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May 24, 2017

MY BFF IS BEING SO MEAN!!

Ask Nikki May 24th

Hey Nikki,

My BFF is usually nice, but sometimes she overreacts to small things! For example, once I was using her notebook, which she was fine with AT FIRST. But then, I wanted to show her my drawing as a surprise, and she started gritting her teeth and glaring at me, and kept saying, “GIVE ME BACK MY NOTEBOOK. IT’S MY NOTEBOOK.” And when I told her to calm down, she just said “NO!” She also cries if things don’t go her way, and takes it out on me. Lastly, she made a rude comment about how I don’t do well in math, and it made ME want to cry! Should I hang out with her anymore?

Bothered By Bratty BFF

Hi Bothered By Bratty BFF,

It sounds like you’ve been really patient! AND like your BFF needs a MAJOR attitude adjustment!! 🙁

I have a bunch of questions: Has your BFF always been like this? Or, is this a change that has come over her recently? Is she your awesome BFF most of the time, and then sometimes just has her moments? Or is this kind of an all-the-time thing, lately?

If this is new behavior, and it’s only happening sometimes, I don’t think it’s a reason to drop her. For one thing, we all have our bad days, or our bad moments within good days. I know I get upset at Chloe and Zoey sometimes. And not to get too TMI, but depending where you’re at with the whole puberty thing, you might soon find yourself more short-tempered and/or likely to burst into tears at any moment. There’s a lot of hormonal wackiness going on in middle school, and it’s not just about how your body changes. Your emotions change, and feel out of control every now and then. Your friend might be going through all that before you. Or, she might have something big going on at home that’s got her losing it easily.

I think you need a lot more information before you take the drastic step of losing her as a BFF. I think you should talk to her! See if you can find out if something is going on. Maybe she realizes she’s been super on-edge, too. It might feel icky to her, even as she’s snapping at you. If there are specific things she’s said that have upset you, like the math comment, bring them up. But not in an accusing way. More like, “I wonder if you realize how much that hurt my feelings. It didn’t seem like something you’d normally say, so I wondered if you were dealing with something. Do you need to talk?”

It’s POSSIBLE that this is just how she is. Maybe she’s always been edgy. Or maybe something has shifted in her and this is the new “normal.” If she doesn’t care that she keeps hurting your feelings, or can’t recognize that she’s being so short-tempered with you, there’s NO reason you have to keep putting yourself in a position to feel bad. I guess you have to ask yourself, “Do the positive parts of the friendship outweigh the negative parts? And if the negative parts outweigh the positive parts, is there any way to change that?” If not…it might be time to branch out in your friendships.

It doesn’t mean you have to stop being friends entirely. Just widen your circle, so you have more people you hang out with. You might find someone who’s a better fit as your BFF now, but you can still be friends with your old BFF!

And maybe, with time, whatever she’s going through will pass and you’ll be back to the good old days. I sure hope so! You sound like a great friend, and you deserve the best BFF ever!! 🙁

Does your BFF ever go through mood swings? How do you handle it when your friend is not his/herself?
May 22, 2017

MOM’S EMERGENCY

Dork Diaries - Nikki's Diary May 22nd
“AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!”

Usually when someone screams around here, it’s ME.

But, yesterday it was my mom. And she was falling down the stairs! I don’t even know how—I guess she’s just THAT old.

I didn’t exactly go running to see what was wrong. I assumed Brianna was driving her cray-cray! But she kept screaming.

I found her at the bottom of the stairs, grabbing at her ankle. I was a little freaked to look, but there wasn’t a bone sticking out or anything.

“Brianna!” I called. “Go get Mrs. Tapper!”

Mrs. Tapper lives across the street. She’s a retired ER nurse, so she’s seen pretty much everything. She’s also a super neat-freak, and Mom usually spends about three hours cleaning before she’ll invite Mrs. Tapper inside our house.

But, Mom didn’t even object to Mrs. Tapper coming over. That’s when I knew something really was wrong!

“Is it broken?” I said. “Do you want me to call an ambulance? Do you want me to call Dad?”

“I don’t knooooowww!!” Mom wailed.

It is SO weird when Mom isn’t all on top of everything! I didn’t even realize how much I expect her to always be okay, and always make sure we’re okay. I got her a pillow and a blanket and texted dad. Then I held her hand until Brianna came back with Mrs. Tapper.

(I realize now I should have left Brianna with Mom and gone for Mrs. Tapper myself, since it involved crossing the street. But hey, let’s just say I was teaching Brianna responsibility!)

Mrs. Tapper was all business. She asked brief questions and examined Mom’s ankle. She sent Brianna to get a glass of water, and she sent me to get an athletic bandage. (Luckily, I knew we had those because Dad sprains something every single time he tries to go play racquetball with his high school friends.)

When Dad burst in the door, Mrs. Tapper told him Mom needed to go to urgent care to make sure it wasn’t broken. So off they went, leaving me to get Brianna to bed.

So that was all yesterday. Today, Mom is the queen of the couch. She’s a little dopey on pain meds, but they seem to be working. She just can’t really walk. Her foot’s in this huge boot, which she keeps propped up on this pile of every single pillow we own.

At first she hollered when she needed something. Then she asked for a little ceramic bell in the cabinet. Now she’s RINGING for help every five minutes! I’m not even kidding!!

Ding-a-ling! “Nikki, would you make me some tea?”

Ding-a-ling! “Nikki, I need another pillow.”

Ding-a-ling! “Nikki, would you get Brianna’s lunch?”

Ding-a-ling! “Nikki, I can’t reach the remote.”

Ding-a-ling! “Nikki, would you help me to the bathroom?”

I had to not only help her to the bathroom, but help her out of the bathroom when she was done. I’m sorry if that’s TMI, but it was too much info for ME TOO!! 🙁

Now she’s finally sleeping and I have a little peace! As soon as I’m done here, I’m going to play a little game with Brianna, though. It’s going to be called, “HIDE THE BELL WHERE MOM CAN NEVER FIND IT AGAIN!!”

Have you or a family ever broken or sprained something before? What did you do to pass the time away or help out?
May 20, 2017

EVERYONE THINKS I’M WEIRD!!!

brandon_post_photos_74v2

Hi Brandon! How do you find friends when everyone thinks you’re WEIRD? I like who I am, but at school, nobody wants to hang out with me. It’s gotten SO BAD that my grades are suffering and I don’t do my best at stuff anymore. To hide how bad I feel, I make puns a lot and pretend to be a news reporter or a game show host, you know what I mean? The thing is, nobody likes it. It’s pretty horrible when people groan every time I open my mouth. I feel so alone, and wish I could meet someone who likes me for who I am. Please help!

Worried Weirdo

Hey Worried Weirdo,

Oh man, I wish you went to my school so I could be friends with you! You sound awesome. I think you’d also get along with my good friend, Max Crumbly. It’s SO hard being different, especially at our age. And really, it’s not about being different. It’s about being honest about who you are. Because EVERYONE is different. But, some people feel insecure about who they are, so they try to blend in with the crowd by acting like everyone else. That has to feel awful too, right?

It sounds like you know who you are. You even LIKE who you are, which is AWESOME. But I’m sure it starts to wear you down, feeling like no one else appreciates who you are.

It stood out to me when you said this: My grades are suffering and I don’t do my best at stuff anymore. It’s great that you realize it. SO many people do this. I think some people even do it without realizing. And as hard as it is, I want to encourage you NOT to do it. Don’t stop being yourself. Definitely don’t stop doing your best in school. It’s hard right now. And it might be hard for a while. But a few years from now, you’ll be glad you hung in there!

It’s important to know you don’t just have to suffer through. I guarantee there are kids who find you funny, and who are into the same things you are. They might just not be confident enough to ignore peer pressure. So, how do you find them?

Well, what are you into? I encourage you to join in activities you enjoy, especially ones that might attract other kids who are a little bit quirky. Theater, for one! And if you don’t want to act, you could volunteer to paint sets, hang lights, or do all sorts of things. You seem like someone who would fit in with the theater kids. 🙂

But if not theater, it might be chess club, marching band, or debate. Maybe you could start a group for whatever you’re into—like comic books, Star Wars, Minecraft or whatever. Talk to a teacher or librarian; they might help you publicize your club and let you meet in their classroom during lunch.

And, you don’t have to be limited to school activities. You might be more confident if you’re starting fresh with a new group of kids. If your parents can afford it, you might try connecting with some kids at a non-school related activity. (Or maybe a summer program.) You might like martial arts or (again) a theater group or an art class. If your parents can’t afford it, those sorts of organizations usually have scholarships available.

If you like to act like a reporter, did you know Scholastic has a Kids Press Corps? You can apply here (by May 31st): http://kpcnotebook.scholastic.com

So, I really hope you find some awesome kids you connect with, who understand you and have their own quirks, too. But the truth is, it might be hard for a while. And that’s so cruddy. However, I just want to encourage you to keep being true to who you are. Or, like my friend Nikki says, “Always let your inner dork shine through.” Eventually you WILL find your people who like you for who you are. I’m sure of it. They’re going to be so lucky to have you as a friend!

What do you do when you feel like you don’t fit in? How do you respond to people who are a little bit different?
May 17, 2017

I’M NEVER GOING TO ACHIEVE MY DREAM!!!

ask-nikki-dreams-ballet-dorkdiaries

Hi Nikki,
I’ve always wanted to dance. But, the problem is I have a really bad ankle. I broke it seriously when I was five, and ever since then I have to be extra careful with it. I know if I asked my mom to take dance lessons, she would laugh and say, “You know you can’t dance with your ankle!” What’s worse, I recently broke my ankle AGAIN. Now she’ll never let me dance!! What should I do?!

Shattered Ankle-Broken Dreams

Dear Shattered Ankle-Broken Dreams,

Well, first of all, I think it’s AWESOME to have dreams! No judgment here!

Usually, I’m a HUGE cheerleader for people’s dreams. Even if something seems really hard and unrealistic—maybe you want to be a movie star or an Olympic athlete, or president in the United States—throw yourself into it with all your passion! Give it everything! There’s this cheesy old expression I really like that goes like this: Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

The thing is, you never lose something by trying hard. Even if you don’t achieve the thing you were trying for, you gain skills or confidence or experience that help you with other things you try next.

It’s tough to be in a situation where the thing you dream of is maybe impossible. If you’ve got serious ankle problems, you’re probably not going to become a prima ballerina. So you do have to be realistic.

BUT, I think it might help to think about what you love about dance. If you do that, you might be able to figure out another way. For example, if you love the idea of performing and expressing yourself? Well, you could do acting/improv/theater. Or playing an instrument or singing in a band. If it’s the physical activity, maybe swimming? If you just love the WORLD of dance, maybe you could volunteer at a ballet company—paint sets, run lights, or help with the tiny kid classes. Or review dance performances on a blog or school paper.

If you’re really, really in love with dance and nothing besides dancing will ever possibly be as good…you’ll find a way. It might not be regular dance lessons. But think about it. There’ve been people with no legs on Dancing with the Stars. I was curious, so I searched for “wheelchair dance” on YouTube and found some really amazing results.

THEN I searched “disabled dance” and OMG!! I found this AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL ballet duet (I think that’s called a pas de deux?) between a man with one leg and a woman with one arm. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnLVRQCjh8c

So I guess I’m back to being a mega-cheerleader for dreams!! If you REALLY want something, find a way to make it happen. It might not look exactly like what you first imagined. That’s okay! But at least you’ll never wonder what might have happened if you just tried a little bit harder!!

(And if your mom does laugh, I think you need to be honest with her about how much you want this. Share ideas other than dance class. Show her how strongly you feel. I bet she’ll try to help you find a way!)

Have you ever had a dream that felt impossible? Did you achieve it? Do you regret trying?
May 15, 2017

MY DAD IS ANCIENT!!

Nikki's Diary May 15th - dork diariesOMG. I am NEVER trying to teach my dad something EVER AGAIN!!!

I was trying to study for my history test when he came into my room.

“I need to be on the social media,” he announced.

The social media??

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“You know, the Instachat, the Snapgram, the Facefriends and Tweetering! I want it all!”

This was SO weird. My mom’s on Facebook, keeping up with her high school friends and embarrassing me by posting UNAUTHORIZED photos. But my dad? He still uses the landline!!!

“It’s for my business,” he said, sitting down on my bed UNINVITED!!! “I need to be on the interwebs to get more business! Someone told me there’s a Yip review about me that’s all LIES!”

“Yip?”

“I don’t know. Some thing where people can leave reviews of local businesses? But no one checks if the reviews are TRUE?!!”

I thought for a minute. “You mean Yelp?”

“That’s what I said!”

He opened up his laptop and read aloud. “Mr. Maxwell was an hour late—totally untrue—and when he finally arrived, he smelled so gross—which, okay, that was “take your daughter to work day” with Brianna and she dropped her tuna fish sandwich on me so I guess they have a point—and then it turned out he couldn’t even help me with my pest problem!”

He slammed his laptop shut. “Nikki, this person wanted me to exterminate the ghost in their attic! That is NOT a service I offer. They should’ve called the Ghost Busters!”

I sighed. “People can be crazy on the internet. You can respond with a comment.”

“What do I say? There’s NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS??”

I set my history book aside and opened his computer back up. He read over my shoulder as I logged in and typed. “We are very sorry we weren’t able to meet your needs. Please accept this coupon for 20% off your next exterminating services.”

He grabbed his laptop back and jumped up. “Why would I offer them a discount for a bad review?!”

“Dad, calm down. You’re not doing it for them. They don’t want you to EVER come back to their house. But other people will see your great customer service. Also, you really DID reek that day. So you kind of owe them. I bet it took forever for them to air their house out.”

He grumbled a little, but sat back down. “Okay. Fine. So set me up with the other stuff. The Instachat or Facefriends or whatever. I need to be connected. I need my finger on the pulse of the youths!”

“Dad, youths don’t call exterminators.”

“No, but just yesterday you were helping your mother find a new massage therapist, all on the interwebs!”

That was true.

“One account,” I told him. “I’ve got to study.”

THREE HOURS LATER – I am NOT even kidding!!! – we had set up a barebones Facebook account for his business. We argued over every little thing! And it’s HIS business, but why did he ask ME for help if he didn’t want my expertise?! And at the end of those three hours, he was still calling it “the interwebs!!”

I do NOT know how old people survive in the world.

Anyway, back to my history test, studying the days when there was NO internet! Can you imagine??

Do you have a crazy or funny story about your parents or grandparents not understanding the internet or social media?
May 14, 2017

HELP!! I’m TOO NERVOUS TO ASK MY CRUSH TO JOIN MY ROCK BAND!

ask-brandon-may13-dork-diaries

Dear Brandon,

Me and my BFF started a rock band and we asked some people if they can play guitar. The only person who said they could was my crush. I wanna ask him if he’s interested in being the bass guitarist for our band, but…I dunno how to ask him! Every time I want to speak to him, I freeze up! You’re a guy—how should girls talk to the boy they like?

Lovesick Love Song

Hi Lovesick Love Song. First of all, SO cool that you’ve started a rock band!

I have a little bit of experience in this, having played in Nikki’s band, Dorkalicious (or Actually, I’m Not Really Sure Yet ). And I can say that being in a band together is an awesome way to hang out with a crush. You’ve got something to do, and you can always talk about the music, so there are no awkward pauses when you’re trying to think about what to say next without sounding like a complete doofus.

PLUS, the band will give you something to talk about outside of rehearsals, or reasons to call or text each other. Like, you might “need” to call to double check what time the next rehearsal is…but if you happen to stay on the phone chatting about other things, well…that’s cool.:)

So, I DEFINITELY think you should ask him to join! Especially since you already asked him if he could play guitar. Look at it this way: You asked him if he can play. He said yes. If you then choose someone else…he might think you dislike him.

Now that that’s settled, let’s talk about HOW to ask him. Now that I think about it, Nikki didn’t ask me to join the band. Theodore did. (And you should have SEEN Nikki’s face when I showed up at rehearsal!)

But, your bigger question is “how should girls talk to boys they like”, right? I mean…I think you should try to talk to them just like you’d talk to any other person you like. And I don’t just mean crush-like. I mean anyone you have positive feelings about—friends, family members, kids you look up to, that cafeteria lady who always gives you extra pudding, etc.

If you worry too much about how you sound when you’re talking to your crush or worry about whether they like you back or wonder if you have a giant piece of spinach stuck in your teeth (and believe me, I do all these things too), it’s really hard to actually be present in the conversation. Which makes it hard to connect with another person. And that’s the whole point! You want to connect with your crush, right?

A lot of people say, “Be yourself” in responses to questions like this, and I think that advice is useful AND totally worthless, in different ways. I mean, on the one hand, you don’t want to act fake, trying to be whatever you think your crush likes. Because even if your crush does like that, they’re not really liking YOU. They’re liking you-pretending-to-be-someone-else. And it would be exhausting to have to keep that up.

“Be yourself” can also be confusing because at our age, we’re all struggling to figure out who we are to begin with. How can we “be ourselves” when…we’re not sure what that looks like?! (Just like the title of Nikki’s band, “Actually, I’m Not Sure Yet.”)

But I think when people say, “Be yourself,” they mean, “Be yourself on a good day, when you’re relaxed and wearing something that makes you feel confident, and hanging out with a friend you’ve known forever and sitting around a table of your favorite foods.”

I know that’s easier said than done. But remember he’s a person just like you are, and he might be nervous too, but he’ll probably be flattered by the invitation. The worst he can do is say no.

So take a deep breath, smile, walk up to him, and say, “Hey, I know you said you can play guitar. Are you interested in being in our band?”

How do the rest of you get up the nerve to talk to your crush—girls AND guys? (Because guys definitely go through the same nerves—I can speak from experience!) What do you think of the advice, “Be yourself”?
May 10, 2017

I’M EMBARRASSED BY MY ACCENT!!!

Ask Nikki May 10th

Hi Nikki,
I moved from Germany and I am very bad at pronouncing English. Kids at my new school tease me for having a German accent. I am very lonely and don’t know what to do. Thank you for your advice.

Lonely New Girl

Hi Lonely New Girl,

First of all, welcome to America!! 🙂

This is a frustrating problem shared by a lot of newcomers to this country. In fact, the United States is so big that plenty of kids who move from one region to another have different accents. A kid who moves from New York to Texas is probably going to get made fun of for their accent!

But, you are dealing with a whole lot more changes than a kid from New York would. It’s not just the language. It’s the food, the culture, the way teens and teachers interact, all sorts of cultural things I can’t even imagine. So it’s totally understandable if you’re lonely and overwhelmed.

Here’s the way I see it: If you are bad at pronouncing English, do you know what that means? It’s your second (or third or fourth) language!!! That is AMAZING!!!! How many people can say that? Here in the United States, not very many. Those kids who tease you about your accent? I am 99.99999999% sure they only speak English!

Speaking two or more languages is SO COOL. It also takes a lot of work and a lot of brains to speak multiple languages, especially if you didn’t grow up speaking more than one. I think it’s more common in Europe for people to speak a few languages. But people who were born in the U.S. and don’t have family that speaks another language tend to think English is all they need in the world. Sure, we have to take some foreign language classes in school, but they’re not enough to really make us fluent.

If I think your multilingualness is awesome, I can’t be the only one. I’m SURE there are kids at your school who’ll find you extra interesting because you come from a different place, and who will be impressed that you speak another language. So, I think the main thing is for you to find some BFFs here. Once you have friends and aren’t lonely anymore, it won’t matter so much what a few rude, ignorant people say.

Making friends here shouldn’t be that different from making friends anywhere else. Try to get involved in some activities outside of classes at school. Try out for a school play, or join a sports team, or volunteer for whatever. You’ll meet people who are interested in the same things you’re interested in. Go out of your way to be friendly to other kids who are new at school or don’t seem to have a lot of friends.

People may still make comments about your accent, though. But then, kids will find reasons to make fun of anyone. If they aren’t making fun of your accent, it might be your clothes, your name, or WHATEVER. When people make comments about your accent, you could just ignore them. Or you could face it straight on. You might respond to them in German, and ask if they speak German. Or, honestly you could ask them just about anything, since they won’t understand you!

Another way to handle people who are making fun of you for a dumb reason is to point out their ignorance without seeming snarky about it. To do this, you keep asking why they’re making fun of you, or make simple statements of fact, while seeming completely perplexed as to why they’re making fun. The trick is to seem truly confused, not confrontational. It might look something like this:

Rude American: Your accent is so dumb!
You: Why?
Rude American: Because…you can’t say our words right!!
You: Why?
Rude American: Because you’re from somewhere else!
You: Yes. I’m from Germany.
Rude American: Why don’t you go back to Germany?
You: Because my mother got a job here.
Rude American: …

At some point, they’ll give up. Hopefully they’ll even realize they’re being dumb. And if they don’t, onlookers will probably realize how dumb it is to make fun of you for something that a) you can’t control and b) isn’t a weakness anyway.

I really hope that helps, and that you connect with some awesome kids who are impressed by your accent and curious about your culture.

Viel Glück!!! (That’s “Good Luck” in German. I used Google Translate! 🙂

Have you ever been made fun of for how you speak or where you come from? How do you handle it when people make fun of you?
May 8, 2017

Thalia Kids’ Book Club: Meet Rachel Renee Russell!

Friday, June 2! – New York City
A Special Dork Diaries Event!

Rachel Renee Russell stops by Symphony Space to discuss her New York Times bestselling series with Sonia Manzano, best known for her role as Maria on Sesame Street!

The Thalia Kids’ Book Club will offer a lively discussion between Rachel, Sonia and the audience. The event includes a creative writing project, a discussion with the audience, and a book-signing!

Tickets and additional details are available here.

BOOK SIGNING EVENT!

Date: Friday, June 2
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space
2537 Broadway, New York, NY
Tickets: $16, Members $13

Redskins Reads Book Fair – Free Book Signing

dork-diaries-redskins-book-fair-2017

FREE BOOK SIGNING!

Join Rachel and her daughters, Erin and Nikki, at the Redskins Reads Book Fair.

Hang out with Team Dork, Redskins players and cheerleaders at this fun 
and special event.

You can even grab some cool swag!

Date: Saturday, May 20th
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: Barnes & Noble
7851 L. Tysons Corner Center
McLean, Virginia 22101

BOOKSIGNING SURPRISE

May 8thI thought CCPs were brutal. But wow!! They have nothing on fanatic readers!!! Today Chloe dragged me and Zoey to a book signing for one of her favorite authors and we barely got out alive!!!

I can’t keep up with everything Chloe reads, but there is this one author she reads—and talks about—a lot. Her name is Delilah McClain and she writes these young adult romances with a heroine who’s time traveling to save the world. They’re all called, like, A Time for Justice, or A Time for Revolution, or A Time for a Nap. (I made that last one up.) The covers always feature the heroine in a gorgeous ball gown in front of some big explosion or wielding a sword.

So Delilah McClain is having a book signing and Chloe’s been talking about it for weeks. She was going to go with her mom, who’s also a big fan. (Apparently a lot of adults read YA too, which seems weird…but I guess they’re just letting their inner dorks shine through! LOL!) But Chloe’s mom got the flu and somehow Chloe convinced Zoey and I to go with her instead.

Which is why my mom dropped us off in front of the bookstore at 5:30pm a whole half hour before the event. But, there was already a line of people out the door and down the block!!!

We stood there, gaping at all the fans. “Come ON, you guys!” Chloe grabbed us and dragged us to the end of the line. “We’ve got to get our spot!!”

We got in line just before a giant group of middle school girls who were all wearing these matching pink t-shirts that said, “A TIME TO READ!!” Some of them had sparkly tattoos of the book’s logo on their faces.

Just ahead of us, a group of girls were quizzing each other with Delilah McClain trivia on their phones.

“These are some serious fans,” Zoey observed. I was noticing the same thing.

“I’ve been trying to tell you guys! Delilah McClain is AMAZING! You have to try her books!!”

“OMG, they haven’t read her books?” shrieked one of the girls.

“What are you even doing with your life???” said another one behind me.

“Attention, ladies!” a voice boomed out of a bullhorn at the entrance to the store. “If you are here for the Delilah McClain event, please remain calm.”

At that, everyone squealed.

“We are about to open the doors. There ARE seats for everyone, and everyone’s books WILL be signed. So PLEASE no shoving. We don’t want a repeat of last year’s event.”

Chloe nodded gravely. One of the girls snorted. “OMG, that girl hadn’t even read the books! She was a MOVIE fan.” People around her gasped. “Plus she only broke a rib. You don’t even need a cast for that!”

The bullhorn crackled again. “Once inside, PLEASE be sure your name is clearly marked on the books you would like Ms. McClain to sign, so she does not have to ask you how to spell your name.”

Chloe linked her arms through our elbows. “This is the plan. We stay linked, forming a human wall. No one will be able to shove past us. If one of us goes down, the other two yank her up. We will accept nothing less than seats in the first three rows. Are you with me???”

“Um—”

The line started to surge forward. My life flashed before my eyes!!

In the madness, I caught a glimpse of a teenage boy in a baseball cap with his arms around his grandma, like he was ready to shield her from the stampede.

The next couple minutes were a blur. I definitely got a couple elbows to my ribs, but nothing broke. Chloe stumbled going through the doorway, but Zoey and I kept her up and moving forward. When we collapsed into fourth row seats, she high fived us with tears in her eyes.

“Sorry it’s not the first three rows,” I said.

Chloe shrugged. “I’m going to be breathing the same air as Delilah McClain. I don’t care what row I’m in!!!”

I was sitting next to an old lady who was breathing really heavily.

“Um, are you all right, ma’am? Can I get you some water or something?”

“Nikki,” Chloe whispered. “They will NOT let us save seats!”

“Oh, we’ve got water,” said the person on the other side of the older lady. He leaned forward with a water bottle and the boy in the baseball cap was…

BRANDON!!!!!


“Nikki?”

“Brandon??”

“What are you DOING here?” we both asked at the same time.

At first I thought it was SO sweet that Brandon had brought his grandma to her favorite writer’s book signing! She seemed a little old for the books, but Chloe’s mom was into them. And then I saw that Brandon was the one holding a book with Emma Rogue on the cover. There was a sticky note on the book that said “BRANDON”.

“You’re a…Delilah McClain fan?” I asked.

Brandon’s face flushed pink. “Her books are really good. I mean I don’t have to tell you, right? You’re here, after all.”

Something jabbed me in the ribs again. I turned to glare at Chloe and saw she was passing me one of her books. I took it.

“Yeah. Oh yeah. They’re SO good. My favorite is”—I glanced at the cover of the book in my hand—“A Time for Sacrifice. I can’t wait to get it signed!”

“Good one,” Brandon said. “Ooh, look, the event is about to start!”

Someone from the bookstore was heading for the microphone.

“We’ll talk more after,” Brandon whispered over his grandma with a grin.

But, Brandon’s grandma needed to go home right after, so we decided to hang out at lunch one day soon to talk about our favorite Delilah McClain books! SQUEEEE!!

(Also, ACK!! I’ve got a LOT of reading to do!!!)

Have you ever been to a book signing? Who did you go see? What author would you like to see?