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About the Author
Risa GreenRisa Green grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and has worked as a corporate finance attorney and, more recently, as a college counselor. She currently resides with her husband, their children, and their dog in Los Angeles. Her previous adult title, Notes From the Underbelly, was made into a TV series.
From Chapter One
Things About Me That Might, in Some Alternative Universe, Be Interesting Enough for the Committee of Tenth Grade Teachers to Pick Me for the...
From Chapter One
Things About Me That Might, in Some Alternative Universe, Be Interesting Enough for the Committee of Tenth Grade Teachers to Pick Me for the AP Art History Trip to Italy
- I have the highest GPA in the tenth grade.
- I can recite the periodic table in alphabetical order to the tune of the disco classic “YMCA.”
- In fifth grade, I won a silver medal in the New York Times Crossword Puzzler contest, junior division. And I would have won the gold, if I had not been competing against a nine-year-old prodigy from Ohio who knew that a beast with twisted horns is called an eland.
- When I was five, I had an extra row of bottom teeth. Like a shark.
- I am so flat-chested that they do not make a bra in my size. Not even a training bra.
- I play a mean game of rummikub.
- According to family history, I am a distant relative of Susan B. Anthony, the first women’s suffragist in the United States.
- I am most likely the only person under the age of forty who has attended a Barry Manilow concert.
- Did I mention that I have the highest GPA in the tenth grade? My God, am I boring…
- - -
I jump nearly a foot off of my bed, startled by a roar of thunder.
Lindsay and Samantha, my two best friends, are lying on the floor, flipping through last week’s issue of Teen People. But either a) they both have been cleverly hiding from me the fact that they are completely deaf, or b) they are simply too engrossed in the trials and tribulations of young Hollywood to have noticed that the sky almost just completely broke in half.
Finally, after another heavy rumble, Lindsay drops the magazine and rolls over onto her back.
“I’m so tired of this rain,” she complains to no one in particular. “I don’t understand how I’m ever supposed to get my driver’s license if it keeps pouring like this. My dad won’t let me practice if it’s even overcast outside, let alone if an eighth ocean is falling from the sky. I mean, enough already. It’s been almost a week.”
Samantha grabs the magazine off the floor where Lindsay left it, and brings it close to her face to get a better look. I have no idea why she obsesses over these magazines the way she does. Samantha is effortlessly attractive and by far the best-dressed girl in the whole school, probably even the whole county.
She has perfect, wavy dark blonde hair, a tall slender body that most people would have to work out four hours a day and only eat wheatgrass to attain, and her mother’s entire designer wardrobe at her disposal. (Did I mention that her mother used to be a model? Did I also mention that Samantha totally inherited her legs?) Plus, she’s got an innate sense of style that most celebrities have to hire Rachel Zoe to achieve. I mean, have you ever seen anyone wear Commes des Garçons with Converse? (Actually, have you ever seen anyone wear Commes des Garçons? So. Weird.) But seriously, she could easily be in one of those magazines. Of course, if you ask her, she’ll say, “I hate the way I look.” She isn’t fishing for compliments either. It’s still something I’ve never figured out about her.
“God, what is up with those lashes?” she asks aloud. “This model looks like she has spiders crawling out of her eyes.” Samantha puts the magazine back down on the carpet and turns to look at Lindsay. “FYI, it’s all our parents’ fault. If they hadn’t spent the ’80s running around with aerosol hairsprays and insecticides and Styrofoam cups, we wouldn’t have any of this extreme weather today.”
“My dad probably did it on purpose,” Lindsay remarks. “I’ll bet you he only used products with CFCs in them, in the hope that one day his actions would prevent his future daughter from ever getting behind the wheel of a car.”
“Mmm-hmmm,” I say, half ignoring them—because Lindsay always complains about not having her driver’s license and Samantha always blames her parents for everything—but also because I am too busy staring at the fluorescent yellow flyer that Mr. Wallace gave to everyone in my AP Art History class today. At the top, it implores us to Pay Attention! And besides, there’s no point in telling either of them that chlorofluorocarbons were banned from aerosol sprays in 1978, or that Styrofoam has nothing to do with extreme weather patterns. They wouldn’t listen anyway.
Suddenly, a flapping mass of paper hits me in the face. I look up from the handout that I’ve tacked to the bulletin board next to my bed.
“Ow,” I say, rubbing my forehead and laughing in spite of myself. “Why’d you throw that magazine at me? And don’t blame one of your celebrity crushes.”
Samantha arches her eyebrow. “You’ve been completely ignoring us since we got here, and I, for one, am starting to take it personally. What’s going on in that genius-girl head of yours?”
With a sigh, I pull the tack out of the handout and hold it up for them to see. I do my best to appear nonchalant. “It’s a contest. Mr. Wallace announced it today in AP Art History. The district was given a grant to send five kids to Italy for two weeks this summer, so that they can study great works of art. And the district pays for everything. Plane tickets, hotels, food, even admittance to the museums.” The inside of my stomach dances around just thinking about it.
“Let me see,” Lindsay demands. She gets up from the floor and flops down next to me on my bed, taking the flyer. I peer over her shoulder, rereading it for the millionth time today as she reads it aloud to Samantha.
Pay Attention! An Unforgettable Summer Experience!
Five lucky students will be chosen to travel to Italy with Mr. Wallace, where they will study works by the great Italian masters in Rome, Venice, and Florence.
To be eligible to apply, you must:
- Be a student in AP Art History, with a grade of at least an A-.
- Write an essay explaining why you should be chosen to go on this trip.
- Applicants will be judged on their essays, as well as on their personalities, outside interests, and strength of character, as determined by a Committee of Tenth Grade Teachers.
- Applications are due to Mr. Wallace by 5:00 p.m., next Thursday!
“Green’s novel has a touch of romance but is rooted in Erin’s relationship with her best friends, Lindsay and Samantha. It has some similar elements to Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little ...
“Green’s novel has a touch of romance but is rooted in Erin’s relationship with her best friends, Lindsay and Samantha. It has some similar elements to Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes–both feature teens set on a path of self-discovery due to the bequest of a recently deceased aunt... Readers will respond to Erin’s growth and understanding, and her decision to control her own destiny.–Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
” - School Library Journal
“It’s nice to have a book about fairly normal girls in a fairly normal situation. Erin is the smart one. Samantha is the sexy one, sexy enough to attract the attention of the lead singer of a band but still normal enough to have a crush on a boy who doesn’t like her back. Lindsay is the “Nicest Girl Ever”... Just as Erin shouldn’t equate “normal” with “boring,” so, too, is her story not boring. Take the boy. At first Erin sees Jesse Cooper as a boy who is “going for a spiky punk rock thing that seems thirty years too late and might have been hot once but now is just… confusing.” Erin falls for Jesse (and who wouldn’t, he has the whole artsy guy in cool clothes thing going on) and also falls out of her preconceived notions about him and other people. Falling for a hot guy at a punk rock concert that involves crowd-surfing? Not boring at all. Her work at school involves art history which will lead some readers to wonder, wait, is that painting they are describing real? Where is the art museum closest to my house? And as for her friends’ problems, nothing is ever simple when it comes to boys and bullies.
--Liz Burns, A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy (an SLJ blog)” - School Library Journal blog
“Uncertain romance, mean girls, and a nefarious computer geek beset Erin and her friends as the struggle to manage the power of the crystal ball... This book will be well received by readers looking for light romantic comedy, as well as a celebration of sisterhood. -- Diane Colson, VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) ” - VOYA
“The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball is one of those books that's a fun change from the current darker paranormal out there now.
” - Young Adults Books Central Blog
“Top student Erin has her sights on one of the five slots for her AP art history class’s summer trip to Italy. Her best friend, Lindsay, just wants Megan, the class bully, to leave her alone. Stylish, outgoing Samantha is fiercely loyal to both Erin and Lindsay. Their friendship takes a turn for the paranormal when Erin receives a pink crystal ball and a set of cryptic instructions after her aunt’s death. Erin’s questions to the ball about school and boys start to come true, but not quite in the ways she hoped. Too late, she figures out that the ball’s magic is limited, but by then she’s made a mess of school and her personal relationships... Academic success remains at the forefront of Erin’s mind, but as the pink crystal ball works its magic, she grows as a student and a friend, becoming more self-reliant. Fun for budding occultists and romantics alike. (Paranormal chick lit. 12 & up) ” - Kirkus
Length: 7.75 in
Width: 5 in
Weight: 9.76 oz
Page Count: 320 pages