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I Am the Wallpaper

I Am the Wallpaper

4.3 26
by Mark Peter Hughes

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Thirteen-year-old Floey Packer feels like she's always blended in to the background. After all, she's the frumpy younger sister of the Fabulous Lillian. But when Lillian suddenly gets married and heads off on a monthlong honeymoon, Floey decides it's her time to shine.

Funny, honest, and surprisingly moving, I Am the Wallpaper introduces a remarkable new


Thirteen-year-old Floey Packer feels like she's always blended in to the background. After all, she's the frumpy younger sister of the Fabulous Lillian. But when Lillian suddenly gets married and heads off on a monthlong honeymoon, Floey decides it's her time to shine.

Funny, honest, and surprisingly moving, I Am the Wallpaper introduces a remarkable new talent.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Humorous incidents abound, character growth is convincing, and the plot moves irresistibly forward. First-time author Hughes merits a place with Louise Rennison, Ellen Conford, and even Paula Danziger on the fiction shelves."—School Library Journal

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Readers Circle Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range:
12 - 16 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Saturday, March 15, 10:00 a.m.

Finally, today I’m a teenager! I see the next year of my life waving me onward like Brad Pitt in a loincloth! Great things are about to happen. For example:
a. I will say goodbye to tech ed with Mr. Byrd. (Yay!)
b. I will say hello to eighth grade. (Hooray!)
c. Wendel will at long last admit that he likes me.*
d. Lillian will finally get a real job and move out of the house and I won’t have to share a bedroom anymore.**

*This morning I thought of a plan to help him over his shyness thing--sort of a birthday gift from my brain! If I ask Gary, I’m pretty sure he’ll give me a part-time job working with him and Wendel at the studio. Spending more time together ought to help the boy along. Sure, I’ll need to figure out what to say to Azra, but as long as it’s Wen who makes the move and not me, I haven’t broken our deal, right? (Note to self: Start working up an interest in photography.)
**This, of course, may just be wishful thinking, but it’s my birthday, so I can dream, can’t I? (Note to self: Start leaving the Help Wanted section of the newspaper on Lillian’s pillow.)

On top of all the other excitement of the day, I would also finally find out what was inside the mystery package from Aunt Sarah. A week before my birthday, it had arrived in the mail. That was kind of strange because I barely knew Aunt Sarah. Sure, I was aware that she lived in Chicago and that she was a teacher like my mom, but I hadn’t seen her since my dad died, and that was when I was two. My mom was almost as curious as I was.
“So, are you going to open it now, Floey?”
“I can’t,” I said. “It says, ‘Do not unwrap until March fifteenth.’ ”
So it sat on top of the television and I could only wonder what might be inside. It was kind of a fun mystery.
When my birthday finally came, Aunt Sarah’s package sat at my feet along with a handful of other gift-wrapped boxes, waiting for me to reach down and open them. Five eager pairs of eyes looked on. Next to Azra, my best friend, sat Wen. He looked especially lovable in his new rectangular black-framed glasses. He still looked geeky, but in an artsy, hip kind of way. It was easy to see why Azra and I both had crushes on him. Near my mother sat Gary, my mother’s tennis partner, and Frank Sinatra, my sister’s crotchety old ferret. The only person missing was my sister, Lillian, who was already an hour late, typical for her. In fact, we’d just decided to go on without her.
But just as I was reaching for Aunt Sarah’s package, Lillian showed up. Everyone turned to see her burst through the door with two complete strangers.
“Everybody, I’d like to introduce you to my new friends, Frida and Digger!” she said in her big, loud voice. “They’re from Sweden!”
Frida and Digger were tall, smiling blond girls in giant parkas. They looked about the same age as Lillian, twenty-one. Lillian explained that she’d met them on the bus coming back from Providence, where she’d been walking some rich lady’s dog.
She spoke slowly to the blonder of the two. “It is Digger, right?”
The other one, who must have been Frida, nodded. From the uncertain way the two girls looked at each other, I felt sure their English was shaky at best. Frida took out an unwrapped box of scented soaps. They’d obviously picked it out only moments earlier at the dollar store where the bus dropped them off.
“Happy birthday, Floey,” Frida said to Azra, enunciating every syllable carefully and handing the box to my friend instead of me.
“Come on in,” my mother said, sounding pleased that they were here to take over my birthday. “Let me take your coats. We were just getting started. Anybody want soda?”
That’s when everybody, including Azra and Wen, stood up to say hello to my sister and her new friends, leaving me alone in my chair, the gift-wrapped boxes still unopened.
This was classic Lillian. My sister always had to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. She didn’t care what she did to attract attention. Once, she climbed onto the roof of the town hall, saying she wouldn’t come down until they stopped destroying the rain forests. Another time, when the school was thinking about starting a dress code, she showed up for her classes in a bikini. She was loud and rowdy and fun and everybody loved her for it. Of course, she was also thin and pretty, with thick dark hair and a perfect little nose, so boys practically burst their glands trying to get her to notice them. She had about a zillion friends and all of them wanted to be just like her.
It was the Cult of Lillian.
Sometimes when my sister is around I feel almost invisible. I’m like the wallpaper, there but barely noticed. But this was especially frustrating because today was supposed to be my day, not hers.
Eventually, everyone settled back into the living room. Frida and Digger made themselves comfortable on the sofa between Azra and my mother while Lillian plopped down on the floor in front of Wen. Still, I was going to have to wait a little while longer to find out what was inside Aunt Sarah’s package because now Lillian was entertaining everybody.
“Baba ghanoush,” she said, dunking a celery stick into one of the dips my mother had laid out. “Don’t you just love to say that? It practically flops around in your mouth. Baba ghanoush. Baba ghanoush.”
Gary, whose comb-over looked particularly bizarre today (Ma said he was “losing” his hair, but as far as I could see he must have misplaced it long ago and there was no hope he’d ever find it again), sat back in the armchair and repeated it thoughtfully. “Baba ghanoush. Baba ghanoush.” Then he chuckled. “You know, when you’re right, you’re right. It’s a great word, Lil.”
Soon, everybody was doing it. “Baba ghanoush. Baba ghanoush.”
And nobody was paying any attention to me.
I am the wallpaper.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Mark Peter Hughes was born in Liverpool, England, but grew up in the coastal town of Barrington, Rhode Island. He now lives in Wayland,Massachusetts, with his wife, Karen, and their three small children, Evan, Lucia, and Zoe. He has written stories ever since he can remember.

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I Am the Wallpaper 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a very intriguing book. It had many main characters for example Floey, Azara, Wen, Richard, Tish, and Billy. Floey is a 13 year old girl who has tons of problems and is trying to live up to her older sister. Azara is Floeys best friend. Wen is this guy that both Floey and Azara like and he has to choose one of them. Richard and Tish are Floeys cousins and Richard has a very personal something against Floey. And lastly Billy is big, mean, and out to ruin Floeys life. Billy and Richard create a website about Floey and ruin her life. They start by putting embarrassing photos of Floey then they enter her most secret thoughts from her diary. This book is a modern book and takes place in mostly Floeys room and neighborhood. I give this book five stars and I thought this book was good for any teenagers out there that think that they could be somebody better than are. This book taught me a lesson, that lesson was that I¿m as good as I¿m going to get and I¿m fine with that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book with a nice plot. I laughed out loud at some of the parts with floey's ferret, frank sinatra. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hated the ending I wanted to know what the date with Calvin was live
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So yeah im goong to shoq my frienda at school which i did they even saod tht .mink aka cyber idle minkle was crying through the wholr entire book just becausr she was afriad ane scared to tell her manager about her little secret tht she loves im and wants to marry him i tthink i forgot alreafy so uf u want the book go onlinr or go to the libray NOTE the book is not on thr nook i tryed to search it and it saod no mach found its callwd mink volume six.its a romantic anime dramaish book ots like the future though but still cool and cute who eber is reading thia comment if u habe a moviestarplanet add me the way its type its right so type it like this bunny girl23 ok and if u have a imvu accoumt and i had me as a friend my profile is deleted ao yeah it kayila1526 srry everyone tht was my friend and im straight NOT GAY ok and if u hbae a fanyage its selena526 or its selena156 i have to cheack again but its ok so whenever i go back on the computer ill tell u the right way ok who ver ia rrading this comment but plz plz add me on msp thx whi ever reading this comment TO B CONTINoUE........
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I only got to read some of i in school, but ill be looking forward to reading the rest!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive read it and i loved it! Its funny and romantic and a great book.for teens like me
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Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW! Just finished reading this book and it was SPECTACULAR!! The drama and suspence of what will happen next keeps you reading for hours. The most amazing factor is that this book is wrote from a girls point of veiw but a guy wrote it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great! It was funny and realistic. Follow Foley in her trip to being notice. Once you start reading you can't put down the book. The words an writing will keep you hanging on. Bottom line: Read this book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I looked at in the library one day, and thought it looked OK. I read it and got HOOKED. I even brought it to school to read in study hall, instead of talking with my friends! I read it cover to cover, and now it is one of my favorite books of all time. It is very realistic, and is funny! Recommended for 11+!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
ok this is the ONLY book that i have ever read entirely all other books I put down becasue they're boring and have stupid points...this book doesnt its juicy and interesting it hooks you. You look forward to reading it. It is the best book I've ever read in my life and it will probly stay that way for the rest of my life. I really dont like books but I was in love with this one
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a weird book at some parts... but it is 1 of my favorites and a great book. I would reccomend this for ages 12-14 years old.
Guest More than 1 year ago
omg! if you don't like this book, then, your strange. i could not put my book down. i don't like reading books again but this may be the only exception, EVER!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book. Floey feels she doesn't stand out, so she changes a few things to get noticed. She has a couple of problems with her cousins staying over for her sister's wedding. She also has a few problems with boys she has crushes on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so awsome!!! Any teen would understand and relate to this totally realistic story! This is a very humerous story with lots of realistic parts. Actully, most of the part are real. It can happen to almost ANYBODY!! This show embarresement,love, happiness, annoying sneky spie little twerpts of cousins, relative we don't like,romance was totally shown, and last of all it has what most girls usually talk about... BOYS!!! It was a fun relastic story of a teen who life goes down the tube with exciting parts!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was not very well written but I guess it was intended to be read by an age group younger then mine. (I'm in my young teens). It was pretty funny, the plot a little pointless and it was difficult to feel sympathatic to the character of Floey. All and all, it was nice. Nothing special, nothing terrible. A quick, easy read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read. Floey Packer ranks as one of the funniest, most sympathetic screwed-up heroines in recent memory. I am the Wallpaper manages to be laugh-out-loud hysterical while at the same time suspenseful and moving. Even the secondary characters, especially Floey's surprisingly confident couusin Tish, are fresh and memorable. The story stayed with me a long time after I finished. This is Mark Peter Hughes's first novel, and he is currently my favorite new author -- of YA fiction or otherwise. I eagerly await his follow-up novel, which his website says will be called 'Lemonade Mouth.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 12 is thus book age appropriate?