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Tales from a not so tale.., p.1
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       Tales From a Not-So-Talented Pop Star, p.1

           Rachel Renée Russell
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Tales From a Not-So-Talented Pop Star


  This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  ALADDIN * An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division * 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 www.SimonandSchuster.com* First Aladdin hardcover edition June 2011 * Copyright © 2011 by Rachel Renée Russell * All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. * ALADDIN is a trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc., and related logo is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc. * For information about special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-866-506-1949 or [email protected] * The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at www.simonspeakers.com. * Designed by Lisa Vega * The text of this book was set in Skippy Sharp. * Manufactured in the United States of America * 0411 FFG * 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 * Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data * Russell, Rachel Renée. * Dork diaries 3: tales from a not-so-talented pop star / by Rachel Renée Russell. — 1st Aladdin hardcover ed. * p. cm. — (Dork diaries; 3) * Summary: When scholarship student Nikki Maxwell, whose father is the school exterminator, decides to enter the talent show at her expensive private school, her nemesis MacKenzie threatens to reveal Nikki's status to the rest of the school. * ISBN 978-1-4424-1190-6 * (pob edition: alk. paper) * [1. Talent shows—Fiction. 2. Friendship—Fiction. 3. Popularity—Fiction. 4. Middle schools—Fiction. 5. Schools— Fiction. 6. Diaries—Fiction.] I. Title. II. Series. * PZ7.R915935Dor 2011 * [Fic]—dc22 * 2010048088 * ISBN 978-1-4424-1191-3 (eBook)

  To my grandma, Lillie Grimmett.

  Happy 90th birthday!

  Thank you for a childhood stocked

  with a never-ending supply of

  pencils, paper, hugs, and dreams.

  Content

  Acknowledgments

  Friday, November 1

  Saturday, November 2

  Sunday, November 3

  Monday, November 4

  Tuesday, November 5

  Wednesday, November 6

  Thursday, November 7

  Friday, November 8

  Saturday, November 9

  Sunday, November 10

  Monday, November 11

  Tuesday, November 12

  Wednesday, November 13

  Thursday, November 14

  Friday, November 15

  Saturday, November 16

  Sunday, November 17

  Monday, November 18

  Tuesday, November 19

  Wednesday, November 20

  Thursday, November 21

  Friday, November 22

  Saturday, November 23

  Sunday, November 24

  Monday, November 25

  Tuesday, November 26

  Wednesday, November 27

  Thursday, November 28

  Friday, November 29

  Saturday, November 30

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  To all my Dork Diaries fans—thank you for loving this book series as much as I do. Wow! Are we actually on Book 3 already?! Always remember to let your inner Dork shine through.

  Liesa Abrams, my wonderful editor, who mysteriously seems to know Nikki Maxwell even better than I do. Thank you for making the countless hours we spend working on these books such a blast. And, yes, all of this happened just like you said it would. Go, Batgirl!

  Lisa Vega, my magical art director, who never ceases to amaze me when she takes a single yellow sticky note and two simple colors and—ABRACADABRA!— turns it into a fabulous cover that practically flies off the shelves.

  Mara Anastas, Bethany Buck, Paul Crichton, Carolyn Swerdloff, Matt Pantoliano, Katherine Devendorf, and the rest of my awesome team at Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, thank you for all your hard work on this series.

  Daniel Lazar, my super agent at Writers House, thank you for being there for me every step of the way. I could not have chosen a better “partner in crime”! And a special thanks to Stephen Barr for always making me smile.

  Maja Nikolic, Cecilia de la Campa, and Angharad Kowal, my foreign rights agents at Writers House, thank you for taking Dork Diaries around the world.

  Nikki Russell, my daughter and talented assistant artist, I cannot begin to thank you for all that you do. I am blessed to be sharing this dream with you.

  Sydney James, Cori James, Presley James, Arianna Robinson, and Mikayla Robinson, my nieces, for being brutal critique partners and willing to work for a double cheese, double sausage pizza.

  FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1

  OMG!

  I think yesterday was probably the BEST day of my entire life ☺!!

  Not only did I have a FABTASTIC time at the Halloween dance with my crush, Brandon, but I think he might actually like me! SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!! ☺!!

  By “like,” I mean as a REALLY good friend.

  Definitely NOT as a serious girlfriend or anything. I’m sure THAT would NEVER happen in a million years!

  WHY? Mostly because I’m the biggest DORK in the entire school.

  And with three zits, two left feet, one cruddy social life, and zero popularity, I’m not exactly the type of girl who’ll one day be crowned prom queen.

  But thanks to my wicked case of CRUSH-ITIS, the slightly-goofy-blissfully-lovesick-shabby-chic style I’m currently rockin’ would definitely put me in the running for …

  PRINCESS OF THE DORKS!

  It’s just that I’m NOT a tag hag (also known as a totally obsessed fashion SNOB).

  And I’m NOT hopelessly addicted to spending twice the gross national product of a small third-world country on the latest designer clothes, shoes, jewelry, and handbags, only to REFUSE to wear the stuff one month later because it’s “like, OMG! Practically more ANCIENT than YESTERDAY!!”

  UNLIKE some people I know….

  “People” being shallow, self-centered girls like …

  MACKENZIE HOLLISTER ☹!!

  Calling MacKenzie a “mean girl” is an understatement. She’s a RATTLESNAKE in pink plumping lip gloss and ankle boots.

  But I’m NOT intimidated by her or anything. Like, how juvenile would THAT be?!

  I constantly wonder how girls like MacKenzie always manage to be so … I don’t know …

  PERFECT.

  I wish I had something that could magically transform ME into my perfect self.

  It would have the amazing power of Cinderella’s fairy godmother, be easy to use, and be small enough to fit inside a purse or backpack.

  Something like, I dunno, maybe …

  MAXWELL’S ENCHANTED LIP GLOSS ☺!

  My special lip gloss would make each and every girl look as beautiful on the OUTSIDE as she is on the INSIDE!

  How COOL would THAT be?!

  AVERAGE NICE GIRL (LIKE ME)

  (WE SEE A NORMAL GIRL.)

  (WE MAGICALLY SEE MY INNER BEAUTY.) ☺!!

  AVERAGE MEAN GIRL (LIKE MACKENZIE)

  (WE SEE A POPULAR GIRL IN DESIGNER CLOTHING.)

  (WE MAGICALLY SEE HER INNER BEAUTY.) ☺!!

  After spending hours studying the potential global impact of the Enchanted Lip Gloss phenomenon, I was shocked and amazed by my scientific findings:

  Enchanted Lip Gloss does NOT look CUTE on EVERYONE! Too bad, MacKenzie ☺!!

  Anyway, I really hope Brandon calls me today.

  I would totally FREAK if he actually did.
But I’m pretty sure he probably won’t. Which, BTW, brings me to this VERY important question….

  HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHEN A GUY ACTUALLY LIKES YOU IF HE NEVER BOTHERS TO CALL???!!!

  CRUSH IQ TEST: Carefully examine the following two pictures for sixty seconds. Can you spot the DIFFERENCE between them?

  CUTE CRUSH WHO ACTUALLY LIKES YOU

  CUTE CRUSH WHO DOESN’T LIKE YOU

  ANSWER: There is NO DIFFERENCE! These two dudes are IDENTICAL!

  Which, unfortunately, means your crush basically IGNORES you whether he actually LIKES YOU or NOT!

  ARRRGGGGHH!!!

  (That was me tearing my hair out in frustration!)

  Lucky for me, my BFF Chloe is an expert on guys and romance. She learned everything she knows from reading all the latest teen magazines and novels.

  And my BFF Zoey is a human Wikipedia and a self-help guru. She’s basically a fourteen-year-old Dr. Phil in lip gloss and hoop earrings.

  The three of us are going to meet at the mall tomorrow to shop for jeans. I can’t wait to talk to them about all this guy stuff because, seriously, I don’t have a CLUE!

  SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2

  Can someone PLEASE tell me WHY my life is so horrifically PATHETIC ☹?!

  Even when something FINALLY goes RIGHT, something else ALWAYS goes terribly WRONG!!!

  My mom was supposed to be taking me to the mall today to hang out with Chloe and Zoey. So I was TOTALLY BUMMED when she told me I had to watch my bratty little six-year-old sister, Brianna, for forty-five minutes while she shopped for a new toaster ☹!

  In spite of her cute little angelic face and pink sneakers, Brianna is actually a baby Tyrannosaurus rex. On STEROIDS!

  There was no way I was going to hang out with my BFFs with HER tagging along.

  So I told Chloe and Zoey I’d try to meet up with them as soon as my mom finished shopping.

  I found a quiet, comfortable spot to chillax with my diary. Then I ordered Brianna to park her little butt right beside me on the bench and not move.

  I hadn’t taken my eyes off Brianna for more than a minute (or two or five) when I discovered she’d climbed into the mall fountain to hunt for coins!

  Thank goodness that water was really shallow!

  Then I made the mistake of asking Brianna what the heck she was doing in that fountain. She put her hands on her hips and glared at me impatiently.

  “Can’t you see it’s an emergency?! A mean old witch has kidnapped Princess Sugar Plum. And Miss Penelope needs to get this money out of the water so we can buy a real, live baby unicorn from the grocery store and fly to save the princess!”

  Hey, you ask a SILLY question, you get a SILLY answer!

  I dragged her out of the fountain and made her toss back the big pile of coins she’d gathered.

  Of course, Brianna was supermad at me for ruining her little treasure hunt.

  So to distract her, I suggested we take a little stroll through the food court to try to find some FREE food samples to snack on. YUMMY!

  That’s when Brianna started nagging me to take her to her favorite kiddie pizza joint, Queasy Cheesy.

  I don’t have the slightest idea why little kids love that place so much. It has these huge, stuffed, robotic animals that dance and sing off-key.

  Personally, I think it’s supercreepy the way their eyes roll around in their heads and their mouths are always out of sync with their voices.

  Maybe it’s just me, but WHO would actually want to EAT in a restaurant that has a six-foot-tall, mangy-looking RAT scampering around? I don’t care that it sings “Happy Birthday” and gives out free balloons!

  To me, the ONLY thing SCARIER was that evil clown who used to live under my bed when I was really little.

  My parents always insisted he was just a figment of my imagination. But he was VERY real to ME!

  OMG! I was absolutely TERRIFIED he’d grab my ankles and pull me under my bed and I’d be STUCK there for, like, ETERNITY.

  Thank goodness I’m older and more mature and NOT scared of silly, childish stuff like evil clowns.

  Except maybe during thunderstorms on really dark nights when I see these strange shadows….

  Anyway! I was like, “Sorry, Brianna! I don’t have any money. We’ll have to wait until Mom gets back.”

  “But I can pay for it!” Brianna whined. “With my baby unicorn money from that magical fountain. I’m a RICH people practically! I wanna go to QUEASY CHEESY! NOW!!”

  That’s when I noticed that all of Brianna’s pockets were stuffed with coins from that fountain.

  My little sister WASN’T “a rich people practically.”

  But she DID have enough loose change to buy us a medium sausage pizza with drinks.

  WOO-HOO!! ☺!!

  The pizza was actually pretty good! For Queasy Cheesy, anyway.

  Just as we were finishing up our meal, a waitress pulled a random number out of a bowl and excitedly announced that the guests at table 7 were the “lucky ducks” she’d selected to come up onstage and sing the “I Luv Queasy Cheesy” theme song.

  I was like, “Oh, CRUD!!” Brianna and I were sitting at table 7 ☹!!

  There was just NO WAY I was going up on that stage in front of all those people to sing that stupid song. And I made that fact VERY clear to the nice waitress lady.

  Of course, that’s when Brianna got an attitude about the whole thing.

  She actually threw a hissy fit right there in the restaurant and—get this—REFUSED TO PAY FOR OUR FOOD!!!!

  OMG!

  I had never been SO embarrassed in my life!

  I totally panicked because all I had in my pocket was thirty-nine cents and some lint.

  But the superSCARY part was that Brianna’s silly little prank was going to land us BOTH in JAIL!

  And YES! I’m aware that doing prison time is the latest fad for all those spoiled young celebs.

  You know the type. The infamous party girl/ model/actress who manages to become both an ICON and an EX-CON before her twenty-first birthday.

  She truly believes she’s above the law, because in her little mind the only REAL CRIMES against humanity are …

  1. Fake designer purses

  2. FRENEMIES

  3. People with visible ear and nose hairs

  So out of sheer desperation, I did what I had to do.

  Namely, perform the “I Luv Queasy Cheesy” song with Brianna so she would pay for our meal.

  Thank goodness the people there were mostly parents and little kids. I didn’t see anyone I knew from my school.

  Once we took the stage and I’d gotten past my feelings of extreme embarrassment and mild nausea (which is probably why they call the place QUEASY Cheesy!), I had to admit the whole experience was actually kind of FUN!!

  The crowd seemed to love us, so Brianna and I really

  HAMMED IT UP!

  We were getting down with a few Beyoncé dance moves, and the audience was cheering us on.

  Then the most AWFUL and SHOCKING thing happened….

  MACKENZIE HOLLISTER!

  Apparently, she’d just arrived with HER little sister, Amanda, and her BFF, Jessica.

  Jessica was pointing and laughing at me like I was the biggest joke since the interrupting cow.

  And I totally FREAKED when I realized MacKenzie had her cell phone out and seemed to be taking a picture or something.

  I grabbed Brianna and practically carried her off the stage.

  “NOOO! Let go of me!” Brianna screamed. “The song isn’t even over yet! We have to throw kisses to the crowd and—”

  “Brianna! It’s time to go!” I huffed, still out of breath. “Mom is probably waiting for us back at the fountain!”

  But before we made it to the door, Amanda rushed over and shoved a pen and napkin into Brianna’s hand. “I’ve NEVER met a real, live pop star before! Can I have your autograph?” she gushed.

  Brianna beamed. “SURE! You can have it for FREE! And I’ll draw a pic
ture of my real, live baby unicorn too! I can ride him if I want. He flies in the air!”

  Amanda’s eyes widened to the size of saucers. “YOU have a REAL baby unicorn?! Can I see it?!”

  I could NOT believe Brianna was lying like that. I gave her a dirty look and she stuck her tongue out at me.

  “Well, I don’t have one just YET. But I’m gonna buy it from the grocery store as soon as my mom comes back with our new toaster. ’Cause guess what?! Some idiot poured orange juice in our old one and it exploded and blew up our house. KABOOM!!”

  “Brianna!” I scolded. “Move it! RIGHT NOW!!”

  Actually, I was just trying to get out of there before MacKenzie came over. But no such luck.

  “OMG!! Nikki! You were hilarious!” MacKenzie shrieked. “You stank worse than the boys’ locker room!”

  “Yeah, it took a lot of guts to get up there and humiliate yourself in front of the entire WORLD like that!” Jessica snorted.

  I just rolled my eyes at both of them.

  I knew I wasn’t a professional singer or dancer, but the crowd seemed to like us. And since when had MacKenzie and Jessica become experts on talent?

  “Oh, please! You two wouldn’t recognize talent if it came up wearing a name tag, introduced itself, and slapped your face!” I blurted out.

  MacKenzie and Jessica just glared at me. I think they were probably a little surprised because I usually just ignore them or say stuff inside my head that no one else can hear but me.

  But there’s only so much verbal abuse a person can take.

  “And besides,” I continued, “there aren’t more than fifty people in here. I wouldn’t call that the ENTIRE world.”

  “Well, it WILL BE when I post this on YouTube,” MacKenzie said, sneering as she waved her camera right in my face. “Nikki Maxwell, LIVE at Queasy Cheesy!! And you can thank ME for launching your career as a NOT-so-talented pop star!”

  Then MacKenzie and Jessica both laughed hysterically at her witty little joke.

  I just stood there, stunned. Would MacKenzie actually do that to me?!

 
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