Authors: Lisi Harrison
Copyright © 2009 by Alloy Entertainment
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced,
distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written
permission of the publisher.
“When I Grow Up,” by Rodney Jerkins, James Stanley MacCarty, Smith Paul Granville Samwell, Theron Makiel Thomas, Timothy Jamahli
Thomas (Rodney Jerkins Productions, Inc., Glenwood Music Corporation/EMI Music Publishing, Inc., Universal Music Corporation).
All rights reserved.
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Visit our website at
First eBook Edition: August 2009
Poppy is an imprint of Little, Brown and Company
The Poppy name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and
not intended by the author.
BEST FRIENDS FOR NEVER
REVENGE OF THE WANNABES
INVASION OF THE BOY SNATCHERS
THE PRETTY COMMITTEE STRIKES BACK
DIAL L FOR LOSER
IT’S NOT EASY BEING MEAN
SEALED WITH A DISS
BRATFEST AT TIFFANY’S
THE CLIQUE SUMMER COLLECTION
P.S. I LOATHE YOU
BOYS R US
Other novels by Lisi Harrison:
For Danielle Paige, alpha extraordinaire
Welcome to the inaugural class of Alpha Academy. Thousands of girls answered the alpha call over the last year. One hundred
have been selected. The fittest shall survive.
As you know from my No. 1 best-selling autobiographies,
Watch Your Outback: An Aussie Orphan’s Struggle to Endure
You Can’t Eat Hope
From Roos to Riches
, I have built a billion-dollar empire on nothing but good instincts and sheer determination—or, rather, “Shira determination,”
as many Fortune 500 CEOs now call it. My FEWs (Female Empowerment Workshops) have been licensed all around the world and translated
into seventy languages. My cosmetics company, X-Chromosome, is the leading manufacturer in beauty products for girls, worldwide.
And Brazille Enterprises… Well, I’ll stop here.
This is about you.
While my legacy will live forever, I may not.
Should I eventually pass, I will leave behind one hundred girls forever changed by Alpha Academy. Your illustrious class
is filled with hyphenates: We have an environmentalist-poetess, a dancer-model-actress, a junior Wimbledon winner–-inventor,
a Bollywood film star–cell phone novelist. But a true alpha is more than her résumé. She is more than perfect pitch, a perfect
turnout, a perfect ten, or even a perfect IQ. She is a machine with heart. She is the future. She is you.
Survive a year at Alpha Academy and your wildest dreams will roll out before you like a giant red carpet. Orientation begins
September 5. Bring your A-game and a toothbrush. Everything else will be provided. Enclosed is an aPod. It will explain the
rest. Turn it on.
President of Brazille Enterprises
International Alpha Female
There were five Skye Hamiltons in the Body Alive Dance Studio. One on each mirrored wall and one in the flesh. As in-the-flesh
Skye step-turn-step-plié-step-fan-step-ball-changed, the reflections followed. So did the nine other girls in Atelier No.
1. Or at least they tried.
A trickle of sweat slithered from the base of Skye’s tightly bunned blond waves down the back of her pale blue leo. She drew
her shoulder blades back (even more), trying to pinch the salty snake—not because she was embarrassed, but because she could.
Her body always did what it was told. All she had to do crank up the music and ask.
“And one… twooo… thu-hree… fourrrr… five… six… seh-vuuuun… eight.” Madame Prokofiev slow-clapped to the jazzy ooze of Michael
Bublé’s “Fever” while scanning her students for TICS (Timing, Incongruity, Carelessness, and Smiles). As always, her scrutinizing
brown eyes whizzed past Skye like two bullets aimed at someone else.
“Too wristy, Becca!” She clapped. “Less chin, Reese.” Clap. “Rollllllll the knee, Wendi. Don’t poke.” Clap. Clap. “And I swear
on my tendons, Heidi, if you don’t fix that posture, I’m going to use you as a throw pillow!”
Chignoned and clad in a no-nonsense black cami with matching flare dance pants, the aging brunette looked like a prima ballerina
laced up tighter than a pair of toe shoes. Yet she moved like honey and stung like a bee.
Skye loved her.
Charged by Madame P’s silent approval, Skye added a turn before the freeze, then came out of it with hands in prayer pose—a
Bollywood Namaste Flower. The routine hadn’t called for it—her instincts had. She’d downloaded the M.I.A. track from
, and like some people got songs stuck in their heads, Skye had this one stuck in her body.
“Enough.” Madame P clapped sharply, the frown lines in her passion-wrinkled forehead bunched like loose leg warmers.
Had she gone too far with her flower?
All nine dancers stop-panted, but Skye’s heart kept hitch-kicking against her rib cage. Finally, she crossed her arms over
her B-minus cups and ordered it to take five.
She lined up with the rest of the DSL Daters (they made super-fast connections with boys), Missy Cambridge, Becca Brie, Leslie
Lynn Rubin, and Heidi Sprout. Like Skye, her besties were blond—two in braids, two with ponies—and wore identical pink balloon
skirts over gray leotards and tights (BADS Anna Pavlova Collection). Skye had added her signature sleeves—like leg warmers
for arms; today’s were black mesh with charms dangling from the wrists: a horseshoe for luck, a dance shoe for love, a pair
of lips for kissing, and a locker key for practical reasons. Every time she moved they jingled, adding a little extra something
to the otherwise humdrum musical score.
“Flair, ladies.” Madame P heel-toed to the center of the room, clucking her tongue in disappointment. “Dance is not just knowing
the steps. It’s interpreting them.” She winked at Skye, releasing her from the scold. “So please try to remember. We’re doing
, so stop sucking!”
Some of the girls gasped. Some giggled nervously. Skye pressed her thumb against the sharp grooves of her locker key. The
pain kept her from gloat-smirking.
Madame Prokofiev snapped her fingers. “Again! And one… twooo… thu-hree… fourrrr… five… six… seh-vuuuun… eight.”
This time, the girls responded like thoroughbreds at the starting bell. Their Capezio’d feet polished the shiny wood floor
that the Hamilton family had owned for years. The force of their synchronized movements pumped Skye with energy and made her
sweat pride. Not only for the girls who danced, but also for her parents, who gave them the place to do it.
A thunderous knock interrupted their flow. The door opened just enough for Madame P to see that someone wanted her in the
hall. She gave Skye a nod, silently transferring power to her star pupil, and then slipped out.
Skye rolled her neck, then padded happily to the front of the class, pausing only to change songs. “Same routine in triple
time.” She grinned, her legs twitching, ready for some real dancing.
When I grow up I wanna be famous I wanna be a star
…” the Pussycat Dolls meowed from the iPod deck.
“Ah-five, six, seven, eight…” Skye went hard. The midday light pouring in from the windows found her like a spotlight.
Tutting, waving, popping and locking, she moved faster to the pounding beat than the Tasmanian Devil on
So You Think You Can Dance
. With Madame P gone, she could let go of the traditional dance steps and express herself freely. Borrowing at will, she riffed
on a few Bollywood moves, added the punch of Broadway, a dash of Beyoncé hip-shaking, and a sprinkle of ballet scissors from
Romeo and Juliet
. She moved between more styles than a
montage. At the end, she executed a final glissé tour jeté, leaped up, and gave a little bow to the captivated audience that
would be there one day. The charms on her sleeves clanged together. They sounded like applause.
Straightening, she turned to the two rows of four behind her and panted, “Again. Without me this time.”
Skye had set the barre high. Just like it had been set for her by her mother years ago. Leslie Lynn attacked the moves with
gusto, but that very same headbanging enthusiasm caused her bangs to wriggle free from her loose braid. Her attempt to sideswipe
them during an axel turn dropped her one second behind the other dancers and left her dragging like a piece of toilet paper
on the back of a shoe.
Feet turned out in textbook first position—her power position—Skye pursed her lips and channeled her inner Russian dance dictator.
“The mirrors are here for us to perfect our form, not our hair,” she announced. Leslie picked up the pace with an embarrassed
“Chest out,” Skye demanded of Heidi, whose posture had taken another dive. Heidi had sprouted B-plus cups this year, the pull
of which she was obviously still having trouble adjusting to. “Own ’em, H!”