the street out front.
“Look,” she says, peering through the window. “It’s the guy from the football team. The one who killed Noah.”
Her words send a sob through me that I just manage to stifle.
“Becca, don’t say that.” I frown. It’s not so much Noah’s death that saddens me as the suffering of those who will never forget him. “It was an accident.” I stand next to her and see the boy leaving the house across the street. “I can’t even imagine what he must feel like.” Actually, I can, because I’ve thought about it countless times since it happened. How is he going to live with it?
His name is Kyle, and although he was Noah’s best friend, we never met. My foster parents never let me leave the house, unless it’s for a doctor’s visit, Sunday church, my photography class, or the occasional morning walk. Josh, the guy who lives in that house, was also in the car that day. They say he’s in pretty bad shape.
I watch Kyle just standing there, in our narrow street, motionless, gazing off into space, as if time had stopped for him alone, and try to imagine what he and Josh have been talking about, what might have happened between them.
“What’s he doing?” Becca asks, tugging at my sleeve. “Why’s he standing there?”
It’s hard to be sure from this distance, but it looks to me like he’s on the verge of tears. He looks off to the right, toward town, then to the left, toward the woods. Slowly, as if in a daze, he turns left and begins to walk, limping slightly, his eyes looking straight ahead, his backpack slung over his shoulder.
“Where’s he going, Mia? What’s he up to? What’s his deal?”
Before I can come up with a convincing reply to her questions, a bus pulls into our street, drives past our house, and stops right in front of Kyle. We lose sight of him for an instant, and when the bus pulls out again, the sidewalk is empty.
Becca gives me a puzzled look.
“Did he just get on the bus? Mia, why’s he taking that line? It only goes to the waterfall. Nobody goes there at this hour.”
She’s right, unless he’s about to do what I hope he’s not about to do. I don’t tell Becca, of course, but something inside me begins to tremble. He looked desperate. No, he looked more than desperate. I’ve seen that vacant look before, in the ER—along with bandaged wrists or pumped stomachs. I have to make sure he’s okay. I have to do it for Noah. He wouldn’t have wanted anything to happen to his friend. I get closer to the window and watch the bus drive off.
“Mia, wanna play Scrabble?”
Becca has obviously moved on, but I haven’t. I’m focused on how to get out of this house without being seen. The front door is not an option, so I open the window and climb onto the ledge.
“Where are you going?” Becca hops up and down with excitement. “I wanna go too! I wanna go with you!”
I cup her face in my hands again and look steadily into her eyes.
“Becca, listen to me carefully. If I’m not back by dinner, I need you to tell Mr. Rothwell that my doctor called and asked me to take some tests, and that I’m not sure how long I’ll be gone, okay? I have to talk to that boy.”
Becca gives me a solemn nod and a slight scowl, a sign that she understands and, with a little luck, will remember long enough to cover my back. I cross my fingers and make our sign.
“Hold the fort, okay?”
Becca nods again, and her face breaks into a satisfied smile.
The moment my feet touch the lawn, she shuts the window from inside and gives me a thumbs-up.
What are my options? I don’t have a car, and stealing one wouldn’t take me very far since I can’t drive. Walking would take more than two hours, and the bus passes only three times a day. Becca’s Disney bicycle, which is lying on the grass, is my best and only alternative. If anyone from my family sees me chasing a bus into the woods on a bike with pink streamers and a doll basket, they’ll call social services and strap me to a hospital bed, so I pray for invisibility.
Hopping on the bike, I start pedaling without looking back.
The bus, already far ahead of me, vanishes around a bend. My thighs burn from pedaling so hard, and I plead with my broken heart to keep up for just a little while longer, to let me accomplish something good—something that will have made my life worth living—before it ushers me off this planet with a final pulse.
I just might make a better runaway than I thought.