Table of Contents
Everyone loves Mandy’s first book,
Prada & Prejudice
“Part comedy of manners, part romantic fantasy, this fast-reading, playful novel takes the idea of feeling out of place to a hilarious extreme.”
“If the shoe fits, wear it—and if you’re in the mood for an awesome romance, this is definitely the shoe for you.”
—Lauren Myracle (
New York Times
bestselling author of
“The perfect mix of old-school style and modern-day sass!”
—Kieran Scott (author of
I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader
“I love fashion, and I am fascinated by history. This book combines both.”
Little Miss Sunshine
“Much hilarity ensues in this comedy of errors.”
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Young Readers Group
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Copyright © 2010 Mandy Hubbard
All rights reserved
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May all of
wishes come true,
as long as none of them are for a puppy.
PEOPLE SAY I’M
a glass-half-empty person. I guess they’re right, because I’ve never understood why anyone would see it as half full, when clearly there’s something missing. But then again, maybe that’s because I spent last summer working at a diner, and a half-empty glass meant I was falling behind.
So maybe it’s my pessimist nature, but as I sit in biology, two rows behind my best friend, Nicole, I can’t stop thinking about the secret she is so obviously keeping. I’m holding my bite-mark-covered pencil in a death grip as I watch her, when I should be using it to copy down the cell diagram on the front wipe-off board.
See, Nicole, in all her glass-half-full glory, is not good at keeping a secret. At the moment, she’s completely avoiding my looks, instead taking biology notes like they’re going out of style, the toe of her trendy gray-suede ankle boot tapping on the tan linoleum more rapidly than a hummingbird’s heartbeat. She’s playing with her long blonde hair, pulling it in front of her face so that I can’t see the expression in her blue eyes.
I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to ask her what it is, either. Because my birthday party is tonight, and her secret might be something amazingly spectacular, which means it would be better as a surprise.
Although this brings me back to the glass half empty and the fact that I highly doubt it’s something spectacular. Nicole is one of those people who reads like an open book. And right now, that book is open to the definition of
. The rest of the classroom looks half asleep, leaned over their desks and notebooks. In fact, I’m pretty sure the guy in the dark-blue hoodie in the back row actually
But not Nicole. Nicole is exuding more energy than a two-year-old on a sugar binge. She finally lifts her head and glances back at me, and those startling blue eyes widen when she catches me staring. She returns to her notebook, scribbling furiously. Either she’s taking some serious notes or she’s writing the next
War and Peace
I sigh and turn back to Mr. Gordon, who is now labeling the components of his cell drawing. The faded red words are smashed and crooked, barely legible. His red-and-blue-plaid sweater-vest is slightly askew, and he’s sweating already, periodically wiping his bushy gray brow with the back of his hand.
I stopped listening somewhere around mitochondria, so now I’m hopelessly lost. Biology as a first-period class should be outlawed, because there’s no way my brain is up to full speed at 7:50 a.m.
I bite back a yawn and stare out the window, willing something crazy to happen, like the big, bare willow tree in the courtyard falling over. Or maybe the freshman scurrying across the space will slip on one of the dew-covered orange fallen leaves, and I’ll have to rush out there and make sure she is okay. Anything would be better than sitting here. We’re only a month into our sophomore year, and already each day is going by more slowly than the last. And Mr. Gordon’s monotonous voice and squeaky whiteboard markers aren’t helping matters.
I reach down and scratch at the fishnet stockings I’m wearing. There’s a seam on the inside of my knee, and it’s driving me batty. I’ve never worn these things before, and I’m already regretting it. I think I might take them off in the bathroom.
It’s not that I’m trying to be full-on goth or emo or anything, either. I just enjoy being a little less like the sheep at the top of the social ladder, if you know what I mean. Last spring, when Old Navy started airing those sundress commercials, they all showed up in a rainbow display of femininity. I can predict their clothing as if I have an actual tide table of it. All I need is a Gap ad and an issue of
, and I’ll have all their outfits mapped out for the next week.
On occasions when I’m feeling particularly brave, I even bleat at them like a sheep, though none of them seem to understand what I’m doing. Nicole usually hides behind a locker bay or the trophy case and laughs hysterically, egging me on.
So I bought these stockings to wear with
Old Navy dress, except I bought the blue-and-white-striped sailor dress, the one that was 50 percent off after two weeks because no one was buying it. And there’s definitely a reason no one was buying it, because whenever I wear it, I feel like someone is going to shout at me to “swab the decks, matey!”
Plus, since it’s now September and not May, it’s, like, forty-six degrees out. I probably should have worn leggings, not fishnets, especially not scratchy, annoying ones.
I open my binder and find my paper hall pass. I almost made it a whole month without using it, which is worth ten extra-credit points, points I could really use. But comfort is worth, like, fifty million points, so I’m going for it.
I walk toward the door and slide my pass into the box and then head in the direction of the bathroom, my black Converse sneakers silent on the carpeted hall. My feet are the only part of me that are truly comfortable, but I’m about to rectify that little problem. I know people say you’re supposed to make sacrifices for fashion, but I’m sure that only counts if you’re actually trying to be fashionable.
I’m just reaching the thick wooden door when it swings out at me, nailing my shin. It feels like my whole leg just shattered.
“Ow!” I jump back, sure that blood will gush at any moment. My calf pulses with pain as I jump up and down, howling a little bit. I know I’m prone to melodramatics, but dang, that really hurt.
Janae Crawford, queen of the Old Navy dress clique and most evil person I’ve ever met, emerges from the bathroom and gives me a bored look. I guess stomping all over her classmates fails to get her excited anymore.
Today she’s wearing jeans that are so tight I think she must have used a shoehorn to get into them (is there such a thing as a butt horn?) and two layers of lacy tank tops with a pink cardigan over the top. Then she has a strand of pearls so long they reach her belly button. As if the pearls were going to make her whole outfit seem classy or something.
Her sneer morphs into an amused smile as her eyes travel down my legs and take in my fishnets.
I groan inwardly, though I totally don’t let her know I’m worried about what she’s going to say next. The key to being a black sheep is acting as if you love every minute of it, even when the whitest of the white sheep is about to rip you to shreds.
“I’m sorry, is it Halloween already?” She waggles her head in this totally annoying way as she speaks. Like she’s on a daytime talk show saying, “Oh no, you didn’t.”