PINK giveaway #5

PINK comes out in the US this week! To celebrate, I'm going to post an excerpt or behind the scenes piece of trivia every day this week, as well as giving away a copy of the lovely shiny US edition.

Would you rather eat two tablespoons of toenail clippings, or gargle half a cup of sweat? To win a copy of PINK, leave a comment telling me which one you'd choose.

This is an international giveaway. Make sure your comment includes a way for me to reach you!

This extract is from chapter 6 - it's the first time Ava really meets the Screws.

I wasn’t here to make new friends. I had plenty of friends already. Nice friends. Who dressed well and took some pride in personal grooming. I was just here so I could hang out with Alexis and Ethan and the others at lunchtime.

‘How about you, Ava?’ said Kobe, snapping me out of my reverie. It was the first time I’d heard him speak.


‘Would you rather eat two tablespoons of toenail clippings, or gargle half a cup of sweat?’

I was horrified. Was this some kind of weird initiation ceremony?

‘Er,’ I said. ‘Neither?’

‘You have to pick one. That’s the rules.’

I screwed up my face. ‘Toenail clippings, I suppose. As long as they were clean.’

‘Fair enough,’ said Kobe, balancing a hammer on the palm of his hand. ‘So, would you rather eat a person, or two cats and two dogs?’

These people were weirdos.

‘Cats and dogs,’ said Sam immediately.

Jacob considered. ‘Can I shave the cats and dogs first?’ he asked.

Kobe shook his head. ‘Nope. As they are. Hairy and raw.’

‘Can I pick the breed?’

‘No. They’re randomly selected from an animal shelter.’

Jacob made a face. ‘Person then. I’m not eating fur.’

Sam attacked a piece of wood with a saw. Sawdust flew everywhere like honey-coloured snow. It smelled great.

‘My turn,’ said Jacob, taking off his glasses and polishing them on his T-shirt. ‘Would you rather have sex with a really hot dead chick, or with a ninety-six-year-old lady with no teeth?’

There were cries of disgust. Jen chucked a piece of sandpaper at Jacob’s head.

‘What?’ he said, jamming his glasses back on. ‘How come Kobe’s allowed to talk about eating a dead person, but I’m not allowed to talk about boning one?’

‘I’m so not answering that,’ said Jen, shaking her head.

Jacob sighed. ‘Fine. It’s your turn, Ranga.’ He nodded at Sam.

Sam finished sawing the piece of wood, and the end dropped off onto the floor with a clunk. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the wood, thinking.

‘Would you rather,’ he said at last, a tiny smile twitching at the corner of his mouth, ‘have an uncontrollable urge to sing Disney songs every time you get turned on, or get uncontrollably turned on by Disney characters?’

‘Characters,’ said Jacob without hesitation. ‘The chick from The Little Mermaid is a babe.’

Jen laughed. ‘But what about The Lion King?’ she asked. ‘Do you really want to get turned on by something that could give you a hairball?’

‘Oh come on,’ said Jacob. ‘What about Jasmine from Aladdin? And the chick from Beauty and the Beast?’

‘Belle,’ I said. ‘Yeah, she’s hot.’

Did I just say that? I swallowed. I should have said something about one of the men in Disney films. What if they guessed? I racked my brains, trying to think of something to say, but I drew a blank.

‘I think I’m going to go for option A,’ said Jules. ‘All the boys in Disney films are a bit chisel-jawed and one-note for me. And having an urge to sing Disney songs when I’m getting hot and bothered sounds kind of awesome.’

Phew. I’d got away with it. Also, Jules was gay?

‘Your turn, Ava,’ said Jen. ‘Make one up.’

‘Er,’ I said. Everyone stared at me. I shook my head. ‘Sorry. I can’t think of anything.’

There was a pause. Kobe put down his hammer. Jacob scratched his head.

Sam looked at me. He looked … disappointed. I felt terrible, like I’d really let them down.

Then he smiled briskly, and without an ounce of warmth. He really hated me. ‘Doesn’t matter,’ he said. ‘It’s lunchtime anyway.’