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Doing My Own Thing

Doing My Own Thing

4.2 13
by Nikki Carter

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Success is never easy. Neither is staying real. . .

Sunday Tolliver's hard work and talent have finally paid off-she's got a smash album and mad-money beyond her wildest dreams. But earning fame is a lot easier than dealing with it. Sunday's diva cousin, Dreya, and bad-boy rapper, Truth, will do anything to get payback and wreck her reputation. Her gifted


Success is never easy. Neither is staying real. . .

Sunday Tolliver's hard work and talent have finally paid off-she's got a smash album and mad-money beyond her wildest dreams. But earning fame is a lot easier than dealing with it. Sunday's diva cousin, Dreya, and bad-boy rapper, Truth, will do anything to get payback and wreck her reputation. Her gifted new collaborator Dilly has every reason not to make Sunday's crucial follow-up album a hit. And a new reality show starring Sunday is making her love life way too hot to handle. Now she has to figure out who's fake, who's for real, who's down, and who's really got her back. And the only way she can take control of her success is to keep making it her way. . .

Praise for Nikki Carter

"For celebrity-drama lovers everywhere." —Kirkus on Not a Good Look

"Nikki Carter is a fresh, new voice." —ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Essence bestselling author

". . .(a) hot new teen series." —Mitzi Miller, Essence bestselling author

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Teens who haven't been following the adventures of Sunday Tolliver in the first two titles of this series might have difficulty getting into the story line initially, but if they stick with it, they'll be drawn in. The 18-year-old Atlanta singing star on-the-rise has been writing songs for her cousin Dreya (aka "Drama") and providing voice backup along with her friend Bethany. But Sunday is rapidly tiring of Dreya undercutting her, which escalates as she begins to be recognized for her own talent. The high school senior only got into this game to earn money to go to Spellman College, but the emotional drama is wearing her out and distracting her from her goals. Add Sam's demands that she commit to being his girl and Sunday's father suddenly showing up after being released from prison and wanting to manage her career, and you have one torn young woman. Sunday presents a positive image of a hardworking teen determined to make something of herself in the music industry. Her goals are often threatened, especially when the whole entourage goes to Barbados to shoot a BET special of her newest song, but she stays true to her goals and avoids the pull of conflicting advice from "names." At 18, she feels ready to do what she wants, but she also respects her mother's hard work to raise her right and knows enough to turn to her for advice when she's unsure whom to trust and how to right wrongs. This title is sure to be popular in teen collections but especially in urban libraries.—Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews

Another smart, gossipy peek into the music industry with level-headed rising star Sunday Tolliver and her impulsive, self-centered cousin Dreya.

The story opens soon after the explosive finale ofAll the Wrong Moves(2011), and readers new to the series are quickly brought up to speed on the cheating, infighting and family drama from previous volumes. This installment takes Sunday and the others to Barbados to film a new video. Sunday revisits her decision to put her music career first and her interest in studio engineer Sam second. New information surfaces about who swindled whom in the incident that demolished Sunday's college fund. Sunday's success pleases producer Big D and R&B diva Mystique, but Dreya resents her cousin and makes her feelings clear. The book explores some serious issues like relationship violence, but the overall tone is light and funny, not unlike the novel's (fictitious) BET reality show about the teens' summer tour.

Juicy drama with constant twists, turns andbons motsand plenty of room for additional episodes.(Urban chick lit. 12 & up)

Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Doing My Own Thing

A Fab Life Novel


Copyright © 2011 Nikki Carter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-5558-7

Chapter One

Have you ever been super nervous about something for absolutely no reason at all?

Today is the day we get to see the episodes of our BET reality show, Backstage: The Epsilon Records Summer Tour. I shouldn't be nervous, because I went out of my way to make sure I didn't do anything that could be misconstrued as ghetto or lame. I didn't talk bad about anybody in my confessionals, I never once used profanity, and I was only digging one boy the whole time (Sam).

So, I shouldn't be nervous.

But for some crazy reason I am. I have the butterflies-flitting-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach feeling that something ridiculous is about to pop off.

Maybe it's because I haven't really talked to anyone except Sam since the taping completed. We ended on a bad note. The final show in New York City got cancelled because of a botched kidnapping attempt that ended up in a nightclub brawl. It was all bad.

I keep playing the whole thing over and over again in my head, because I knew about the kidnapping ahead of time, but didn't tell anyone. In hindsight, I should've tried to do something, but I was afraid that something bad might happen to my mom and little cousin. That's all I was thinking about. It didn't even occur to me that telling Big D, Mystique, or Dilly about what was going down could've given a different result.

And now, I'm paying the price for that. Dilly's still not speaking to me, and the tour has been over for three weeks. Big D is a little salty with me too, and that really hurts, because he's always in my corner. Mystique is a little disappointed, but she told me that she would've done what I did, so that made me feel better.

My phone buzzes on my hip. "Hey, Sam."

"You want me to pick you up to go to the studio? Or are you driving, since you finally decided to stop being a tightwad and got yourself a car?"

I laugh out loud. Yes, I am a tightwad with the money I've earned so far on the songwriting end of things. But when I got my six-thousand-dollar check at the end of the tour, I went to a used-car lot and got a car. It's a tricked-out gold Toyota Camry that was probably seized from a drug dealer or something. Anyhoo, I'm on wheels.

"Why don't I pick you up for a change?" I ask. "I do want to drive, but I don't want to show up alone. I'm afraid I might get jumped."

"Dilly still isn't talking, huh?"

"No, and neither are Dreya and Truth, although I don't know why they're mad."

"Does Drama need a reason?"

I chuckle. "No, not really, but I think if someone would call her by her real name every now and then she might remember that Drama is a stage name, and that she doesn't have to live up to it."

"She will forever be Ms. Drama to me," Sam states.

"Well, whatever. She's Dreya to me. I'll pick you up in an hour. Cool?"


My mother calls me from the living room. "Sunday! Come here, now!"

"Sam, let me call you back. My mom is tripping on something."

Her voice sounds crazy, like she's about to try to ground me for something. But we've officially halted all punishment activities since I turned eighteen, and graduated from high school. Like how's she gonna ground me when I'm helping pay bills up in here? Real talk.

But still she sounds like she's in trip-out mode. I am sooo not in the mood.

"Sunday, sit down," my mom says when I come into the living room.

"What's up?"

"Look at what just came in the mail."

She hands me an envelope that's addressed to me and my mom, but doesn't have a return address. I open up the envelope and inside is a cashier's check.

For twenty-five thousand dollars.

It's the exact amount of money that my mother's boyfriend Carlos borrowed from my college fund to buy into Club Pyramids. It's the exact amount that was stolen from him when the deal went sour and he ended up getting shot.

"Do you think this has anything to do with Carlos's cousins trying to kidnap Dilly?" she asks.

"How can we say for sure? We don't even know who sent it."

My mother replies, "It had to be Carlos. Somehow he got his hands on the money and he's trying to make it up to you."

"But why wouldn't he let you know it was coming? I mean, he knows how to get in contact with us."

My mother sits down next to me and takes the check back. She flips it over a few times as if she's looking for clues to its origin. She sighs and shakes her head.

"Maybe it was the record company. Maybe they want all of the ghettoness surrounding you to stop, especially since they want to do a reality show with just you."

Apparently, BET liked what they saw of me from the reality-show footage, and they want to give me my own show. That's all good, and I know they don't want any more brawls taking place during my new gig. But how would the head honchos at BET know about the twenty-five thousand dollars? There is no way Mystique or Big D would tell them what really went down at the club in New York.

"I don't think it was Epsilon Records, Mommy. They aren't really in the loop with all the drama."

"Maybe it was Big D or Mystique?"

I bite my lip and think about this for a moment. Big D is out. He's known all along about the money, and if he wanted to give it to me, he could've done it at any time. Mystique is a possibility. She's the type who would do something under the radar and not sign her name to it.

"I don't know," I finally reply. "Maybe. I'll ask them both."

My mother shakes her head. "No. Don't ask. Whoever sent this doesn't want it to be known, or else they would've signed their name. We just have to look at it for exactly what it is."

"And what's that?" I ask, completely confused at her reasoning.

"That's simple. It's a gift from God."

Hmmm ... a gift from God? While I'm as Christian as the next person, I doubt that He's just sending random checks in the mail. If He was doing that, why doesn't He send them to people who really need it? I mean, for real, I've got hundreds of thousands of dollars on the way. Isn't there some poor single mom out there who could use the check more? I'm just saying.

But there's no way I'm gonna argue with my mother when it has to do with a blessing. She'll make me attend daily revivals, Bible study, vacation Bible school and everything else if I even think I sound like I don't have faith.

So, it's up to me to figure out the identity of the mystery check writer. Something new to put on my already overflowing plate!

"Well, I guess we just need to thank the Lord," I reply.

"You sound like you're being sarcastic, Sunday."

"I'm not! If it's from God, then I think I should thank Him."

"All right. Keep it up and your new reality show will follow you around at vacation Bible school."

This would be funny only if she didn't really mean it. Even though I'm eighteen, I'm still afraid of her. I have to hurry up and figure out who the mystery check donor is, before my mom makes her move.

Can somebody say a prayer for me?

Chapter Two

When Sam and I step through the studio door and into Big D's tricked-out lounge, the tension is pretty thick. Dreya and Truth are sitting on one end of Big D's new white leather couch, and Shelly is chilling in one of the four huge, fluffy, white leather armchairs. Bethany is huddled on the other end of the couch and Dilly is at her feet on the floor, on a large pillow.

Everyone seems to be waiting for something. And the facial expressions are beyond stressed.

"You redecorated," I comment to Big D.

"Shelly wanted to do all white and a big-screen TV, since Big D in the A Records is in the TV business now."

"I know that's right! After our show airs on BET, it's gonna be on and poppin'. They're gonna sign us up for like ten seasons," Dreya said.

Big D and I exchange glances. Apparently, he hasn't told Dreya about my reality show. I already know there's gonna be some mess behind this.

"But, I think before we even talk about that, we need to watch this DVD of our tour show. The one that's about to premiere on BET next Friday," Big D says.

Truth says, "Did you already watch it?"

"Yeah, and for the most part, I think y'all are gonna be cool with how it turned out."

Bethany lifts her right eyebrow suspiciously. "For the most part? What does that mean?"

"I don't think you have to worry," Dreya says with a laugh. "The show isn't about you."

"Ladies, please," Big D says in his exasperated voice. "Let's just watch the DVD."

Sam says, "What? No popcorn?"

"I know, right!" I add, hearing my stomach growl.

Big D replies, "I've got food on the way. Pizza, wings, pasta, and soda. It should be here soon."

Big D walks over to the big-screen television and pops the DVD into a slot on the side. Sam and I both plop down into big leather armchairs. He takes the one closest to Dilly, and Bethany and I sit down nearest to the TV.

I look over at Dilly out of the corner of my eye. He's still mean mugging like nobody's business. We've got to get a resolution to this beef quick, fast, and in a hurry because I'm not working with him if he's gonna hold grudges.

"What is it with you, dude? Why you keep looking at Sunday all like that?" Sam asks, as if reading my mind. "You gonna have to fall back with all that madness."

Dilly lets out a wicked-sounding laugh. "You her bodyguard or something?"

"You want to find out?" Sam replies.

"I'm supposed to be grinnin' and cheesin' at someone who almost got me kidnapped? How does that make any sense?"

I jump up out of my chair and scream at the top of my lungs. "How many times do I have to apologize to you, dude? You act like I'm the one who put together that plot! You should feel lucky we even deal with you at all, the way your brother and sister have threatened my family."

Big D steps to Dilly and intervenes. "Listen here, son. The only reason you're in my camp is because Sunday and Mystique spoke up for you. Epsilon is really feelin' Sunday right now, so what's good for her is good for Big D in the A Records. Ya' feel me?"

Dilly nods. "Yeah. I feel you."

"You start making her feel uncomfortable," Big D continues, "then you're making me uncomfortable. And I'm not about to feel that way up in my spot, ya' dig?"

"Oh my God!" Dreya shouts. "She ain't the queen bee up in here! If dude is mad, so-freaking-be-it! Can we watch the video? I'm ready for my close-up!"

Leave it to Dreya to bring everybody's attention back to her. And I don't recall ever acting like I was the queen bee of anything. That was a true hater comment if I ever heard one.

"My baby's ready to see herself on TV," Truth says as he kisses Dreya's neck.

My eyes widen a little when I see Dreya pull away from Truth as he tries to kiss her. It's a very small and subtle move that I would've missed if I wasn't glaring in Dreya's direction. Something is up between Dreya and Truth. I wonder if she knows about his and Bethany's extracurricular hookups while we were on tour. But, no, she couldn't possibly know about it, because Bethany is still her roomie.

Big D presses Play on his remote and our reality show's opening sequence plays over music from my album. It's my first single, "Can U See Me."

I hear Dreya inhale a sharp breath and her eyebrows furrow into a tight frown. Houston, we've got a problem. For real.

I don't think it would be so bad if the opening sequence didn't have me posted up front and center, like the show is all about me and everybody else is my supporting cast. Dreya's and Truth's images are in the background right with Sam, Bethany, Big D, Shelly, Dilly, and Ms. Layla.

The last shot is some footage of me and Mystique where she puts her arm around me and hands me a microphone. I remember us goofing off and doing these poses in front of the BET cameras. I don't think anyone, most of all me, knew that this would be the end result.

Dreya looks madder than a bunch of hoodrats ready to fight over the last bulk of platinum yaki weave. I take a deep breath as we go into the episodes....

Episode 1

All is cool in the beginning of this episode. The cameras show shots of the tour bus—the outside and inside. There's much footage of Dreya in diva mode, demanding cans of Sprite, extra pillows—her usual. They've got Aunt Charlie dancing, booty popping, and rump shaking. Everybody laughs out loud, even Dreya, when Aunt Charlie blows a kiss at the cameraman.

Next, there's a confessional with me, and I say, "I feel cool about going on tour with Truth."

After they show that sound bite, they cut to a shot of Dreya marching around the bus, making demands. Then they cut back to my confessional.

"There's no beef. We're first cousins." I see my face smiling at me on the TV screen.

Immediately, I notice that these two sound bites are from two different confessionals. My hair isn't even the same in the two shots. Next, there are confessionals from Dreya and Truth.

Dreya says, "Sunday wasn't supposed to be on this tour, but it's whatever. I'm the star and she's my opening act.... So it's whatever. We can all eat, right?"

I roll my eyes hard over in Dreya's direction. She's tripping! I can see right now, I was probably the only one trying to keep it positive on this reality show.

Truth's little sound bite isn't any better. "Sunday is ... well, you know ... she be playin' games and stuff. Ain't no beef at all. Her dude is even with us on tour. It's all gravy."

I glare at Truth and Dreya and holler over the TV. "I'm playin' games? What the heck are you on?"

Truth laughs. "Girl, watch the show!"

I fold my arms across my chest and slump down into the soft leather chair. For the record, I do not like Truth or Dreya.

Episode 2

This show flashes back to me and Dreya trying on stage costumes at Ms. Layla's studio, and us learning choreography at Mystique's dance studio. I see that they don't mind showing stuff out of sequence.

The next shot is of Dreya in the confessional booth. She says, "Mystique's mama has absolutely no fashion sense at all. I can't believe I have to wear these ugly spandex unitards on my first tour! Why everybody got to be a fashion designer? I heard she used to be a caterer or some mess, but her daughter gets a record deal and all of a sudden she's a designer? Not!"

My jaw drops! I can't believe Dreya would go in on Ms. Layla like that. Can somebody say career suicide? Mystique is the number-one chick in the game right now, and there's nothing Dreya can do about that. She doesn't even qualify as Mystique's competition.

I cringe when they show a conversation that Dreya and I had at Mystique's studio about Sam and our whole prom fiasco.

She'd asked me about what happened and my answer was, "He didn't play me. I uninvited him. It's all good."

Then these dang editors skipped the most important part of the conversation where I deny ever pushing up on Truth at the club (which is what started the entire prom fiasco). The next sound bite is Dreya saying, "I'm just saying, why Sam is not checking for you. But Dilly is. He's cute, but ... you know."

Totally uncomfortable in here right now. Sam is looking all kinds of crazy and Dilly has nothing to say about Dreya's compliment. He could've at least said thank you.

Episode 3

This is the prom episode! I sit back and relax myself, because even though I didn't go with Sam, my dress, hair, and nails are fiyah!

"We look good, Sunday!" Dreya gives me a high five in the air. I throw her one back.

Whose idea was it for us to watch this together? Now Dilly's got a smirk on his face, Bethany is all twisted up, and Sam has this glazed-over look on his face. This is all bad. I need the escape hatch right about now.

I didn't think this could get worse, but it does.

Up on the TV screen Dilly spins me around and says his little freestyle. "I wish I had a million bucks, I do in my head/But I'd take a million of your kisses instead."

Then, they show Sam touching my shoulder and telling me to have fun. I don't remember his face looking so sad when he said that, but I'm seeing it now live and in color. Finally the scene ends with Dilly putting his arm around me and whispering in my ear.

I know that Dilly was making me feel better about not going to the prom with Sam, but nobody in the viewing audience could hear that!

"Sunday ..." Sam says. "For real?"

Sam gets up and storms out! I get up and follow him, because I can't let him think something crazy.

"Pause that, Big D. I'll be right back."


Excerpted from Doing My Own Thing by NIKKI CARTER Copyright © 2011 by Nikki Carter. Excerpted by permission of DAFINA KTEEN BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Doing My Own Thing 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one hundred percent worth buying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lovee theese drama books! Nikki Carter really gives detail about the characters so that you get a mental picture. I got this nook for Christmas and this was the first book i read. I fall in love with theese books so much, you wouldnt believe how fast i read them. I started reading it christmas evening and finished it at 1:00 am ! HOWEVER, i didnt really like how she ended the story...... i wish she would've gave more detail or have a follow up book!!! is this really the last book ??? ¿ (
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sunday is a rising star and her cousin Dreya a.k.a Drama is jealous of her success but her jealously is turned into full on anger when she learns that Sunday wrote songs for the girl who was creepin with her man Truth. Sunday has got a lot to handle with the reappearence of her father, Dreya refusing to admit the cause of the bruises on her face and Sam's "if you ain't my girl then I'm gone" ultimatum.
Brittany_M More than 1 year ago
Sunday Tolliver is a rising pop star with an album that's just about to be released, a reality television show that's about to premiere, and a college fund that's growing by the day. The summer before her freshman year in college should be fabulous, but she's got all kinds of drama going on in her life. Her "Boo and Bestie" Sam wants to take their relationship to another level, her cousin Dreya's stage name is "Drama" for a reason, and her friend Bethany is stirring up trouble with her cousin's boyfriend-a bad-boy rapper with some anger management problems. Sunday's dreams are finally coming true, so why is her social life starting to feel like a nightmare? Sunday is a very strong, ambitious, sympathetic heroine. She always wants to do the right thing and stay loyal to her friends, but she has a hard time deciding when she should put herself and her dreams first. Despite her out-of-the-ordinary lifestyle, the problems she faces are easy to identify with and fun to read about.
TrueLove7 More than 1 year ago
I Have Read Them All. This One Was By Far The Best I Ever Read ! I Hope There Is More : ) Keep Up The Good Work. Im Glad Sunday Finally Let Loose & Dreya Finally Calmed Down!
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