Bad Girl Blues

Bad Girl Blues

by Sally Warner

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Do friendships have to change?

Quinney Todd has been best friends with Brynnie and Marguerite her whole life. But now Brynnie and Marguerite are fighting, leaving Quinney caught in the middle. Even worse, Marguerite has turned into Lake Geneva's bad girl, and everyone in school knows all about it. Or they think they do.

Quinney wants to be loyal, but Marguerite


Do friendships have to change?

Quinney Todd has been best friends with Brynnie and Marguerite her whole life. But now Brynnie and Marguerite are fighting, leaving Quinney caught in the middle. Even worse, Marguerite has turned into Lake Geneva's bad girl, and everyone in school knows all about it. Or they think they do.

Quinney wants to be loyal, but Marguerite keeps pushing her away. And when Quinney's mom invites Marguerite to live with them for a few weeks — in Quinney's room, no less! — Quinney finally has to face the question she's avoided all along: Does she even want to be friends with Marguerite anymore?

Poor Quinney's got the bad girl blues...!

In this funny and poignant novel, Sally Warner explores what it's like to discover that not everyone grows up at the same time — or in the same way.

Editorial Reviews

Inseparable since they were little girls, Quinney, Marguerite, and Brynn are not so little anymore, and now nearly thirteen, they are growing apart every day. Quinney is the smart, orderly one, a girl who takes no chances. Marguerite is the daring one and most likely to get into trouble before she gets out of junior high school. Brynn is in between—she will take your side if you are with her, talk behind your back if you are not. The story is told through the eyes of Quinney. She is interested in boys—especially one named Cree—wants to hang out with the popular kids at school, and feels put upon by her parents to take care of her five-year-old twin brothers. Quinney wants to go her own way, meet new people, and experience new things. A car accident gets Marguerite in trouble with her parents, and she winds up staying with Quinney for a few weeks during which their friendship is put to the test. This book tells the story of friendship, growing up, and growing apart in a very matter-of-fact manner. The story line and characters are believable. Readers will cheer in the end when Quinney realizes that things have changed in her life but knows that it is all right to change and move on. Middle and junior high school libraries and media centers will want this book. PLB $15.89. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, HarperCollins, 224p, $15.95. Ages 11 to 15. Reviewer: Anne Liebst
Children's Literature
A nicely realized middle-grade novel about friendship and change, Bad Girl Blues picks up with the characters from Totally Confidential. Quinney Todd is a twelve-year-old faced with the disintegration of her best-friends triangle. Without the stability of that triangle, she has to figure out what it means to be just Quinney. Warner has some nicely blended subplots, including a former friend who's becoming the subject of town gossip, and the opening of a pet shelter where Quinney has a chance to shine—and learn about what true friendship means. Her family life is richly detailed, too, from her sweetly goofy parents to her twin brothers' imaginary friend and the boys' own search for identity. 2001, HarperCollins, $15.95 and $15.89. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Donna Freedman
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Warner explores the dark side of friendship-disloyalty, emotional distance, pettiness-through sixth graders Quinney and Marguerite, friends who grow apart after Marguerite skips school and goes joyriding with inebriated high-school boys in their small town in upstate New York. They have an accident, ruining Marguerite's already fragile reputation. Because of the girls' friendship, Quinney also suffers. However, her parents invite Marguerite to stay with them indefinitely while her family participates in therapy. The girls grapple with making their friendship work despite their growing differences. The profundity of the situation notwithstanding, the characters seem flat and the conclusion is simplistic. Neither plot nor character driven, Bad Girl seems situation driven. Warner takes one event and stretches its impact over an entire school year. However, she does convey the multilayered facets of friendship. Miss Mudge, the owner of the pet shelter at which Quinney works, advises, "You don't have to take care of your friends, Quinney-you just need to love them." This remains the principal theme.-Laura Glaser, Euless Junior High School, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"Things change" is the moral of Warner's (How to Be a Real Person in Just One Day, 2000, etc.) deft, surprisingly gripping novel about an ordinary, small-town girl. All her life, 12-year-old Quinney Todd has been best friends with Marguerite Harper and Brynn Mathers. But now Marguerite, who is bored with the tiny town of Lake Geneva, is growing apart from her old friends. Then, shortly after their first year of middle school starts, itself a big change, Marguerite cuts class and goes for a ride with four beer-drinking high-school boys. The kids get into a minor car accident, but it has major repercussions for Marguerite's reputation. This predictably leads to a moral dilemma for Quinney: should she defend her friend or reject her along with everyone else. The decision is not made any easier for her by Marguerite's frankly unapologetic, tough-girl stance. This situation, coupled with Quinney's new volunteer job at an animal shelter, the sudden dissension between her five-year-old twin brothers, and her fresh feelings for handsome eighth-grader Cree Scovall, all combine to keep Quinney scrambling to maintain emotional balance. Wisdom is supplied by the owner of the animal shelter, a prickly woman who "never met a person yet who could measure up to your average house pet" and was herself once the object of small-town gossip and rejection. Girls should root for Quinney, a basically good-hearted every-girl type, and identify with the garden-variety situations she has to cope with as she struggles to meet the challenges of growing up. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.81(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Phone Call

"She dumped me. Marguerite dumped me!" Cree Scovall was almost fourteen, but for a moment he looked a couple of years younger, Quinney couldn't help thinking. She didn't know what to say. Cree leaned way back in the clunky library chair and made a face at her. "Well?" he asked.

"I--I didn't know that," twelve-year-old Quinney said. It was a lie, though, because really, how could any kid not know every detail of what was going on with other kids in a town the size of Lake Geneva?

In fact, Quinney Todd had known that Marguerite-and-Cree would be history almost as soon as the thought flitted across Marguerite's brain a week earlier. "I don't want to be tied down when school starts," Marguerite told Quinney as they leaned against the double-trunked birch tree in Quinney's backyard. Marguerite had not gone out with Cree more than a couple of times, and then, only to the bowling alley. But she talked as if they'd been a couple for months. "Mere are plenty of fish in the sea," she announced as if she'd just invented the saying," and some of them are in high school."

High school. Trust Marguerite to set her sights on high school before she'd even set foot in middle school. "But I thought you wanted to have a boyfriend when school started," Quinney said. Not that any other sixth graders she knew were dating, or even thinking about it. "I thought that was the whole point." Besides, wasn't Cree the nicest--and cutest--boy in town?

"Nope. I don't want Cree--he's all yours, Quin," Marguerite said, laughing. She picked up a handful of leaves and threw them at Quinney,

"I don't wanthim," Quinney objected, ducking and blushing. "Anyway, Marguerite, it's not like Cree is a bag of popcorn at the movies. You can't just give him away to somebody else when you're done with him."

"Don't take him, then," Marguerite had said, laughing some more. "Let some other girl grab him, if you're feeling so generous."

"Say something," Cree challenged Quinney, landing his chair on the floor with a thunk.

Quinney almost wished she hadn't wandered into the library today. Outside, the September air was like water, cool and clear, and autumn light slanted low through the trees and skipped over the Hudson River like a handful of little flat stones.

Inside, the library was warm, almost stuffy, but three days into the new school year Quinney had wanted to revisit the site of her secret summer job as "professional listener." What a joke, Quinney scolded herself silently. But at least she'd made a little money last summer-and met some interesting people.

Such as Cree--she had been sitting at their old table just when Quinney wandered by almost as if he'd been waiting for her.

'Me librarian's gentle voice floated back to the little reference room where Quinney and Cree were sitting. "No," Mrs. Arbuckle was explaining to someone, "you press Enter next..."

"I don't want to press Enter next," a panicky voice objected. "I'm not ready!"

But you couldn't argue with a computer when it was time to press Enter, Quinney thought smiling-any more than you could argue with someone as irrational and stubborn as Marguerite.

"You actually think this is funny?" Cree asked, angry now. "I thought we were friends."

"We are," Quinney said quickly. Sort-of friends, anyway, she corrected herself-because Cree Scovall was in the eighth grade at Adirondack while Quinney was a sixth grader. Cree had been one of Quinney's listening customers over the summer at least until he found out his professional listener was only a kid. But they'd talked a few times after that Not often enough to suit Quinney, true, but it was better than nothing.

Officially, they barely even knew each other. Quinney's former summer job was top secret totally confidential, and both Quinney and Cree intended to keep it that way. Not even Brynnie or Marguerite knew about it though Quinney had finally told her parents.

"If we're really friends, find out what happened," Cree urged Quinney, "Call her up and ask her, okay?"

Quinney stared down at the scarred, library table through her long bangs. "I didn't know you even liked Marguerite all that much. You said it was nothing serious," she finally said, but she spoke so softly that Cree had to lean forward to hear her.

"I don't like her that much--especially now," he said, looking surprised at his own words even as he uttered them. "I just want to find out what happened, that's all. 'Mere's got to be a logical explanation."

Cree was as big on logical explanations as she was, Quinney thought hiding another smile. "So why don't you ask her yourself?."

Cree shook his head helplessly and ran his hands back through his shaggy brown hair. "I haven't even seen her around. Not lately."

"Me either," Quinney admitted. She barely caught a glimpse of Marguerite since school began.

"And I called her, but she wouldn't even come to the phone. It would be pathetic to just keep on trying."

Quinney felt a blush creep across her freckled cheeks. It embarrassed her to hear Cree act this way-and over Marguerite, who hadn't even deserved all that attention in the first place. Quinney bit her Up at this disloyal thought. Marguerite was supposed to be her friend, after all.

"So will you do it?" Cree was asking.

'I guess," Quinney said reluctantly. "Ill try, anyway, but she'll probably just tell me to mind my own business. "That, or something more colorful, Quinney thought...

Bad Girl Blues. Copyright � by Sally Warner. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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