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       Tales From a Not-So-Fabulous Life, p.1

           Rachel Renée Russell
 
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Tales From a Not-So-Fabulous Life


  THIS DIARY BELONGS TO:

  Nikki J. Maxwell

  PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL

  If found, please return to ME for REWARD!

  (NO SNOOPING ALLOWED!!)

  To my daughter, Nikki, who tried her hardest to be the best little ant in the ant colony, when all along she was a beautiful butterfly.

  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 * Copyright © 2009 by Rachel Renée Russell * All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. ALADDIN and related logo are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  Library of Congress Control Number 2008048567

  ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-8655-3

  ISBN-10: 1-4169-8655-3

  Visit us on the Web:

  http://www.SimonandSchuster.com

  CONTENTS

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  SATURDAY, AUGUST 31

  MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

  TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

  WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

  THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

  FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

  SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

  SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

  MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

  TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

  WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11

  THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

  FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

  SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

  MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16

  TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17

  WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

  THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

  FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

  MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

  TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

  WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25

  THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26

  FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

  SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

  SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

  MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

  TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1

  WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2

  THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3

  FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4

  SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5

  MONDAY, OCTOBER 7

  TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8

  WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9

  THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  I would like to thank everyone who helped to make my dream become a reality:

  Liesa Abrams, my fantastic editor, for bringing great passion to this project and loving it as much as I did.

  Lisa Vega, my super art director, for her keen eye and never-ending patience.

  Daniel Lazar at Writers House, my wonderful agent who NEVER sleeps. Thank you for your genius in realizing the potential of this book when it was merely fifty rambling pages about a quirky girl and her fairy godmother. Also, my agents Maja Nikolic, Cecilia de la Campa, and Angharad Kowal at Writers House who are handling foreign rights.

  Nikki Russell and Leisl Adams, my very talented assistant artists, whose hard work helped to bring this in under deadline.

  Doris Edwards, my mom, for being there through thick and thin and always reassuring me that my writing was funny, even when it probably wasn’t.

  My daughters, Erin and Nikki Russell, for their love and encouragement.

  Arianna Robinson, Mikayla Robinson, and Sydney James, my tween-age nieces, for being the sweetest, most fab, and totally brutal critique partners an author could wish for.

  SATURDAY, AUGUST 31

  Sometimes I wonder if my mom is BRAIN DEAD. Then there are days when I know she is.

  Like today.

  The drama started this morning when I casually asked if she would buy me one of those cool new iPhones that do almost everything. I considered it a necessity of life, second only to maybe oxygen.

  What better way to clinch a spot in the CCP (Cute, Cool & Popular) group at my new private school, Westchester Country Day, than by dazzling them with a wicked new cell.

  Last year, it seemed like I was the ONLY student in my ENTIRE middle school who didn’t have one . So I bought an older, used phone supercheap on eBay.

  It was bigger than what I wanted, but I figured I couldn’t go wrong for the clearance price of only $12.99.

  I put my telephone in my locker and spread the word that everyone could now call me with all the JUICY gossip on my NEW telephone! Then I counted down the minutes before my social life started heating up.

  I got really nervous when two of the CCP girls came walking down the hall in my direction chatting on their cell phones.

  They came right over to my locker and started acting superfriendly. Then they invited me to sit with them at lunch and I was like, “Umm…okay.” But deep down inside I was jumping up and down and doing my Snoopy “happy dance.”

  Then things got really strange. They said they had heard about my new $600 Juicy Couture designer cell phone and that everyone (meaning the rest of the CCP crew) couldn’t wait to see it.

  I was about to explain that I had said “juicy gossip on my new phone” NOT “new gossip on my Juicy phone,” but I never got a chance because, unfortunately, my telephone starting ringing. Very abnormally loudly. I was trying my best to ignore it, but both of the CCP girls were staring at me like, “Well, aren’t you going to answer it?!”

  Obviously, I didn’t want to answer it because I had a really bad feeling they were going to be a little disappointed when they actually saw my phone.

  So I just stood there praying that it would stop ringing, but it didn’t. And pretty soon, everyone in the hallway was staring at me too.

  Finally, I gave in, snatched open my locker, and answered the phone. Mainly to stop that AWFUL ringing.

  I was like, “Hello?

  Umm…sorry. Wrong number.”

  And when I turned around, both of the CCP girls were running down the hall screaming, “Make it go away! Make it go away!” I guessed it probably meant they DIDN’T want me to sit with them at lunch anymore, which really sucked.

  The most important lesson I learned last year was that having a CRUDDY phone—or NONE at all—can totally RUIN your social life. While hordes of celebrity party girls regularly FORGET to wear undies, not a single one would be caught dead without her cell phone. Which was why I was nagging my mom about buying me an iPhone.

  I’ve tried saving up my own money to buy one, but it was impossible to do. Mainly because I’m an artist and TOTALLY ADDICTED to drawing!

  Like, if I don’t do it every day, I’ll go NUTZ!

  I spend ALL of my cash on sketchbooks, pencils, pens, art camp, and other stuff. Hey, I’m so BROKE, I have a milkshake on layaway at McDonald’s!

  Anyway, when mom came home from the mall with a special back-to-school present for me, I was pretty sure I knew what it was.

  She rambled on and on about how my attending a new private school was going to be a “stressful time of tremendous personal growth” and how my best “coping mechanism” would be to “communicate” my “thoughts and feelings.”

  I was absolutely

  ECSTATIC

  because you can communicate with a

  NEW CELL PHONE!

  Right?!

  I kind of zoned out on most of what my mom was saying because I was DAYDREAMING about all of the cool ring tones, music, and movies I was going to download. It was going to be LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!

  But after my mom finally finished her little speech, she smiled really big, hugged me, and handed me a
BOOK.

  I opened it and FRANTICALLY flipped through the pages, figuring that maybe she had hidden my new cell phone inside.

  It made perfect sense at the time because all the advertisements said it was the thinnest model on the market.

  But slowly it dawned on me that my mom had NOT gotten me a cell phone, and my so-called present was just a stupid little book!

  Talk about major HEARTBREAK!

  Then I noticed that ALL the pages of the book were BLANK.

  I was like, OH. NO. SHE. DIDN’T!

  My mom had given me two things: a DIARY and irrefutable evidence she IS, in fact,

  CLINICALLY BRAIN DEAD!!

  Absolutely no one writes their most intimate feelings and deep, dark secrets in a diary anymore! WHY?!

  Because just one or two people knowing all your BIZ could completely ruin your reputation.

  You’re supposed to post this kind of juicy stuff online in your BLOG so MILLIONS can read it!!!

  Only a TOTAL DORK would be caught WRITING in a DIARY!!

  This is THE worst present I have ever received in my entire life! I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs:

  “Mom, I don’t need a STUPID book with 288 BLANK pages!!”

  What I NEED is to be able to “communicate” my “thoughts and feelings” to my friends using my very own cell phone.

  Wait! Silly me. I keep forgetting. I don’t have any friends. YET. But that could change overnight, and I need to be prepared. With a shiny, new cell!

  In the meantime, I will NOT write in this diary again.

  NEVER! EVER!!

  MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

  Okay. I know I said I’d never write in this diary again. I meant it at the time. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who curls up with a diary and a box of Godiva chocolates to write a bunch of really sappy stuff about my dreamy boyfriend, my first kiss, or my overwhelming ANGST about the HORRIFIC discovery that I’m a PRINCESS of a small French-speaking principality and now worth MILLIONS.

  THIS IS SO NOT-NOT ME!

  MY LIFE TOTALLY SUCKS!!

  All day I wandered around my new school like a zombie in lip gloss. Not a single person bothered to say hi.

  THIS IS ME!

  MOST OF THE TIME I

  FEEL INVISIBLE!

  How am I supposed to fit in at a snobby prep school like Westchester Country Day?! This place has a Starbucks in the cafeteria!

  I wish my dad had NEVER been awarded a bug extermination contract from this school.

  They can take their little pity scholarship and give it to someone who wants and needs it, because I sure DON’T!

  TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

  It’s way past midnight, and I’m about to freak out because I still don’t have my homework done. The assignment is for Honors English Lit and we’re reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare. I was kind of surprised, because I didn’t know he wrote teen chick lit.

  It’s about a mischievous fairy named Puck, who tries to break up a really cute couple lost in an enchanted forest.

  Then, this guy with a donkey head crashes a big fairy party and hooks up with their queen. Pretty weird stuff!

  Our homework assignment is to complete three essay questions about PUCK:

  1. Would you consider Puck the protagonist of the play? Why or why not?

  2. How do Puck’s personality and actions set the mood of the play?

  3. Use your imagination and provide either a detailed physical description or a drawing of Puck.

  The first two questions weren’t that hard, and I finished them in no time at all. However, the third question threw me for a loop.

  I didn’t have the slightest idea what Puck looked like.

  But I tried to imagine him with cute little pointy ears and AS HOT AS:

  NICK JONAS

  CORBIN BLEU

  JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

  I was also dying to know if having a messed-up name like Puck had completely RUINED his life.

  I bet the popular kids at his school called him “Puke,” “Schmuck,” “Yuck,” or something worse.

  POOR PUCK !!

  I tried to go to that educational website “Wiki-something-or-other” that everyone plagiarizes to find a picture of Puck.

  But I couldn’t remember the name of it and was too lazy to Google it.

  I was really surprised to hear a knock on my bedroom door this late at night, and I assumed it was my six-year-old sister, Brianna.

  About a week ago, she lost one of her front teeth and buried it in the backyard to see if it would grow. She is FOREVER doing crazy-weird stuff like that.

  My mom says it’s because she’s still a little kid. But I personally think it’s because she has the IQ of a box of crayons.

  As a little joke, I told Brianna the tooth fairy collected teeth from children all over the world and then Super Glued them together to make dentures for old people.

  I explained that she was in BIG TROUBLE with the tooth fairy, seeing as she had dug a hole and buried her tooth somewhere out in the backyard.

  The funniest part was that Brianna TOTALLY believed me. She actually dug up half of Mom’s flower garden trying to find her tooth.

  Since then Brianna has been paranoid that the tooth fairy is going to sneak into her room in the middle of the night and pull out ALL her teeth to make dentures.

  But my prank kind of backfired, because now she absolutely REFUSES to use the bathroom at night unless I first check to make sure the tooth fairy is not hiding behind the shower curtain or under the bath towels.

  And if I’m not quick enough, Brianna will have a little “accident” right on my bedroom carpet.

  Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way that (contrary to the TV commercial) Carpet Fresh DOES NOT remove all odors.

  Lucky for me, it wasn’t Brianna at my door, but my parents.

  Before I could say, “Come in,” they just kind of barged in like they always do, which really irritated me, because this is supposed to be MY room! And as an American citizen, I have a constitutional right to PRIVACY, which they keep invading.

  The next time my parents and Brianna come rollin’ up in here, I’m gonna scream,

  “Hey! Why don’t y’all just MOVE IN?!”

  Anyway, my parents said they were surprised to see that I was still up doing homework, and they wanted to know how things were going at school.

  It was really strange, because just as I was about to answer, I had a total meltdown right on the spot and burst into tears.

  My parents were shocked and stared at me and then at each other.

  Finally, Mom hugged me and said, “My poor little Boo-Boo!” which only made me feel WORSE.

  Not fitting in at school was bad enough. But now I had to suffer the additional humiliation of being the only fourteen-year-old still being called “little Boo-Boo”! Suddenly my dad’s face lit up.

  “Hey, I’ve got a great idea! We know you’ve been under a lot of stress lately with our move and your new school. I bet if we posted some positive affirmations all around the house, it would help you adjust. You think?”

  I was like, “Okay, Dad, THIS is what I think: It’s a STUPID idea! Like sticky notes with corny sayings on them will solve my problem of being a TOTAL

  LOSER at school. You wanna know what else I think? The article I read about bug extermination chemicals killing off brain cells is probably true!”

  But I just said it inside my head, so no one else heard it but me.

  My parents kept staring at me, and it was starting to creep me out. Finally, after what seemed like forever, my mom smiled and said, “Honey, just remember, we love you! And if you need us, we’re right down the hall.”

  They walked back to their bedroom, and for several minutes, I could hear their muffled voices. I guessed that they were probably discussing whether or not I should be committed to a mental hospital right then or first thing in the morning.

  Since it was so late, I decided to finish my Puck assignment d
uring study hall.

  I wonder if you still have to hand in homework when you’re locked up in a PSYCHO WARD?

 
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