Jacqueline Wilson KISS

ISBN 13: 9781596432420

KISS

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9781596432420: KISS
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HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT. Sylvie is sure Carl loves her, so why hasn't he kissed her?

Sylvie and Carl have always been best friends, and Sylvie's always dreamed that they'd get married someday. But when she begins to realize that Carl may be more interested in boys than girls, Sylvie struggles to hold on to the pieces of her shattered dreams. With her trademark blend of honesty,
sensitivity, and humor, bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson delivers a novel for teens about first love, first heartbreak, and the power of a kiss.

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About the Author:

JACQUELINE WILSON is the author of more than 100 books, including CANDYFLOSS, BEST FRIENDS, and COOKIE. Together her titles have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. She was the 2005–2007 British Children's Laureate and has won many major literary awards, including The Guardian Children's Fiction Award, the Smarties Prize, and the Children's Book of the Year. In 2007 she became the first children's book author to be named a Dame. She lives in Kingston-on-Thames, England.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

One
I hated lunchtimes. I always missed Carl so much.
When we were in middle school we spent all our time together. We’d rush off the moment the bell rang, shovel down our school lunches in ten minutes .at, and then we’d have a  whole hour just being us. We’d sneak off to one of our special favorite places. When it was sunny, we’d sprawl by the playground or sit kicking our legs on the wall near the bike sheds. We’d lurk in the library most of the winter. It didn’t really matter where we were, just so long as we were together.
Some days we didn’t talk much; we just read our books, chuckling or commenting every now and then. Sometimes we drew together or played silly paper games. But most days we’d invent another episode of Glassworld. We’d act it out, though we  couldn’t do it properly at school the way we could inside the Glass Hut. The other kids thought us weird enough as it was. If they came across us declaring undying love as King Carlo and Queen Sylviana they’d fall about laughing. We’d mutter under our breath and make minute gestures and the magic would start working and we’d be whirled off to the glitter of Glassworld.
It was always a shock when the bell rang for afternoon classes, shat­tering our crystal crowns and glass boots. We trudged back along the pizza- smelling corridors in our shabby sneakers, wishing we could stay in Glassworld forever.
I still kept the Glassworld Chronicles up- to- date in our huge manu­script book, and Carl occasionally added notes or an illustration, but we didn’t often act it out nowadays. Carl always had so much boring homework. Sometimes he didn’t come to the Glass Hut for days and I’d have to go calling for him.
It didn’t always work then. He’d follow me down through the gar­den and sit in the hut with me, but he’d be all quiet and moody and not contribute anything, or he’d be silly and mess around and say his speeches in stupid voices, goo.ng it all up. I could generally get him to play properly eventually, but it was very hard work.
“Maybe you shouldn’t keep pestering Carl to play with you,” said Mom.
“But he’s my best friend in all the world. We always play together,” I said.
“Oh, Sylvie,” said Mom. She sighed. Nowadays she often sighed when she talked to me. “You’re too old for this playing lark now, making up all these secret imaginary games. It’s not normal. You’re fourteen, for God’s sake. When are you going to start acting like a teenager?”
“You don’t know anything about it,” I said loftily. “They’re not little kids’ games.  We’re writing our own series of books. You wait. They’ll be published one day, and Carl and I will make millions, what with all the royalties and the foreign rights and the .lm deals.”
“Oh well, you can maybe pay off the mortgage then,” said Mom. She sighed again. “Who do you think you are, eh? J. K. Rowling? Any­way, Carl  doesn’t seem quite so keen on this playing— sorry, writing stuff nowadays. You’re both growing up. Maybe it’s time to make a few new friends. Isn’t there anyone you can make friends with at school?”
“I’ve got heaps of friends,” I lied. “I’ve got Lucy. She’s my friend.”
That was true enough. Lucy and I had made friends that worrying .rst day in Milstead High School. I’d known her in elementary school and middle school, but I hadn’t ever needed to make a proper best friend of any of the girls because I’d always had Carl.
It was hard trying to make friends now in Year Nine. Nearly every­one had been at our middle school, so they just carried on in the same twosomes or little gangs. There were several new girls in our class, but they palled up together. There was also Miranda Holbein in the other ninth grade class, but she was way out of my league.
It was a great relief when Lucy asked if I’d sit next to her and acted friendly. She was a giggly girl with very pink cheeks, as if she was per­manently embarrassed. She sang in the choir and was always very good. She had pageboy hair and always had a shining white school shirt and never hitched up her knee- length skirt and wore polished brown lace- up shoes. She looked almost as babyish as I did. So we sat next to each other in every class and shared chocolates and chips at break. We chatted about ordinary humdrum things like tele vi sion shows (she liked anything to do with hospitals and wanted to be a nurse when she grew up) and pop stars (she loved several members of boy bands in a devoted little- sisterly fashion, knowing by heart their birth signs and favorite food and every single number one on their albums, in order).
Lucy was .ne for an everyday friend. I would never ever count her as my best friend, of course. She lived just around the corner from school so she went home at lunchtime. I lived too far away. Anyway, my mom was busy working at the building society, not home to cook me egg and French fries like Lucy’s mom. I was stuck for company each lunchtime. We weren’t allowed cell phones at school but I men­tally sent Carl text messages: I MISS U. TALK 2 ME. CU INGH 2NITE?
We used to pretend we  were so in tune with each other we were telepathic. Maybe our psychic brainwaves  weren’t wired up for new technology. Nothing went  ching- ching in Carl’s head. If he ever tried to send me similar messages I didn’t pick them up, though I waited tensely enough, eager and alert.
I asked Carl over and over what he did during his lunchtimes at Kingsmere Grammar School but he was unusually uncommunicative. He ate. He read.
“Oh, come on, Carl. Tell me everything,” I said. “Elaborate. I want detail.”
“OK. You want me to describe my visit to the boys’ bathroom in elaborate detail?”
“Stop being so irritating. You know what I mean. Who do you talk to? What do you do? What do you think about?”
“Maybe you’d like to follow me around with a webcam,” said Carl. He suddenly grinned, and switched to manic TV- presenter mode. “Here is our unwitting suspect, Carl Johnson. Let’s hone in on him. Ah! What is he up to now? He’s lifting a .nger. Has he spotted us? Is he about to remonstrate? No, he’s picking his nose. Let’s have a  close-up of the booger, guys.’
“Yuck!”
“Oh, Carl’s close friend, Sylvie, is making a pithy comment. Let’s focus on little Sylvie. Smile at the camera, babe,” he said, sticking his squared .ngers right in front of my face.
I stuck my tongue out.
“Keep it out, keep it out, that’s the girl!  We’re now switching to our all- time favorite Live Op Channel. Ms. Sylvie West has suffered all her childhood from Sharp Tongue Syndrome but the eminent ear, nose, and throat specialist, Dr. Carl Johnson, is about to operate. Scissors please, Nurse!”
“Yes,  here are the scissors,” I said, snip- snapping my .ngers. “But we’ve switched to the Mystery Channel now and I’m playing a scary girl driven bonkers by her crazy best friend so she decides  to— stab— him—to—death!”
I made my scissor .ngers strike Carl’s chest while he shrieked and staggered and fell .at at my feet, miming a bloody death. He did it so well that I could almost see a pool of scarlet blood.
I bent over him. He lay very still, eyes half open but staring past me, unblinking.
“Carl? Carl!” I said, giving his shoulder a little shake.
He didn’t stir. My heart started beating faster. I crept closer, hang­ing my head down until my long hair tickled his cheeks. He didn’t .inch. I listened. He didn’t seem to be breathing.
“Stop it, Carl, you’re frightening me!” I said.
He suddenly sat bolt upright so that our heads bumped together. I screamed.
“Ah, I’m glad I’m frightening you because  we’ve switched to the Horror Channel now and I am a ghost come back to haunt you. Be very afraid, Sylvie West, because I am going to get you!”
His hands clutched my neck but I wrestled with him. I was small and skinny but I could .ght like a wildcat when I wanted. We tussled a bit but then Carl’s .ngers started tickling my neck. I doubled up laugh­ing and then tickled him in return. We lay .at on our backs for a long time, giggling feebly. Then Carl reached out and held my hand in the special best- friendship clasp we’d invented way back when we  were seven. I held his hand tight and knew that we  were best friends forever. More than best friends. We’d acted out weddings together when we were little. Carl used to make me rings out of candy wrappers. Maybe he’d give me a real ring one day.
How could I ever compare my bland little conversations with Lucy to the glorious fun I always had with Carl?
There weren’t really any other girls to hang around with at lunchtime. I got along with nearly everyone, but I didn’t want to foist myself upon them. One time, when I was sitting in the library, Miranda Holbein sauntered in and waved her .ngers at me. I was so startled I looked around, convinced she must be waving to someone behind me.
“I’m waving at you, silly!” said Miranda.
I waggled my .ngers back foolishly and then gathered up my books and rushed for the door. I didn’t want to annoy Miranda. We’d only been at the school a few weeks but she already had a serious reputation. She could make mincemeat of you if she didn’t like your looks.
I didn’t like my looks. I was so tiny people couldn’t believe I was in ninth grade in high scho...

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