Mar 26, 2010


I should have known Drew Strunkler, Skunkler, would morph into a big, giant douche bag the second school started. Like I was just some fly he could flick right off his shoulder. I mean, seriously, the guy wasn’t even capable of intelligent thought.

As if to prove my point, he was trying to kick a football over the roof of the school building with his other brainless jock friends.

I tugged at the collar of my shirt, feeling the heat creep all the way up to my face. Ugh! Did my eyes actually light up when I saw him? It didn’t matter because Drew Strunkler was too busy winning a bet. I wonder which pinhead will have to moon poor Mrs. Elkin, the librarian.

“The book lady’s gonna get another piece of ass today, huh?”

Alex Stoner slid into the bench beside me and I turned to him and laughed. “You would think she’d wear a blindfold by now, with all the butt cracks she’s had flashed in front of her.”

We watched Drew back up, his face tight with concentration. The broad and brawny William Peckman (aka – Pecker), with his tiny head and giant body held the football upright in the grass by his fingertips. A guy that huge had to be covering some other insecurity, like a small penis.

With a graceful swing of his leg, Drew’s foot made perfect contact with the ball and it sailed over the roof.

“Damn,” Pecker muttered.

Drew punched him in the arm, laughing like the stupid-ass idiot he was. “Somebody’s dropping his pants today.”

And just like that, his eyes turned in my direction and paused.

“Tawny,” Alex whispered. “Did Strunkler just look at you?”

I shrugged, but my heart was pounding. “Yeah, for about a quarter of a second.”

Alex flipped back the mop of dark, curly hair falling in his eyes. “Looked like he was checking you out.”

“Like I care. Let’s go inside, its five minutes till homeroom.” I was nearly twenty feet away before I realized Alex wasn’t following. He stood in the middle of the grass gaping at me like an imbecile. “What?”

He shook his head and grinned. “Sorry, I’m still not used to the good Tawny. The one who actually cares about being on time.”

“I’ve been here all summer. Caring about school has become an annoying habit.” I reached for the door, but another hand beat me to it. Both Alex and I jumped back as Drew Strunkler flung the door open. His gaze went straight over my head and then he turned quickly and raced into the school building before us.

“So rude,” Alex said.

I sucked in a breath wishing I was less observant. The way his eyes conveniently traveled over my head when we should have been face-to-face. It was intentional. He planned to ignore me on the first day of school.

I groaned. It sucks to care.

Alex and I headed to my locker when Mr. Feldman the vice principal jumped in front of us, blocking my way. “Miss Childers, I see an entire summer hasn’t knocked some sense into you?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I responded.

Alex snorted back laughter and I jabbed my elbow into his side.

Mr. Feldman shoved his glasses further up his nose and returned to crossing his arms. “I’m referring to your blatant disregard for school dress code.”

He picked up a lock of my blonde hair, the chunk with the pink streak and tugged on it. I jerked away from his touch. “Actually, I decided to make it permanent over the summer.”

“Detention, today after school,” he growled.

“I’d die before I missed spending an afternoon with you.” We ran around him and blended in with the mob of students, all dressed in navy and khaki, flooding the halls.


By the time I collapsed into my seat for study hall it was apparent that junior year was going to be a much bigger pill to swallow than last year. And to top it off, Drew Strunkler and Pecker sat right behind me.


I pulled out a magazine and lifted my black boots onto the table, relieved to have forty minutes of peace before yet another mind-numbing class.

“Hey Strunk, listen to this,” Pecker said to Drew from behind me.

I glanced under my arm and saw his cell phone lay on his lap.

“Hey everyone and happy first day of school,” Pecker read aloud. “Hot Pink Party girl has had one busy summer. Do you realize how many guys are willing to get to second base while completely loaded? Yeah, pretty much all of them. Okay, so one turned me down and I had to listen to him yap and quote biblical scripture for twenty tortuous minutes. If that doesn’t put out your fire, I don’t know what does. My summer total was over fifty guys and let me tell you I’ve seen more little firemen (some smaller than others) in three months than I thought possible-”

“Quiet Mr. Peckman! This is study hall!” the teacher shouted from the front of the large lecture hall.

“Dude, this chick sounds so hot. I’d love to nail her,” Pecker whispered to Drew.

They both chuckled and I turned a little, lowering my copy of National Geographic just enough to lift one eyebrow in Drew’s direction.

A silent warning.

His smile faded and he dropped his gaze to the Algebra book in front of him. I stifled a laugh. That’s right, be afraid, be very afraid ‘cause I know all your secrets Drew Strunkler. All your virgin secrets.


“You do realize I won’t budge on school dress code,” Mr. Feldman said to me as I walked into detention.

“She knows,” Alex said.

I grinned at him. “How did you end up in here?”

“What are friends for? Couldn’t leave you all by yourself.”

In other words, he wasn’t going to tell me in front of Mr. Feldman. We moved to the back of the room and scooted our desks closer together.

“Okay, so I was in the locker room changing after gym class.” Alex made a face. Hand eye coordination was not something he’d been blessed with so gym was torture for a kid like him. “Anyway, Strunkler and what’s that dude’s name? The one that hikes the ball to the thrower guy?”

I laughed. Alex had only been at West Montgomery High for a year and didn’t know everyone’s name like I did. Nor did he have any knowledge of football. “You’re talking about the center and his name is Patrick Johnson.”

“Right, Strunkler and Johnson were tossing towels over the lockers and they still hadn’t changed yet out of their gym clothes. Johnson was being an ass, shoving all the freshman midgets out of his way and so I just snatched his clothes off the bench when he wasn’t looking and tossed them in an open locker.”

“You didn’t!”

He nodded proudly. “It was an unassigned locker and since we’ve got those built in locks, he had to go out of the changing room in a towel to Coach Strunkler’s office to have him look up the combination.”

I busted out laughing and Mr. Feldman glared in our direction. “Alex, you are far braver than I ever gave you credit for.”

He beamed. “It was a shining moment.”

“Yeah, just like winning an Olympic medal.” I lowered my voice. “So you have Coach Strunkler for P.E.?”

“Yeah, why?”

“So Drew’s in his dad’s class?”

“Hey, if it isn’t the legend, Tawny Childers.”

I spun in my chair to face the wild haired boy. “Lenny, I thought you were dropping out.”

“My parents say they’ll keep making my car payments if I pass most of my classes.”

“Cool,” I said.

“You missed an awesome party last night,” Lenny said.

“Why don’t you fill me in,” I said.

His face broke into vacant, “I’m drunk off my ass,” stupid grin that hadn’t changed in two years. Mostly because Lenny hadn’t changed. “Well, my brother pulled through and got us a keg. Razor’s band played and they were so on fire. This chick they’ve got singing for them is like . . . mega hot.”

I listened intently for at least ten minutes, absorbing every detail of that party. The old Tawny’s life. The one I still struggled to shed.

“It was a damn good party,” Alex said. “A lot of people asked about you.”

Lenny leaned his head closer to me and Alex. “I’ve got a massive bottle of Jack Daniels in the back of my car. You guys want to drive out to the lake after this school shit is over?”

Alex looked at me and shrugged, but I shook my head. “I’ve got a meeting.”

“Bummer. Sucks to be you, all academic and committed. How do you survive?” Lenny asked.

I rolled my eyes. “People survive one school day without getting loaded. I’m not a freakin’ saint or anything.”

Lenny put a hand over his heart. “You’re my hero, Tawny.”

Feldman was glaring again so Lenny turned back to the open text book on his desk. He raised it up a little and slipped a copy of Hustler inside. So predictable.

Alex nudged me in the shoulder. “You’re still doing that group thing?” he whispered.


“All summer, while I was gone?”

“Yes.” I blew the hair off my face, trying to give off the leave-me-alone-vibe.

“Don’t they have bring a friend day or something?”

“Why would they have that? And why are you so curious all of a sudden?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s like this big part of your life and you could be at a strip club for all I know.”

“Why would I be at a strip club?”

“Quit answering my questions with a question. At least tell me where it is.”

This was a joke to him. It was last year and it still is. “You know I can’t do that.”

“What if I needed to join? Is anybody I know in your group?”

I turned my eyes away from him and pulled out one of the many thick textbooks taking up space in my bag. “You don’t need to go. And there’s no one you know.”

“Whatever,” he said.

He was pissed. But even if I wanted to tell him, I couldn’t.


Julie said...

I forgot to add that this is a young adult novel. I'm working on the query now but the pitch just isn't happening for me.

If anyone has a good idea based on these sample pages I would loooove to hear it!

Scarlett said...

I think there's a good idea here but right now it's not quite coming through to me through these sample pages. What is "hot pink party girl"? A blog, I think, but it's not completely clear. When Pecker started reading, I thought it might be a note, or a personal email, or something else.

I can't tell if it's supposed to be a secret that she's Hot Pink Party Girl. The streak in her hair is pretty obvious, and she seems to be threatening Drew with exposure on her blog.

I'm not sure how she's changed, either--she says she's the "good" Tawny now, but she's clearly been hooking up with a lot of guys. Is she going to try to be serious about school but also continue partying? That could be an interesting dilemma if that's the direction you're going in.

Finally, I think you need to tighten the writing a bit--for instance, I might do the first paragraph like this:

I should have known Drew Stunkler, Skunkler, would morph into a douchbag the second school started. The guy wasn't capable of intelligent thought. Right now he was trying to kick a football over the roof of the school building with his brainless jock friends.

Extra words like "big, giant" or "seriously," come off as throat-clearing, especially in the first chapter.

I like the nicknames of the guys a lot and I think the teen voice is there. I think there's a lot of potential here. Good luck!

25BAR said...

Good luck with the 3rd novel. and congrats on the first 2.