Authors: Rachel Wise
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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Copyright Â© 2012 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved,
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SIMON SPOTLIGHT and colophon are registered trademarks of
Text by Elizabeth Doyle Carey
Designed by Laura L. DiSiena
First Edition 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ISBN 978-1-4424-4445-4 (pbk)
ISBN 978-1-4424-5383-8 (hc)
ISBN 978-1-4424-4446-1 (eBook)
Library of Congress Control Number 2011943080
KIDS TIRED OF TERRIBLE FOOD, BEG FOR MERCY
Can you keep a secret? I can't! I'm a journalist, and
journalists are all about making secrets public.
Anyway, it kills me that I have to keep a major secret from almost everyone I
know. Even my best friend, Hailey Jones. But I will tell
, if you promise not to tell anyone, okay?
Here it is: I am Dear Know-It-All.
Dear Know-It-All is the advice column in our school newspaper, the
Cherry Valley Voice
. Kids write in with questions about
everything from homework to love lives to troubles at home. And each year one of the
kids on the newspaper staff is chosen to anonymously write the answers, and this year
it's me! Can you believe it? I myself was
shocked when Mr.
Trigg, our faculty advisor, called me at home to ask me to do it. But it's pretty
fun, and an honor, even if it's a lot of responsibility.
In my first column, I answered a letter from someone asking what they should
do if they liked their best friend's crush. Then I discovered by accident that it
was Hailey writing in about liking
Lawrence! So after lots of angst, and a lot of thinking on my part, I wrote a column
telling her to go for itâall's fair in love and war and all thatâand
then I held my breath to see what would happen. Hailey ended up confessing to me that
she'd written the letter to Dear Know-It-All, and I had to pretend I didn't
already know. The good thing was, in the end, she decided she didn't really like
Michael, anyway. Phew! 'Cause I still do! But that's kind of another secret,
So, as you can see, it's crazy stuff. If I wrote it up as a story for
Cherry Valley Voice
, the headline would be
Advice Columnist Caught in Love Triangle
. I love writing
headlines, by the way. It's one of my greatest strengths as a journalist.
Our new issue comes out today, and I can't wait to
see what people think of my latest column! Part of my job as Dear Know-It-All is to make
my columns “jazzy.” This one is jazzy all right! I really went all out and
gave some pretty rad advice, if I do say so myself. I think it will have everyone
talking. Here's what it was: A girl (who called herself Tired of Waiting) had
written in to say she had had a crush on a guy for a long time and was tired of waiting
for him to notice or to ask her out. She wasn't sure he even knew she walked on
the planet, let alone liked him.
I had (anonymously, of course) replied that in this day and age, it
wasn't all up to the guy. She should be a modern girl and just take charge and ask
him out herself. I was pretty proud of that answer. It was sassy and modern and brave,
not to mention well-written, if I do say so myself. The funny thing is, I've been
in the same situation for years and I would never dare to ask Michael out, but
that's because I'm such a chicken. I've learned that I can
pretty good advice. Following it is a whole other
Anyway, we always have a newspaper staff meeting in the
afternoon, either on the day of or the day after the new issue of the
Cherry Valley Voice
comes out. Mr. Trigg likes everyone to
have a chance to read it and get a sense of what our readership thinks of it. Then we
all get together with him and our editor in chief (the job I want next year, if Michael
doesn't get it!), and share info and brainstorm about our next issue, which we
have to start on right away.
A couple of issues ago Michael and I coreported and cowrote a really big
article on our school's new curriculum, and the article was a huge success. Mr.
Trigg decided Michael and I are a great teamâlove that!âand he asked us to
come up with another “blockbuster example of investigative journalism” for
the meeting today. Mr. Trigg has a pretty funny way of talking sometimes. But it's
pretty cool he chose us for another feature story. The only thing was, we were stumped
for a topic.
Michael and I had made a plan to meet for lunch in the cafeteria to
brainstorm. We started hanging out more after we wrote our last article together, but
it's still pretty major for me to be going to lunch
Michael Lawrence, love of my life. The weird thing is, though, it's kind of like
there are two Michael Lawrences. There's Michael my crush, whom I've loved
since I was six (even though he caught me eating paste in kindergartenâI swear, I
thought it was frostingâand has called me Pasty ever since) and who is just the
cutest, coolest guy on the planet who makes my stomach go
. Then there's Michael my writing partner, with whom I fight and
negotiate with for assignments and about fact-checking, and stress over sources and all
kinds of unromantic stuff. Then he's just kind of a friend. It's hard to
believe that those two Michaels are the same guy.
Anyway, lunch. We got on the cafeteria line and were brainstorming the whole
way, stopping occasionally to eavesdrop on people who were talking about the new issue
“What about something on allergy medication and how suddenly everyone
has allergies? We could interview the school nurse and my pediatrician.”
Michael's dark eyebrows were bunched in thought, and his bright blue eyes narrowed
considered the story's angles.
“Hm. That could be good,” I said, distracted as I searched
hopelessly for something to put on my tray. Now, I am a big eater. I'm tall, but
I'm pretty thin. I am not picky, and I love food and need to eat often to keep my
stomach full, otherwise it grumbles noisily and embarrasses me. But lately I've
just been stumped by or grossed out with the cafeteria. Like today, here were the
choices: a limp iceberg lettuce salad, orange JELL-O, crunchy Rice Krispies Treats,
dry-looking mac and cheese, and tofu dogsâyuck!
Staff Poisons School Kids with Barfy Lunch!
I looked to see what Michael was getting and saw that he was taking one of
“Hungry?” I asked.
“Why? You want me to share this food with you too, Snacky?” His
eyes twinkled as he teased me. Michael comes up with new nicknames for me all the time.
It used to really bother me, but Hailey said that he does it because he likes me. If
that's true then I don't mind being called things like Snacky. Well, not too
Michael has had to share his snacks with me on a few
occasions when I got hungry and my stomach growled. I still get embarrassed by it.
“No, I am perfectly capable of supplying myself with the appropriate
amount of nutrition that my growing body needs, thank you. I'm just not finding
anything that appeals to me, and I'm surprised that you're finding so
“Well, the thing to do is take one of everything, then take two bites
until it grosses you out, and move on to the next thing. You can get pretty full doing
that.” He grinned.
“Okaaay,” I said. I wasn't convinced I should take gross
food at all, but if it worked for MichaelÂ .Â .Â .
After loading up my tray with one of everything, I looked around for a good
place to sit while Michael got milk. It would have to be close by, because the tray was
very heavy. Across the room I spied Hailey waving at me to join her. By the way, I still
feel a little nervous when Hailey and Michael are togetherâlike I have to watch my
back. I do believe Hailey when she swears she's over him, but then that also
annoys me, because
who could ever get over Michael Lawrence? But
Hailey is my best friend, so I have to trust her.
Anyway, I called over to Michael, “Let's sit with Hailey,”
and he nodded.
I crossed the room, my full tray held high over people's heads, and
about halfway there I overheard some kids talking about the new Dear Know-It-All column.
Of course I slowed down.
“I would never ask a boy out!” said one of the girls, Tracey, from
my math class.
She and her friends had a copy of the
out on their table in front of them and they were all looking at it.
“I would!” said a girl I didn't know.
I slowed down to a crawl, acting like I was looking for a spot to sit.
“Only if you had gone out with him already first, when
asked,” said Kim, a pretty girl from my
language arts class.
Hmm. She had a pretty good point. Anyway, at least my answer had gotten people
I walked toward Hailey. At another table there were a bunch of boys talking
about the column. I
paused again. I love hearing people talk about
the column, because no one knows it's me who wrote it. Plus, I'm curious to
know what people think.
“Dude, no way! Uh-uh.” Jack Francis, from my homeroom, was shaking
his head. “I would never say yes to a girl if she'd ask me out.”
He is such a nerd. I wanted to say,
buddy. It's not gonna happen, anyway
, but I restrained myself.