Sassy teen mom Toi lives with her son, her mom, her little brother and her cousin in New Jersey. She works part-time at IHOP, and spends most of her free time hanging out with her friends, avoiding her son's no-good father and mooning over slick, sensible college boy Harlem Sims, who's home from his school in Georgia. As the titles of the book's sections suggest (Drama Part I, Part II, etc.), Simone's latest is all about histrionics and definitely won't disappoint: Shouting matches, door slamming, trash talk, bitch slaps and baby-daddy drama all reign supreme in this quick yet half-plotted story of struggle and tough love. Readers of traditional urban fiction or even the edgier young-adult fiction of late—such as Coe Booth's Tyrell (2006)—may be disappointed with the novel's lack of grit. Still, urban teen readers may recognize their friends and themselves in the language, music and feel of this fluffy-but-fun read where the issues are hard but the treatment is light. All style, but not much substance. (Fiction. YA)
If I Was Your Girlby Ni-Ni Simone
With a bootylicious body like Beyoncé and a face that would put any top model to shame, Toi McKnight has all the cuties coming her way. Who could blame them? She was always rocking the latest fashion trends and hanging at every bangin' party in the city. But all that came at a price, and now Toi McKnight is the seventeen-year-old mother of a baby boy.… See more details below
With a bootylicious body like Beyoncé and a face that would put any top model to shame, Toi McKnight has all the cuties coming her way. Who could blame them? She was always rocking the latest fashion trends and hanging at every bangin' party in the city. But all that came at a price, and now Toi McKnight is the seventeen-year-old mother of a baby boy.
Between bills to pay and adult responsibilities to meet, she's got zero time for sizzling gossip, chilling with her friends or doing the things she used to. So when unexpected sparks start flying between her and six-foot-two, deliciously fine Harlem, Toi knows she's got to dead any chance of a relationship fast since he doesn't date teenage mothersand she's vowed to never love again. But every time Toi tries to cut Harlem loose, she falls harder for him. And all the other drama in her life doesn't help the situation any, especially when her son's father comes back around. Toi tries to do the right thing, but doing the right thing just may put her on heartbreak express for good.
Introducing teen writing sensation Ni-Ni Simone. With a raw, fresh, and unmistakable voice, she proves herself a force to be reckoned with. Simone lives in New Jersey and is a graduate of Kean University.
Read an ExcerptIf I Was Your Girl
By Ni-Ni Simone DAFINA BOOKS
Copyright © 2008 Ni-Ni Simone
All right reserved.
Chapter One "This is my jam, right here!" I screamed as we drove down Bergen Street with the sounds of Playaz Circle's "Duffle Bag Boy" blasting from the car into the street. We'd just left the Hot 97 King of Rap concert at the Prudential Center and were still high from the night's festivities.
"Girl, did you see how Lil Wayne was looking at me?" my sister, Seven, said as she danced in the back seat.
"You lying, Seven," Tay laughed, as she drove down the street, looking at her in the rearview mirror. "You know Weezie was lookin' at me."
"I know y'all ain't on my baby daddy!" I stopped singing long enough to chime in.
"Girl, please," Seven snapped. "You got enough baby daddies!"
We all laughed as I turned up the volume and started singing again. "I ain't nevah ran from a damn thing and I damn sure ain't 'bout to pick today to start runnin'."
As I threw my arms in the air, Tay said, "Toi, ain't that Quamir's truck?" She pointed across Rector Street.
I looked at the tags on the black Escalade. "Hell, yeah." I turned the music down.
"And ain't that Shanice's house?" Seven asked. "I thought he stopped messing with her."
"We don't know if that's her house," I snapped defensively. "You always jumping to conclusions."
Tay looked at me out the corner of her eyes. "You need to stop frontin'," shespat, "you know that's where the skeezer lives." Tay double parked in the street, next to Quamir's truck. "Now the question is, what you gon' do about it?"
"Nothin'," Seven jumped in. "You don't bring it to nobody else's spot." She sucked her teeth. "If anything we can slice his tires and bounce."
"Slice his tires?" Tay snapped, "that is so whack." She looked at me. "You know this is ridiculous right? And I'm not slicing no tires or breaking no windows, he gon' put up or shut up. 'Cause frankly, I can't take you crying over this dude anymore."
"Confront him and what?" Seven spat. "If we not gon' key up his ride then we need to bounce." She turned to me. "You've seen it with your own eyes, so now you know you need to leave 'im alone." Seven wiggled her neck from side to side.
"Bounce?" Tay sucked her teeth. "Girl, please, we 'bout to handle this."
Neither of them had noticed that I hadn't said a word. I was in shock, but then again I wasn't. I just wasn't in the mood to react to something that obviously wasn't going to change, but there was no way I could let my sister or my best friend think I was gon' allow Quamir to keep playing me. I had to stand up for something, so I twisted my neck and rolled my eyes. "I'ma ring the trick's bell."
"There it is." Tay said, "there it is, and you know I got your back."
At least for pride's sake I had to pretend like I was strong. Strong enough, to at least beat this bitch's ass for being with my baby daddy. "I'm 'bout to wild-out!"
"This what you do," Tay said as we got out the car. "When she comes to the door, drag her ass down the stairs. Don't even show her no mercy. She knew Quamir was your dude, yet she keeps calling him over here. Nah, we gon' end this right now." Tay's lips popped twice as she zigzagged her neck. She was the spitting image of the ghetto twins in ATL, with the attitude to match, which is why I knew that if nothing else I could always count on her to be down with the get down. Even when I just wanted to curl up and die, she was on guard.
"You know this don't make no sense, right?" Seven said as she got out the car. "Mommy will kick our asses if she knew we were out here like this! Forget Quamir!"
"Forget Quamir? Do you know how bad he keep doggin' this fool?" Tay pointed at me.
"Don't call me no fool." I rolled my eyes as we walked up the steps.
"My fault," she gave me a crooked smile. "You know what I mean. Anyway, Seven, do you know this is like ... the nineteenth time we ready to pounce on ole boy? Girl, please forget Quamir. He's takin' time away from me and my man. I wish I would-"
"Tay." I was pissed and she was making it worse. "You don't even have a man."
"Exactly," she whispered as I rang the bell. "And I'm not gon' get one chasing behind yours."
"Excuse you?" I sucked my teeth.
"Don't get mad, kick ass. Show 'em what's really hood. I'm tired of this dude playing you every other week. Shit, I need some sleep."
"This don't make no sense." Seven tapped her foot standing behind me. I could feel the warmth of her breath as she sighed against my neck.
"For real, y'all," I said. "Not now, 'cause the way I feel, y'all 'bout to get it. So my suggestion to you," I looked at Seven and then at Tay, "is to fall back."
"Excuse you?" Seven blinked her eyes.
"Be clear," Tay spat. "T-skee ain't the one. Let Quamir and his new skeezer be the only ones you feel comfortable bringin' it to-"
"No, I don't appreciate-"
"Toi-" Tay interrupted me.
"Don't cut me off!"
"Would you shut up?" she said, tight-lipped with arched eyebrows. "Somebody's comin' to the door!"
Immediately, all the air left my body as I watched Quamir open the door with Shanice standing beside him. I couldn't believe this was happening to me, especially since I knew Shanice. I mean, we weren't friends, but we went to school together and she knew Quamir was my man.
I could feel my eyes knocking in the back of my head, but now was not the time to cry. So I held my tears back as best I could, and looked at Shanice's face. I couldn't deny how pretty she was, and for a moment I wondered if Quamir thought she was prettier than me. We were both the color of fresh apple butter, yet her eyes glistened like full moons, while mine were almond shaped. I had a dimpled smile and she had a wide one. Unless I had my hair flat ironed straight, it fell over my shoulders in an abundance of ocean waves, but ole girl wore a cheap blond clip weave. Wait a minute, I just found a flaw, at least my hair is real. Now I had the souped-up confidence I needed to handle my business. "This what you want, Quamir?"
"Yo'," he said, surprised. "What are you doing here?"
"What you think?" I pointed my hand like a gun in his face, yet looking dead in hers. "This the tramp you want?"
"What is she doin' at my door, Quamir? You don't be coming to my house!" Shanice screamed, jumping up and down, acting as if at any moment she was gon' bring it.
"I know she ain't stuntin'," Tay snapped. "Oh, hell no!"
"And what?" Shanice hunched her shoulders. "He don't want her and she knows it!"
True story, I wanted to just walk away, but my mixed emotions wouldn't let me leave like that. I needed Quamir to see the pain on my face, and then maybe he would understand what he was doing to me. I felt like I was in a trance, or better yet blazed; like everything was moving in slow motion, a euphoric high that made me feel like nothing was real. Nevertheless, I had to do this. I had to teach this chick a lesson about messing with my man or better yet, teach him a lesson about messing around on me.
Therefore, I pushed all rational thought out of my mind and let my heart and bruised emotions lead the way. I reached over Quamir's shoulder and yanked Shanice by the hair. All hell broke loose! I pounced on my prey like crazy, sending the entire porch into an uproar. I'm not sure how Quamir moved out of the way, but all I knew is that he was standing there watching as I dragged her down the stairs by her hair, causing parts of her weave to fly into the breeze.
"What I tell you about my man, trick!" I swung with all I had as I pulled her into the street. The flashing streetlamp that shone above us splashed like a spotlight into her frightened face.
"Toi!" Quamir screamed, running down the stairs, the soles of his Timberlands thumping against the wood. "Yo, chill."
Chill? To hell with chill-all chill could do for me at that moment was get its ass beat.
"What?" Tay said in killer mode. "I know you ain't tryna do nothin', Quamir!"
Quamir ignored her. Instead, he stood there watching with his left thumb tucked behind his belt buckle with a smirk on his face, all while I beat this girl down.
The girl threw a punch, but I ducked, came back up, and caught her in the chin.
"Shanice, Toi, I said chill," Quamir said with ease. I could tell he wanted to laugh because I could hear the sounds in his throat.
Although Shanice was trying to fight back, I was beatin' on her like crazy as Quamir stood there and watched as if this was his favorite pastime entertainment.
"Slap her!" Tay shouted. "Her face is clear again, Toi!"
"That's enough!" Seven yelled as she tried to pull me off of Shanice. Seeing that she wasn't successful, Quamir jumped in and lifted me up by my waist. Instantly, the fight ceased.
As Quamir put me down, he stood with his back to me as Shanice ran up and started pushing her chest against his. "Get out the way!"
My chest was heaving up and down. "Bring it!" I spat. "Bring ... it!"
Tay shot me a high five, and wagged her tongue out like a salivating dog, "You ... spank dat ... ass!" she hunched her shoulders toward Shanice, who was still pushing against Quamir. "Booyah!"
"Yo," Quamir pushed Shanice back. "What I say?"
"Bring it! Please bring it!" I was screaming at the top of my lungs.
"Let me go, Quamir!" Shanice pushed against him and pointed at me. "I promise you, I'ma get you jumped, you ain't gon' never be able to walk these streets again! You really don't know who I am!"
"You ain't shit!" I yelled, "I just whooped yo' ass in front of your house and ain't nobody come out to help you? Girl, please."
"My mother ain't home, otherwise she'd would've shot yo' azz!"
I yawned, and tapped my lips, "What ... eva!"
Shanice snorted, her weave hanging by a strand on her head. "You crazy bitch!" she struggled to reach for me, "I hate you! You know I'ma kill her, Quamir!"
"Chill," he said sternly.
"This yo' chick, Quamir?" I mushed him in the back of his head. "This your girl?"
"I'm his baby's mother, you stupid jump-off! He told you to step but you keep holding on!"
Did she just say baby mother? I looked at Tay for confirmation and her face went from confident and proud to surprised. Then I looked at Seven, who wore an "I told you so" face.
Whatever. How she gon' have a baby by him and I just had one? This chick lyin'. "He ain't never told me to step," I carried on. "You wish! And girl, you don't have no baby by him. Please!" Of all things, I know Quamir wouldn't have no baby on me. We were a family; his other two baby mamas were crazy, I wasn't, which is why he told me I was the one. I looked at Shanice, "Lose ya'self!"
"Oh, you ain't never told her about our son, Quamir?" Shanice said.
Son? I had the son.
"You ain't never told her to step, Quamir?" Shanice mushed Quamir in the face. "Oh, you her man?"
"What, you ain't know?" My words floated over his shoulder. "You better tell her somethin', Quamir."
"Quamir!" Shanice screamed.
"Quamir," I shouted. "Tell her, and tell her to stop lying on you!"
Quamir's head turned back and forth from me to Shanice over and over again. For a moment, he looked as if he were going crazy, but I didn't care. I desperately wanted him to validate what I was saying and straight out call this girl a liar.
"Quamir!" Shanice and I screamed simultaneously.
"Yo, for real," he snapped. "Both y'all gettin' on my nerves! True story, I ain't rockin' wit' neither one of y'all like that."
For some reason, as if we were doing a dance, we all stepped back. "What you say?" I think I heard wrong.
"Oh, you ain't with me, Quamir?" Shanice spat. "You been at my house every night this week and we ain't together? You're the one who asked me to have our baby so we would be a family-"
What she just say?
"And now," she continued on, "all of a sudden you ain't with me?" She pushed him in his chest. "Oh, we ain't together?"
He asked her what ...?
"Go 'head, Shanice." He pointed his finger in her face.
My voice trembled as I said, "I can't believe this!" I felt sooooo dumb. Here I was, battling with a buncha lies, fighting for the sake of proving a useless point.
"It's over, Quamir. This who you choosing?" I pointed over his shoulder. "You can have that stank ho! We through! You ain't nothin'; you don't take care of your son no way. Mama's boy! Trying so hard to be a playa but can't get outcha mama's basement. Your whole existence is a joke. I don't know whether to laugh in your face or spit in it."
I turned around to walk away, and Quamir yanked me by my hair so hard that I was dizzy. Seven and Tay immediately jumped between us. I looked at the rage in Quamir's eyes and I knew he wasn't playing. My heart thumped in my chest. "It's cool," I said to them as they stood in front of me.
"I been waitin' to kick yo' azz!" Tay said.
"Tay!" I snapped. "Chill. Y'all move and let me hear what he got to say." Before they could move on their own, Quamir pushed them to the side and stood in front of me.
"Who you talkin' to, Toi?" he said, sounding more like my father than my man.
I didn't answer.
"Don't you ever in your stupid life talk to me like that! You so stupid and dumb. This why don't nobody else want you! And no matter how I keep tryna stay with you, you keep actin' dumb! You need to get outta my business, retarded ho! You came around here actin' like a clown and all we gon' do is laugh at you."
"Don't be talking to her like that!" Seven screamed.
"You the stupid one!" Tay said.
"I know you ain't talkin' to me, you crazy ass, crack-head baby!" he spat with a sinister laugh.
"And what are you, Quamir?" Seven said. "At least Tay got an excuse."
Tay blinked her eyes. "Excuse me?"
"Ho, please," Quamir snorted. "I'm definitely not gon' argue with no virgin."
Feeling as if I was due to pass out at any minute, I fought with all I had to at least sound strong. "Boy, please. You been with this raggedy ho all week, and you talkin'!" The tears dancing in my throat stopped me mid-sentence. "This really yo' baby mama, Quamir?"
"Did I tell you I had another baby? Uh, answer me!"
"Answer me!" he screamed.
"Well then, why you assuming things?"
"What?" Shanice screamed, a flood of tears streaming down her face. "So what is you sayin'? That we don't have a son?" She punched him in his chest. "You sayin' he ain't yours?"
"Stupid tramp!" I tossed in the wind. "This broad really got a baby by you?" Suddenly, I felt like my son had been reduced to nothing. He wasn't the oldest, he wasn't the youngest, he wasn't even the one by the baby mama his daddy loved. He was just one of Quamir's kids. "You ain't nothing, Quamir! Matter of fact, it doesn't even matter what you do 'cause I'm out!"
"And I'm done with you, too." Shanice said. "I'm sick of you cheating on me!"
"Hos is always schemin'," Quamir said. "Man, please. Both y'all knew the deal and now you tryna act like you ain't know about the other? Now if you wanna stomp each other, then don't talk about it, be about it!" He stepped from in front of me. "What I care!"
Shanice started going off on Quamir, but I stood there. Stunned. Embarrassed. Wishing I could fly away and nobody would see me. Although he hadn't hit me, I felt like I'd been beaten. Why would he play me like this? What happened to him falling on his knees and telling this chick I was wifey?
I became anxious and didn't know what to do, where to turn, or how to act. I thought about crying but couldn't get any tears to come out. Then I thought about dying, but thinking of my son reminded me I had a reason to live. Then it hit me, I felt like nothing, as if all my wind had been sucked out and all that was left was a worthless shell.
"I'm leaving," Seven spat. "If you wanna stay here and take this crap, then do you, but me, I'm outta here!"
I stood there for a moment before walking backward to the car and getting in. I knew I looked crazy; I felt out of my mind. As the three of us got in the car and slammed the doors, I tried my best to believe what I was about to say. "I am so done with his ass!" I sniffed as tears covered my cheeks like glaze. "And I know he gon' come back beggin' me ... like he always does. But I promise you, he gon' have to work real hard to get back with me. 'Cause I'm not beat for this no more!"
"You sound," Seven said, shaking her head as we drove off, "so damn dumb."
Excerpted from If I Was Your Girl 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.
Meet the Author
Introducing teen writing sensation NI-NI SIMONE. With a raw, fresh, and unmistakable voice, she proves herself a force to be reckoned with. Simone lives in New Jersey and is a graduate of Kean University.
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This is a really good book. I would recommend If I Was Your Girl to anyone who loves a good drama filled book. The main character, Toi, has a son and she is only 17 years old. The father of her son, Noah, is the type of father that doesn't come around or try to do anything for his son. He also is the type of father that has many kids and baby-mamas that he doesn't pay attention to. He plays the girls against each other and thinks that he can just come around and pick up the relationship where it left off any time he feels like it. One day at her job at IHOP Toi meets a cute boy named Harlem. He turns out to be everything she hoped for. That is until she decides to inform him about Noah and he says he would never date someone with a child, so she decides not to tell him. This book is filled with drama and I think that anyone would like this wonderful novel.
This book was so good I almost hated that I finished reading it.! It was honestly one of those stories where you just want to read it forever, but then again you crave for the end results of every situation. The story was wrenching from beginning to end, beginning of the book whole club scene made me feel like I can relate to a club scene so i read on. I really admired how the story didn't start of with the characters introducing themselves, the drama came out on the first page, first paragraph! In between the clubs and school Simone gives the reader every detail of every situation. She almost puts you in Toi's shoes, inside her head. Every thought is there which makes the book that much better. Through out this book you will see how the things that go on in you or your child's school happen in this book positive and negative. Through all the drama it's still real, you must realize and remember this. With that being said I really hope you take the time to read this book if not all the books in this series.
I lived this book I felt like I was there.
this whud have to be the book that can relate to most teenagers.i only got to read the sample they gave you on here.and i seriously fell in love.i gotta go to barnes and noble and find this book.and a couple more QUICK!!!
i only read the the first chapter of the book and it was so good like 4 real i cant wait to get the book on my b-day and im going book shopin im buying all her books this book is hot and shortie like mine that is the best they should turn all her books into a movie
Omg! this book was one of the best books i've ever read! i love toi and harlem! plus baby noah (toi's kid) is just too cute! also seven and josiah are still together! i absolutely loved it! read it! you wont be disappointed!
To the girl who ppsted her name, address, and email, and other private- i just want to say have u got any idea how dangerous that is?? Im a girl younger than u and even i know thats dangerous. You culd be stalked raped or murdered so please think twice before postimg something anyone culd see! Also while i share writing aspirations nobody can teach you how to write. You need to figure out your style and not impersonte someone else no matter how good u think they are. I hope u do well in life, i hope u r safe. - A.W.W
I give this book 5 stars because this book is about a seventeen year old girl named Toi McKnight she has a baby and her baby daddy named quamir he is a no good father he is a lier and a cheater but when another sexy dude named harlem came into the picture he gets very angry. Quamir wanted Toi and Shanice both at the same time but Toi was not having that she wanted love things that all woman look for but he wasn't tryin to love so Harlem and Toi started talking then they loved being around each other then they started from phone calls to Harlem being so sweet by bringing Toi her favorite chinese food and them eating together in his car and talking about everything under the sun. Harlem had felt a different way about young baby mamas so she ddnt tell him yet and when she finally told him they got back together and they were going on like a family you can find out the rest but i would definally read NI-NI SIMONE books more often they are about what really happens in life.
Ni ni simone i love your books. Please write more!!
Very Good Book.Good Job ni ni Simone!!!
This Is An Amazing Book ! I Love This Book ,, Read It Over &&'d Over Again ! Love It !
i really liked this book. it was just like a fairy tale...urbanized of course. toi is a teenage a mom who has to face the challenges of being such. while juggling her teen life and being a mom...she relizes its her past or her sons future
this is jasmine perry from miami florida i live in miram i would like to say that this book was ha best book i ever read and i was wondering could tha author of the book teach me how to write like that because i want to be a wirter my slef and i want to write just like that i no that may not be posible but it would be really cool if some one could make that happen im 15 and i am going to tha 9 grade im going to miram high school and in collge ui want to mager in writing....i have three sister and a step father so my email is email@example.com please emial for any questions thank u sooooooooo much i hope it will happened
This book was awesome, my friends and I have all 3 in rotation. We love to discuss it as well.. Please write more!
the book was great, hope to ride another book about Toi and Harlem bein a family. I'm starting to read "Shortie Like Mine" cant wait. thnx 4 writin a good book.
Nini simone out did herself again holla
Umm can i plz hve harlem??!!!!! Cause he sounds soo damn sexy!!!!
I read a little bit on this book and loved harlem sounds so cute i hope she keep him i have to finish my book love it
This book is a really great book and i recommend it for young teens like me
I love this book, it has state the facts of survival and love in this teen love story.