Seth Fishman's first novel, THE WELL'S END, follows 16-year-old Mia Kish when her world turns upside down --- when sirens start blaring, her ritzy boarding school Westbrook is put on lockdown, quarantined and surrounded by soldiers who shoot first and ask questions later. While it's thrilling to follow Mia through this heart-pounding adventure, we at Teenreads wanted to know: what would this situation look like from the perspective of another character from the book? Seth obliged us by writing from the perspective of Brayden, "the new kid" at Westbrook. Read on to see how he feels about the school, catch his first glimpse of Mia and more --- and then be sure to read the book to learn more about him!
He’s never seen a room so big, at least not a dorm room.
Brayden unslings his Tumi from his shoulder and tosses it onto the queen-sized mattress next to all of his other luggage. His father was right, Westbrook’s swank. Since he was accepted so late to the ritzy Colorado boarding school, they only had one room left for him. He was sure it was going to be a dump but instead he’s standing in a huge room with bay windows, wall mounts for your skis or snowboards, and a private bath with Jacuzzi settings. What is this place?
There’s a knock on the door but by the time Brayden turns around, a girl’s stuck her head in, her hair so red and curly she could have played Annie.
“How’s the new kid settling in?” she asks, her bright eyes sweeping over his room and bags, calculating something, though Brayden can’t tell exactly what.
“Yeah, good, thanks.” He steps towards her and holds out his hand. “Brayden.”
“Cool name,” she says, taking his hand with both of hers and holding tight, longer than normal, long enough for him to feel like he should pull away.
She doesn’t offer her name, just smiles and stares, which makes him more uncomfortable than he cares to admit.
“So, you’re in this dorm? You like it here?” he asks to break the silence.
She flips her hand into the air, dismissing the questions like they were a waste of time.
“I’m having a party tonight. Room 209. You should come.”
Brayden feels a part of him relax. This place is no different than back home. Parties, cliques, classes. He can make it here. And just like that any anxiety he had, anything that had secretly festered deep within over the past months just vanished. Suddenly this place seemed a whole lot more fun.
“Yeah, sure. I’ll be there.”
“Great, bye,” she says, and walks away, no more eye contact, nothing. In the hallway she shouts “And change your shirt!” and it echoes dully through his walls. He bends his neck and sniffs his armpits. This is his favorite shirt.
Brayden walks to the bay windows. Outside the campus is blanketed in snow, thick and fresh, but the walkways are already plowed, the towering lamps shine. He rests his head against the window and lets out a deep breath, steaming up the pane. Westbrook’s strange. He tries not to think about how tomorrow will go.
The steam clears and behind it, as if he had conjured her himself, a girl stands in the quad. She’s bundled, hard to make out, staring at the sky. Her mouth smokes with each breath and her shoulders are slumped, troubled. Brayden knows the feeling. He watches her walk down the path and towards the pool, a building he recognizes because of this morning’s campus tour. He’d hate to swim in this weather. Maybe hot tub, but swim? How does she do it? How do they all do it? It seems like everyone here has some sort of crazy Olympian drive. Maybe that’s what’s bothering her. She can’t believe she has to walk through the snow to go practice now. She just wants to hang with friends. She hates the smell of the locker room. She’s thinking of a boy.
Brayden watches her until she’s gone, and then keeps staring at the space she left, imagining everything she’s thinking.
Down the hall, someone turns on music. Loud, with a heavy beat. Brayden sighs, then goes to change his shirt.
Seth Fishman is a native of Midland, Texas (think Friday Night Lights), and a graduate of Princeton University and the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. He spends his days as a literary agent at The Gernert Company and his nights writing. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. THE WELL'S END is his first novel.