New Girl Excerpt

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New Girl Excerpt:

I'm the new girl. Always am. Don't worry, it doesn't bother me anymore. I'm a pro. It's so easy to ignore the stares of the other students as I stand on the steps leading into the main entrance of another Dead President High School. I'm in some town in Wisconsin. Or is it Minnesota?

All I know is, it's cold and bleak here, my mother's still dead, and there's nothing to distinguish this place from any other town in the Midwest. Just like the school. It resembles the one I attended before and the dozen I attended before that. I can predict my first day here without fail.

One of the type-A cheerleaders will show me around. She'll be friendly, bubbly, and introduce me to all my teachers. And then she'll abandon me 'cause I'm not one of her "people." She will have determined my place in the high school hierarchy thirty seconds after meeting me by assessing my average—i.e., not designer—clothes, my generic backpack, and well-loved purple sneakers. She'll rate me slightly better than the freaks, geeks, and invisible types, but far below her own exalted station.

I'll try not to laugh at her, 'cause I've seen her type in every high school across the United States. There's nothing special about her or anyone in this place. Millions just like them are forming the same cliques, dealing with the same problems, and all believing they're special.

In fact, nothing will surprise me today. The jocks, the goths, and the teachers will meet my low expectations. The faces and names might be different, but that's it. I'll attend my classes amid whispered speculation, rude stares, and I'll see that hopeful gleam in a few girls' gazes. You know the type—the fringers who don't have any friends. They'll see the new girl as a potential new BFF.

I'll ignore them. It's kinder this way, trust me. If we become BFFs, I'll only break their hearts when I leave to attend the next Dead President School or Dead Humanitarian School. 'Cause I will leave. That's a guarantee.

Maybe not for a month or two, but my dad will find another job that will be too good to pass up, and off we'll go.

So I know you're wondering why I still bother with school. I'm sixteen and could just quit. But, you see, attending college is my goal. Why? 'Cause college means I get to stay put for four whole years! When I'm in college, I won't be dragged from place to place, and I can make a friend without worry.

And as I predicted, my day plays out like it has too many times to count. At the end of the first day, I retreat to the library. Sorry, I guess I should say the Learning Resource Center, or the Media Center, or the IMC. Doesn't matter what it's called, it's my place to study and hang out until my dad picks me up.

I'd rather be here than in some hotel room. Wouldn't you? I find a spot that's hidden and quiet and make it my temporary home.

Except this time, my spot isn't quite as hidden as I'd thought.

"Hey, you're the new girl, aren't you?"

EDITED BY: KAT O'SHEA, LEAP BOOKS, OCTOBER 31, 2011 (e-Book), MARCH 28, 2012 (print).

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