Technically I did a post about Emma a little over two years ago, but that was before I really got inside her head, so while that post is still mostly accurate, it's rather incomplete. Now to introduce her without giving major spoilers...
Emma is a high school senior with very little personal ambition. She has an interest in science, particularly biochemistry and molecular biology, but she doesn't feel free to pursue her own interests. She never has.
Until Emma was about four, her life was fairly normal. When her mother was pregnant with her younger sister Carla, however, everything changed. Mom went crazy, Dad became distant, and little Emma became largely responsible for bringing up her blind little sister.
Everything about Emma's life revolves around Carla. Emma's goal is to become financially independent as soon as possible so she and Carla can move out of the toxic environment that is their dysfunctional family. She wants to give Carla a stable life. And she doesn't feel that she can do that with Mom talking to people who aren't there and freaking out about nonexistent dangers, and Dad always being checked out emotionally. Carla deserves better than that.
Emma's a loner...with a best friend she can't get rid of. Grace Holland has considered herself to be Emma's best friend since they were four years old, ever since Emma spent lots of time at her house during her mom's pregnancy with Carla. The two girls are vastly different—Grace is happy, bubbly, and loves her fandoms, and Emma is angry, closed off, and thinks most fiction, especially spec fic, is stupid—but for all their differences and for all Grace never ceases to get on Emma's nerves, they still talk to each other every day and always sit together at lunch. Not that Emma has much of a choice in the matter.
Emma has no interest in boys or relationships. She's seen her parents. Sure, they love each other, but their life isn't exactly sunshine and lollipops. She doesn't want to deal with that. Nor does she have the time for a boyfriend. She has to focus on preparing to be on her own and supporting her sister. So does Grace have to keep pushing her to date? And pushing the new boy, Mitchell, on her?
Emma likes for things to make sense. To be under her control. She has a hard time accepting anything that's outside of her carefully constructed idea of how the world works. She's had so little control over the chaos that comes with her life. She has to hold onto what little control she has.
But that may not be possible.
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