What?s a girl to do when Mom and Dad announce that the whole family is moving to Scotland for a yearlong teacher exchange? Can you spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r? When Andrea gets there, she finds she and her family are living with the principal and she is being pestered by the ultraweird Jasmin. But then she finds an amazing girls? soccer league and a cute boy named Stewart. Will Andrea?s new tough soccer girls accept that she is crushing on a boy from a rival team and not totally devoted to winning a championship? Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle.
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R. W. Krech lives in New Jersey and is the author of Rebound, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
To persuade with flattery and soothing words,especially in the face of reluctance.
“Andrea—Pass! Pass!” Gina’s on the far right side of the field, yelling for the ball.
I turn toward her and pull my foot back like I’m going to cross it. Crystal’s at fullback. She jumps in front of me to cut it off. Instead of passing the ball, I drag it slightly across my body. Crystal cuts back to my left. As soon as she does, I move the ball with the outside of my foot to the right, square up to keep her off the ball, and smash it across the field to Nicole, who just so happens to be trailing right behind Gina.
I dart behind Crystal and make a beeline for the goal. I’m twenty feet away when Nicole pops it back to me. I step into it and drill it. Upper right corner! Bam! Score!
When I score, my body fills with this incredible, happy energy and I forget everything else. I put my arms out and fly in a little circle. I’ve got to fly!
Gina and Nicole jog over. We exchange high fives while Coach Tom blows his whistle and claps his hands. “Good work! Nice team play! That’s great for today. Let’s do some stretches and warm it down.”
He walks toward me. “Andrea Di-Lor-en-zoooo!” He says it like an announcer and puts out his arms and we hug. “Where am I gonna find another scorer like you, huh?”
My last practice with Coach Tom. My last practice with The Blast.
I sit down on the field next to Gina and Nicole. The grass smells freshly cut and warm. We put our heads on our knees, our feet pushed up against each other’s, and stretch out. We are like triplets. Gina Calderone. Nicole DeBenedetti. And yours truly. Three short Italian girls with long brown hair, brown eyes, and olive skin. We’ve been in the same neighborhood, the same class, and on the same soccer team since first grade. And now I’m breaking it up. Scoring a goal only lets you forget things for so long.
Gina looks me over and frowns. She takes the red scrunchie out of her hair and shakes out her ponytail. “You really can’t talk your mom and dad out of it?”
After eight years of being best friends, we can read each other’s minds. I roll my eyes. “Right.”
Nicole asks, “Are you gonna sell your house?”
Gina barks at her, “What are you, an idiot?! She already told you her aunt is house-sitting.”
“All right! I forgot,” Nicole hisses. Then she turns to me. “We’re going to stink without you, Andrea.”
I just shake my head. “Nah.” I lead The Blast in goals again this year. I love soccer. You just go out and let your action do all the talking. I wish the rest of my life were more like that.
Shoes crunch on the parking lot gravel behind us. “Hi, girls.” It’s my mom.
Gina and Nicole chorus, “Hi, Mrs. D!”
“Andrea, we should get going. We still have a lot to do.”
I stand up. I look out at my team. Red practice shirts and black shorts dot the green grass. They are getting ready for a new season. I am getting ready for I-don’t-know-what.
Nicole and Gina bounce up and we hug. Gina says, “I’ll call you later.” She doesn’t want to say good-bye yet.
Mom and I walk to the van. I sit on the bumper and pull off my cleats. Coach Tom is dragging the nets full of balls to his car. He calls over, “They have great soccer over there. You’ll love it.”
Mom smiles. “Maybe there’ll be a travel team just like here.”
I get in and close my door. Yeah, maybe a travel team just like here. Just like the best team in the league, with the best coach, with my two best friends on it.
My mom starts the car and pulls out. “There’s a new brochure there on the backseat. Take a look.”
More propaganda. I don’t know why she’s bothering. We’re going no matter how I feel about it. “Andrea, look at the cover. Look at that beach.”
I reach back and pick it up. On the cover is a big photo of a rocky beach with a creepy ruined castle in the background. Mom says, “The beach is right in Dunnotar. Right in the town. How about that?”
My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Gorman, taught us to look critically at advertising. There’s a dog and two little kids in the water. The kids’ parents are standing on the beach, smiling and pointing at them. I notice the parents are not in the water and they are wearing jackets. I know what they’re saying to each other. The mother says, “Look, dear. The children are freezing their butts off. I’m so glad I’m on dry land, wearing a jacket.” Then the dad says back, “I know. They are no smarter than the dog.”
I can think of lots of other wise remarks, but I don’t say them. I just say, “It looks cold.”
Mom shakes her head, smiling. “No. It’s actually fairly temperate. It’s warmed by the Gulf Stream.”
We turn onto Route 1. I look out the window: Chili’s, the mall, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Rita’s. All the good-old, normal stuff we are leaving. When we get back to the house, I go up to shower. I put on shorts and a T-shirt and come downstairs to the smell of dinner just as my father comes through the front door. “Hey, guys!” he yells.
My little sister, Faith, comes pounding up the steps from the basement. She tears across the kitchen, through the hall, and into his arms. “Daddy!”
I join them. In our house, we all have to greet whoever comes to the door—even if it’s just one of us.
“Andrea.” My father interrupts my thoughts with a kiss on my cheek. “Faith.” He smooths her brown bowl haircut. “Tomorrow begins the greatest experience of your young lives!” And the cajoling begins again.
He carries Faith into the kitchen and I follow. I put out the knives and forks and napkins. “You know what they have there, sweetheart?” my father says.
“What?” Faith looks up like she’s going to get a present.
“They have a big monster in a lake.”
Her face drops. That was no present. “Oh,” she says.
My father immediately catches on. “It’s not real, honey. It’s a legend. They call it the Loch Ness Monster.”
Faith only nods, but I can tell “monster” is now imprinted on her brain. We all sit down at the table, and I look at the food Mom is dishing out. It looks strange even by my mother’s unusual natural food standards. “W-w-what are we having?” I ask.
“Haggis,” my mother says. Like you would say “pizza.”
I look at her for more clues.
“It’s a traditional dish there. I picked it up from a specialty food shop. Kind of get us in the mood.”
Dad puts on his artificial smile. “It’s oats, lamb, celery, and spices. Very tasty.”
I lift this weird, plastic film thing off it with my fork.
Mom looks sideways. “That’s . . . It’s just, well, sheep’s stomach.” Faith giggles. Mom adds real quick, “You know how they wrap hot dogs in . . .”
I say, “Excuse me.” I quick step out of the kitchen, up the stairs to my room, close the door, and lie down on my bed. Two months ago there was no haggis in our house. I was not abandoning The Blast. I was not leaving my friends. But then my parents made the announcement.
The announcement was that we are moving to Dunnotar, Scotland, August 25! Tomorrow! Not visiting, which could be fun, but moving!
Through some terrible stroke of bad luck, my father, the teacher, found out about this international teacher exchange program. A teacher from Scotland is going to come and teach my dad’s English classes at West Salem High School for a year while my dad takes the Scottish guy’s job at this private school, Dunnotar Academy, and wouldn’t that be the greatest thing in the world? They also want my mother as a librarian because they just so happen to need an extra one. So, without even mentioning it to me, my parents decide to just sign us all up!
When I asked them why I wasn’t at least consulted first, they said they wanted to surprise me.
Was I surprised?
I think so!
This is the first time in my life I am really mad at my parents. I mean, everyone gets mad at their parents, right? But like Mrs. Gorman said when she caught John Murphy trying to give our class hamster a mohawk with his art scissors, this is “beyond the beyond.”
There is a knock on my door. My father says, “May I come in?”
I quick bury my nose in Word Power: Enhancing and Extending Your Vocabulary. My mother, the librarian, gave me Word Power. Even though it’s just lists of words and definitions, I love it. I know it’s nerdy, but I really like learning cool words like cajole or propaganda or debacle, which, by the way, all fit this situation. My father is cajoling. My mother’s using propaganda. And the whole thing is a debacle.
He opens the door and stands there at the edge of my room. “Doing okay?” he asks.
I nod. He stays by the door for a couple more seconds, then wanders over to my shelves and picks up my MVP trophy from last year’s league championship game. He turns it around in his hands. “Andrea, I know what you’re going through here.”
(This is definitely not true.)
“But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he says.
I’m half looking at him. He looks like an English teacher. Thin, smart, neat, peering at me through his glasses. He sits down next to me on the bed. “This is really not going to be a problem for you.” He pauses, then puts an arm around my shoulder and says, “You don’t even have therapy anymore.”
I stiffen. I definitely don’t want to hear this! I keep myself still though I am ready to burst. When I don’t answer, he finally lets go and just pats me on the back. “Don’t worry, kiddo. You’ll do fine.”
I don’t think so. I really, really don’t.
Finally he gets up. He sighs. “Well, you better start getting ready for bed. I know it’s early, but we have to be on the road by four-thirty and at the airport by six.”
I nod. He bends down and kisses my cheek. “I love you,” he says, and finally walks out.
I lie back down. Almost immediately there is another knock. It must be Mom’s turn. Then a small voice says, “Andrea?”
I hop up and open the door. Faith is in her My Little Pony nightgown, holding a blue teddy bear. I scoop her up and plop her on my bed. I put my arms around her from behind and sit her on my lap. I can still smell bath on her.
She looks back over her shoulder at me. “I don’t want to see the monster in that lake.”
“It’s not real.”
She considers this. “Oh.”
“You want to sleep in here?”
She brightens up. “Yeah!”
“Okay. Get under there.” I get up and tuck her in. We lie there quietly listening to each other’s breathing for a few minutes.
“Andrea? I’m scared about Scotland.”
I snuggle her right into the wall till she giggles. I whisper, “Faith, there is no monster. But, you know what there is?”
Her eyes widen. “What?”
“Guys who wear skirts.”
Her mouth drops open. “Ewwwww!” And she laughs out loud. When she’s done, I put my nose right on hers. “Don’t worry, kiddo,” I say. “You’ll do fine.”
At least that would be one of us.
Boding ill, not favorable.
The wheels of the plane touch down with a small bump. The engines roar as we zip along the runway and then gradually slow down. The flight attendant’s very cultured, calm voice comes over the intercom. “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Dunnotar, Scotland. Local time is one-fifteen p.m. We hope you have enjoyed your flight with us today and thank you for choosing to fly British Airways.”
Faith is lying on my shoulder, completely limp with her mouth wide open. She looks like someone hit her with a board. I nudge her. “Faith. Wake up. Look out the window.”
Faith murmurs, “Where?” Then she comes to and looks out. “Wow!”
Out the window are the greenest hills I’ve ever seen. It’s like the color of the fake grass you get in an Easter basket.
Our flight was nine hours all together. I kept hoping for some last-minute disaster on the way to Philadelphia Airport—a flat tire, a civil war, dinosaurs coming back to earth—but no, it was smooth as anything. So I ate the airplane dinner of regular food with french fries and soda and things we don’t normally get at home in our “healthy” house, and then I read through Word Power till I fell asleep somewhere over the ocean.
Mom reaches across the aisle and puts her hand on top of mine. She squeezes. “Here we are.”
She gives my hand another squeeze. “Okay. Let’s make this a memorable, beautiful first day.”
I cringe. My mother sometimes says stuff like this. A lot of her friends who shop at the health food store and do yoga with her at the Y do, too. I mean, I know I should have a good attitude and all, like if you’re short-sided in a game, you just play harder. And sometimes, secretly of course, I think maybe this could actually be cool. So, all right, I’ll suck it up.
We pull all our stuff out of the overhead bins and shuffle down the aisle. I step through the door of the plane, and a cold, wet wind slaps me right in the face. Oh my gosh! I tuck my chin down and zip up my Blast warm-up jacket. As I do, a big gust blows my cap right off my head. It kicks across the runway and is gone before I even get down. Talk about an inauspicious start. That’s one from Word Power. It means bad things are going to happen. This I believe.
My hair blows behind me as we jog across the tarmac and into the terminal. Right at the gate is a big, tall guy, like a bear, but with a fringe of hair around a bald head, a short beard, and glasses. “The DiLorenzos!” he says. “Welcome to Dunnotar. Fantastic to have ye with us.” He shakes my parents’ hands. “Ah’m Peter Dryden, lower school head.”
He’s wearing a brown jacket with leather elbow patches and scuffy brown shoes. Mr. Dryden reaches out his big, hairy paw to shake my hand. “Ye must be Andrea.”
Here it is. I have to start meeting people. Stay in control. I look down and tell my Adidas Sambas, “Hi.”
Then he bends down to shake Faith’s hand. “And ye must be Faith.”
Faith smiles and shakes hands. She says, “Where are the guys with the skirts?”
Mr. Dryden straightens up as he laughs. “None ’bout here t’day. I’m sure we kin find ye some eventually, don’t ye worry.”
We begin to walk along with Mr. Dryden. It looks like a regular small airport. Nothing real weird. Yet.
“How was yer flight?” Mr. Dryden asks in a real up voice.
Mom says, “Good. Everybody slept most of the way.”
He rubs his big hands together. “Tha’s super. That’ll help with the jet lag. Come on over this way and we’ll git yer bags.”
We pick up our bags from the conveyor belt and follow Mr. Dryden out to the parking lot. There is less wind here than on the runway. The air is moist and cool. It smells almost sweet.
Mr. Dryden stops next to a very small gray car. “Sorry. The school van is in the shop so we’ll have to snuggle a bit.” He looks at all our stuff and says, “I’ll just get some fasteners out of the boot.”
Except he’s not wearing boots. Then he reaches in the trunk and pulls out some bungee cords. Did he say the boot? Because I know a lot of words, but I’ve never heard anyone call a trunk a “boot.” I know he has an accent, but this is not English.
He and Dad start str...
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Book Description Dutton Children's Books 2010-02-04, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Bookseller Inventory # 9780525421979B
Book Description Dutton Juvenile, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. 192 pages. 8.25x5.75x0.50 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0525421971
Book Description Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110525421971
Book Description Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0525421971
Book Description Dutton Juvenile, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0525421971