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Summer Camp Secrets: Book 11
Falling in like
by Melissa J. Morgan
The girls are back home dealing with life after summer camp: while Valerie faces a wicked stepsister, Priya is struggling to complete a school project with her useless partner Jordan. Meanwhile Tori’s dad forbids her from dating his client’s son, and Alyssa is censored by the school arts magazine. Luckily the girls always have each other for support and advice to save the day.
“a frothy, fun-packed read”
School Librarian Journal
FALLING IN LIKE
Posted by: Val
Subject: Candy War! & TRAUMARAMA!
Happy November, ladies of the Camp Lakeview 4A/4C Bunk Alliance! As your official blog “Scream Queen”, I’m checkin’ in to say I hope you all had a fab Halloween. I’m so glad we are still staying in touch. Thank you to our counsellors, Becky and Andie, for setting up this two-bunk blog for us!
Okay, here are the results of our trick-or-treat contest: A big sugar high-five for Jenna! She won with 178 pieces, and that’s not counting the sixteen booger-flavoured Bertie Botts that her twin bro Adam snuck into her sack. Chelsea was a close second with 152. Grlz, you totally put the “puke” in Camp Lakepuke!
Now for Best Costume:
The winner is...Brynn, the White Witch of Narnia. She got “lucky thirteen” e-votes. As you can see from her pic, she looks...chilly!
So, do you guys want to do anything “together” for Thanksgiving?
On to my TRAUMA: Last Friday my Aunt Juanita had back surgery, so my mom flew to Maryland to take care of her for a few weeks. This means I have to stay full time with my dad, my stepmom Sharin, and my stepsister LaToya. As if that weren’t bad enough...our brand-new low-flow toilet overflowed...and guess whose room it flowed into!
SO...I’m bunkin’ with LT until my room is fixed. She has gone completely kookoo over my “invasion” of her “personal space”. She says it isn’t “fair” and I agree. I think it would be more fair if every shoe she owned got soaked with pee water! (J/K)
I hope you ALL will write lots of posts and e-mail/IM me so I can “retain a pleasant attitude” (my mom’s words) until my mom comes home. I am trying really hard to roll with this but I’m pretty sure I’ll need some support from my CLFs (Camp Lakeview Friends).
So, what’s up with everyone else? I know you’re all busy but we want to know what you’re busy with!
Alyssa sat at a computer in her middle school’s media centre and read Val’s blog post. Poor Val was having a pretty tough time with her stepsister. Val didn’t even
like hanging around LaToya at her dad’s house on weekends. Now she was stuck there 24/7 until her mom came home.
Alyssa wanted to write Valerie back right away to show her support, but the study hall bell was due to ring and she didn’t want to be late for her art class. Today they were going to sketch an actual artist’s model, and Alyssa could hardly wait!
I’ll write Val tonight from home, Alyssa decided. With a glance at the clock above the mega-colourful mural of pioneer life, she powered the PC down. Then three...two...one! The bell trilled, signalling the end of the period.
Grabbing up her backpack and her charcoal-coloured puffy down jacket, Alyssa left the media centre. Her beaded chandelier earrings tickled her jaw line as she joined the chattering throngs of students in the main hall. She had “artist” written all over her look – along with the paint-flecked black T, she also wore a black jeans skirt, black boots and a cool black knitted cap she had found in her mother’s old packed-away clothes. Her fingers sported cranberry-red polish, and her matching lipgloss was a total score from her favourite ninety-nine cent store.
Other kids rushing to their next-period classes surrounded Alyssa. Up ahead, Beckah and Rose, her art class BFFs, zoomed into the art room. Alyssa dodged
around a group of boys and dashed in after them.
As she crossed the threshold, she skidded to a halt.
A statuesque young woman was perched on a stool next to Mr. Prescott’s wreckage of a desk. She was dressed in monochromatic indigo – a navy blue boatneck sweater and a pair of dark blue jeans – and her profile was very distinct – high forehead, ski-slope nose, a little overbite and a pronounced jawline. Her neck was as long as a giraffe’s, practically. Alyssa assumed she was their model. All in all she was an art student’s dream model, dramatic and exotic-looking.
Alyssa entered her sanctuary. The art room was her favourite place in the entire world. The walls were covered with student artwork, intermingled with prints by some of the greats – Degas, Cezanne, O’Keeffe, and the Tar Beach illustrations of Faith Ringgold. She inhaled the scent of creativity – a mixture of oil crayons, chalk, oil paints and clay dust. She said her hellos to Beckah and Rose as she took her chair across from them. The three buds were clustered in the middle of a big, long table they shared with seven other students.
There were a total of twenty-five students in the class. Everyone was pulling out their sketchpads and making a big deal out of selecting which pencil to use, even though they were all standard-issue No. 2s. Some of the boys were snickering as they glanced at the model, and Alyssa just rolled her eyes. Middle-school boys were so immature.
“This is going to be cool!” she said to the girls, pulling a ginormous rubber eraser from her heavily-stickered purple plastic art box and setting it next to her pencil. Mr. Prescott, her art teacher, liked to say that there were no mistakes in art. Maybe not, but there certainly were do-overs.
Beckah nodded excitedly. “I can’t imagine posing in front of a roomful of people. I’m going to feel weird staring at her,” Rose whispered.
“She’s a model,” Alyssa argued. “She’s used to it.”
“I would hate it,” Rose insisted.
“That’s why you’re not a model,” Beckah said.
The bell rang, and Mr. Prescott bustled in from the hall, balancing a stack of long, flat boxes of oil pastels and a stack of papers against his chest. His goatee, heavy eyebrows and buzz cut floated above his tower like a caricature drawn on a balloon.
“Good morning, mes artistes,” he said, as he plopped everything down on his very messy desk. Alyssa wondered if it was true that there was an entire three-year-old pizza on the bottom layer of sketches, canvases, memos, posable wooden figurines, unopened paint cans and art books. That was the rumour.#
“This is Willa Ackel, our model for this morning.” The model smiled at Mr. Prescott and then at the class. “We’ll begin sketching in a moment, so Willa, you can hang out. But first, let me tell you artists about a contest you are all invited to enter.”
Alyssa raised her brows as she smiled eagerly at Beckah and Rose. An art contest? Rock!
“Some of you have heard of Works, our school arts quarterly,” Mr. Prescott continued. “The first issue for this academic year will be out in a couple of weeks.”
Alyssa nodded. Works was a great journal. She had pored over the last year’s issues. Some of the art was good enough to hang in galleries. And the poems and short stories were fantastic. She hadn’t had the nerve to submit anything of her own. After all, she had been a brand new middle-schooler.
Mr. Prescott continued. “Last year, the editors kept getting submissions from the same few people over and over. So this year’s staff decided to run a contest to encourage more people to contribute. The prize will be a showcase in the next issue. There will be five pages of art from the visual arts winner, and five pages of stories, essays, or poems from the language arts winner.”
“Whoa,” Beckah murmured. “That’s seriously cool.”
“There are a few rules,” Mr. Prescott said, “and you can only submit one entry. The deadline is in two weeks. If you’re interested, please pick up a flyer after
Interested? Who wouldn’t be?
Across from Alyssa, Rose crossed her eyes and wrinkled her nose as if to say, No way. But Beckah mouthed at Alyssa, I’m in!
Alyssa whispered back, “Me, too!”
“All right, let’s get to work,” Mr. Prescott said, clapping his hands together. He smiled at Willa, who sat taller on her stool.
Alyssa settled in, raising her arm over the blank piece of paper. She glanced over at Willa, making mental notes about her proportions as she got ready to make the first, defining line.
But to her surprise – and that of everyone else in the class – Willa climbed on top of the stool, raised her hands high over her head, arched her back, and gazed up at the ceiling.
“Oh,” Mr. Prescott said raising his bushy eyebrows. “Interesting choice.”
I totally love it, Alyssa thought. It was a magical moment – Alyssa could actually see her finished sketch in her mind as she looked from the model to the blank page and back again. It was as if she were working with Willa, and together they would make every pencil mark on Alyssa’s sketch paper.
I’m in the zone! Alyssa thought, and quickly went to work.
Priya and Jordan stood like prisoners in front of Ms. Romero’s desk in the science lab. She had her grade book open, and there was bad news.
Priya and Jordan had C’s in science. C’s were not good enough for their two sets of parents. They had to raise their grades or they would be grounded for the rest of their natural lives.
“Here’s what I suggest,” Ms. Romero said. “The Tri-County Regional Science Fair is six weeks away, and if you can put together projects good enough to enter into the fair, I’ll give you twenty points of extra credit.”
That would give me a B, Priya calculated, and J a B-minus.
“We’re in,” Priya said, speaking for both of them. Jordan nodded like a bobblehead.
“Totally in,” Jordan agreed. He smiled at Priya. “We need a team name. We’ll be the Titans of Science.”
“How original,” Priya said, laughing. Their school mascot was the Titan.
“Wait.” Ms. Romero raised her red pencil in the air, signalling a flag on the play. “I know you two are best friends. Do you think you will distract each other if you team up together to work on this?”
Priya and Jordan shook their heads in unison. “No way!” Priya said. “We’ll help each other. We live next door, so we can meet after school every day without worrying about transportation and things like that.”
Jordan nodded. “We do tons of stuff together. We even planned our camp trip to Washington DC, together.”
“On the other hand,” Ms. Romero continued, cocking her head in that way she had when she was thinking through all the variables of an experiment, “maybe it would be better for each of you to team up with someone who is a little stronger in science.”
Their faces fell. No Priya and Jordan? No Titans of Science?
“Please?” Jordan begged. “We’ll do an awesome job.”
“We totally will,” Priya promised.
“All right,” Ms. Romero said. “We’ll give it a try. But I want to see your progress, all right? I want you to come up with your project idea and fill out a proposal packet by Friday. That gives you all week. I’ll look at it over the weekend and let you know next Monday whether or not you can proceed.”
She leaned forward as if to emphasize her next words. “You need my okay to enter the fair.”
“We will amaze you,” Jordan promised.
“Just do a good job,” Ms. Romero said.
Yes! Priya grinned at Jordan. He grinned back. Now they were next-door neighbours, BFFs and fellow mad scientists.
“Here’s the proposal packet.” Ms. Romero pulled out a drawer and extracted a thick stack of stapled pages. “Remember, I need it Friday.”
“Got it.” Priya took the papers from her and unzipped her backpack. She carefully slipped the packet into a dark purple folder and rezipped her pack.
“Thank you so much, Ms. Romero,” Priya said. “We won’t let you down.”
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