Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Critique Partner Auction Entry #6

TITLE:  I Hate Algebra
GENRE: YA Contemporary
STATUS: Complete

For as long as she can remember, freshman Nicki Miller has been obsessed with the prom. The junior prom would have to wait, though, and three years is like fifteen in teen calculations! Waiting turns out to be the least of her troubles when her father moves out, leaving her depressed and empty. Not even trips to the mall or her sweet tabby can fill the void, but when a handsome upperclassman extends an invitation, her dream is finally within reach. With her baby blue dress hanging in the closet, she is ready for the big day until her grade in algebra class plummets to an F. She then finds herself grounded – no phone, no computer, and her biggest crisis – no prom. Now, she has eight weeks to bring up her grade.

In the longest two months of her life, Nicki wrestles with the separation of her parents, the rudeness of the teacher’s pet, and the frustration of negative numbers. To pass algebra, it will not only take the help of an unexpectedly hot math tutor but also an abundance of determination. In addition to learning some real math lessons, Nicki uncovers some surprising truths about both her family and herself. On the road to accomplishing her goal, she’s about to learn the most valuable lesson - failure does not always equal tragedy.


Chapter 1- The End

“Nicki, I want you to come live with me.”

All I could do was stare across the kitchen table at him as he fidgeted with the gold band on his ring finger.  At that moment I felt hopeful to still see it there. The cup of coffee I’d made for him sat untouched between us as well as the waffles in front of me that looked anything but appetizing.
His baby blue eyes were mirror images of mine, only more bloodshot. With his lips tight in a line, he looked as weary as I felt, that familiar smile that had comforted me for all of my fourteen years was absent from his face. I couldn’t help but ask myself:  who was he?

Daddy had been my confidante, my buddy, my advisor. He was the man whose feet mine rested upon as we’d waltzed around the living room while Mom’s black sparkly cocktail dress hung from my small body. For as long as I could remember, he’d sit with me and tried to appear interested as I pored over prom magazines, listening while I obsessed with Mom over gowns and hairdos and shoes. When I struggled with pre-algebra in eighth grade, Daddy had helped me through it. And when I graduated from middle school with honors two months ago, his face beamed as though I had won the Nobel Prize.

He was a stranger to me now. After that bomb my parents dropped on me and my little sister yesterday, here he was asking the unthinkable.

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