Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Feature: Cheers, Chocolate, and Other Disasters


My name is Alyson Joanne Devlin, but everyone calls me AJ. I have two best friends, Julie and Jaime, a champion mare, and a great family. Then Celine Carroll came to town, and brought disaster with her. Celine took over my life. Celine took over Julie and Jaime, who aren’t my BFFs any more. Celine caused me to get hurt in cheerleading. 

Speaking of cheerleading, my new partners are Lisa and Amberley, (thanks to Celine), who are the most disliked girls in school. And that’s not all. My parents are divorcing. My mare got hurt. There’s a new woman in my dad’s life. My whole world is upside down. I mean, you’d think Celine was some kind of evil omen, wouldn’t you? Although, Amberley becomes the one bright light in…well, I guess you’ll have to read my story to learn about Amberley, and what happens to her, to me, and to Celine.

Cheers, Chocolate, and Other Disasters by Mikki Sadil
Genre Tween Contemporary Fiction
Pages  231

Excerpt:
Celine led us into the open kitchen/family room. A large gold-framed painting of Celine sitting astride a Thoroughbred and holding a silver trophy hung over the fireplace. Other framed paintings of horses, some with Celine, hung all over the walls. Most of them had blue ribbons next to them. I looked over at Julie, and she mouthed silently, “Wow!”
None of my friends’ family rooms looked like this. Ours always looked lived in, with dust on the coffee table, a few books lying around, and one of the twins’ games left forgotten on the floor. We had pictures of the twins and Andrew on their horses, and several of Sunni and me, but none of them were in gold frames. Ours was a real family room, not an art gallery like this. And it sure didn’t smell like fresh roses, either; more like…well, horses and whatever we had for dinner the night before.
Celine said, “Come on into the kitchen. You can sit at the bar, and I’ll get some snacks.”
A few minutes later, Julie, Jaime, and Celine were laughing and talking like they’d been friends forever, while I nibbled on chips and sipped my soda. I licked my lips, savoring the salty rim the chips left. The soda was cold and crisp going down my sore throat, but I almost choked on it when I heard some of the things Celine told the Js. The way they ate up all the stuff she told them about her very rich life in New York made them look as if they were hypnotized. I wasn’t buying it.
I felt neglected and angry. The Js and I were best friends. Now this Celine chick popped up out of nowhere, and they were acting like I wasn’t even in the same room.
I slipped off the stool and looked at the horse pictures. Across the hall was an open door leading to another large room. Since no one had even noticed I wasn’t at the bar, I walked over and peered inside. There were two big desks covered with computers, monitors, and more telephones than we had in our whole house.
Suddenly a hand reached out and grabbed my shoulder. It hurt so bad I thought someone had put me in a vice.
A rough voice said, “Who are you and what are you doing snooping around? Answer me!”
I struggled to turn around and wished I hadn’t. The woman holding me looked positively evil. She was tall and skinny, with blunt cut black hair that barely touched her shoulders, and the meanest eyes I’d ever seen. Her face was broad and covered by acne pits. A long scar ran from the corner of her left eye, across her nose, down her right cheek and disappeared somewhere under her shoulder-length hair.
For the first time in my life, I knew exactly what that old cliché meant about something “making your skin crawl.”
She grabbed my other shoulder and shook me. Her hands were big, almost like a man’s, and they felt like steel.
I cleared my throat and tried not to sound as scared as I felt. “Uh, my friends and I…we…uh…we’re here with Celine. I was just looking at all the horse pictures and saw this room. I’m sorry if I did anything wrong.”
The woman looked me over from head to toe, then gave me a hard push. “Go back to your friends, and don’t ever let me catch you anywhere near this room again. You hear me?”
I felt like saying, “Or what?” but figured that might not be such a good idea. I nodded and backed away. Still scowling, she went into the room and slammed the door.
I walked back to where the Js and Celine were sitting. They were still laughing and talking. Obviously, they hadn’t even noticed I’d been gone.
“Hey,” I said abruptly, “it’s been fun, but I have homework and barn chores to do. Julie and Jaime, we still have more work to do on the history project. What time do you want to come over tonight so we can work on it?”
The Js looked at each other. “Um, AJ, since Celine is new and doesn’t have a science partner, she’s going to work with us. We’re coming back here tonight. That way we can show her what we are doing, so she can catch up.” Julie didn’t look at me.
It got real quiet all of a sudden. The Js had funny little half-smiles on their faces, but Celine definitely had a smirk on hers. Yeah, they were hypnotized all right.
“Fine, do what you want. I have to go.” I strolled out of the kitchen, deliberately brushing some chip crumbs from my shirt on the snowy white carpet. I slammed the front door, pulled on my shoes,, and ran down the driveway.

Find Mikki on Facebook and Twitter.

23 comments:

  1. Aw, poor A.J. Sounds like a great tween read.

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    1. Thanks, Kai! The story is about bullying, but not the physical or cyber bullying we read about all the time. It's more of a psychological bullying, and Celine is very good at it. Definitely a girl's story, don't think the boys would be too interested!

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    2. I agree. It sounds like a great read that many kids would benefit from since bullying is such a big issue these days.

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  2. Kelly, thanks so much for featuring my book today on its release day. I'll be around later, both here and on the Facebook event, but today is another of those busy "life" days, where writing has to come second.

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  3. I feel so bad for AJ. Sounds like an interesting read.

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    1. Again, apologies for being late in replying! Turned into more than one busy day. Don't feel TOO bad for AJ, Auden, she is up to the challenge!

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  4. Mikki had me at chocolate. ;) I like that this is a contemporary read. I really need to read a few of this. Thanks so much for sharing this one.

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    1. lol Catchy title, right? Glad you liked it, Sheri.

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    2. Hi Sherri, and thanks for the comment. Chocolate always seems to get us writers, doesn't it? LOL AJ has her moments with "chocolate," also!

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  5. So many bad things at once. I'm sure she pulls through.

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    1. Yes, she does, but probably not quite like one would imagine! Thanks for the comment.

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  6. What a great title. Sounds like a fun story with a lot going on. :)

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    1. I agree. That title really gets your attention.

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    2. Thanks, Beverley! The first title was way too long, so the editors and I settled on this one. Actually, I like it better. A fun story, yes, but still, not ALL fun and games!

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  7. A good excerpt! Congratulations on the release, Mikki!

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    1. Thanks for checking it out, William.

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    2. Thanks, William, I appreciate it!

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  8. I love the title of this book. It's quite different than anything I've come across in a while. Congratulations on the release, Mikki, and thanks for sharing, Kelly!

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    1. I do too, Gina. It's so much fun!

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    2. Thanks, Gina! "Disasters" become what AJ considers a way of life, so of course it had to be in the title. LOL

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