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  • Frogs & French Kisses
  • Written by Sarah Mlynowski
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  • Frogs & French Kisses
  • Written by Sarah Mlynowski
    Read by Ariadne Meyers
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Frogs & French Kisses

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Written by Sarah MlynowskiAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Sarah Mlynowski



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List Price: $7.99

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On Sale: December 18, 2007
Pages: 288 | ISBN: 978-0-307-43339-8
Published by : Delacorte Press RH Childrens Books

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Read by Ariadne Meyers
On Sale: November 04, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7393-7942-4
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Rachel has finally come to terms with the outrageously unfair fact that her younger sister, Miri, has inherited magical powers from their mom. But now the whole witchcraft thing is spiraling out of control. Mom is a magicaholic, Miri’s on a Save the World kick, and the one teeny tiny love spell that Rachel begged for has gone embarrassingly, horribly wrong.

Suddenly, the fate of everything is in Rachel’s hands.

Her family.

The world.

Senior prom.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

My Love Life Is Up
in the Air (and So Am I)


1


I'm perched on a floating broom, my arms squeezing the life out of my little sister's waist.

"You girls all right?" my mom calls down. She's watching us from behind the second-story cottage window. "You're not airsick? Maybe I shouldn't have let you talk me into this."

"I'm fine," Miri chirps.

"Me too," I lie as the two of us wobble up and down like we're on a haunted seesaw. We're straddling a plastic broom four feet above the dewy ground. In what deranged world would I be fine? My eyes are cemented closed, I'm biting my lip, and every one of my muscles is clenched in fear.

"I don't want you girls gone for more than an hour," my mom warns. "So be back here at eleven p.m. sharp. I'll leave the window open so you can fly straight back in. If you think anyone has spotted you, return here immediately. And, Rachel, don't you dare take off that helmet!"

How does she know my secret plan? "But it's itchy!"

"She won't." Miri pats my knee. "You ready? Here we go!"

Nausea and dizziness wash over me. Maybe this isn't such a brilliant idea. My legs are dangling like a rag doll's, and the broom is starting to chafe.

"Don't go too fast," I plead in a super-high-pitched voice, like I just inhaled a balloon full of helium. "And don't go too high. We don't want to smash into an airplane. And don't--"

The broom jerks forward, I swallow a scream, and suddenly we're flying through upstate New York.

"Be careful!" my mom hollers in the background.

I'm flying. I'm flying! I'm flying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I may be dreading going back to school, but at least I'm flying high during spring break. Literally.

I gingerly open my right eye as we shoot past the gate to our rented cottage and zoom over the dirt road. The wind caresses my cheeks, my arms, my hair. . . . I think the wind just blew a leaf up my nose. But who cares? How cool is this?
Don't look down, don't look down!

I look down.

My shoelaces are hanging over the sides of my new pink sneakers like floppy dog ears. I really should have double knotted. These are the new pink sneakers that my mom bought to cheer me up. To make a long, heartbreaking story short, I spent the first few days of vacation moping because Raf Kosravi, the love of my life, hates me because I (unintentionally) stood him up for the Spring Fling to go to my father's wedding.

Buying the shoes was really thoughtful of my mom. She's definitely trying to be more understanding. On the same night she surprised me with the cheer-up present, she dropped her slice of pepperofu (vile, flavorless, pepperoni-shaped slabs of tofu) pizza and announced, "Miri, banning you from using witchcraft isn't working. If you're going to do it anyway, as you've been doing for the last two months, I want to teach you to use magic responsibly. The three of us are going on a trip. Start packing."

My jaw fell open in midchew. Mom was finally seeing the light! See, I've only just recently discovered that my mom's a witch. My sister, too. Everyone's a witch except me. Well, not my dad or any of my friends. But everyone I live with. And my mom had a very strict rule: absolutely no magic until Miri finishes her training. My mom is antimagic herself, preferring to be a nonpracticing witch. So this change of heart was a major coup.

"Yes!" I cheered while debating what to pack. Going-out clothes or won't-be-seeing-anyone-worth-impressing sweats? I didn't mind leaving the city, mostly because my best and now only friend (yes, her mom is married to a woman), Tammy, is spending spring break in the Gulf of Mexico with her mom and stepmom (since I embarrassed myself phenomenally at the school fashion show). "Magic for everyone! Can we put a love spell on Raf?"

"Don't push your luck" was my mom's response. "Love spells are not what I consider responsible."

What is the point of having a witch for a mom if she won't perform one measly love spell on the boy of my dreams? If only she were more like a friend and less like a mother.

Anyway, the next morning we left extra food for Tigger, our cat, and Goldie, our goldfish, rented a car, and drove from our cozy downtown Manhattan apartment to a rented cottage in the middle of nowhere, where Mom claimed we'd have no nosy neighbors to witness our shenanigans.

We arrived on Wednesday night, two entire days ago. Forty-eight hours in a two-bedroom cottage that smells like a mixture of mothballs and apples. Forty-eight hours of no cable. No DVDs. No Internet. I've had nothing to do except watch while my mom trains Miri, which surprisingly isn't that much fun. Fine, it's semifun. At least my mom is finally letting Miri perform practical magic instead of just making her recite the history of witchcraft. But watching Miri attempt to levitate inanimate objects gets old fast.

The peach-colored coffee mug's hovering three inches above the kitchen table is unbelievable. Four inches is awesome. Five is funky. Six . . . yawn. After two days, rising kitchen dishware gets a wee bit repetitive. Actually, downright sleep inducing. It wasn't until this afternoon, while my mom was showing Miri how to float a paper towel, that it occurred to me that if Miri could make a towel fly, why couldn't she make us fly?

I found the broom in the hallway closet. It was old and scraggly, and some of the bristles were bent at odd ninety-degree angles, but it would do the trick. "Is there any truth to the witches-flying-on-brooms legend?" I asked, yanking it out, causing a dustbin to fall on my head.

"Well . . ." My mom hesitated. "No."

I didn't buy it. If a paper towel could levitate, why couldn't a broom? I walked over to her and looked deep into her green eyes. "Do you swear?"

Instead of answering, she ran her bitten fingernails through her shoulder-length bottle-blond hair and shrugged.

"What?" Miri cried, jumping out of her chair and causing the paper towel to float back down to the table. Good thing she'd raised glasses the day before. "You told me flying brooms were a myth!"

"I know." My mom took a moment to bite her thumbnail. She and my sister share this disgusting habit. "But I was worried about you. I didn't want you flying around Manhattan, bumping into the Empire State Building."

I clapped with gleeful excitement. From now on I'd travel in style. Sweaty overcrowded subways? Never again. Running late to school? I don't think so. The only road I'm taking is Highway Broom. "Teach me how!" I shrieked.

"You mean teach me," Miri said snidely.

"If I'd known I was going to teach you to fly, I would have brought cigarettes," my mom said.

"You promised to quit!" I muttered.

"I know, I know. I quit, all right? It's just that letting you fly is going to be stressful." She bit her thumbnail again. "I'll teach you, but you have to promise--"

Be careful, go slow, stay low, whatever, yes, yes, yes!

"--to wear your bike helmets."

Groan. Only my mom could make something as cool as flying look geeky.


From the Hardcover edition.
Sarah Mlynowski

About Sarah Mlynowski

Sarah Mlynowski - Frogs & French Kisses

Photo © Heather Waraksa

Sarah from A to Z

A is for Aviva, my little sister, the inspiration for the Magic in Manhattan series. No, unfortunately, not the witchcraft part. What inspired the story was the always-complicated love, jealousy, and pride involved in a sister relationship. (Is it fair that my younger sister sports a larger bra size than I do? I think not.)
B is for biting my nails, an incredibly disgusting habit I’ve been trying to break since I was 10. Yes, I’ve tried that bad tasting “you’ll-never-bite-your-nails-again” polish, and yes, I did bite them again.
C is for Canada, the wonderful and very cold country I was born in.
D is for divorce. Most of my main characters have divorced parents. I’m thinking this has to do with my own parents separating when I was 12. Just a hunch.
E is for 11, the number of times I’ve moved in the last 15 years. These days I break into hives at the scent of packing tape.
F is for first person, the voice I use to write all my books. I’ve always preferred the confessional, intimate tone. You feel as if you’re reading someone’s diary. Not that I’ve ever read anyone else’s diary. OK, just once, but Aviva, you left it lying around under your mattress. Obviously, you meant for me to read it.
G is for Gimme a Call, the title of my new novel. The book is about Devi Banks, a 17-year-old who accidentally calls her 14-year-old self. If I could call my high school self, I’d tell her to keep more diaries and stop over-plucking her eyebrows. (I’m pretty sure I didn’t want to look surprised in all my prom pictures.)
H is for headgear, the orthodontic contraption I was forced to wear in the name of straight teeth when I was 12. Divorce and headgear? Poor 12-year-old me.
I is for the Internet, a.k.a. a writer’s best tool for procrastination. Facebook! You’ve got mail! Amazon! Why haven’t I written anything in three hours?
J is for Judy. As in Judy Blume. Hers were the first books I read that made me laugh out loud and want to become a writer.
K is for karma. Like right after I read my sister’s diary, I dropped an encyclopedia on my big toe. OK, that didn’t really happen. But it could have.
L is for Lizzie Forshort, the novella I wrote when I was in grade three (that’s how we say it in Canada, not third grade. We also say “write tests” instead of “take tests,” use the washroom instead of the restroom, and enjoy a mix of fries, gravy, and cheese curds, which is known as poutine, and deep-fried sugar coated donut-like dessert called a beavertail. Anyway back to poor Lizzie.) My mom typed up my manuscript and sent it to Bantam Books. That is the (longer than I intended) story of my very first rejection letter.
M is for my mom, who no longer types up my stories, but is still the very first person to read everything I write.
N is for newcomball, the only sport I know how to play. It’s like volleyball, except you catch the ball before throwing it over the net. Now that I think about it, newcomball might not be a real sport, just a game taught to the unathletic girls at sleepaway camp.
O is for orange chicken, which is what my parents called carrots to trick me into eating them. I was planning on using the same trick on my daughter, but she loves carrots. And broccoli. And peas. Weird, eh?
P is for pet. At the moment I have no pets, although I’d love to have a dog. I would name the dog Paige so that if I ever own a bookstore, I can call it Paige’s. The first pet I had was a turtle. My aunt and uncle bought it for me as a bat mitzvah gift. I was enamored. My parents were not. They took it for a walk and claimed it ran away. I believed them.
Q is for Queenstown, New Zealand, where my husband proposed in 2003. We’d started dating in 1994 when we were 17, so in my opinion it was about time.
R is for Ramona and Her Father, the first chapter book I ever read. I remember being disappointed that there weren’t balloons and smiley pages when I got to page 100. I mean, hello? Page 100? That’s cause for celebration.
S is for scuba diving, an awesome activity. S is also for the sharks I saw when I was scuba diving. Less awesome.
T is for 24, the age I was when my first novel, Milkrun, was published.
U is for unpronounceable, which is what you probably thought when you first saw my last name. Don’t worry, I can’t pronounce it either.
V is for very lucky, which is how I feel that I’m a novelist. Not only do I get to make up stories all day, but also I get to wear my pajamas to work.
W is for wishes. Here are my top three wishes if I were a witch like in Bras & Broomsticks: World peace, a cure for cancer, and naturally straight hair.
X is for xxx, which is how I sign most of my e-mails. Though sometimes I use “All best” when I’m trying to appear professional.
Y is for Yew Nork, which was how I referred to New York until I was seven. On top of that, I pronounced my Rs as Ws. Good thing I had speech therapy, or these days I’d be calling Yew Nawk, Yew Nawk, home.
Z is for zed, which is how I was taught to say the last letter of the alphabet in the country I’m from. If you’ve already forgotten where that is, no beavertail for you, missy.
Praise

Praise

"Just as sweet and funny as its predecessor."—Booklist
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Sarah Mlynowski - Frogs & French Kisses

Photo © Heather Waraksa

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