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Parties & Potions
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Parties & Potions

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


· Delacorte Press
· eBook · December 23, 2008 · $9.99 · 978-0-375-89206-6 (0-375-89206-0)
Also available as an unabridged audiobook download and a trade paperback.

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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.

Excerpted from Parties & Potions by Sarah Mlynowski Copyright © 2008 by Sarah Mlynowski. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, 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.