What Scotland Taught Me
What Scotland Taught Me
Molly Ringle

Fresh out of high school, Eva Sonneborn is headed to Scotland with her best friends: scholarly, sarcastic Laurence; gorgeous, ghost-seeing Amber; and responsible, sweet Shannon. They plan to spend the next six months in Edinburgh, enjoying an adventure-filled work-abroad journey before parting ways for college.

But when Eva meets Gil, a local bartender, she figures a little innocent flirting won't hurt her relationship with Tony, her ever-faithful boyfriend back home. But just when things turn less innocent with Gil, the trip starts throwing curveballs at not only her but her friends too. By the end of the trip, they've all fallen in love, sometimes with the wrong people - and with consequences that may tear their friendship apart forever...

ISBN ebook: 978-1-926760-46-9
FICTION | Coming of Age
Word Count: 99,800
List Price: $4.99
October 2010


"Ringle sure knows how to pace a romance." - Forever Young Adult

“When you open a Molly Ringle book, you know you’re in for a treat. ...If you love great characters, humor, and a story that will keep you thoroughly entertained... Two thumbs up and a hearty recommend.” Doralynn Kennedy - author of Sleeping With Skeletons

“Eva’s voice, expressed in first-person, is engaging from the first paragraph — both in her head, as narrator, and in dialogue with her peers. She’s smart and sassy without being disrespectful, and her quirky observations about self, friends, and the alien world of Scotland keep the story fresh and realistic.” Dark Divas Reviews

“...I laughed out loud over some of the antics of these four friends. If you're looking for a story with a different storyline, fun characters and you enjoy reading Young Adult themes then you definitely have to pick this one up!” Night Owl Reviews


Amber slid a note onto my knee, jarring me out of my obsessive thoughts. As the plane’s engines droned in my ears like wasps, I wiped my sweaty palms and picked up the quarter-sheet of notebook paper, torn neatly along the edges. The reading light over my head cast a circle of brightness onto the words. “Three things you want to do in Scotland,” my cousin Shannon’s tidy handwriting said across the top. She had underlined it, and left the rest of the page blank.

Okay. Good. A distraction from middle-of-the-night musings on how this plane might crash into a glacier in Greenland. Or how I already missed my parents and my dog, back in Oregon. Or the small detail that none of us had ever been to Scotland before, and we ought to be starting college right now, not jetting off to the UK, so what the hell were we thinking?

And then there was the whole issue about my boyfriend Tony...

Deep breath.

My three best friends were in this lifeboat (or 747) with me, I reminded myself. Friends helped.

I looked to my left and found Amber studying a note similar to mine, her sparkly blue thumbnail tapping her lips.

Shannon handed me another note across Amber’s chest. “Here. Pass it to Laurence.”

I turned to my right, expecting Laurence to be asleep. A while back he had thrown his long brown coat over himself, coughing and snorting, and tried to curl his tall frame into the seat. But now his arm emerged, plucked the paper from me, and descended back into his cocoon. All I could see was his reddish-blond hair, rumpled from his attempts to get comfortable with the dinky airline pillow.

“Little late for a pop quiz,” I told Shannon.

She was already filling out her own answers with her clear-cased blue pen. “We weren’t sleeping anyway.”

We should have been, as it was somewhere around two A.M. in this time zone. But Shannon herself looked awake and perky. My favorite cousin shared many of my Scandinavia-descended genes, but unlike me, she had received most of the ones coded for “hot.” The fuzz on her periwinkle sweater hadn’t matted yet, and her lemonade-blonde curls kept their gloss even in the soullessly dry air of the airplane cabin.

I didn’t have to touch my head to know that my own hair was doing its “straight yet frizzy” trick. It diffused light at the edge of my vision, as if I were living inside a cloud of smog the color of dead grass.

Shannon glanced at me. “Go on, Eva. Fill it out.”

“I don’t have a--” I started to say, but Laurence cut me off by handing me a ballpoint pen. He sniffled, holding a tissue against his nostrils.

“Gosh. The creature awakens.” I held the pen at a distance between thumb and forefinger. “Got any antiseptic wipes?”

“I’m. Not. Contagious,” he told me from behind the tissue. “It’s a sinus infection.”

I rubbed the pen along my jeans. “So you claim. If you get us all sick before we even land, I’m going to maim you.”

With the mechanical pencil he always kept in his pocket, Laurence pretended to jot something down on his note and said, “Task Number One to accomplish in Edinburgh: murder Eva. Make it look like an accident.”

“Give it a rest, you guys.” Amber yawned, scrawling her own answers with a purple felt-tip pen. She paused to lean across me and pat Laurence’s knee. “I’m sorry you don’t feel good, Laurence. Eva is too. She’s just suffering from instant-message withdrawal.”

“I’m not--” I bit off the denial and hunched down in my seat, clutching my pop quiz.
We’d been assigned to that hellish middle set of seats on the plane where nobody gets a window seat and hardly anyone gets an aisle seat. I was only 5’2” and I still didn’t have enough leg room. No wonder Laurence, a full foot taller than me, felt crabby.

In these cramped quarters I did long for the escape of my cell phone and its glimpses into the vast world of the Internet. I ached to drown my mind in stupidly funny websites and emails. But you weren’t allowed to use cells on planes, and even if you were, our American phones wouldn’t work in the UK. (You should have heard Laurence’s technical explanation as to why. It lulled me to sleep within a minute.)

We’d be getting new phones in Edinburgh, and I felt tempted to write that down as the first thing I wanted to do. Pathetic, really. I wasn’t one of those teenagers who texted her friends during class and went two thousand minutes over her plan every month. But leaving home in a major way for the first time was precisely when you needed a lifeline like a cell phone, and it felt unsettling not to have one.

“Are you guys done?” asked Shannon, almost bouncing in her seat with excitement.

Come to think of it, her pop quizzes usually arrived via text or email. Felt sort of retro to see one on notebook paper.

“Yep,” said Amber.

“Just about.” Laurence coughed.

“Give me a sec,” I mumbled. I set pen to paper, on my knee, and let my instincts dictate my answers.

1. Do my college applications.
2. Make friends with an actual Scottish person.
3. Decide whether to stay with Tony.

I wrote the third item with heart and hand jittering. My friends liked Tony, on the whole. They’d be startled to hear I might dump him. But I had to work out the dilemma, and bouncing the problem off them ought to churn up some perspective for me.

By Molly Ringle

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