It’s finally here. Launch week for my children’s novel, The Invisible Rules of the Zoe Lama, which comes out on Thursday. Two days before Harry Potter.
No pressure there.
Today I’ll go off-topic (but you’re used to that by now) and post an excerpt from the book, which is the first in a series of middle grade novels. If you happen to know any 8-12-year-old girls who would get a kick out of a meddling seventh grader, be sure to mention our Zoe. She has a special bag of chocolate chips for people like you.
Excerpt from The Invisible Rules of the Zoe Lama
I don’t like Mondays.
It has nothing at all to do with the weekend being over before you really started having any sort of fun. And that you’re now stuck at school behind a desk with not one, not two, not even three, but four monster wads of gum stuck underneath it and one metal leg that is miles too short, so the desk wobbles every time you print your name, and the teacher squints and holds her finger to her lips.
That’s not why.
It also, in case you’re wondering, has nothing to do with HATING to get up at 7:30 in the morning – especially after a weekend of sleeping until “The Garage Girls” comes on TV at 9:00. Okay, it has a little to do with that. But even if they cancelled “The Garage Girls” – which they wouldn’t, since every girl at Allencroft Middle School watches it every Saturday – even then I would not like Mondays.
When I’m a big yawner of an adult – although, really, I don’t know how “big” I’ll ever be since I’m the smallest person I know – I’m going to get a job where Monday is a part of the weekend. Then I could only go to work Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It would have to be a short week because of “The Garage Girls.” And the place I work had better sell chocolate chip cookies, because I live on chocolate chips and my grandma once said you should have a job you love. And that’s what I love. Chocolate chips.
The worst part of Mondays is that my mother goes to work crazy early. So I have to stand on a stool at the kitchen counter and line up Grandma’s seven hundred tiny colored pills and sort them into a plastic container divided by the days of the week. Mom always puts too many blue pills into Thursday or not enough pink ones into Tuesday because, she says, “I’m way stressed from the juggling act that is my life.”
Don’t ask about my father. That would be rude, since I can hardly even remember when he was alive and if anyone deserves to know anything at all about him, it’s me. He died when I was four and the one and only memory I have of him has to last me the rest of my life.
So, anyway, that’s the problem with Mondays.
This Monday happens to be Picture Day, which means I have more to do than usual. Not only do I have to sort out Grandma and worry that Mom will lose her keys again and be late for work and get fired so we’ll have to live under a broken bus until I’m old enough to go out and support the three of us; but I have to get a class of 26 twelve-year olds ready for the school photographer.
Last year, when I let them fend for themselves, Pamela Peterman wound up wearing the same blouse as Corinna Lynn Binns, and Tall Paul and Small Paul forgot to change out of their gym shorts.
I didn’t care so much about Tall Paul – he’s last row, center, so no one can see his bony legs. But, since I’m not only shorter than any other human being in the seventh grade, I’m shorter than all of the sixth grade and exactly 76.6% of the fifth grade – because of that, Small Paul is always crammed next to me. And last year his scabbed-up knees took all the attention away from my sparkly hair band.
I can’t risk it happening again.
I sling my backpack over my home room chair and pour a handful of plastic barrettes and colored rubber bands onto my desktop. The other kids will be here any second, and I’d like to be ready.
This much I’m sure of:
—Alice Marriott’s mother will botch up her French braids and make her wear the vest with the prancing kittens. If I don’t help Alice, her future husband will see this vest in a photo one day, and might think twice about reproducing with her. (And would you blame him? Seriously…prancing kittens.)
—Martin Granitstein will have maple syrup stains all over his shirt so I’ll have to give him someone’s smelly gym shirt from the bottom of their locker. Thankfully, I packed antibacterial wipes so I can disinfect later.
—Avery Buckner will have smeary glasses. Smeared with who-knows-what. I guess I should be happy he’s still too young to have dandruff, because when he’s older those glasses’ll be covered in white flakes. You can just tell. Again, the wipes will save me.
—And, for sure, for sure, for sure, Sylvia Smye will have too many cowlicks in her hair. Cowlicks are nearly as cruel an act of nature as making innocent people so small that strangers stop to talk baby talk at them, causing a certain short person to yell back, “I’M TWELVE YEARS OLD AND I DON’T WANT YOUR CRAPPY CANDY!”
Okay, not all true. If Mom says it’s okay, I take the candy.