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Authors: Caroline B. Cooney

Among Friends

BOOK: Among Friends
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Praise for
Among Friends

A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age

“Well developed and fast paced.”


Voice of Youth Advocates

“The style is breezy [and] accessible and readers will respond to the author’s candid view of friendship.”


Booklist

 

Novels by Caroline B. Cooney

The Lost Songs

Three Black Swans

They Never Came Back

If the Witness Lied

Diamonds in the Shadow

A Friend at Midnight

Hit the Road

Code Orange

The Girl Who Invented Romance

Family Reunion

Goddess of Yesterday

The Ransom of Mercy Carter

Tune In Anytime

Burning Up

What Child Is This?

Driver’s Ed

Twenty Pageants Later

Among Friends

The Time Travelers,
Volumes I and II

The Janie Books

The Face on the Milk Carton

Whatever Happened to Janie?

The Voice on the Radio

What Janie Found

What Janie Saw
(an ebook original short story)

Janie Face to Face

The Time Travel Quartet

Both Sides of Time

Out of Time

Prisoner of Time

For All Time

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 1987 by Caroline B. Cooney
Cover illustration copyright © by Jackie Parsons

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. Originally published in hardcover by Delacorte Press in 1987.

Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

Visit us on the Web!
randomhouse.com/teens

Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at
RHTeachersLibrarians.com

The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition of this work as follows:
Cooney, Caroline B.
Among friends / Caroline B. Cooney
p. cm.
Summary: Six high school juniors discover surprising, often painful, things about themselves and their relationships with the people around them in the diaries they are asked to keep as a three-month English assignment.
[1. Self-perception—Fiction. 2. Friendship—Fiction. 3. Interpersonal relations—Fiction. 4. High schools—Fiction. 5. Schools—Fiction.] I. Title
PZ7.C7834 Am 1987
[Fic]—dc22
87018853

eISBN: 978-0-307-81892-8

Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.

v3.1

For my son, Harold

Contents

Everybody who had Miss MacBeth for English last year warned us that The Assignment was coming up, but still we thought we could bring Miss MacBeth around. We’ll read an extra Shakespeare play, we promised, we’ll read
Moby Dick
, we’ll read
War and Peace
, we’ll read any book with 800 pages, but please, please, please don’t make us keep diaries!

Miss MacBeth just passed out spiral notebooks with green pages, like the ones secretaries use for shorthand. “You’ll find these easy to fill,” she said.

There are sixteen of us in advanced junior English. Sixteen moans rose up like a chorus of dogs at the pound.


Fill
?” we said, horrified. “Miss MacBeth, you expect us to
fill
these books? What are we going to
say
?”

“Whatever comes to mind,” said Miss MacBeth. “We’ll keep them for three months. You’ll be surprised at what happens in your lives over three months.” She smiled, but her smile landed, of course, on Jennie.

I looked at Jennie too, but I didn’t smile.

Once there was an Awesome Threesome.

Jennie and Hillary and me.

You come across a lot of best friends, but we were the
only trio in school history. If only The Awesome Threesome still existed! Jennie would first of all talk Miss MacBeth around and get us a better assignment. Teachers try to please Jennie, instead of the other way around. And if Jennie lost, and we did have to keep diaries, Jennie would make it such fun! We’d read each other’s entries, and laugh around the clock. Or else Jennie would think up some crazy diary-writing technique to make everybody else in the room wish they could be part of The Awesome Threesome, too.

Today was like old times for a minute. Jennie and Hillary and I stood there in the hall after English class staring at our blank notebooks, leaning against each other to make a tepee: Jennie always said three made a perfect support.

Like third grade. I still remember the day Jennie said we were going to learn to jump rope or die trying. She made us stand in the road with that piece of clothesline all day, and we even missed lunch; we lied to our mothers and said we’d eaten at each other’s houses. But by the time it was dark, we could each jump into the rope and do any pattern we’d ever seen done.

Today we straightened up from the tepee and Jennie said, “Let’s play ‘This Hallway Is Ours.’ ”

She invented that game on the first day of high school, when we were scrawny little ninth graders and everybody else was lost in the maze of halls or struggling to remember new locker combinations. We were scared of the seniors because they seemed so old and sophisticated, so tall and well dressed. But we linked arms, because Jennie said that if we’d been The Awesome Threesome in junior high, we’d
really
be The Awesome Threesome in high school. We marched down those unfamiliar halls like the
Salvation Army taking over a street corner, and even the seniors got out of our way.

We haven’t done that in ages.

For a while I thought the change in The Awesome Threesome was from summer. After all, I had a job at McDonald’s and Hillary’s grandmother took her to Europe and Jennie—I don’t even know what Jennie did all summer. It was the first time The Awesome Threesome went separate ways. And somehow it’s not going back together. Or rather, Hill and I go together, but Jennie—Jennie’s “busy.” That’s Jennie’s word for when she’s being a success and we’re just going shopping.

Sometimes before class, we find that I’ve studied two hours a day all week for the test—and Jennie forgot about it. But I’ll get an 83 and Jennie will get 96 without trying.

When I’ve wept over my hair, I go to school and see Jennie all fluffy and sparkly, and I know that the most she’s ever done is run a brush through her hair once.

When you’re little kids, jumping rope together, you don’t know you’re going to be dull. You think you’re going to be exciting and popular and gaudy and bright. And Jennie
is
!

Whereas I’m just Emily.

Jennie is racing on ahead; her speed in life is twice mine. I’m slogging along back here, choking on her dust.

I’m jealous.

Terrible, terrible word.

Jealousy is a little ball inside me, like a malignant tumor. As long as it stays a little ball, I’ll be okay, I can control it. But what if the ball bursts? What if it spreads through me like some dreadful stain?

I can’t tell my mother, who would be ashamed of me. I can’t tell Hillary, because she doesn’t seem to have bad
feelings toward Jennie. I can’t tell Jennie, because it’s not Jennie’s fault she’s terrrific and I’m ordinary.

Look at that. I even put three “r” ’s in terrific. Jennie’s terrrific deserves more than the usual number.

All autumn this jealousy has been building. Now I’m choking on it.

So I guess I’m lucky to have a diary. Somebody to tell.

Oh, how weird! I’m calling the diary
somebody
, as if it’s a person who understands, not a bunch of wired-together green pages!

BOOK: Among Friends
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