Invisible

Invisible

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by Marni Bates
     
 

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It's not easy being best friends with a celebrity. . .

I'm invisible at my high school and I'm fine with it. It's kind of inevitable with a name like Jane Smith. But when the school newspaper staff insisted that I write a cover story, I decided to find out just how much scandal one geeky girl could uncover.

Except I never expected to find myself

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Overview

It's not easy being best friends with a celebrity. . .

I'm invisible at my high school and I'm fine with it. It's kind of inevitable with a name like Jane Smith. But when the school newspaper staff insisted that I write a cover story, I decided to find out just how much scandal one geeky girl could uncover.

Except I never expected to find myself starting a fist-fight, auditioning for the school's Romeo & Juliet musical, running away with a Romeo of my own, befriending the most popular girl in school, or trying to avoid one very cute photographer, who makes it impossible to to be invisible. . .

"Fans of Meg Cabot will find Marni's voice equally charming and endearing."—Julie Kagawa, New York Times bestselling author

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Rebecca Moore
Self-proclaimed geek Jane has always been invisible at high school, but it never mattered because her best friends were invisible too. Now, though, with Internet sensation Kenzie dating a popular hockey player and Corey dating a hot gay rock star, neither seems to have much time for Jane. Trying to find herself a new role, Jane agrees to write an article for the school paper and gets assigned the irritating but, unfortunately, attractive Scott as her photographer. Dogging her every step, Scott provokes Jane incessantly as she searches for a story. Soon Jane gets into a fistfight with a football player, auditions for Romeo and Juliet, and endures more friend drama than in all her previous years. But will any of it lead to a story? Or maybe even a date? Many girls will identify with Jane's issues, including thoughtless friends, overbearing siblings, and mean popular kids. They will also appreciate Jane's personal struggles, like trying to forge a new identity; trying not to settle for a simple, risk-free life; learning to speak up rather than just let things fester; and not blaming her problems on others. What may turn readers off, though, are Jane's endless whining and self-centered navel-gazing, and her character inconsistencies. In addition, the rambling plot is entirely predictable, and the belief-straining contrivances employed to force Jane and Scott together paint Scott in a creepy, stalker-like light. Still, this light story of self-actualization and romance will have wide appeal for lovers of high school rom-coms. Reviewer: Rebecca Moore
Kirkus Reviews
Wit is the order of the day as the good girl who never fights back learns to do just that when she's forced to defend her friends in this high school takedown. Jane Smith feels invisible not only in school, but too often to her own friends. But when the football hero insults her equally shy friend, Isobel, Jane literally punches him on the nose. The school counselor punishes her but not the hero. To make matters worse, she is assigned a hard-hitting front-page story for the school newspaper by the bullying editor and intimidating teacher--with pushy photographer Scott as her collaborator. When Jane's story appears in the paper, everything goes wrong in a way that readers easily will predict. Of course the plot is absurd; it's a comedy. The author continues the formula she concocted for her previous books (Awkward, 2012, etc.), keeping the wit dialed up to 11 in a comedy of errors. Constant quips about school, life and current situations will delight readers. Nearly everything works for laughs, but Jane also learns some solid life lessons about bullying and courage, and she teaches some lessons about friendship to her own circle as well. Some romance, also transparent from the start, adds interest. Next to be featured? The school queen bee. Readers who like Bates' formula will want to stay tuned. (Comedy. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
11/01/2013
Gr 9–11—Jane Smith is a stereotypical geek who never cared about her status until her two best friends became famous due to a YouTube video gone viral. Now she has a friend who is dating the captain of the hockey team and another who dates a rock star. Suddenly Jane has to navigate her own path through school in her small Oregon town and find her inner strength. In a series of events, she punches a school bully, is promoted from copyediting the school paper to writing front-page stories, and auditions for the play. Her invisible status is now ruined. As she and her friends grow apart, Jane finds herself being chased by a handsome school photographer and being invited to the "Notables" lunch table by the most popular girl. She is transforming from geek to chic but will she lose herself in the process? This is a contemporary story without a lot of coarse language or adult content; one of Jane's friends is gay, but the focus is not on his sexuality. Teens will enjoy the pacing, the references to social media, and the protagonist's transformation.—Jeni Tahaney, Duncanville High School Library, TX

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780758269386
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
06/25/2013
Series:
Smith High Series
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,173,134
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

INVISIBLE


By Marni Bates

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2013 Marni Bates
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7582-8913-1


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Nobody notices the best friend of an overnight Internet sensation.

Which in a lot of ways is a really good thing. Thousands of people around the world don't rate the hotness of my every outfit. No magazines pass judgment about what Smith High School nobody Jane Smith wears on a daily basis. At most, I get a handful of puns tossed my way because of the unfortunate coincidence that leaves me sharing a last name with my school. Best of all, I don't have to deal with unfounded rumors that I'm cheating on my hockey-captain boyfriend.

Not that I have a boyfriend.

But that's why I was perfectly happy leaving the title of America's Most Awkward Girl to Mackenzie Wellesley, aka my best friend since elementary school.

And I was thrilled that my other best friend, Corey O'Neal, was now dating the lead singer from the rock band ReadySet. Sure, I had my doubts about how long his secret long-distance relationship with Timothy Goff would last ... but I was still excited for Corey.

Psyched for them both.

Really.

But even though I was happy for them, that didn't mean it wasn't a huge adjustment for me—one that came with absolutely no warning. After all, nobody at Smith High School could have anticipated my two geeky best friends going from Invisible to famous in under a week. They had somehow managed to even out-Notable the Notables—the effortlessly popular kids that every school has but which every guidance counselor assures incoming students don't really exist. You know the type: girls with short skirts and big, erm, pompoms, and athletic guys who drool over the aforementioned girls' skirts.

Kenzie's overnight-sensation status skyrocketed her well beyond their level of popularity, making her a regular geek superhero: going where no Invisible had gone before.

Which was great for her. But for me?

Not so much.

The whole time Kenzie and Corey were going to parties and traveling with rock stars and appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show—I was doing my homework. It's not that my two best friends ditched me ... though it was hard not to see it that way—it's just that they were busier now. That's why they had less time for me. Correction: why they had no time for me. Because their new relationships required both care and attention.

Which left me ... alone.

That's when my Invisibility started to annoy me. Back when we were a band of geeks, everything was fine. I didn't care if nobody at Smith High School could pick me out of a lineup, because my best friends were in the exact same position. That's what made it fun. We could revel in our geekdom, secure in the knowledge that no matter what high school threw at us, our friendship would remain intact.

Until Mackenzie became famous for attempting some seriously unnecessary CPR on a football player who just wanted the crazy girl to stop trying to jump-start his heart. And I was left as the last nerd standing.

That's why I decided to try getting a little attention for a change.

Only ... well, I never expected it to happen the way that it did.

To be fair: Nobody warned me about how easy it is to get in over your head when your best friends have backstage passes and unrestricted access to all things Hollywood. Probably because ... well, almost nobody has that problem. And I really should have figured it out myself. Of course, when you piss off (even accidentally) the rich, powerful, and famous, they'll come at you with everything in their arsenal.

I just didn't consider that part of the equation until it was too late.

Not until I experienced firsthand just how easy it was to go from a newspaper byline to a headline ... and how fully one story could blast my well-ordered, well-regulated, well-planned life to hell.

CHAPTER 2

"Are you sure you're ready for this, Jane?"

"Um ... yes?"

"But you don't confront people. Ever. So maybe telling Mr. Elliot your idea for changing the school paper isn't such a good plan."

I sat up straighter against the vinyl seat coverings of the school bus. "Gee, thanks for that vote of confidence, Isobel. I feel so much better."

My friend Isobel, who had been nervously pushing her glasses higher up on her nose, paused mid-gesture.

"I'm sorry, Jane. I didn't mean—"

Great, not only was I almost trembling with nerves, but I had managed to upset my only friend who hadn't recently become famous. I wished Kenzie were still riding the bus with me. She would have instantly recognized my sarcasm as poorly disguised panic talking. But ever since she'd started dating the captain of Smith High School's hockey team, Logan Beckett, he picked her up in his car. I tried not to take this change personally, but I still missed her. Don't get me wrong: Isobel's great. It's just that we didn't have a shared history. No inside jokes. No meaningful glances that communicate everything we're thinking.

And that meant I had to apologize.

"No, I'm sorry. I don't mean to sound snippy. It's just ... nerves," I explained. "This really matters to me so ... please tell me this isn't a huge mistake."

Isobel looked at me owlishly, her natural expression behind thick horn-rimmed glasses that she probably thought helped her blend with the hipster crowd. They didn't. "It might not be a disaster," she hedged.

"So you think I can get Mr. Elliot to add a fiction page to the school newspaper?"

She paused thoughtfully, and I knew that she would thoroughly analyze the situation before shelling out advice. That's why she was the first person I told about my plan to be more involved with The Smithsonian. Plus, I trusted her to be painfully honest with me—even if I didn't want to hear it. Isobel couldn't lie convincingly unless her life depended on it ... and maybe not even then.

She sighed and looked up at me, concern evident in her eyes. "We're talking about Mr. Elliot, here! He chews out people all the time. Didn't you tell me he made a girl cry last week? How are you going to persuade him to do anything? Bad idea. Really bad."

She was absolutely right. Unfortunately, it was also my only plan. Well, my only feasible one, unless time travel became possible. In which case, I would just rewind about a month and prevent Kenzie from ever becoming an overnight YouTube sensation.

That would have solved everything.

I let my head fall forward and land with a low whump against the vinyl-covered bus seat in front of me.

"Sorry, Jane. You know I love you, but ... you're the biggest pushover Smith High School has ever seen."

"Hey!"

"Well, it's true. Take that group project for your English class you were complaining about last week. You practically wrote and researched all of Shake's section as well as your own."

I stared at her—not because she had botched one of the nicknames for the Notable Evil Trio: Chelsea, Fake, and Bake—but because I'd never heard Isobel call me a pushover before. I didn't think she was in the best position to criticize me, given the way she quivers in terror whenever a Notable comes within fifteen feet of her, but apparently that didn't stop her.

"Fake. Not Shake," I corrected, mentally conceding that Isobel's nickname worked too. The girl definitely puts some shimmy into her, ahem, assets whenever she's around a Notable guy. But since everything about Steffani Larson, from the tips of her plastic fingernails to the roots of her blond hair, is capital-letter FAKE, I wanted her original nickname to stick. I had no doubt, given the frequency with which Ashley visited tanning salons, that "Bake" would describe her perfectly for years to come. Especially because nothing rhymes with "orange."

Not that I would ever use either nickname around anyone but my closest friends.

"And what was I supposed to do?" I continued defensively. "If I hadn't researched her part, the grade for our whole presentation would've tanked."

"Maybe if she hadn't expected you to pick up the slack, she would've done it herself."

I rolled my eyes. Fake would do her part of an assignment on the same day zombies descended upon our high school and ate everyone's brains. Even then, she'd probably find a way to flirt a zombie into eating the geeks first. But at that particular moment what I needed wasn't an in-depth analysis of Fake; I needed a partner in crime. But I no longer knew who to ask for good advice. Logan, Kenzie, and Corey would all tell me that there was no reason for me to worry about being entirely alone. That I was making a big deal out of nothing. Then again, it's easy for the hockey player, the Internet sensation, and the boyfriend of a rock star to shrug and say No big deal. I was the only one most commonly referred to as Mackenzie's little friend.

I'd had enough of that to last a lifetime.

Especially since I'd only just started to emerge from under my sister's shadow. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, because it's not like I'd done anything to separate myself from former Notable queen Elle Smith's legacy—except avoid everything that she listed on her college application sheets. And since my sister was involved in everything, my options for social expansion were pretty limited. Not unless I wanted to go back to being known as Elle Smith's dorky kid sister, and that held absolutely no appeal for me.

None at all.

So I couldn't go anywhere near the dance squad. Or the cheerleaders. Or the drama club. Or the yearbook committee. And I was going to stay far, far away from the Miss Portland Pageant. Which left me with only a handful of viable options if my newspaper plan didn't work out: Speech and Debate (which would require public speaking ... yeah, not in this lifetime) or the chess club (which would probably only further cement my geeky reputation).

If I wasn't careful, I could easily slip into some kind of nerd vortex and disappear right in plain sight.

And then I really would be Invisible.

So I kept sorting through potential plans. Maybe I should wait for the next issue to be released before I asked about including a fiction page. Maybe I should discuss it with Mr. Elliot outside of class. Maybe I should follow the chain of command and ask our editor-in-charge-of-everything, Lisa Anne. Maybe ... I couldn't decide on anything.

Even making eye contact with Mr. Elliot seemed risky.

"So what do you suggest, Isobel? That I just keep correcting grammar on the paper forever?"

Isobel pushed up her glasses again. She could have gotten them fixed so that they wouldn't slide down her nose, but I doubt the idea had ever occurred to her.

"I think you should discuss it with him. I just don't think you will." The bus lurched to a stop at Smith High School, but that didn't slow Isobel down. "Are you honestly going to assert yourself this time?"

Well, when she put it that way. "I ... hope so."

"Good luck, then. Put your game face on. Show no mercy. All that good stuff."

I stared at her and then burst out laughing. "You sound completely insane."

Isobel smiled. "I don't do pep talks. So ... just, go get 'em or something."

"Will do, chief."

Isobel swung her backpack, bulging to the point of explosion, across her shoulders. Then she tugged at her mousy brown hair until long strands dislodged from her ponytail and swung down to frame her round face.

"Don't wimp out then."

For someone who hated pep talks, Isobel wasn't doing half bad. She also had a point. As much as I didn't want to admit it, I've got a tendency to postpone important conversations. But nothing would ever change if I continued silently adding semicolons to other people's newspaper stories instead of writing my own.

My days of being a pushover were over.

Except when I entered the journalism classroom to find Mr. Elliot already mid-rant ... I kept my mouth firmly shut.

The yelling wasn't exactly an infrequent occurrence, since even on his best days Mr. Elliot was unpredictable. He believed that his yelling would prove to us that he cared. And according to that rationale, he successfully demonstrated that he cared. A lot.

It's always best to let him get the ranting out of his system before doing anything controversial—you know, like breathing too loudly.

Although I sincerely doubted that any of his long-winded speeches about "stepping up our game" had ever made a difference. Our class was split between the kids who were using their work on the school paper to impress colleges and the ones who thought it would be easy to ditch and go smoke behind the gym. The handful of us who actually cared about the quality of The Smithsonian fell under the jurisdiction of Lisa Anne Montgomery: senior editor of the school paper, future Yale or Harvard graduate, and all-around Most Likely to Succeed shoe-in. I had no trouble imagining her golden future, which would probably include hosting an Emmy-winning political talk show.

Good morning! You're live with Lisa Anne! It's time to welcome our first guest, former vice president Al Gore. So tell me, Al, what projects are you working on now?

She'd be a media darling. I predicted that within the next ten years, Smith High School would start begging for Lisa Anne to give the convocation speech at graduation ... which she'd probably have to decline in order to interview wounded soldiers or angry jihadists or something.

Not that I'm jealous of her.

Much.

"Smith!" My head jerked up from my notebook, where I had been doodling little gravestones with my name on them. I'm not overly superstitious, but that didn't seem like a good omen. Although as far as evil portents go, being singled out in the middle of a Mr. Elliot tirade was significantly more damning than a series of morbid scribbles.

I just hoped that nobody noticed the way my hand instantly started trembling.

"Um ... yes?"

Mr. Elliot waved his arms in a brilliant imitation of a windmill. "For the past year, Smith has done a great job with the copyediting and ... other things like, erm, layout. That side of journalism is important too! More of you should get involved. It's time to step up your game!"

It's possible I would've felt honored if he hadn't been completely off base. And if he had taken the time to address me by my first name, which I wasn't entirely sure he knew. I really hated the way he called everyone (except Lisa Anne) solely by their last names, as if we were soldiers in the military waiting for our marching orders.

It always made me hyperaware of the fact that I'm the geekier of the two Smith girls.

So I took a deep breath and said, "Uh, actually, Mr. Elliot—" before I lost the ability to speak. Formulating a complete sentence seemed impossible with all eyes in my journalism class staring at me.

"What, Smith?" he snapped impatiently. I definitely should have kept my mouth shut.

Too late now.

"It's just ... this is my third year copyediting. And I was wondering if maybe I could ... well, do something else?"

A frown furrowed his brow, and my stomach clenched. He was going to say no. He was going to insist that my copyediting was a vital part of the paper. I would graduate from Smith High School next year having contributed nothing more to The Smithsonian than a handful of punctuation marks.

And I'd continue being universally ignored while my two best friends flitted off to Hollywood without me.

"Listen up, everyone," Mr. Elliot barked, panning the room. "This is what I'm talking about! Smith is finally stepping up to the plate, and we're going to run with it." He skewered me with one of his intense looks. "You've got the front page, Smith. Talk to Lisa Anne."

My mouth fell open in shock, but before I could say, I don't want the front page! I want to write fiction, he held up a hand to stop me.

"Make it work, Smith. Now where was I? Right, we really need to improve our advertising...."

He went off on an entirely different tirade, leaving me reeling in his wake.

The front page? I had never wanted the front page. If my fiction plan didn't work out, I had been hoping he might promote me to the cafeteria beat. Maybe let me write an article about the chocolate chip muffins—something small so that I could get my bearings on the actual writing side of things. I never meant for Mr. Elliot to send me from copy editor to front-page reporter overnight. It sounded like a Cinderella, rags-to-riches type deal, only this particular pauper didn't know how to dance at a grand ball.

And she wanted time to learn the steps so that she wouldn't trip over her stilettos and land flat on her face.

I had no ideas. I had no plans. I had no experience.

What I did have was an impulsive order given by an unstable teacher—and an irate Lisa Anne, who marched over as soon as Mr. Elliot finished ranting.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from INVISIBLE by Marni Bates. Copyright © 2013 by Marni Bates. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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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