Authors: Lauren Barnholdt
ALSO BY LAUREN BARNHOLDT
The Secret Identity of Devon Delaney
Devon Delaney Should Totally Know Better
Four Truths and a Lie
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.
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First Aladdin hardcover edition October 2010
Copyright Â© 2010 by Lauren Barnholdt
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Designed by Jessica Handelman
The text of this book was set in Lomba Book.
Manufactured in the United States of America 0810 FFG
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Full CIP data for this book is available from the Library of Congress.
ISBN 978-1-4424-0954-5 (eBook)
For my dad
Thanks to my editor, Kate Angelella, for always knowing what's best for the book and being so absolutely amazing to work with.
Alyssa Henkin, for being the best agent a girl could ask forâ“thank you” doesn't even begin to cover it!
My husband, Aaron, for everythingâI love you.
My mom, for constantly sending me emails about what to blog aboutâthanks for always being there for me.
My sisters, Krissi and Kelsey, for being my best friends.
Jodi Yanarella, Scott Neumyer, Kevin Cregg, and the Govine family for their support.
Jessica BurkhartâTEAM BARNHART FTW!
Mandy Hubbard for Text in the City, and answering all my crazy emails.
And, of course, all the girls who read the Devon books or
Four Truths and a Lie
and emailed me to tell me how much you liked themâit means more than you know.
ON THE FIRST DAY OF SEVENTH GRADE
, I open my locker before homeroom to find a note from Eric Niles, which says the following:
You look really pretty today.
Your Secret Admirer
In kindergarten, Eric and I got seated next to each other by accident when the teacher thought I was a boy, since they'd mistakenly printed “Sam” on the class list instead of my full name, “Samantha.” Eric didn't want to sit next to a girl, so he burst into tears, and then
burst into tears, and Eric felt so bad that at recess he picked me a dandelion
flower and asked me to marry him. Ever since then, he's been kind of like my stalker. But not the really crazy kind you have to get a restraining order against or anything. More like the slightly obsessive, slightly annoying kind you roll your eyes at and try to tolerate.
“Is that from Eric?” my best friend, Daphne, says, coming up behind me. She peers over my shoulder at the paper. “How does he know you look really pretty today? Has he even
you yet?” She takes a good look at my first-day-of-school outfitâjean skirt, leggings, black-and-white-striped top, and huge earrings. “Although you do look pretty cute.”
“Daphne, this is Eric we're talking about.” I place the note back in my locker and slam it shut. “Since when has sanity ever been his thing?”
“And why does he always sign them âYour Secret Admirer'?” I ask. “I know it's him. I recognize his handwriting.”
“I think you're too hard on him,” Daphne says. “He's not
bad. Last year in math, I was constantly asking him if I could borrow some paper, and he never even once got mad.”
“Daphne, he eats paste.”
“He hasn't done that since third grade,” Daphne says.
And then her green eyes crinkle up at the edges and she gives me a look. One of those looks people give you when they've figured something out that you don't necessarily want them to know, and now they're going to tease you about it. “Oohh,” she says. “I know what this is about. This is about Jake.”
I try to look haughty. “No, it isn't!” I bend down and pretend to be tying my shoe so she doesn't see the look that's running across my face, which basically means that, yes, it is about Jake. “Have you seen him yet?” I straighten up and shrug my shoulders. “Just, you know, out of curiosity.”
“Nope,” Daphne says. “Guess he's not here yet.”
Jake's our best friend. Well, he
our best friend, until the end of last year when suddenly I decided that he and I should be more than best friends. (This was spurred on by what I like to call The Scandalous Skateboard Incident, or TSSI for short. Daphne doesn't like referring to it as TSSI since she thinks it sounds kind of like a disease. Ever since Daphne's orthodontist told her she might have TMJ, which is some kind of teeth-grinding affliction, she doesn't like referring to things by their initials. Medical conditions make her nervous.)
The Scandalous Skateboard Incident (or TSSI for those who aren't freaked out by anagrams that may or may not remind them of diseases) happened at the beginning of
the summer, right before Jake left for camp. One night, he invited me and Daphne over to his house to skateboard. This wasn't the scandalous partâJake was always inviting Daphne and me over to skateboard, although none of us actually skateboarded except him. Usually we'd sit on his porch and read magazines while Jake constructed some sort of ramp or obstacle course in his garage. Then Jake would emerge and try to do stunts on whatever sort of contraption he'd built.
Anyway, on the day of TSSI, Jake was in his garage building a ramp out of some drywall and a traffic cone that he
he'd ordered off the internet, but that I think he stole when he got his driveway paved in the spring, and Daphne and I said we were leaving, because we were bored of reading magazines. And then Jake said, no, no, the ramp was done, and we should all go out into the road and watch him try it out. Daphne and I agreed, since we actually do like to watch Jake skateboard (he always does lots of tricks and flips and then we get to give him a score on a scale of one to ten, kind of like Olympic judges), we just don't like waiting around while he builds things.
So we all traipsed out to the road, and Jake set up the ramp, and after a few times of having to move it since cars were coming, we had it all set and ready to go. And Jake started off down the street so he could build up speed, and
he came racing toward the ramp, and then he went up, up, up, and jumped a little bit in the air to grab the bottom of his board, and then floated down to the ground and skated to a stop right in front of us. It was amazing, exactly like something you'd see on one of those crazy extreme sports shows on TV.
So then I said that I wanted to try it, and Jake and Daphne both gave me a look, because I am very uncoordinated and also because I had never once shown any interest in skateboarding. But Jake also looked impressed, and so I got on the board, but when I went over the ramp, I got thrown off somehow and ended up on the pavement with a scraped elbow and a slightly bloody lip.
Jake and Daphne rushed over, and when I looked up, I don't know what it was, but Jake was bent over me and the sun was shining, making a halo of light behind his head, and he looked so cute and concerned, and something started in my heart and I knew then that nothing would ever be the same. Okay, so that's dramatic, but I knew that I liked him, at least. But then I had to go home because I was bleeding, and Jake left the next morning for camp and I haven't seen him since. Daphne says maybe the only reason I think I like him is because I had a brain injury when I fell off that skateboard.