A Girl Like Meby Ni-Ni Simone
She's got a voice like Keisha Cole, attitude to burnand is the body-rockin', Bebe-sporting girl everyone in her high school wants to be. . .or be with. But in real life, sixteen-year-old Elite has a crack-addicted mother, no father in sight, and is secretly raising her sister and two brothers on her own. Now a radio contest has put her up-close-and-personal
She's got a voice like Keisha Cole, attitude to burnand is the body-rockin', Bebe-sporting girl everyone in her high school wants to be. . .or be with. But in real life, sixteen-year-old Elite has a crack-addicted mother, no father in sight, and is secretly raising her sister and two brothers on her own. Now a radio contest has put her up-close-and-personal with mega-hot singer Haneef and their chemistry is too sizzling for Elite to stop pretending. And as the clock ticks down fast for this 'hood Cinderella, she has only one shot to save her family and make all of her dreams come true. . .
Read an Excerpt
A Girl Like Me
By Ni-Ni Simone
Copyright © 2008
All right reserved.
Chapter One SPIN IT ...
I used to think I was the only one in the world like me and then I realized that there were a zillion mes ... this is just my story. And this is how it all started....
I'd prayed for my boyfriend, but after a few years it was time to renegotiate. I wanted a new boo. Scratch that-I needed a new boo ... and not any ole kinda boo, but a Hot Boy. Pants saggin' and timbs draggin'. A Lil Wayne or a Haneef type boo-one who-
"Elite," my eight-year-old sister, Aniyah, interrupted me as she lifted her head from under the covers. "Can you tell God I want a boo, too? But I want a Patrick from SpongeBob type boo."
And who said I was talking to this chick?
"Patrick?!" Aniyah's fraternal twin, Sydney, butted in. She peeked her head out from under the covers and said, "He keeps losin' his underwear."
"Well, you shouldn't be lookin'!" Aniyah snapped, getting offended. "You're way too grown!"
Sydney moved her hand midway up her face. "You better talk to the hand, 'cause the face don't understand."
"Oh, you got me twisted!"
"Alright!" I snapped, and they quickly retreated back under the covers.
I just wanted to put you down on this real quick: late at night, when the sun was setting and the moon was just right, I liked to pretend the ghetto twins didn't exist. It was a little difficult, though, considering we not only shared a room, but they also slept at the foot of my bed. Which is why I made them go to sleep at least an hour before me, so I could have time to think. Otherwise, when would I have found time to get my famous boo fantasy on? Crazy, right? But not to me. That's why I had been waiting for ten p.m.-I had an hour to go-to enter the radio contest sing for front row seats and a chance to be onstage with the hottest hip-hop and R & B sensation-Haneef!
Real talk, Haneef was putting Usher, Chris Brown, Bow Wow, and Omarion to sleep. Well ... maybe not Chris Brown, 'cause he was kinda fly, but still-you got the point. Li'l Daddy was doin' it: six feet even, Hershey's milk chocolate skin, beautiful almond-shaped brown eyes, tight and tumbling muscles that went on into infinity, with a killah swagger like Jay-Z.
Haneef was that even-when-you-saw-it-you-still-didn't-believe-it type fine, and I was sure, every time he was on the radio, he was singing not only about me, but to me.
My best friend Naja thought I was crazy. Whatever. Cause I never said a word when she was drooling over Flavor Flav.
I looked at the clock-still a half hour to go. I decided to call Naja so we could practice what I was going to sing. As I reached for my boost mobile, it danced in my hand. It was Naja. Oh, did I mention she popped her gums before every sentence? "I've been staring at the clock," she popped, "for five hours, and it's movin' slow as hell."
"Are the batteries dying?"
"I think so, but the number on the left stays the same for like an hour. And I'm like 'Okay, you wanna move yo' ass?'" Then she popped her gums again.
I never said she wasn't an airhead, I just said she was my best friend. Naja and I had been down like four flat since kindergarten.
I didn't even comment on the clock thing. "First of all, you better fall back from my baby daddy, Haneef," I snapped. "You claimed Flavor Flav. Don't get it twisted."
"Ill, I don't want him anymore, but I do think Bobby Brown is kinda cute."
I made hurling motions with my neck. "I'ma throw up."
"You better take something, 'cause if you throw up on the phone and it flies over here ... then we gon' have a problem."
Okay, maybe I'd missed something. "Naja, how would it fly over there?"
"Duh," she said as if I was the dumbest person on earth. "Think about it, Elite," she snapped.
"Hmmm, I just did and you know what, I don't even think I wanna know."
"The clock moved!" Naja yelled, excited. "It's ten!"
I screamed, "Okay, okay. What I'ma sing?"
"Sing," Aniyah popped her head from under the cover again, "Whatcha whatcha know bout me ..."
I balled up my fist and said, "If you don't shut your mouth ..."
"Puleeze," Sydney popped her eyes wide and rolled her neck. "She don't wanna sing that mess. She wanna sing, 'Let me take you to bed, lead you to places you've never been.'"
"What in the-let me find out that you been singing that mess and see what happens to you," I threatened. "Now don't let me see you pop up from the covers again."
"I'm tired of being treated like a slave," Sydney sighed.
"Be quiet!" I yelled.
"Come on," Naja snapped. "We have to hurry up. We should sing a Whitney Houston throwback. Hit all the high notes."
"Yeah, and get hung up on."
"I can sing," Naja said certain of herself. "I put Rihanna to sleep."
"Wow, that's a hard thing to do," I said sarcastically. "Look, we don't have time to argue. I'll sing, you just hum ... softly."
We called the station at least a hundred times before we were able to get through.
"Hot 102," the DJ said. "You're on live! Who is this?"
"Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!!" Naja screamed in everybody's ear.
I swore that if we got hung up on, I was taking her drawstring weave and slinging her ass! "Would you shut up?!"
"Ladies," the DJ said, getting our attention. "This is Hot 102, and you're live on the air ..."
"Hey," I said. "My name is Elite, and I'm from-"
"Brick City, in the house!" Naja cut me off. "I'm Naja, and I wanna give a shout out," I heard her ruffling paper in the background, "to my mother at work right now, my god brother on lockdown, and to all the homies who ain't here-"
"Wait," she carried on, "and to Al-Terik, you know I'm through with you. Cause I saw you and big butt Belinda in the corner of the cafeteria-"
"Dang girl, why you so rude? You know we got company on the phone."
"We're supposed to be singing!"
"Okay, and what's the problem? Sing."
"Thank you," I said, trying my best not to sound as aggravated as I felt. "Sorry about that ... uhm ... I wrote a song that I would like to sing-"
"Elite, they don't wanna hear no poetry."
I ignored her. "Okay, here goes. Do you want me to sing now?"
I looked at the phone to make sure it was still on, and it was. "Hello?" My heart dropped in my chest.
"Did they hang up?" Naja gasped.
"I think so." I couldn't believe this. "Hello?"
"Girl, they're gone. Dang, why would they do that?"
I didn't even answer. I simply hung up on her, turned on my side, and placed the covers over my head. I'm not surprised it didn't work out. Besides, my mother was a crackhead, and I knew the furthest I was probably going to get in life was from one side of my tight ass bed to the other. Tears slid down my cheeks as I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Chapter Two SPIN IT ...
"Good morning. Welcome to Hot 102," the alarm clock radio echoed throughout my room, a signal that I needed to get up and get ready for school. I turned over on my back and stared at the ceiling, where my taped poster of Haneef flapped in the top left corner and sagged in the middle.
"We're here today," the radio continued, "with hip-hop sensation Haneef."
"Wassup?! Everybody!" Haneef said and my heart palpitated.
"So," the DJ spat, filled with excitement, "today is the last day to win tickets to the Haneef concert! So, if you can sing, give me a ring!"
God must have been trying to tell me something. I reached for the house phone and dialed the radio station-they answered on the first ring.
"Hot 102. Who do we have on the line?"
"Say hello to Haneef."
"I can't," I said in a pant. "I'm speechless." I heard Haneef laugh ... and oh, he had a beautiful laugh.
"Alright," the DJ continued. "So you're calling for the contest?"
"Can you sing?"
"What?! Boy, don't play with me," I said seriously. "Can I sing? I sing all the time. Listen ..." and I burst into the best soprano version of "Haaaaa ... llelujah! Haaaaa ... llelujah! Hallelujah, Hallelujah ... Ha-lay-lu-yaaaaaa!"
"Oh ... kay ..." the DJ said. "I hope that's not what you're going to sing for us."
"Oh, no. My song is 'When You Touch Me.' It's a dedication to Haneef."
I closed my eyes, opened my mouth, and Heaven sprang from my throat. I was naturally an alto with a sultry voice like Keyshia Cole, but I had a range like Mariah Carey, so there was no mistake that I was straight killin' this contest! "I'm missing you baby ..."
Hmph. I kept singing, but I swore I heard my mother calling me by my nickname. I glanced at the clock but knew it wasn't her, because at that time of the morning she was sleeping off her high from the night before.
"Miss when you touch me ..." I continued to sing.
My eyes popped wide open. That was my mother.
"Elite Juliana Parker, get yo' fresh ass off this phone, talkin' crazy?!"
"Ma, get off the phone! I'm doing this to win tickets for Haneef!"
"Haneef?! Who the hell is Haneef, some li'l hoodlum ass drug dealer? All you can do for Haneef right now is get his chin checked. You up here singing like you hot in the ass about somebody touching you! Keep on singing, and it's gon' be me reaching out to touch that ass! If anything, you need to ask Haneef if he got two dollars I can borrow. If not, then get yo' ass off my line!"
Something told me ... I had just died. I hung up the phone, laid back on my bed, and watched my Haneef poster fall straight on my head.
A half hour into gettin' my misery on, I rose from the floor, showered, and dressed in a pair of fitted Juicy jeans, a V-neck tee, colorful bangles, and matching earrings.
When I walked in the living room, I saw that either my mother had found two dollars to borrow or she'd stolen something to supplement it, because she wasn't around anymore. Cassie Parker was one hot blazed-up mess.
She raised us from behind the bathroom door most of our lives because that was where she hid to get high, as if we really didn't know what was going on. And when she got with her new zooted-up boyfriend, Gary, they took crack love to the streets. Most of the time she was either in somebody's hallway, a street corner, or an abandoned building.
I'd never had the type of home where my friends came over and kicked it in my room. As a matter of fact, the only ones who knew the real life I lived were Naja and Jahaad (my boyfriend). Everybody else knew nothing. And I wanted to keep it that way. The last thing I needed was a buncha chicks or the state in my business. I had adjusted to being the "real" mother around this place, and it was cool.
I loved my sisters and brothers, and whatever it took to keep my family together was what I was going to do.
And about my father: the shit was so typical. He just wasn't around.
Needless to say, I was nothing special. So ... it was what it was, and other than having been played (twice) like too sweet Kool-Aid for Haneef tickets, I didn't complain. What was the use? I'd never known shit to change because I complained. Which was why I kept it movin' around my house.
I walked over to the pull-out couch, where my brother Ny'eem was asleep, and said, "Get yo' ass up!"
He sucked his teeth and ruffled the sheets, but did I look fazed? Puleeze!
"And don't think," I carried on, "that I don't know what time you came in here last night. Play with me if you want to, and you'll be down at the men's shelter or juvie somewhere."
"Shut up!" he snapped and stretched. "You always tryna be somebody's mother."
"I'm the best mother you got."
"What?" He stood from the couch and looked down in my face. He was only fifteen, but he towered over me by at least three inches. "Girl, I'm grown."
Grown? Was this suckah tryna buck? Okay, I saw where this is going. I stood up on a rusted metal chair that had somehow ended up as part of our décor and struck a karate pose, lifting my leg high enough so that if I had wanted to, I could have taken it to his chest.
And he cracked up laughing. He laughed so hard that tears fell from his eyes. "You think I'm funny? Do I look like I'm laughing to you?"
"No, you look like you lost your mind." And he left me standing there.
"You just get ready for school!" I yelled behind him. "And let me even hear a whisper that you've been skipping class again and see what I really do to you."
Just as I stepped down from the chair, my five-year-old brother, Mica, rushed out of the bathroom with a sheet wrapped around his neck, like he and Superman were boys. "What the hell? Boy, where are your school clothes?"
"I'm not wearing that shit!"
"Hol' up ... hol' up ... don't you cuss again!" I balled up my fist. Mica was the one I really had to bring it to, 'cause he thought he was tough, but if I looked at him hard and long enough, he'd burst into tears. "Go put on those clothes. As much money as I paid that booster! I work at the mall part-time-"
"Mommy gets a welfare check."
"And Mommy gettin' high, too," Ny'eem snapped as he gathered his clothes for the day.
"Shut up!" I said to Ny'eem. "Now," I turned my attention back to Mica, "why don't you want to wear what I laid out for you?"
"Because I want my pants to droop down like Ny'eem's. You got a belt laid out for me, some hard-bottom shoes, and a turtleneck. I may as well be going to church."
"I didn't lay out a turtleneck for you. It's a Phat Farm shirt. Know what, I don't have to argue with you." I stared him down and just like I predicted, he was in tears.
"Everybody treats me like a baby around here!" And he stormed back into the bathroom.
Whatever. I didn't have time to listen to that, so I returned to my room, where the twins had to be watched closely when they put on their gear. Otherwise, they'd be happy to walk out of the house draped in my bebe, Baby Phat, or any other designer dig I had either worked or gotten a hook up for.
And yes, they looked a hot mess, considering I was five foot five and a size ten, and they were just eight years old. So, I stood guard while they slipped on their jeans, cute li'l Bobby Jack shirts, and some pink and white kicks.
Their hair was shoulder-length and easy to maintain because for ten dollars, every other week the girl across the hall put it in cornrows and beads. An hour after me acting like Jerome the flashlight cop, everybody was ready to roll.
We took one bus but got off at different stops for our respective schools. The twins, Mica, and Nyeem got off at the first stop and mine was last.
As soon as the city bus doors opened and I stepped foot in front of the school, I knew right away that everyone had heard me get played on the radio. Especially since they all looked at me and either smiled too wide or laughed in my face.
But it was all good, 'cause I was too ready to read these ghetto birds like they stole somethin'. Besides, just because I had a jacked-up home life, didn't mean I wasn't fly-because I was. Honey colored skin, flat-ironed straight hair that draped past my shoulders, Asian eyes, full lips, thick hips, and a cover girl smile.
Just when my boost mobile vibrated through my purse, I saw Naja run toward me. I twisted my MAC-covered lips and ignored her. Yes, I was still pissed.
I flipped my phone open. "Who dis?"
"Elite?" It was a male voice.
"Terrance? Boy, didn't I tell you to lose yourself?!" Terrance was a boy who pushed up on me once at the bus stop. I called myself tryin' to creep, but every time I turned around he was on my line. Can you say stalker?
"This isn't Terrance. This is DJ Twan from Hot 102."
"Didn't you call us this morning for the singing contest?"
"Oh, now you got jokes, Terrance? Look, I'm down to my last twenty minutes on my phone, so I don't have time to waste with you on my line. Now bounce!"
"Elite, this is Haneef. Your friend, Naja, called the station when we announced that despite your mother playing us both out, you won the contest. Front row seats to the concert and a chance to be onstage with me!"
I tapped my foot and looked around at the sea of students going into the school. Then I looked at Naja, who was standing here grinnin', mushed her dead in the head, and poked my finger in the center of the bubble she was prepared to pop.
"Do I sound impressed? I know you don't think I'm going to believe that this is Haneef, and you all cared about me so much that you gon' track me down, for what? Puleeze, this is Terrance. And since you playing so many games, I'ma be sure to tell all your boys on the basketball team that you ain't never had no booty, punk ass!" (Continues...)
Excerpted from A Girl Like Me by Ni-Ni Simone Copyright © 2008 by Ni-Ni Simone. 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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A Girl Like Me by Ni-Ni Simone had me not wanting to stop reading it. I contunied to read it without stopping but to sleep. I read A Girl Like Me in 2 days. I just loved it && Elite character was real i could look to her as someone in my "hood". Her mom being a crack head felt emotional and thrilling. This book was real to me , it told stories of people like my age , my ethnic group. its a must read book.
As soon as i got this book, i couldnt put it down;) i think i read it in a couple of hours after i got it lol . It was really good. This book applies to teeagers like myself in reality . Maybe our prince woundnt be comin anytym soon, but its a good thing to jus lay baq n dream, after all it is the hood cinderalla:) i look up to Ni-Ni Simone, she a great writter and i hope she comes out with more books similar to this one, sumthing that teens can applie to in this planet called earth. LOVE HA BOOKS;P
A girl like me was a GREAT book to read. Reading the book I could picture everything. I wanted to read more and more and i asked my self questions. I nevered wanted to put this book down. It was that good. You have to get this book and purchase it because it would blow your mind. Ni Ni simone did a very good job on creating this book because I loved the characters every piece of it. It was incredible it left me on cliff hangers and at the end of the book very nice ending. Purchase this book today.!
In this hood Cinderella story, its about a girl named Elite who has a strong beautiful voice like Keyshia Cole, a fierce attitude and is a beautiful young lady. Her mother is a crack head and wishes she would get help, her father is nowhere to be found, she takes care of her sister Aniyah, her halve sister Sydney, and her two brothers Nyeem and Mica. She juggles to keep her job but at the same time keep her grades and style up at school. She won a radio contest to sing with the major hip-hop singer Haneef. This chemistry between them starts to heat up but he doesnt know the reality of Elites life. As her life begins to move quickly, she only has one shot to make her dreams come true and change her family into a normal family. This boook taught me how some poeple struggle with things in life but they get over it and Elite had was very head strong so i would recommend this book to any and everyone!
I Love this book, it is basic on a teens life and everyday her life is being to change. when u first start reading this book u will not be able to put it down
this book is so ggggggggoooooooooooooooooddddddddd!!! i swear if you read this..... you won't put it down.......I didn't...... i got doine in a day........i was so in to it........i mean, how can you not?...it a very good read and i liked it mostly for the fact that the book is in a modern time is good and the story line has that,'the boy is tryn' to get the girl typestoryline and that's good. Ni-Ni Simone is a great author and god bless girl!!!!!!!
This book is sooo gud it relates well 2 teens who r in this situation theres a lot of real life drama in it and its hard to put down. I just got the book yesterday march 5th and i finished it today march 6th you'll love it no matter what and i cant wait 2 see what else Ni-Ni Simone writes
This book is the best!!! It its so realistic and thrilling. It is a realistic love story that is way down to earth. After you finish reading it the only thing that crosses your mind is wow.I recommend this book to everyone who loves a thrilling love story with a good ending.
This book is awesome. It's better than any other book I've ever read. Great author!!!!
Was a true rags to riches story#some might even call it an urban cinderella.
When haneef says lil ma i melt because its he sexiest goddamn lil ma ever!!!!!! Love ya boo!
Also if you like this one you'll like shawty like mine
This book was great! From the first page to the last i was interested. Ni-ni simone is an amazing author. I have read a few of her books but i definitely know im am going to read more. Well done Ni-ni simone! Keep these books coming!!!
When I read its like I see everything play out like a movie in my head, with that being said (once again) ni ni simone wrote a book that had me on the edge the whole time and I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!
Loved it was the best book ever
This book is amazing you'll fall in love with it :) it just makes you want to reread it.
You need to read this book. This story is abot a ghetto Cinderella that will just change your view on how you look a some people and the lifestyes they live.
For those who enjoys books that deal with the serious issues, like living with a drug addicted family memmber or dealing with the pressures of high school than this book is for you. I found it hard to put down until I got to the end and even when I finish the book I still wanted to know what would happen next. NI-NI- Simone is an amazing author. Get the book.....
A Girl Like Me by Ni-Ni- Simone had me not wanting to put the book down. I Kept reading it past my bed time because it was so interesting and new, different things was happening. I read this book in 3 days. Ni-Ni Simone is an awsome writer, i read a couple of her books and liked it. This book taught me how hard it is for teenagers unlike myself. Its about a girl named Elite who has a beautiful voice like Keyshia Cole, a diva attitude and is a beautiful. Her mother is a crack head and wishes she would get help, her father is nowhere to be found, she takes care of her sister Aniyah, her halve sister Sydney, and her two brothers Nyeem and Mica. She juggles to keep her job but at the same time keep her grades and style up at school. She won a radio contest to sing with the major hip-hop singer Haneef. This chemistry between them starts to heat up but he doesnt know the reality of Elites life. As her life begins to move quickly, she only has one shot to make her dreams come true and change her family into a normal family.