New York Minute: The Secret of Jane's Success (Prequel)

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The secret of Jane's success...

Jane's three-step wish list:
First, volunteer on a senator's campaign.
Next, get elected student body president.
Then, win a scholarship to Oxford University.

Easy, right? But what will Jane do when she uncovers a scandal, falls in love with her presidential opponent and, ...

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The secret of Jane's success...

Jane's three-step wish list:
First, volunteer on a senator's campaign.
Next, get elected student body president.
Then, win a scholarship to Oxford University.

Easy, right? But what will Jane do when she uncovers a scandal, falls in love with her presidential opponent and, thanks to Roxy, ends up in trouble with the police?

In this prequel to the feature film "New York Minute," starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, readers find out all the juicy details that leads up to the twins' madcap adventure in New York City.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060595074
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Series: New York Minute Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.88 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.33 (d)

First Chapter

New York Minute: The Secret of Jane's Success (Prequel)
Chapter One

I love Mondays! Seventeen-year-old Jane Ryan thought as she sat at the kitchen table casually sipping her green tea and reading the morning edition of the Welling Pointe Post--her usual before-school routine.

She took in the headline on page three--Vandals Trigger Heightened Neighborhood Watch--and read the story. It seemed that affluent homeowners in the gated community of Stone Water Bend on Long Island, New York, were fed up with the slow police response to a recent rash of vandalism. Now the residents were taking the matter into their own hands.

"Vandalism?" she murmured. "Why would anyone do something so stupid and destructive? What a waste of time." Then Jane's alarm watch beeped. Time to pack up for school. She closed the community paper and folded it into a nice, neat square.

"Where is it?" Roxy cried, storming through the kitchen for the second time that morning. She flung open the junk drawer and proceeded to tear through it. "I'll die if I don't find it!"

Jane had to shake her head. Sometimes the fact that she and Roxy were twins boggled her mind. Exhibit A: Jane was fully dressed in a smart, neutral-colored outfit by a junior designer who knew better than to think that every girl wanted to walk out of the house looking like a pop star. Plus, Jane had already exercised, eaten a healthful breakfast, brushed her teeth, and written in her day planner a list of things to do--in order of importance, of course.

Meanwhile Roxy was stalking the house in her oversized Beatles T-shirt that doubled as a nightgown, looking as if she had just rolled out of bad, which she had.

"Where's what?" Jane asked, grabbing the latest issue of the South Side High Times, her school newspaper, from the table. Maybe she'd read it on the bus.

"My iPod!" Roxy shrieked. "I can't find it anywhere!"

"When did you last see it?" Jane asked, glancing at the front page of the paper. The smiling image of Derek Shafer stopped her cold. Whoa. It was hard to believe that a guy this hot was athletic and funny and smart. But he was. And his picture looked as if he was smiling right at her.

Dream on, Jane thought. Derek had to be every high school girl's fantasy come to life. And here he was motoring into the school parking lot in his brand-new SUV. This act had earned him "Cool Move of the Week" honors, a distinction announced on the South Side High's school Web site and in its newspaper.

"You'll probably want to close your mouth," Roxy said.

"Otherwise, you might drool all over that picture."

Jane glanced up, embarrassed, feeling her cheeks turn pink. "What are you talking about? I'm reading the article."

Roxy grinned. "Uh, there is no article. Just a one-line caption." She began rifling through the other newspaper, almost turning over Jane's FUTURE CEOS OF AMERICA mug.

"Roxy!" Jane cried as tea sloshed onto the table. "Watch it!"

"What's your problem?" Roxy asked. She looked down at the picture of Derek, then back at Jane. "Oh, never mind. I get it."

"Get what?" Jane demanded.

Then, as if Roxy suddenly had all the time in the world, she plopped down into the chair next to Jane. "You're depressed. You think it's hopeless. You think you'll never have a chance--"

"What are you talking about?" Jane cut in.

Roxy tapped on Derek's model-perfect face. "I'm talking about him."

Jane did not want to have this conversation.

But Roxy pressed on. "You always say that school gossip is a waste of time, but it actually can be very informative. Derek and Faith broke up. They're totally history. She's even got a new boyfriend. Some college guy. Her parents are freaking out."

Okay, maybe Jane did want to have this conversation. "Since when?"

"Since late last night," Roxy said. "I got, like, a zillion instant messages about it. You were already asleep."

Jane tried to play it cool. "That's too bad. They were a cute couple." But the truth was, Jane couldn't wait to talk to her friends on the cheerleading squad about this. Those girls would definitely have the scoop.

"Cute couple?" Roxy echoed, rolling her eyes. "They were completely vomitocious. Either all over each other or in a huge fight."

Jane grinned. "Is vomitocious even a word?"

"If it's not, it should be," Roxy replied with a shrug.

Jane glanced at the clock, then back at Roxy. "Do you ever plan on getting dressed? You're going to be late for school."

Roxy rolled her eyes. "Who cares about being on time? I'm already stuck with office assistant hours for the next few weeks. I have to work off demerits during my free periods. What's one more day at Mrs. McCall's photocopy machine?"

Jane said nothing as she folded up the school newspaper and placed it in her backpack. Ever since their mother died two years ago, Roxy seemed to be less and less interested in school. Their dad was an obstetrician and was always busy delivering babies, and Jane could do only so much to encourage her sister. After all, pushing Roxy in a particular direction usually sent her racing in the opposite one.

A thought flashed into Jane's mind. "Try the freezer," she told Roxy.


"For your iPod," Jane said. "You left it in there once before. Remember?"

Roxy perked up. "And I did eat half a pint of Cookie Dough Explosion last night!" She dashed to the freezer. "Yes!" she screamed, waving the cold iPod like a victory flag. "You saved my life. Now I can listen to Rules of Modesty on the way to prison. Did I say prison? I meant school." She laughed a little.

Jane stood up and smoothed her skirt.

"Why so dressed up?" Roxy asked. Then she gasped. "Oh, my God! Is it Career Day already? I totally forgot. And I was supposed to write that essay for Mr. Vaughn. Oops. Maybe I should stay home today. Tell everybody I have the flu."

"Relax," Jane said, starting to gather her things. "Career Day is next month. Anyway, today is much bigger than that." She beamed proudly. "Today I start as an intern on Congresswoman Kate Kelso's reelection campaign."

"Are you serious?" Roxy asked. Then her eyes took on a glazed look. "Because that sounds really, really boring."

Jane laughed off the teasing. "Well, what may be boring to you is opportunity for me. I've got that summer college program in D.C. under my belt, and now I'm going to intern for the congresswoman." She cleared her throat. "All important steps toward my goal of winning the McGill Fellowship."

"Please!" Roxy begged. "At least let me be fully awake before you start in on that again."


"I know," Roxy cut in. "The McGill Fellowship--a superhard-to-get scholarship to Oxford University. I get it."

"Do you also 'get' how competitive the applicant field is? Students from all over the country are applying," Jane said. "That's why every extracurricular activity is so important. This position on the congresswoman's campaign could be a real boost. She only took on three high school interns, and Millie and I got two of those slots."Roxy started to laugh.

Jane looked at her. "What's so funny?"

"I'm just worried about the rest of the people in the campaign office, that's all," Roxy said. "Between you and Millie, nobody stands a chance. And that includes the congresswoman."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Jane asked.

"Well, you're you," Roxy began. "Miss Captain-of-Everything at South Side High--cheerleading squad, debate team--need I go on? And Millie...well, some people think this class-president race is going to her head a little bit."

Jane waved off the notion. "Oh, please. Millie is Millie. She hasn't changed a bit."

"Glad to hear it," Roxy said. "Because there's no reason she should. Everybody knows that Derek Shafer is going to win that election. Every girl who thinks he's a hottie will vote for him. And every guy who wants to be his friend will vote for him, too. That leaves Millie with one vote. Assuming she votes for herself, of course." Roxy smiled.Jane shook her head. "You are in rare form this morning."

"Well, who are you voting for?" Roxy teased. "Your good friend or your secret love?"

"Do you even have to ask?" Jane countered, pretending not to be bothered as she made her way out the door. But the truth was that Roxy had hit a nerve. Granted, Millicent McDonnell was a close friend, but Jane had had a mad crush on Derek Shafer since freshman year. He was beyond cute, and he really would be a great class president....

Ugh! Jane stopped that train of thought dead in its tracks. Then she scolded herself. Bad friend. Very bad friend. She owed her loyalty to Millie. No matter how much of a hottie Derek was.


"Well, this is it," Millie told Jane as they arrived at Congresswoman Kelso's reelection headquarters. "Our first real political campaign. Can you believe it?"

Jane nodded. "This is such a great opportunity," she said, still sitting in Millie's car. "And imagine how awesome a letter of recommendation from the congresswoman would be!"

"I know. Remember Ella Biskind?" Millie asked.

The name sounded familiar. "She was a senior last year, right?" Jane asked.

Millie nodded. "I heard Congresswoman Kelso's letter got her into Yale."

"No!" Jane exclaimed.

"Yes!" Millie said. "In fact, I heard that she actually got rejected but that her application was reconsidered after the letter came in."

"That is major pull," Jane said. Right away her mind began to race. Could such a letter improve her chances of winning the McGill Fellowship?

"Oh, I almost forgot," Millie said, pulling something out of her backpack and handing it to Jane. "Just in case you need a sugar rush."

Jane stared at the individually wrapped home-baked cookie in her palm. Attached was a bright pink label that read: VOTE MILLIE FOR THE "SWEET" SIDE LEADERSHIP. She smiled at her friend with the wildly curly auburn hair and freckles. "Very slick, Millie. You're reaching out to every voter's sweet tooth. I'm impressed."

"Thanks," Millie said. Then she sighed heavily. "Now remind me again why I decided to run against the most popular guy in the universe? Was it for the humiliation?"Jane laughed. "I believe it was for the resume building." She opened the passenger door. "Shall we?"

Millie nodded. "Don't want to be late on our first day."

Just as they approached the front door, it burst open. A guy who looked to be in his twenties struggled with a huge box of doorknob hangers. He set it down just outside the door. He nodded to Jane and Millie. "Let me guess. High school interns."

"Is it that obvious?" Jane asked, slightly disappointed that she didn't appear to be older and more professional.

"The Sunday-best wardrobe gave you away. Once you get a taste of the real grunt work of a campaign, you'll show up in jeans." He grinned. "I'm Tim Goldsmith, Congresswoman Kelso's press secretary." He gestured to the box he'd just put down. "Interns always get door-to-door hanging duty. Come on," Tim said, waving them inside. "I'll show you guys around."

He led them into the headquarters, where there was a steady rumble of intense activity: phones ringing, fax machines churning out pages, people buzzing around in REELECT KATE KELSO T-shirts.

Jane's heart beat like a drum. This was like having a backstage pass at a rock concert. She tried to take in everything yet reign in her excitement at the same time. After all, she had a job to do, and she had to do it well.

"So you're the girls from South Side, right?" Tim asked.

"Yes, sir," Jane said. "And let me just say what an honor it is to--"

"Call me Tim," he said, cutting her off. "You're Melinda and Jane, right?" he added, consulting a bulky gadget and tapping the screen with a tiny stylus.

Millie took a step forward. "Actually, it's Millicent--Millie."

Jane peered down to get a better look at Tim's electronic device. It was about twice the size of a Palm Pilot--larger keypad, larger color screen. Suddenly it started to ring.

Tim raised a hand in a halting gesture and pressed a button on his headset mic. "Tim Goldsmith here...Hi, Rita...The congresswoman can do the interview at five-fifteen....Sorry, can't move it. She's got a thirty-minute media window, and Channel Five is already confirmed for the top of the hour...Okay...We'll see you there."

Tim regarded Jane and Millie once more. "We've got time for a quick introduction to the congresswoman, okay?"

The girls nodded eagerly.

"After that it's envelope-stuffing duty. There are ten thousand pieces of mail to get out by the end of the day." He took off.

Jane and Millie rushed to catch up, following him straight into the inner sanctum of Congresswoman Kate Kelso.

The first female congressional seat winner for the fourth district in Long Island history sat behind a massive desk, engaged in a heated phone conversation. "You tell the senator that she's got a fight on her hands. I'm not backing down. I promised the school district those funds, and I intend to deliver." She returned the receiver to the cradle with a bang and looked up.

Jane stood there in awe. This woman represented real power. Most politicians caved in on issues when they were facing a reelection battle. But Kelso obviously knew how to face down the major players, no matter what was at stake.

Tim made the introductions.

The congresswoman beamed. "Glad you're on board, girls. This place could use some youthful energy." She gave Jane a quick once-over. "Nice suit."

Jane beamed proudly. "Thank you."

Kate reached for her paper Java Hut cup, realized it was empty, and tossed it into the wastebasket. "I need my afternoon double latte. Who wants to make a coffee run?"

"I do!" Millie blurted out.The congresswoman smiled. "Eagerness. That's a good sign."

Millie grinned and took off.

Jane was happy for Millie but secretly wished she had spoken up first. Now the congresswoman might think she was lazy! There had to be a way to turn this around. She thought fast, sizing up the scene. Kelso's desk appeared to be in total disarray. "Maybe I could help out here." She gestured to the desk. "I'm a whiz at organizing."

The congresswoman shared a smile with Tim. "You wouldn't be the first person who's tried. I'm afraid you're dealing with a hopeless case."

Jane felt a boost of adrenaline. This desk was no way near as cluttered as her father's had once been, and she had whipped that into shape in a few hours.

"This," she said confidently, "is not a problem." New York Minute: The Secret of Jane's Success (Prequel). Copyright © by Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2004

    Wonderful, Great, The Coolest

    When I read this book I fell in love with the series. I first read the novel and fell in love then this book then finally the one about Roxy. I could see pictures in my head and I haven't seen the movie yet. I am going to see it this monday (June 7, 2004). I hope it is as great as I hear and read. I give this so many stars because I loved all three books. I hope and wish the would come out with a sequl to the main novel because I want to know what happen to the girls.

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