by Veronica Bartles
Release Date: 03/25/14
Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. There in Laina's shadow, Andi's only noticeable feature is her pretty awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina's perfect everything else.
When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina. After all, great hair must count for something.
Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really sucks. OK, maybe that's two steps in one.
Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities besides great hair. There have got to be at least three good qualities, right?
Step 7: Demand attention for more than just her shortcomings, and break out of her shell. Easier said that done, but worth the effort in the long-run.
When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi finds that her prince isn’t as charming as she'd hoped, and realizes she may need a new program--perhaps with less steps!
As cracks in Laina’s flawless façade begin to show, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.
“I really am sorry you’re so upset. You can yell at me, if it helps,” Laina says.
Of course I’m not going to yell at her. But obviously, I can’t tell her about Jarod’s visit this afternoon either. If she ever stopped being so clueless and realized he’s in love with her, I’d lose any hope of a chance with him.
I swallow hard and sit up, crossing my legs and leaning against the headboard. “You should be sorry. You’d think a straight-A student like you would be smart enough to realize that Oreos cannot be properly devoured without the requisite glass of milk.” I frown and stare at my empty hands, as if waiting for milk to magically appear.
“Oops!” Laina jumps up, giggling, and races out of the room.
I feel the slightest twinge of guilt over manipulating her compulsive need to please people, but sometimes Laina’s neuroses totally come in handy. And right now, I really need a few minutes to plan my next move. Thomas Jefferson’s advice about being cool and unruffled is perfect in almost every situation, but sometimes life requires a little bit of carefully-constructed drama. And if I’m going to get ungrounded in time to show Jarod he’s going after the wrong sister, this is definitely one of those times.
Laina returns a few minutes later and hands me a tall glass of cold milk. I carefully twist open an Oreo and lick out the crème filling before dunking the cookie part into my milk.
“Okay, now will you tell me what’s bothering you?” Laina asks.
I blink back a few well-timed tears. “Nothing. I’m fine. Really.” I dissect another cookie.
“Come on. You can tell me.”
I take a deep, shaky breath and set the cup and the decimated cookie on my nightstand. Then, I shrug and pick at imaginary balls of lint on my quilt.
Laina wraps an arm around me and pulls me in for a protective, big-sister hug. “Talk to me. Maybe I can help.”
I shake my head and pull away. “I’m just so tired of being grounded. You’d think they could overlook one silly, little D. I still have a B average, and who cares about biology anyway?” I frown and look up at her through droopy eyelashes. “What’s it like, being the favorite child?”
About the Author
As the second of eight children and the mother of four, Veronica Bartles is no stranger to the ups and downs of sibling relationships. (She was sandwiched between the gorgeous-and-insanely-popular older sister and the too-adorable-for-words younger sister.) She uses this insight to write stories about siblings who mostly love each other, even while they’re driving one another crazy. When she isn’t writing or getting lost in the pages of her newest favorite book, Veronica enjoys knitting fabulous bags and jewelry out of recycled plastic bags and old VHS tapes, sky diving (though she hasn’t actually tried that yet), and inventing the world’s most delectable cookie recipes. TWELVE STEPS is Veronica Bartles's first novel.
1 ebook of Twelve Steps & $10 Amazon gift card (INT)
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