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       Dork Diaries Book 9: Tales From a Not-So-Dorky Drama Queen, p.1

           Rachel Renée Russell
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Dork Diaries Book 9: Tales From a Not-So-Dorky Drama Queen


  THANKS

  FOR DOWNLOADING THIS EBOOK!

  We have SO many more books for kids in the in-beTWEEN age that we’d love to share with you! Sign up for our IN THE MIDDLE books newsletter and you’ll receive news about other great books, exclusive excerpts, games, author interviews, and more!

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  With love to my twin brothers, Ronald and Donald

  Thank you for being the inspiration for (and the subject of) the very first book I wrote as an aspiring author in fifth grade!

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  A special thanks to Liesa Abrams Mignogna, my editor; Karin Paprocki, my art director; and Katherine Devendorf, my managing editor, who literally weathered many storms (floods, hurricanes, ice storms, and blizzards) to create this very special book. Your vision, unwavering support, and maniacal focus to detail helped to make my dream of a book from the perspective of MacKenzie Hollister a reality. YAY US!!

  Daniel Lazar, my friend and INCREDIBLE agent! The Dork Diaries series has taken us on this wonderful journey together! Although it’s been eleven books, this is just the first chapter of many great things to come.

  A special thanks to my Team Dork staff at Aladdin/Simon & Schuster: Mara Anastas, Mary Marotta, Jon Anderson, Julie Doebler, Jennifer Romanello, Faye Bi, Carolyn Swerdloff, Lucille Rettino, Matt Pantoliano, Christina Pecorale, and the entire sales force. You’re the BEST team an author could ask for!

  To Torie Doherty-Munro at Writers House; my foreign rights agents Maja Nikolic, Cecilia de la Campa, and Angharad Kowal, and to Deena, Lori, Zoé, Marie, and Joy—thanks for helping me to spread the DORKINESS!

  And last but not least, Erin, Nikki, Kim, Doris, and my entire family! Thank you for believing in me! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!

  Always remember to let your inner DORK shine through!

  WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2

  The past twenty-four hours of my life have been so disgustingly NAUSEATING that I’m actually starting to feel like a . . . puddle of . . . um, cat . . . VOMIT!!

  First I ruined my brand-new sweater with a PBJ and pickle sandwich (a long story).

  Then I got hit in the face by a dodgeball during gym in front of the ENTIRE class and ended up trapped in a wacky fairy tale (an even longer story!).

  Okay, I can handle the utter HUMILIATION of walking around school OBLIVIOUS to the fact that a SANDWICH is stuck to my abdomen like duct tape.

  Hey, I can even handle a mild concussion. However, what I CAN’T handle is the fact that “someone” started an AWFUL rumor about me!

  I overheard two CCP (Cute, Cool & Popular) girls gossiping about it in the bathroom.

  Rumor has it that my CRUSH kissed me (at a charity event last weekend) on a DARE merely to snag a FREE large pizza from Queasy Cheesy!

  Of course I totally FREAKED when I heard it! Not only is a dare like that rude and insensitive, but it’s a very cruel joke to play on a person like . . . well . . . ME!

  I was SURE the whole thing was a big fat LIE! Sorry! But everyone knows Queasy Cheesy pizzas are just NASTY! Had it been a dare for a yummy Crazy Burger, I’d TOTALLY believe it!

  Hey, I’ll be the first to admit, that rumor could have been A LOT worse. But STILL . . . !! I just wish “someone” would stay out of my personal business. And by “someone,” I mean my mortal enemy . . . MACKENZIE HOLLISTER !!

  I don’t know why that girl HATES MY GUTS! It wasn’t MY fault Principal Winston gave her a three-day detention for “unsportsmanlike behavior” for slamming me in the face with that dodgeball.

  I’m really LUCKY I’m not in a COMA right now! Or undergoing life-threatening surgery . . .

  Anyway, as punishment for what MacKenzie did to me, she has to clean the bug-infested showers in the girls’ locker room.

  Unfortunately, I learned today that the bug problem in there is REALLY bad!!

  I was sitting behind MacKenzie in French class finishing up my homework when I noticed there was something stuck in her hair.

  At first I thought it was one of those fancy designer barrettes she loves to wear. But when I took a closer look, I realized it was actually a gigantic dead STINK BUG!! EWW !!

  That’s when I tapped her on the shoulder. “Um, MacKenzie! Excuse me, but I just wanted to let you know that—”

  “Nikki, WHY are you even talking to me?! Just mind your OWN business!” she said, glaring at me like I was something her spoiled poodle, Fifi, had left in the grass in her backyard.

  MACKENZIE, GLARING AT ME IN A VERY RUDE MANNER!

  “Okay! Then I won’t tell you there’s a huge dead STINK BUG in your hair!” I said very calmly. “Besides, it kinda looks like an ugly barrette! And it totally complements your eye color!”

  “WHAT?!” MacKenzie gasped, and her eyes got as big as saucers.

  She whipped out her makeup mirror.

  “OMG! OMG! There’s a big black . . . INSECT with prickly legs tangled in my golden tresses! EEEEEEEEEEEK!!!” she shrieked. Then she started jumping around hysterically and shaking her hair to get it out. She had a complete meltdown!

  “You’re making it worse. Now it’s even more tangled in there. Just sit down and chillax!” I said as I grabbed a tissue and reached for her hair.

  “GET AWAY FROM ME!!” she screamed. “I don’t want TWO disgusting CREATURES in my beautiful hair!”

  “Stop acting like a spoiled BRAT!” I shot back. I’m just removing the bug for you! See?!”

  ME, REMOVING THE STINK BUG FROM MACKENZIE’S HAIR

  “That is DISGUSTING! Get it away from me!”

  “You’re welcome!” I said, glaring at her.

  “Hmph! Don’t expect a thank-you from me! It’s all YOUR fault that bug was in my hair! It’s probably from those nasty showers I’m being forced to clean.”

  Suddenly she folded her arms and narrowed her eyes at me.

  “Or maybe YOU put it in my hair to try to ruin my reputation! I bet you want everyone to think my house is overrun with disgusting bugs! Again.”

  “MacKenzie, I think your lip gloss must be leaking into your brain. That’s ridiculous!”

  “How could you put that nasty BUG in my hair?! I’m getting SICK just thinking about it. UGH!!”

  Then she covered her mouth and mumbled something. But I couldn’t understand a word. . . .

  ME, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT MACKENZIE WAS SAYING!

  Although we were in French class, it definitely didn’t sound like she was speaking French!

  By the time I FINALLY figured out what she was saying, it was TOO late.

  Desperate, she took off running toward the wastebasket at the front of the room.

  But, unfortunately, she DIDN’T make it.

  I could NOT believe that MacKenzie Hollister, the QUEEN of the CCPs, actually threw up in front of the ENTIRE French class!

  She was like a bad car accident! I really DIDN’T want to see her covered in puke from head to toe ! But I couldn’t help staring !

  I have never seen her SO embarrassed. SO humiliated. SO vulnerable. SO um . . . MESSY!

  I was both shocked and surprised when I was suddenly overcome with overwhelming emotion.

  I had NEVER, EVER felt more SORRY for a human being in my ENTIRE life! . . .

  POOR CHUCK THE JANITOR!! HE HAS A REALLY DIRTY JOB!

  It seemed like such a grave injustice that HE had to clean up the horrible mess that MacKenzie had made.

  Sometimes life is SO UNFAIR !!

  But he took his job very seriously because he actu
ally put on one of those paper mask thingies that doctors wear during surgery.

  I’m guessing it was probably because of the very noxious and excessive . . . STINKAGE!

  Anyway, our French teacher immediately sent MacKenzie down to the office to call her parents to go home for the rest of the day.

  And instead of having class in our smelly, contaminated room, our teacher took us down to the library to quietly study our French vocabulary words.

  Which was PERFECT for me because I was able to work on my special project for National Library Week later this month.

  My BFFs, Chloe and Zoey, and I held a book drive for our school back in September, and it was a HUGE success.

  So now we’re planning an even bigger one for National Library Week!

  We’ll also be traveling to NYC for a book festival and will get to “Meet-n-Greet” some of our favorite authors. SQUEEEEEEE!!!

  Anyway, I can’t believe MacKenzie ACTUALLY thinks I put that stink bug in her hair!!

  Unfortunately for her, it looks like the kids in our class are already GOSSIPING about what happened.

  One girl had her cell phone out. She showed it to a guy, and then they started snickering like crazy.

  I guessed that she was probably texting the ENTIRE school!

  But this whole thing is all MacKenzie’s fault!!

  She totally OVERREACTED and FREAKED OUT even after I offered to help her.

  MacKenzie is such a VOMIT QUEEN!

  OOPS! I meant . . .

  DRAMA QUEEN!

  Sorry about that, MacKenzie!!

  !!

  THURSDAY, APRIL 3

  I’m SO upset right now I can barely write !! I was at my locker, minding my own business, when MacKenzie tapped me on my shoulder and sneered, “Why are YOU always hanging around here?!! PLEASE! Just go away!”

  “Sorry, but I hang around here because, unfortunately, MY locker is right next to YOURS,” I said, rolling my eyes at her.

  “I still can’t believe you put that bug in my hair! I’ll NEVER speak to you again as long as I live!!”

  “Whatever, MacKenzie!” I muttered as I counted down in my head for her to start blabbing at me again. Five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . .

  “You’re MAD at me because I spilled the beans that Brandon kissed you on a DARE just to get a free pizza! And now everyone is gossiping about it. So to get even, you PRETENDED to be injured in gym class just to get ME in trouble! . . .”

  “NIKKI, YOU’RE JUST A PATHETIC FAKE!”

  Sorry, but I could only take so much of Miss Thang talking TRASH right to my face like that! So I got all up in HER face and said . . .

  “Really, MacKenzie?! You think I’M faking?!! Does this BRUISE look FAKE to you?! I don’t think so! The ONLY fake things around here, girlfriend, are YOUR bad hair extensions and tacky spray-on tan!!”

  ME, SHOWING MACKENZIE MY BRUISE

  “Poor baby! So, I’m supposed to feel guilty when I actually did you a big FAVOR?” MacKenzie snarled. “That cute little bruise I gave you draws attention away from your hideous face!”

  “Um, MacKenzie, have you looked at YOUR face lately? What brand of makeup did you use this morning? Paint-by-number?!”

  “I wouldn’t go there if I were you. My designer lipstick cost MORE than your entire ugly outfit. So don’t HATE me because I’m BEAUTIFUL!”

  “Well, you need to EAT some of your designer lipstick. Then MAYBE you’ll be BEAUTIFUL on the INSIDE!” I shot back.

  Suddenly MacKenzie got SUPERserious and stared at my forehead.

  “Nikki, I’m really worried about that bruise. It looks like gangrene might be setting in. I need to run down to the nurse’s office and get some bandages for you. Wait right here, okay, hon?”

  But I already knew what was going on in that TWISTED little BRAIN of hers. . . .

  MACKENZIE, PUTTING A BANDAGE ON MY BRUISE!

  When she got done with me, I was going to look like a . . . totally messed up . . . middle school, um . . . MUMMY!

  And I was NOT about to let MacKenzie publicly HUMILIATE me! Again!

  It was bad enough that she was spreading a nasty rumor about me. But now I was worried she was going to ruin my friendship with Brandon.

  Anyway, I was getting my books out of my locker and still FUMING about everything she’d done to me, when I felt ANOTHER tap on my shoulder!

  JUST GREAT !! The last thing I wanted to deal with right then was a second round of harassment from MacKenzie. I was so NOT letting her put bandages on my bruise!

  That’s when I totally lost it! I wanted to shove her bandages right down her throat. But since I don’t believe in violence, I decided to just tell her off in a very RUDE yet friendly way. . . .

  OMG!! When I turned around and saw it was BRANDON, I totally FREAKED OUT!!

  His mouth dropped open and he looked hurt and confused. I guess I was in shock or something, because when I tried to explain why I’d said those things and apologize, all that came out was . . .

  We just stood there. Very awkwardly. Staring at each other for what seemed like FOREVER!

  “Okay, Nikki. If that’s what you really want,” he finally said quietly. “I guess I was totally out of line last weekend when I . . . you know. Anyway, I owe you an apology. I’m very sorry.”

  “WHAT?! Brandon, I don’t want or need your apology. What I’m trying to say is that I made a big mistake. Actually, I owe YOU an apolo—”

  “Mistake?! Really?! Is that all it was to you?”

  “Of course it was a mistake. I’d never do anything like that to you on purpose. It was a brief moment of stupidity and I’m sorry it happened. But it will NEVER happen again, I promise. You did NOT deserve that.”

  Brandon looked even more hurt than before.

  It was almost like he didn’t understand a word I was saying.

  After another long silence, he took a deep breath and let out a sad sigh. “I really don’t know what to say. . . .”

  “Actually, Brandon, you don’t have to say anything at all. I was really angry. And, as crazy as it sounds, I thought you were someone else.”

  “I know I could have been more honest with you. But I didn’t mean to mislead you. Just don’t be mad at me, okay?”

  “You don’t understand! I was actually mad at—”

  “I DO understand, Nikki, and I want you to be happy. So I’ll just back off, if that’s what you really want.”

  He nervously brushed his shaggy bangs out of his eyes and glanced at his watch.

  “Anyway, I think we BOTH better get to class. Later.” Then he shoved his hands in his pockets and quickly walked away. . . .

  ME, TOTALLY CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT JUST HAPPENED BETWEEN BRANDON AND ME !

  MUST. NOT. PANIC!!!

  Did I really just ACCIDENTALLY tell Brandon I was sick and tired of him making my life miserable and to go slither under a rock?!!

  Yep! I think I actually DID!!

  Okay, time to PANIC!!! . . .

  AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH !!!

  (That was me screaming!)

  OMG! Like, WHO does that to their CRUSH?!!

  I sighed, collapsed against my locker, and blinked back tears of frustration.

  A massive wave of insecurity hung over me like a dark storm cloud as I carefully contemplated my next move:

  1. Just “Shake It Off” and get to my geometry class since I had a quiz starting in less than two minutes (and I still needed to study) !

  2. Follow Brandon around the school “stalker-style” and apologize profusely until he finally accepts and agrees that we’re best buds again.

  3. Rush to the girls’ bathroom, lock myself in a stall, and have a meltdown until Chloe and Zoey come and rescue me (AGAIN!).

  4. Climb into my locker, slam the door shut, and stay in there SULKING until the last day of school or until I DIE of hunger, whichever occurs first!

  I am the WORST! FRIEND!! EVER!!!

  And now I THINK BRANDON HATES ME!!

  !!
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  FRIDAY, APRIL 4

  Today we only had a half day of school due to teacher training. Which means I didn’t get a chance to talk to Chloe and Zoey about that big blowup I had with Brandon yesterday.

  The crazy thing is that I think I’m more upset about it today than I was yesterday. Go figure!

  I stopped by Brandon’s locker a couple of times to try to talk to him, but he was never around.

  So now I’m starting to suspect that he might be avoiding me. If I were him, I’d avoid me too!

  I really want to believe MacKenzie made up that stupid rumor about the Prank-4-Pizza—but what if all (or some?) of it is actually TRUE ?!!

  NONE of this makes sense! So in spite of all the craziness with Brandon yesterday, I’ll still consider him a true friend. He deserves it.

  The Brandon I know would NEVER, EVER accept a dare like that. And I REFUSE to waste any more of my time OBSESSING over it.

  Anyway, after school I was doing my biology homework when my bratty little sister, Brianna, came skipping into my room, singing to herself.

  “I’ve got a surprise! I’ve got a surprise!”

  She poked her head over my shoulder to see what I was doing.

  “Don’t you wanna know what it is?” she asked.

  “Nope,” I answered indifferently, and continued reading.

  “Well, I’m gonna show you anyway!”

  That’s when Brianna grinned and slammed a fishbowl on top of my biology book. Water splashed everywhere. My homework was completely soaked! . . .

  BRIANNA, SPLASHING WATER ON ME AND MY HOMEWORK!

  Brianna!!” I yelled. “What are you doing?! Now my book and homework are soaking wet! Go away!”

  I took another look at the fishbowl and realized there was actually a goldfish in it.

 
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