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A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl

Written by Tanya Lee StoneAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Tanya Lee Stone


· Wendy Lamb Books
· eBook · Ages 12 and up
· December 18, 2007 · $8.99 · 978-0-307-43305-3 (0-307-43305-6)

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A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
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EXCERPT

Josie


For the Record


I'm not stuck up.
I'm confident.
There's a big difference.
If I was stuck up
I'd be one of those
"Oh look at me, I'm so pretty"
girls
instead of just appreciating the fact that
my cinnamon skin looks good year-round
and I can hop in the shower after soccer or lacrosse,
throw on a clean sweatshirt,
sweep on some mascara,
let my hair loose from its pony,
and give any girl
a serious run for her money.
And while I totally deserve my spot in Honors English
I'm happy to take my proper place
in Algebra I, suffering alongside the rest of the
mediocre math heads.
So,
as far as high school boys go,
I'm not so floundering in self-esteem issues
that I need
someone's arm to hang on or
someone's jersey number to cheer for
to be a legitimate person,
like some people I know.
Man, to listen to Kim and Caroline
chatter away all summer
you'd think we've been waiting our whole pathetic lives
just to graduate middle school
and get to Point Beach High
so we could date high school boys.
As if high school boys
hold some kind of magical key
to who we
all
really
are.


The Whole Truth


All that stuff I just said is absolutely
swear-to-God true,
but the rest of the truth
the whole truth
is
lately
I don't have as tight a grip
on my confidence
as usual.
I mean, this is high school.
Sure, I was pretty popular in middle school,
but you never know
how these things are going to
turn out.
What if
what Kim and Caroline call
my natural look
is considered totally lame in high school?
What if
wanting to read
during lunch
makes me a
total geek?
What if
I don't
fit in
at
all?


Jigsaw


It's funny how one night can change
the way you look at certain things.
I mean, I believe 100 percent
that high school boys don't hold any magical key
or anything
but that's not the same as saying they're all bad.
Some of them aren't so bad.
Like, maybe,
this
one.
I saw him across the gym before he saw me.
He was scoping things out at the Fall Fling,
looking for that one lucky freshman
to win the prize
of dancing
with the studly senior.
I think he picked me
because I looked
right at him
as if I couldn't
care less.
I couldn't care
more.
My heart was pounding,
palms sweaty.
Hit me like a surprise party you cross-your-heart
had no idea
anyone was throwing you.
Now, I have never understood all that
he's-my-other-half
soul mate stuff
or when people sometimes talk about
having an empty space inside
or that they're missing pieces or something.
But then
he walked over
and fit himself
right into my puzzle.


First (Real) Date: Part One


I think Mom is a little bit worried
the first guy I'm dating
is a senior.
She should know me
better than that.
I never do
anything
I don't want to do.
That's not going to change.
I mean, when everyone thought
it was so cool
to sit on the seawall
and puff through a pack of Marlboro Lights,
I had a blast sitting there laughing,
telling them how truly stupid and
uncool
they really were, actually,
coughing and sputtering and wanting to puke,
yeah, real sexy,
dopes.
Give me some credit.
I never do
anything
I don't want to do.
Period.
He picks me up in his brand-new
Mazda Miata.
I hate to admit it,
but he kind of cracked my
cool-as-a-cucumber exterior
I tried to pull off
at the dance
(even though I'm hoping
he didn't notice I talked way too fast)
but now
all he's talking about
is how many horsepowers his stupid car has
and the torque
and how he almost picked cherry red
but he's so stoked that they had this
sweet ocean color
come in at the last minute
and I'm starting to think
maybe
I made
a
big
mistake,
but I just smile and nod,
like the idiotic bobblehead
planted
in the middle of his dashboard,
pretending
this is the most
interesting conversation ever.
Man, I hope he doesn't keep this up too long.
We pull in to Smiles.
The parking lot is
alive,
too many radio stations
blaring
kids making out in cars
sitting on hoods
eating hot dogs
high-fiving
smoking various things
drinking various things
talking too loud
about
nothing.
Real fun.
Inside
the scene isn't all that different,
except
it's another kind of dark
punctuated
by the bright lights
of too many pulsing
video games
jammed up
against each other.
We walk over to a big bunch of seniors
by the batting cages
he drapes his arm around me
real possessive,
which should have immediately brought out my
I-can-take-care-of-myself attitude,
but instead stirs this
way-foreign tingly
"Oh my God, he really likes me" rush.
(Lame! Did I just actually think that?)
"Dude!"
"Who's the babe? Freshmeat?" one of the jocks says,
right in front of my face.
"Get it? Freshmen, freshmeat?"
He's laughing hysterically,
like this is the most hilarious thing
anyone
has ever
heard.
"Yeah, got it.
Guys, this is Josie."
A round of Hi's, How's It Goin's, and What's Up's
are tossed in my general direction.
"Hi."
I never thought this scene
would interest me
but actually,
I feel really,
I don't know,
included, I guess,
with his arm wrapped around me
pulling me into a group--
and not just any group:
the coolest, most popular group of seniors,
even though the guys are fairly juvenile.
"Hey, we're all heading over to Lindsey's in a while,"
one of the boys says.
"Time to party!"
"Okay. We'll hit that, too. All right, Jos?"
"Okay. Sure."
Although I'm not at all sure
because my Mom would
freak
if she knew I was going to a
senior party.


First (Real) Date: Part Two


We hang out at Smiles for a while,
eat some truly nasty pizza,
then head over to Lindsey's.
On the drive over
he rests his hand on my thigh,
"Are you having a good time?"
"Yes."
"Good, I'm glad. I want you to have fun."
His hand
is still
on my
thigh.
He's going on and on about something,
his car again, I think,
but I can't concentrate
with his fingers moving back and forth like that
and even though he's acting real
innocent,
like he's got no goal or anything,
the heat from his fingers is
searing through to my skin
like one of those iron-on transfers.
I could almost bet
when I look later
his handprint
will have been permanently
imprinted
on my leg.
Then he raises the stakes.
He moves his hand onto mine
picks it up
and puts it on
his thigh.
He takes his eyes off the road
for a second
looks at me
and smiles.
Like the big bad wolf.
If I was in a comic strip,
there'd be a bubble coming out of my head
with the word "Gulp" in it.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpted from A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone Copyright © 2006 by Tanya Lee Stone. Excerpted by permission of Wendy Lamb Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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