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ISBN-10: 0142405701

ISBN-13: 9780142405703

Edition: Reprint 

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Book details

List price: $8.99
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 2/2/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.484

Laurie Halse Anderson was born in Potsdam, New York on October 23, 1961. She received a B.S.L.L. in Languages and Linguistics from Georgetown University in 1984. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a freelance reporter. Her first book, Ndito Runs, was published in 1996. She has written numerous books for children including Turkey Pox, No Time for Mother's Day, Fever 1793, Speak, Catalyst, Independent Dames: What You Never Knew about the Women and Girls of the American Revolution, Chains and The Impossible Knife of Memory. She also created the Wild at Heart series, which was originally published by American Girl but is now called the Vet Volunteers series and is published by Penguin Books for Young Readers. Anderson has been nominated and won multiple honorary awards for her literary work. For the masterpiece Speak, Anderson won the Printz Honor Book Award, a National Book Award nomination, Golden Kite award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her book Fever 1793 won the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults selection and the Junior Library Guild selection. In 2008, Chains was selected for the National Book Award Finalist and in 2009 was awarded for its Historical Fiction the Scott O'Dell Award.

Once upon a time there was an eighteen-year-old girl who dragged her butt out of bed and hauled it all the way to school on a sunny day in May.
That was me.
Normal kids (like me) thought high school was cool for the first three days in ninth grade. Then it became a big yawn, the kind of yawn that showed the fillings in your teeth and the white stuff on your tongue you didn't scrape off with your toothbrush.
Sometimes I wondered why I bothered. Normal kids (me again), we weren't going to college, no matter what anybody said. I could read and write and add and do nails and fix hair and cook a chicken. I could defend myself and knew which streets were cool at night and which neighborhoods a white girl like me should never, ever wander in.
So why keep showing up for class?
Blame my fifth-grade teacher.
Ms. Valencia knew she was teaching a group of normal kids. She knew our parents and our neighborhood. Couple times a week she'd go off on how we absolutely, positively had to graduate from high school, diploma and all (like the GED didn't count, which was cold), or else we were going straight to hell, with a short detour by Atlantic City to lose all our money in the slot machines. She made an impression, know what I mean?
Every kid who was in that fifth-grade class with me was graduating, except for the three who were in jail, the two who kept having babies, the one who ran away, and the two crack whores.
The rest of us, we were getting by.
I was getting by.
It had been a decent morning, for a Tuesday. No meltdowns at home. The perverts outside the shelter left me alone, and the Rottweiler on Seventh was chained up. A bus splashed through the puddle at the corner of Bonventura and Elk, but only my sneakers got soaked. It could have been worse. At least the sun was shining and some of my homework was done.
So I got to admit, I was in a half-decent mood that morning, dragging myself and my butt to school.
I had no clue what was coming
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