Flipping the Script (Del Rio Bay Clique Series #5)

( 8 )


It's junior year at Del Rio Bay High, and from near and far, the guys are taking center stage... 

Now that Mina's boyfriend Brian is off to Duke University, life in Del Rio Bay is lonely. And Brian's busy schedule as a Duke baller isn't helping. As the season heats up and the phone calls get fewer, Mina's insecurity increases?and so does Brian's impatience with it. But he's not the only guy in the clique dealing with craziness.  ...

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Flipping the Script

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It's junior year at Del Rio Bay High, and from near and far, the guys are taking center stage... 

Now that Mina's boyfriend Brian is off to Duke University, life in Del Rio Bay is lonely. And Brian's busy schedule as a Duke baller isn't helping. As the season heats up and the phone calls get fewer, Mina's insecurity increases—and so does Brian's impatience with it. But he's not the only guy in the clique dealing with craziness.  

Michael's passion for fashion has led to a chance to attend a special creative arts program in D.C. He knows he should jump on it, but leaving home is harder than he thought. He turns to his dancer friend Rob for support, but Rob's presence around the clique triggers star athlete JZ's feelings of homophobia. As JZ's discomfort simmers, his feelings get the best of him when he finds himself seriously attracted to Jacinta—and discovers she's on a different page.  

With relationships in the balance and friendships at risk, Flipping the Script challenges the guys to step up when the stakes are high.  

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758225863
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Series: Del Rio Bay Clique Series , #5
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,401,210
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Paula Chase Hyman lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters. A former competitive cheer coach, her writing has appeared in Girls' Life, Sweet 16, and Upscale magazine. She's a founding member of The Brown Bookshelf, a national initiative dedicated to spotlighting African American children's lit authors flying under the radar.

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Read an Excerpt

Flipping the Script

A Del Rio Bay Novel

By Paula Chase
Copyright © 2009

Paula Chase
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-2586-3

Chapter One All I Want for Xmas Is You

"Santa hooked me up this year." -B2K, "Santa Hooked Me Up"

Closing time!

Well, almost.

Mina eyed the clock on the register, willing it to move from ten-thirty to eleven. She stared at it for a full thirty seconds and the time remained one zero, three zero. She hip-bumped the vacuum cleaner she'd stowed away under the register-totally against the rules-and gave the register's clock one more pleading look before giving up.

Eleven P.M. was taking forever.

It was official, she hated working the holidays with a passion. The extra hour the mall was open was killing her.

At ten-thirty on the last shopping Friday before Christmas, the teen girls who would normally storm Seventh Heaven's were at other stores shopping for their boyfriends or parents, not themselves. It would be another story the day after Christmas. But Mina didn't want to think about that. She was still praying she wouldn't have to work that day, even though Jess said everyone was usually scheduled to handle the onslaught of returns.

I could use an onslaught now, she thought, taking the store's emptiness personally.

Unable to endure the idleness another second, Mina waved at Vic, Seventh Heaven's cutie-pie DJ. She signaled that she was about to turn on the vacuum and he should pump up the music a notch. She ran the dust sucker over the already immaculate floors. Not once had Mina ever felt vacuuming accomplished anything except some inane need of the store's supervisors to check it off a closing procedure to-do list. The floors were clean enough to eat off. She took her time rolling the vacuum down the center aisle past the perfectly folded tees and racks of miniskirts. She smiled over at the brown cord mini. Next pay day that baby would join the rest of her growing Seventh Heaven wardrobe.

The vroom of the vacuum sucked to a dead stop.

Mina frowned down at it, bent to check the problem-probably sucked up one of the price tags-then heard Vic's laughing. She looked up to ask him what he'd done, figuring he was messing around with her, and ran smack into Jessica.

"Mina, I told you to stop vacuuming so early," Jessica said, the vacuum plug dangling from her folded arms, legs in a wide model stance. Her hazel eyes were an eerie contrast to her coffee bean skin.

Vic imitated Jess behind her back and Mina bit back a smile. Seeing the glint in her eye, Jess whipped her head Vic's way, but only caught him bopping his head, ear to the headphone.

"I'm just going to make you vac again at eleven-oh-five," Jessica said, facing Mina once more. She sounded like an exasperated parent chastising a child.

"The store's empty," Mina reasoned. She reluctantly wound the plug around the vacuum, snaking it out of Jess's grip.

"So? We're not supposed to vacuum until we're closed."

"That's seriously the dumbest rule ever," Mina said, more pouty than rebellious. She eased by Jessica, rolling the vacuum with her toward the front of the store. "Friday nights blow."

Jessica's shoulders hitched as she folded an already well-folded shirt. She flicked her long, curly weave over her shoulder, then tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, nearly singing, "If I've gotta be here, you've gotta be here."

Mina looked over at Vic and rolled her eyes. He winked at her as he spun her favorite song. Singing under her breath, Mina swayed her hips to the beat and dance-walked the vacuum back to the spot where she'd started, on the ready for eleven P.M. A sudden grin exploded across her face. Even over the music, she heard the clique's banter, recognizing the familiar cadence, before they appeared around the corner. She drank in the sight of her friends like a thirsty person sizing up a glass of cold water.

JZ stopped and stooped low enough for Jacinta to climb onto his back. He stood up, popped Jacinta in the spot he wanted her, and caught up with the rest of the clique in two long-legged strides. His biceps bulged when he locked his hands under her jeans-clad thighs. Both he and Cinny were looking fit thanks to a summer of conditioning. He'd taught her how to swim and for reasons only known to JZ, he'd made early morning runs, sit-ups and push-ups part of his lessons. Jacinta, who had already been curvy to a point of distracting guys, now had a tighter waist, toned arms, and a rock-solid butt. Mina noticed that whether he was dunking Cinny in the pool, lifting her over his shoulder for a playful spin, or giving her a ride on his back, JZ couldn't keep his hands off the new firm figure he'd help sculpt.

And Jacinta was the happiest Mina had seen her in a long time. Raheem, her boyfriend of five years, was at Georgetown University-out of sight and out of mind. No sooner had Jacinta said bye than she and JZ began a more open flirtation fest, and it hadn't been that sly to begin with.

Mina couldn't relate to Cinny's giddiness. She fought depression anytime the realization hit that Brian was in Durham, a starting freshman on Duke University's basketball team. Some days Mina spent hours imagining what life would be like if Brian were a regular student instead of a student athlete.

He'd be able to road-trip home now and then and be home for regular holidays instead of on lockdown until Christmas. He hadn't even come home for Thanksgiving because the team played in a tournament in Hawaii. Forget being mad jealous that he was in one of the most beautiful places on earth; Mina only knew he should have been home with her. Instead, she'd watched the television wide-eyed, giddy, yelling "That's my boo" anytime the camera caught him.

Mina wondered how Cinny was going to handle Raheem being home for the holidays, something she'd confided only to Mina that she dreaded.

Mina's eyes scanned the clique quickly, as if needing visual reassurance that Brian wasn't bringing up the rear. He'd bulked up over the summer preparing to go toe-to-toe with some of the country's best college ballers, and Mina couldn't help but stare at his new girth anytime he was near.

She wanted to see him so bad she could taste it. Instead, she focused on Michael, apparently the only one immune to the buffness running rampant among the guys, looking oddly patriotic in a pair of jeans, a red polo, and a pair of crisp, white Air Forces. His kicks sparkled as if he'd just popped them out of the Nike box. Just about five foot ten, he was five inches shorter than JZ and more male-model clean than athletic chic.

Bringing up the rear were the couples-Kelly and Greg, Lizzie and Todd. The girls were petite next to the guys-Lizzie in a frayed denim mini, boots, and a tee, Kelly in a blousey baby-doll top and skinny jeans. Todd, once skinny even with muscles, was now the same size as JZ. He was still the same goofy basketball geek but one who had finally filled out his promising frame. Lizzie was one lucky girl, in Mina's opinion, and she reminded her best friend of that now and then. When she cheered for Varsity basketball games, Mina couldn't take her eyes off Todd. Not in a sleazy kind of way, but in amazement. Over the summer, he'd left Del Rio Bay toned and come back ripped with a surfer's body, complete with a six-pack. On top of that, the Cali sun had bleached his walnut brown hair blond, again. Even with their summer tans fading, he and Lizzie were a cute, sun-kissed, matching pair.

Kelly and Greg were their brown doppelgangers, the preps to Liz and Todd's beach-bum casual. The four of them conversed among themselves between exchanges of conversation with JZ, Jacinta, and Michael, in and out like couples do, making Mina's heart ache.

She missed being part of a couple.

The seven of them were creating the most activity Mina had seen in the unusually subdued corridor all night.

Drawn to their noise, Jessica stationed herself beside Mina. "I figured that was your posse. Could they be any louder?"

Mina knew Jess's annoyance was only for show. Jess was as happy as she was to have a distraction for the last few minutes of their shift.

"Hey, Deev," Michael said, as the clique entered the store. He gave Mina an affectionate shoulder squeeze.

"What's up, girl?" JZ said, in his usual loud voice. He squatted a few inches so Jacinta could slide off his back and threw a "what's up?" fist Vic's way. Vic returned the salute.

"Hey, girl," Jacinta said before heading to the clearance rack.

As their boyfriends stopped to chat up Vic, Lizzie and Kelly joined JZ and Michael in a semicircle in front of Mina and her vacuum.

"Any minute now, your guy will be home. Excited?" Lizzie's green eyes twinkled.

"Please, she practically has a clock over her head counting down," Kelly said, bumping Mina's shoulder.

Jess snorted. "As long as that clock knows it's not going off until eleven-thirty, she'll be fine."

Satisfied she'd gotten in the proper snip for the night, Jess runway-modeled to the cash register. Mina, Kelly, and Lizzie rolled their eyes.

"Wasn't Brian coming with you guys?" Mina asked, unable to resist peeking around JZ but only getting a glimpse of Greg and Todd high-fiving Vic at something they found hilarious.

"He was supposed to." JZ leaned against a rack of holiday dresses, blocking Mina's view of the entrance. "Didn't he text you?"

Mina instinctively pulled her cell out of the pocket of her jeans. There was no message. She shook her head.

"His flight was delayed or something. He won't be here till tomorrow," JZ said. He put his arm around Mina's neck in a light hold. "You're stuck with me."

Mina wriggled out of the hold and shoved him. "Please, don't remind me."

"Now, see, how does that sound?" JZ faked a pout. "We go back to kindergarten, girl."

"But we've only been friends since second grade," Mina said, hands on her hips.

"Oh, that's wrong. You didn't like me until second grade?"

Lizzie stepped between the mock fight. "And I've been refereeing since fourth grade," she said. "Break it up, you two, before I call Cinny on you."

"I am not in this," Jacinta said, peeking her head over a rack of pajama bottoms. "Mi, this is cute. Hook me up with your discount."

"No she's not either," Jess said, from the register. Her eyebrows arched to her forehead in what Mina called her supervisor's stare.

"Like I said," Jacinta continued, raising her voice and purposely not looking Jess's way, "Mina, hook ya' girl up."

Mina gave Jacinta a little head shake and smiled when she saw the evil grin on her friend's face. Jacinta always knew how to get to Jessica. She was clearly baiting her. She'd never seriously ask for a discount out loud. She didn't have to. Mina would happily hook any of her friends up. All they had to do was tell her what they wanted, she bought it, and they paid her back. Cinny, obviously in a good mood, was successfully getting under Jess's skin. Any other time she acted as if Jessica didn't exist, and Jess did the same right back.

"Mina, I'll report you. The employee discount is not transferable," Jess said. She walked over, joining the tight circle, hands folded against her chest, and glared across the store at Jacinta, who'd already lost interest in the game and was eyeing Seventh's tiny inventory of shoes.

"Oh my God, Jess, chillax," Mina said. Her eyebrows furrowed as she came as close as she dared to dueling with her frenemy/boss. "Cinny was only joking."

"She'd better be. I'm watching the things she picks out and if you buy any of it, I'll know it was for her," Jess said, narrowing her eyes Jacinta's way.

Mina didn't bother to respond. Jacinta knew how to play the game better than that. Anytime she was in Seventh's she picked up things she didn't like, because she knew Jess was evil enough to spy her selections. Then later she'd tell Mina the stuff she really wanted. If Jess put half as much time into being human as she did being bitchy ... well, she'd still be a major bitch. Mina hadn't known her any other way. They got along fine at work, but Jess could turn on her bitchiness with the quickness. Mina had learned, long ago, to ride with the flow and hold on quietly during the rough patches.

Her breath hitched as an arm went around her waist. Brian's voice, smooth and deep, was in her ear, "You trying dip early or what?"

Mina screamed loud enough to penetrate the music's booming bass. "Oh my God!" Whipping around, she jumped into Brian's open arms, for once not caring about the mushy PDA. He scooped her up and she wrapped her arms around his neck. They kissed and the tight circle, which had gotten progressively tighter to cloak Brian's entrance, immediately dispersed.

"Awww, ain't they cute?" JZ said with mock adoration. But in four long strides he was at Vic's DJ station, already over the happy reunion. "Vic, I hope you got some fresh mixes for my New Year's Eve joint, son."

In answer, Vic nodded in time to the booming beat.

Lizzie and Kelly joined Jacinta in window shopping. Only Michael and Jessica remained off to the side, Michael browsing the CDs in the impulse-buying section near the register and Jessica pretending to neaten a stack of tee shirts.

Brian set Mina down. "For real, though. You ready to blow?"

Mina nodded her head Jess's way. "Gotta ask my boss."

"No," Jess said before Brian could ask. She looked at her watch. "She still has ten minutes before closing and another thirty of cleaning."

Brian laid one of his prettiest smiles on Jessica, his brown eyes teasing. "Come on, Jess. You know I'm only home a few days."

"Uh-huh. And?" Jess's hands flew to her hips. Mina saw in her face that Jess was working to keep her gaze steely. Like most girls, she was openly tickled that Brian James's light shone on her. Mina saw it in the hopeful twinkle in Jess's catlike hazel contacts. They brightened more when Brian put his arm around Jess's shoulder.

"You know Mina has curfew. Help a dude out," he said, making Jess his co-conspirator.

"That's what you get for dating a young 'un," Jess said. Her eyes rolled but without the usual annoyance.

"What can I say? I like 'em young." Brian laughed when Mina smacked his arm.

"Come on, Jess. Let her go early," JZ hollered from the front, Vic's earphone up to his ear.

"No," Jess said his way. Her eyebrow rose toward Brian. "Uh-uh."

"Don't be like that, Supe," Brian said.

Mina nearly giggled. Only Brian and JZ could get away with calling Jess "Supe"-short for supervisor. Jessica actually grinned. Everyone loved getting a Brian James nickname.

"She can't leave before eleven-thirty. That's her shift," Jess said, working to sound authoritative. Her lips pursed. "But she already vacuumed too early. So as soon as we close she can roll." She swished her hair and smirked. "But you owe me, Mina."

Mina groaned. "I'd rather stay till eleven-thirty."

"Don't say that," Brian said. His fingers tap-danced down Mina's back, leaving goose bumps along the way. "Supe might change her mind."

"She still has ten minutes," Jess reminded him, as Brian tugged on Mina's arm.

Brian picked up a pink tee and held it up to his chest. "Is this my color?"

"You're only making more work for your girlfriend," Jessica said. She pulled it from his hand and tossed it at Mina, who caught it clumsily.

Mina obediently refolded the shirt, careful to follow the Seventh Heaven formula-right sleeve, left sleeve, left side, right side, two body folds up, neckline last. She did it without thinking; six-hour shifts, four days a week for eight months did that to a person. She shook her head in a firm no when Brian went to grab another tee. He came up behind her, pretending to help her fold.

"Hurry up and clock out," he whispered. His mouth lingered on her ear and nibbled, making Mina grin and her legs rubbery.

"Get a room," Jacinta yelled from across the empty store.

Brian stepped back, threw his hands up in a hands-off gesture, then leaned against a shelf of jeans.

Michael came over, taking his place beside Mina. He draped his arm over her shoulder. "I saw those baby doll flats you were talking about. They're cute."

Jess's eyebrow arched. "What are you? The token queer eye for the straight guy?"

Mina's jaw dropped, but before she could defend Michael, he easily traded barbs back.

"Only if you'll officially join us as the token bitchy, pretending-to-be-rich girl."

The diss escaped his mouth smooth as butter, so casual a passerby would have missed the nasty undertone.

Had Michael backed down it would have been an invitation for Jess to dig deeper for another venomous diss. It was her way. But game respected game. Jess flipped her weave, her expression cool, and busied herself brushing lint off the folded jeans. (Continues...)

Excerpted from Flipping the Script by Paula Chase Copyright © 2009 by Paula Chase. Excerpted by permission.
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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fans of the series will enjoy the continuing adventures of the crew

    Brian has left Del Rio Bay to attend Duke University on a scholarship. His Del Rio Bay High School junior girlfriend Mina misses him. However, as he acclimates to freshman life at college while playing ball, he communicates with her less and less. As she thinks of Brian and wonders WHO ARE YOU WIT? she panics that she is losing her boyfriend to a cheerleader, but though he wants to remain faithful, her uncertainty and lack of trust are driving him crazy.

    Michael is euphoric but also frightened. He has an opportunity to spend time away from Del Rio Bay in DC attending a creative arts program that fits his fashion dreams. However, he fears going so turns to a friend Rob the dancer for guidance. Meanwhile Rob's hanging around the jocks upsets star athlete JZ whose latent homophobia ignites. He struggles to control himself as he wants to beat sense into Rob, but knows the trouble he could get into including kicked off the team and besides he wants Jacinta; who is uninterested in him.

    The latest coming of age Del Rio Bay teen drama, FLIPPING THE SCRIPT, adds immense complications to the relationships with geography and sexual preference causing difficulties for everyone. The recurring cast has matured considerably since the days of SO NOT THE DRAMA, but so has the issues they face. Fans of the series will enjoy the continuing adventures of the crew; newcomers will appreciate this fine young adult novel while seeking out the previous four escapades so they DON'T GET IT TWISTED as to how far the group has come.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012


    It is a great book

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