This fact is something that Effie is fine with. She never wanted to stand out or be different. Being different attracts attention, and that was something she didn't need. The only thing she needed were her books. More specifically, her Harry Potter books. In a way she could never put into words, the characters understood her. Reading through the books made her feel like she was there with them, experiencing their adventure and trauma as though they were her own.
Her love of Harry Potter books had become an obsession. When she got home from school, she immediately started to read. She was too busy with re-reading Harry Potter to make friends, do homework, or leave her room which is why her grades and social life dropped immensely. She had managed to convince herself that all she needed in life was Harry Potter.
She read each book until the sides were worn from use and the pages were blurred from her tears. The once white pages had become an assortment of colors from the bleeding of the pens she used to write little notes in the margins and accidental food spills. Despite not looking the same as at their prime, Effie cherished the books more than anything in the world.
Her iPad that she got as a Christmas gift age 11, while she was still dealing with the devastation of never receiving her Hogwarts letter, had only ever been used to search up spells, potions, and Harry Potter facts.
As the new school year rolled around, her parents became concerned. Effie had spent a majority of the summer holed up in her room with her books, only leaving for meals and the occasional outdoor read. Her parents swore they could hear her talking to someone in her room, but every time they peeked inside she was alone. They had hadn't gone crazy. She was talking, just not to another person. Effie had begun to talk to the characters in her books. They didn't talk back, of course, but she liked to think that they did. Her lack of human contact had driven her to a point of near insanity.
On the night of August 31st, the night before her first year of high school, Effie found herself struggling to leave her books. She sat out on the sliver of roof outside her window and said her personal goodbyes to each of them. Her Hogwarts themed pajamas scratching against the hard roof surface. When she got to her third and favorite book of the series, The Prisoner of Azkaban, her goodbyes became more tearful. She clutched the book to her heart and sobbed.
"I wish it were real. I wish it were all real."
Though Effie couldn't see it with her head ducked behind her book, a storm had started to roll in. She fell asleep on the roof area to the sound of distant thunder, her clutch on her book loosening and allowing it to fall open, as she let out one last whisper.
"I wish it were real."
Suddenly the pages of her book started turning rapidly. The sound of fluttering paper filled the quiet of the night, soon joined by loud booming thunder. The pages stopped turning abruptly as the first page lay open next to Effie's sleeping body. With a crackle of lightning, Effie's body was absorbed into the book and it snapped shut behind her. The book remained still in its spot and the storm that had been raging just moments before faded away into oblivion.
The sound of train whistles and bustling strangers made Effie jolt awake. Startled by the suddenly large amount of people surrounding her, Effie rubbed her eyes, not yet able to make out her surroundings. When she finally removed her hands, she found herself sitting on a bench in a busy train station. She looked down at herself, surprised to find that her embarrassing Hogwarts pajamas had been exchanged with a long sleeved black turtle neck under an oversized red v neck vest paired with high waisted jeans. She had to touch the clothes to determine their realness, fully acknowledging internally that she had never owned clothes that stylish. Looking down to her feet next to her black combat boots, was a cart holding a long old looking brown trunk and a cage housing a beautiful dark brown owl.
Her heartbeat picked up rapidly as she surveyed her surroundings, her face heating up at her realization that she had been sleeping on the bench in front of everyone. Her hands roamed purposelessly to her pockets when she felt something firm fall into her grasp. Retracting her hand from her pocket she lifted the object up to her face and examined it thoroughly. In her hand was a small, silver compact mirror with the engraving, E.J. She looked at it for another moment then let a gasp escape her lips once she opened it. Looking back at her in the mirror was not her face, but a much more beautiful one.
Her long, prominent nose was now small and slightly turned upwards at the end. The thin, chapped lips that had once graced her face were replaced with full, pink ones. Her eyes had become a dark blue, so captivating in their color that she became entranced by them for a moment. She couldn't help but stare from under her now dark and beautiful eyelashes at her new hair. The muddy strings that she once hid behind were now fluffy and graceful. Her hair now framed her face with perfect curtain bangs and flowed elegantly down to her lower back. A blush spread over her now soft and lightly freckled cheeks as she stared at her new appearance.
Suddenly she came to a realization. Trunks, owls, train station. Her eyes widened with panic and understanding. She was in her book.