Still Making It in Middle School: Girls Acting Catty by Leslie Margolis
Taylor's crowd--I mean Terrible T and the Three Terrors--sits just two tables over.
The next time Taylor walked by, Rachel said all sweetly, "I love those jeans."
Taylor mumbled an unenthusiastic thanks, at which point Rachel said, "At least that's what I thought when you wore them all last week."
We were pretty happy for about five minutes. Then Nikki walked up to Rachel, handed her a napkin, and said, "You have something on your face."
"It looks like spaghetti sauce," she said, and then pretended to be all embarrassed. "Oh, my gosh. I'm so sorry. That's just your skin."
Sixth-grader Annabelle had thought all the transition problems were behind her. She and her mom had moved to a new town to be with her mom's new fiance, a.k.a. "The Dweeb." Always a student in a girl's private school, Annabelle found sixth-grade boys--those boys who tease and belch out the "Star-Spangled Banner" at lunch, kick the back of your seat, and hide your book report on the day it's due--totally intimidating until she discovered she could use the same techniques on the boys that she used training her puppy Pepper.
But girls had been no problem. Annabelle had fallen into a close group of four, all friends of Rachel across the street, and sixth grade, at least, seemed under control. That is, until things turn scary on Halloween night. Trick or treating, the girls are chased by egg-throwing boys and then confronted by Taylor and her "three stooges" who diss their carefully made costumes as babyish. Suddenly, even lunchtime has become a minefield of catty girl insults, and Annabelle feels like she's in over her head again.
And that's just at school. Her mom and The Dweeb decide to reset their wedding plans to the Christmas holidays, and The Dweeb's twenty-year-old son comes for an extended visit. Annabelle has all kinds of worries about dealing with an older almost-step-brother, but she would never have guessed that her problem was going to be massive crush she acquires on her first look at the handsome, sweet, and funny Jason.
And Annabelle never knew she'd be worrying that the conniving Taylor would find a way to come between her and best friends Rachel, Yumi, Claire, and Emma:
I tried reasoning with Yumi. "This was all just a big misunderstanding."
"Really?" she asked. "Well, don't misunderstand this!" Yumi stormed out of the bathroom and everyone else followed.
I leaned against the wall, stunned and alone. All this time I'd been stressing over which crowd to hang out with, and now no one liked me.
I'd gone from having eight friends to having zero friends in the span of three minutes. That's got to be some kind of record.
Leslie Margolis' latest in her middle school series, Girls Acting Catty (Bloomsbury, 2009), continues her realistic middle-school saga of Annabelle Stevens with the characteristic wit, insight, and common sense shown so promisingly with her earlier hit, Boys Are Dogs. (See my review here.)