Bad Kittyby Michele Jaffe
Meet Jasmine,1 forensic supersleuth,2 aspiring Model Daughter,3 and friend to animals.4 One second she's trying to enjoy her Vegas Vacation,5 the next she's tangled up in an outrageous adventure and has to outwit a crazed killer before/small>/sup>/small>/sup>/small>/sup>/small>/sup>/small>/sup>… See more details below
Meet Jasmine,1 forensic supersleuth,2 aspiring Model Daughter,3 and friend to animals.4 One second she's trying to enjoy her Vegas Vacation,5 the next she's tangled up in an outrageous adventure and has to outwit a crazed killer before he ends ten lives, one of them her own.6
1 Hi! That's me!
2 I. Wish.
3 Emphasis on aspiring. Current status: failing.
4 If friend means "unsuspecting victim" and animals means "one very bad kitty."
5 And meet the cute guy at the Snack Hut. I have priorities.
6 Meep! But I guess it winds up okay since Kirkus Reviews says: "Inventive, witty, and laugh-out-loud funny, with an enjoyably twisty ending." They wouldn't say that if everyone died, right? Right?
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By Michele Jaffe
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Michele Jaffe
All right reserved.
I believe everyone has a superpower. My friend Polly can name the designer, season, and price of any garment on any person (knockoffs too) with flawless accuracy. Roxy can eat more food faster than anyone I've ever seen, has a perfect sense of direction, and over one spring break she built a working TV out of an old toaster. And her twin brother Tom can imitate anyone's voice and pick any kind of lock.
Still, I've never been able to figure out what my superpower is. Dr. Payne, my dentist, says my teeth generate plaque faster than anyone he's ever seen. And I have an incredible ability to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, without fail. But I'm not sure either of those count. I guess the only thing I've got going for me is that cats like me.
But if that is a superpower, you can have it, because it's the reason I got into this whole mess.
It had started out as such a nice day too.
I was relaxing on my chaise lounge at the Venetian Hotel pool in Las Vegas after a grueling fifteen minutes of water aerobics with my stepmother, Sherri! (Actually, she just recently stopped writing her name with the exclamation point after it. Now she just puts a heart over the i.)
Sherri! and I had just finished our "exercise," which mostly consisted of me flailing my arms around like I was telling some hovering space aliens, "Over here, come this way," and Sherri! naming the different brands of breast implants on display around us in the pool. Sherri!'s breasts are real, but since almost all her friends from the ABA where she works as a hand-breast-thigh body double, are "enhanced," she's become kind of an expert. (ABA stands for All-Body Agency, supplying body doubles to Hollywood since 1984, not the American Bar Association, which is what my aunt Liz thinks.)
That's not her superpower, though. Sherri!'s superpower is that it's impossible to hate her. I know, you're thinking that is not a superpower, but in the case of Sherri!, believe me, it is. Because it's not just men who don't hate her. Everyone doesn't hate Sherri! Even I can't hate her, which, if you know anything about stepmothers, is really very wrong. We are supposed to hate each other; it's in the natural order of things. And that does not take into account the special circumstances of me vs. Sherri! Which are:
Boobs: C-cup, real, perky
Eyes: sky blue
Skin: peach sorbet
Face: could totally launch a thousand ships.
Figure: she's a body double for Hollywood stars.
Need I say more?
Height: perfect (5'6"; 5'9" in heels)
If her hair were a character in a horror movie, it would be:
the pretty girl who always looks tidy yet sexy even when running for her life from the scary unpredictable murderer
Dream: to invent a line of comfortable, safe, and attractive seat belts for small dogs
Boobs: nonexistent (like my superpower)
Eyes: grass green (from my Irish father)
Skin: chocolate milkshake (from my Jamaican mother.
Along with my dimples.)
Face: could launch, maybe, a science experiment
Figure: stick bug
Height: King Kong
If my hair were a character in a horror movie it would be:
the scary unpredictable murderer who sometimes looks perfectly normal and then other times reveals an inner demonic self.
Dream: to have a boyfriend I can look up to. Literally. While wearing my cowboy
boots. Oh, also to fight crime and make the world a safer place.
Yes, that is right, my stepmother was eight when I was born. Don't even ask how old my father was when she was born; it's upsetting. And yet, despite that, I cannot hate her.
Since she and my dad got married a year ago, Sherri! has been nothing but excellent. She doesn't take my dad's side in our arguments, and she uses logic on me to get me to do what she wants. Like, "If you use the car without permission, you'd better remember to fill the gas tank. You have money for gas, right? If you don't, you might not want to go." I mean, that's helpful. Plus, she has never tried to give me menstruation tips, or tell me how lucky I am because my exotic coloring opens up a whole palette of eye shadow colors most women can't go near, or point out that some boys like to date women a foot taller than them, or advise me about guys at all.
Not that her advice would work anyway, since her experiences as a seventeen-year-old and mine have nothing in common except that we are both the same species. And I'm not even sure that's true. I mean, Sherri! could well be some new, improved form of Homo sapiens designed to end hatred and bring voluptuous beauty to the world. The way the really cute guy sitting at the pool's Snack Hut looked in our direction as she perfectly "Right arm, jab! Left arm, jab!"ed her way through water aerobics made this very clear.
My plan for the afternoon was to lie around far, far from Sherri! and Dad and their cooing, trying to come up with something to write in my summer Meaningful Reflection Journal for school. It seemed like a good time to start, since school was beginning in two weeks and so far my journal was empty. So I decided I would just write down whatever I wanted. Like this haiku:
Cute guy at Snack Hut
Why won't you remove your shirt?
It's so hot (you too)
The point of the Meaningful Reflection Journal, according to Dr. Lansdowne, the college counselor at the Westborough School for Girls, which I attend, is to encourage us to compile thoughts and reflections and take stock of all the little life lessons we learn each day. (Translated, that meant that it would force us to practice SAT vocabulary words while helping us come up with something that sounded deep in our college essays.) Young people, Dr. Lansdowne said, experience so much and process so little; the journals would change that. He can get away with saying things like that without choking on his tongue because he looks like Hugh Grant did when he was young, complete with British accent.
Excerpted from Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe Copyright © 2006 by Michele Jaffe. Excerpted by permission.
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