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  • Parties & Potions
  • Written by Sarah Mlynowski
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  • Parties & Potions
  • Written by Sarah Mlynowski
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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: $9.99

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On Sale: December 23, 2008
Pages: 352 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89206-6
Published by : Delacorte Press RH Childrens Books

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Read by Ariadne Meyers
On Sale: December 23, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7393-7948-6
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

The fourth novel in Sarah Mlynowski's Magic in Manhattan series!

Perfect hair, cute clothes, healthy tans—life’s a breeze when you’re a witch! Even special witchcraft classes Rachel agrees to attend with Miri turn out to be fun. The sisters meet other teen witches just like them—who knew? Everyone’s preparing for a magical party called a Samsorta—a debutante ball for witches. And it wouldn’ t be a ball without warlocks. Cute ones. Like Adam, who wants to slow dance with Rachel, and ski with her in the Rockies—on a school night! Of course, Rachel is madly in love with her boyfriend, Raf. So why can’t she bring herself to tell Adam—funny, charming Adam—that Raf exists?

Rachel knows Raf likes her. Maybe even, gulp, loves her. But Raf doesn’t know her secret. Unlike Adam, Raf doesn’t know who she really is. And she can never tell him. Or can she?

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

So Many Outfits . . . Only One First Day

Do I like red?

I pirouette before the mirror. Yes, the red shirt could work. Red makes my hair look super-glossy and glamorous and goes great with my favorite jeans.

If I do say so myself.

The shirt has a scooped neckline and adorable bubble sleeves. It’s my back-to-school top for the big, BIG day tomorrow—the very first day of sophomore year! My BFF, Tammy, and I went shopping last week for the occasion. I know I could have just zapped something up, but the first rule of witchcraft is that everything comes from something. I didn’t want to accidentally shoplift a new shirt from Bloomingdale’s.

I like the red. It works with my complexion. But I don’t know if it truly shows off my fabulous tan. Hmm. I touch the material grazing my collarbone and chant:

“Like new becomes old,

Like day becomes night,

Pretty back-to-school top,

Please become white!”

I’ve found that adding “please” to my spells really helps. The Powers That Be seem to appreciate it when I’m polite.

A chill spreads through the room, sending goose bumps down my back, and then—zap!—the spell takes effect. The red of my top quickly drains from the material, which turns fuchsia, dark pink, pale pink, and finally as white as Liquid Paper.

Now we’re talking! Yes. It should be white. White shows off my awesome summer tan.

My awesome fake summer tan. Obviously. It’s not like I have a pool in downtown Manhattan to lounge by, and anyway it’s been way too muggy and humid in this city to stay outside for more than twenty seconds, so how could I get naturally sun-kissed? Unfortunately, my camp tan is long gone. But is my fake tan a spray-on? Nope. Is it from one of those tanning booths that could pass for a medieval torture chamber? Again, nope.

How did I get it, then? Why, I call it the Perfect Golden Tan That Makes Me Look Like I Live in California spell. (Patent pending.)

I made it up last week and it worked immediately. True, at first I looked like I had a rash, or perhaps a severe case of the measles, but by the following afternoon, the color had settled into a golden glow. A golden glow that makes me look like a native San Franciscan. Or is it Francistite? Francissian?

Anyway, I am very in control of my powers these days. Ever since Miri taught me megel exercises (you control the flow of your raw will by lifting and lowering inanimate objects such as books and pillows. Not glasses. Don’t try glasses. Trust me on this), my magic muscles have gotten much stronger.

I finally got my very own copy of A2 (otherwise known as The Authorized and Absolute Reference Handbook to Astonishing Spells, Astounding Potions, and History of Witchcraft Since the Beginning of Time), but since I’m so good at making up my own spells, it’s not like I need it. If you know how to cook, do you need a recipe? I think not.

Yes, my top has to be white. Everyone knows white is the best color to wear when tanned. Tomorrow, when I glide into JFK High School, they will say, “Who is that perfectly bronzed girl? Could that be Rachel Weinstein?” And “Did you hear? She’s going out with the wonderful and gorgeous A-lister Raf Kosravi! Isn’t she amazing?”

Yes, it’s going to be a great year. The best year ever. I’m calling it The Sophomore Spectacular! My very own Broadway show. And tomorrow is opening day.

Nothing can go wrong, because:

I am healthily tan, I have a boyfriend, and I have a groovalicious new haircut with lots of fabo layers. And I am a witch.

Yup, I’m a witch. Obviously. How else would I be able to change the color of my shirt over and over again? My mom and sister are witches too. We’re chanting, broom-riding, love-spell-casting magic machines. Well, Miri and I are magic machines. Mom is a mostly nonpracticing witch.

Luckily, I did not need a love spell to make Raf fall in love with me. Nope, he loves me all on his own. Not that he’s said those three magic words. But he will eventually. Am I not lovable? I think I’m pretty lovable. He’s definitely lovable.

He’s my honey-bunny.

Okay, I haven’t actually called him that to his face. But I am auditioning potential terms of endearment in my head. Other options are sweet pea and shmoopie.

Shmoopster?

Just shmoo?

Even without the names, we make everyone sick. Not throwing-up sick, but yay-for-them sick. I think. Since we became a couple at camp, we’ve spent practically every day together. We hung in the park. We watched TV. We shopped. (He bought this awesome-looking brown waffle shirt that brings out his brown eyes, olive skin, and broad shoulders, and every time he wears it, I tell him how hot he is.) We kissed. (There was a lot of kissing. A ginormous amount of kissing. So much kissing I had to buy an extra-strength Chap Stick. But it tasted like wax paper, so I switched to extra-shiny cherry lip gloss. Yum. The problem is I love it so much I keep licking it off. Which just increases the chappedness of my lips. It’s a vicious cycle.)

As I was saying, I don’t need to use spells around Raf. Okay, you got me; that’s a bit of a lie. Last week I poofed up fresh breath after gorging on too many pieces of garlic bread. I didn’t want him to have to hold his nose while playing tongue gymnastics. But that’s it. I would never cast a love spell on him. Okay, that’s another lie. When Miri first got her powers, we zapped him with one. (Miri, my two-years-younger sister, discovered she was a witch before I found out that I was. How unfair is that?) But we accidentally cast the spell on Raf’s older brother, Will, instead, so no harm done. Well, not too much. Will and I dated but broke up at the prom when I realized he was really truly in love with my friend Kat.

Now, what was I doing? Oh, right. White!

I pretend that my room is a catwalk and sashay away from the mirror and then back toward it. Here’s the prob: wearing white might be mega-obvious, since everyone knows that you wear white when you’re trying to show off a tan. Also, for some reason, white is making my head look big. Do I have a big head? Is having a big head bad? Or does it mean I’m smarter?

Perhaps I should try blue. Blue looks good on me. It brings out my brown eyes. Yes! I must bring out my eyes! I clear my throat and say:

“Like night becomes day,

Like calm seas become wavy,

Pretty back-to-school top,

Please become navy!”

Cold! Zap! Poof!


From the Hardcover edition.
Sarah Mlynowski

About Sarah Mlynowski

Sarah Mlynowski - Parties & Potions

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.
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