Not a Good Lookby Nikki Carter
One gifted girl, one super diva, one ego too many. . .
She's got mad talent, her own singing group, and honor roll grades. Sunday Tolliver is this close to making her music industry career dreams come trueuntil her mother spends her entire college fund. Now Sunday's only chance to get to college means slaving as a "personal assistant" to her diva/b>
One gifted girl, one super diva, one ego too many. . .
She's got mad talent, her own singing group, and honor roll grades. Sunday Tolliver is this close to making her music industry career dreams come trueuntil her mother spends her entire college fund. Now Sunday's only chance to get to college means slaving as a "personal assistant" to her diva cousin, Dreya. And since Dreya just got the record deal of a lifetime and an upcoming tour with hip-hop's biggest rapper, Truth, Sunday is sure Dreya's ego-trippin', among other things, couldn't get worse. But when bad boy Truth starts pushing up on Sunday and her life becomes "Paparazzi Blogs Gone Wild," a jealous Dreya is on the warpath. Can Sunday make the right moves before her dreams go up in smoke for good?
Praise for Nikki Carter
"Step to This is hot, it's new, it's now. . .with characters that leap from the pages, it's absolutely a must-read."
Monica McKayhan, Essence bestselling author
"Nikki Carter is a fresh, new voice."
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Essence bestselling author
"Literally and figuratively, drama is on high alert in the first installment of Nikki Carter's hot new teen series, The Fab Life. An undeniable page-turner, Not A Good Look is sure to capture the attention of every teen who's ever dreamed of becoming hip-hop's next overnight superstar. Readers are certain to fall in love with Sunday and her diva cousin, Dreya, just as fast as the many cute boys in their lives." Mitzi Miller, Essence© bestselling author
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
- Age Range:
- 13 - 17 Years
Read an Excerpt
Not a Good LookA Fab Life Novel
By NIKKI CARTER
DAFINA BOOKSCopyright © 2010 Nikki Carter
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI cannot believe that it's the middle of the night and I'm thirsty. I'm parched, really-my throat feels like it's growing an afro weave.
I glance to the left of me in the dark. I can make out my cousin Dreya's shape in the twin bed on the other side of my room. No one can tell it's my room, since I always have to share with Dreya and her little brother, Manny.
They get on my last nerve. Honestly.
Dreya is the reason for my cotton mouth. She finds it necessary to get out of the bed every night and turn the heat up to eighty-five degrees, like she and her mama are paying any bills up in here. Nobody with human blood running through their veins needs to sleep with the heat turned up that high.
And, of course, the vent is right up over my bed. Because of this, I've been swallowing heat for the past few hours.
I throw my feet over the bed and try to escape quietly before ...
"Sunday! I want some water."
Manny wakes up. Dang!
"Boy, you can't have no water. You're just gonna pee in the bed."
He starts whining. "But I'm thirsty."
"Boy! Go to sleep."
He squints at me and frowns. "What's wrong with yo' throat? You sound like a man!"
"I'm thirsty and my throat is dry!"
"Mine too, so hook a brotha up and get me something to drink."
"Manny, I'm gonna hurt you!"
"I'm gonna tell my mama you cussed at me."
"I did not cuss at you."
I narrow my eyes at this little evil genius. He stays trying to blackmail somebody. The other day, he got half a candy bar out of Dreya by threatening to tell that she was kissing a dude other than her boyfriend. The fact that she never actually kissed anyone meant absolutely nothing to Manny. A candy bar is a candy bar to that little hobgoblin.
"Come on then," I say, still fussing. "You better not try to get in my bed either."
"I don't even want to sleep in yo' dusty bed! I'm sleeping with my sister!"
Beautiful! The thought of this makes me smile. Dreya's gonna be heated when she wakes up to sheets soaked with Manny's pee! That almost makes up for my interrupted sleep. Ha!
Manny and I creep quietly into the kitchen, which is hard to do because we have to pass through the living room to get there. We tiptoe around feet, legs, and blankets that are spread where they shouldn't be. It's something like a hood slumber party obstacle course.
In most people's homes (I would think-since I really don't go to other people's houses at night) the living room is a pretty quiet place. Living goes on during the day, so that's when it should be busy. At night, normal people go to their bedrooms and go to sleep, and their living room is quiet.
It's a whole other story in the Tolliver household. Our tiny living room is occupied twenty-four seven. My auntie, Charlie, is sleeping on one couch and my mother's boyfriend, Carlos, is asleep on the love seat, wrapped in Manny's Transformers comforter.
"Gimme my blanket!" Manny hisses and tries to snatch his comforter from Carlos.
I pull Manny into the kitchen, not wanting him to wake anyone. "Stop it, Manny! You don't have a bed anyway, so it doesn't matter."
"I did at my other house."
"I wish you'd go back to your other house," I mumble under my breath.
Aunt Charlie, Dreya, and Manny moved here a year ago when they got evicted from their duplex. My aunt doesn't keep a job for longer than three weeks, and they never have enough money for rent, so they live with us off and on. It really sucks lemons.
As much as it irritates my mother that Aunt Charlie won't get and stay on her feet, she won't ever let her and her kids be homeless or on the street. That is not how Tollivers roll. We always stick together, no matter what. Even if we get on one another's last nerve.
"Sunday, I'm thirsty. Hurry up," Manny says.
I know he's not trying to have an attitude. Let him keep it up and he'll be swallowing spit.
Just for that, I take my time getting Manny's sippy cup out of the dish rack on the counter and filling it with water from the faucet. I try to hand it to him, but he shakes his head.
"I thought you wanted some water."
He shakes his head again. "Put some ice in it."
"We ain't got no ice."
"Yes, we do. My mama filled up the trays. I saw her."
I open the freezer, crack two ice cubes out of the plastic tray, and drop them into Manny's cup.
While he's drinking, I search in the refrigerator for my orange, pineapple, and banana juice. The fruity goodness that will slide down my throat in a burst of yummy flavor will be the cure for my dry, parched mouth.
I know I sound like a commercial. It was completely intentional. Plus my juice is the bidness, ya dig?
For some reason, I can't seem to find it in our refrigerator. This can only mean one thing. My beloved juice has been stolen and consumed by someone else in this house.
"Manny, who drank my juice?"
He shrugs. "How you expect me to know? I'm only four."
"Because you always asking your mama for my stuff!"
"What color was your juice?"
"What color was it? It was yellow!" I feel the anger rising from the pit of my stomach to my dry and crackly throat.
"Oh, that must be the juice I had tonight with my fried bologna sandwich."
AARRRGGGHHHH!!! If my throat didn't feel as dry as the Sahara Desert, I would scream that out loud, but right about now, I can only offer a raspy hiss.
I leave Manny standing there in the kitchen, with his ice water, as I storm back through the living room and down the hall. I can't stand all these people up in me and my mama's spot. I don't have anything to myself, not my own room, my own clothes. Not even a carton of juice. I wish they would all disappear!
Then I hear whimpering coming from the kitchen.
I roll my eyes and go back to get Manny. "How you gon' have all that mouth and be scared of the dark?"
"I'm not scared of the dark. I'm scared of roaches."
"We don't have roaches, Manny."
"We did at the other house."
I sigh and scoop him up into my arms. "Just come on."
I tuck Manny into the bed with Dreya and get back in my bed. I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep.
Which is impossible.
Because. I'm. Still. Thirsty!
Chapter Two"I wish my whole life was a fantasy / keep waiting for someone to wake me." -Sunday Tolliver
I open my eyes and wake up to the same thing I wake up to every morning. Chaos.
"Manny, you better not sleep in my bed again, with your Peabody behind."
I snicker into my pillow. Dreya and Aunt Charlie call Manny "Mr. Peabody" whenever he wets the bed. If you ask me, it's mean, but I don't get into their immediate-family drama.
"Sunday, where are your gold hoop earrings? I need them for my outfit."
Why is it that none of Dreya's outfits are complete without borrowing something of mine? My gold hoops don't even go with what she has on-layered tank tops with a short leather jacket, skinny jeans, and black leather ankle boots. She looks like a biker chick, and biker chicks should be rocking chains-not my earrings.
"I don't know where they are."
That was a total lie. I know exactly where my real 18-karat gold earrings are. The ones I got from my ex-boyfriend, Romell, on my sixteenth birthday. The ones I hardly ever take off. They are in a box under my pillow.
Wanna know where they're not going? In Dreya's multi-pierced ears.
Dreya sucks her teeth and runs her hand through her short hair. "You're such a liar."
Once upon a time Dreya used to have long, thick hair like me, but she decided that it would look better if one side was shaved. The unshaved part has blond tips and is styled in an unruly roller set. She thinks it looks hawt ... I guess as long as she likes it, that's the most important thing.
"Sunday, get up and get ready for school!"
My mother is standing in the doorway, wearing her postal uniform, somehow managing to make the plain blue and gray pants and shirt look fly. Her hands are on her hips as if she's going to do something other than yell to get me out of bed.
"Is Aunt Charlie still in the shower? Because if she is, I can sleep for ten more minutes."
"Yeah, my mommy is still in the shower, and what?" Manny says while standing at the foot of my bed wearing only his pajama top.
How's he gonna have an attitude problem and still be peeing in the bed?
I throw a pillow at him. He's always trying to have his mama or his sister's back when they're the ones always spanking his little behind.
My mother sucks her teeth and grabs the bottom of my blanket, trying to pull it away.
"She'll be out in a minute, Sunday. Get on up and get your stuff together because Carlos needs to get in there, too."
It makes no sense that the two people in this house who have absolutely nothing to do all day would need to be in my way when it's time to get dressed. Aunt Charlie isn't even thinking about a job, and none of Carlos's business associates are up this early. I use the term business associates loosely because, on the real, don't you have to be making money from something for it to be called business?
Other than his failure to generate income, Carlos is cool people. Out of all the boyfriends my mom has kicked it with, he's the best one. He makes my mother laugh, and he doesn't try to act like my daddy. Every now and then we'll play a video game or two on Xbox and chill.
My mother sees my eyes roll and says, "Sunday, I know what you're thinking. Carlos has a stock-options-trading class this morning. My baby is about to get into the stocks and bonds market."
I roll my eyes again and throw myself out of the bed. Carlos always has something going that's about to take off. Two months ago, it was a check-cashing store, six months ago it was a Laundromat that had a bunch of half-broken washing machines and dryers. Needless to say, it didn't pan out. And until one of his ideas makes him some money, he's gonna be my mother's boyfriend and not her husband. She claims she's not marrying him until he can take care of us.
I'm waiting to see if that's gonna happen. It wouldn't be a bad thing at all because, like I said, Carlos is good people. But I'm not holding my breath, or getting my hopes up.
As soon as I hear the water in the shower shut off and the bathroom door open, I dash in with all my Bath & Body Works toiletries and my outfit. Before all these people moved up in our crib, I could leave my stuff in the bathroom. Not so, anymore. Aunt Charlie and Dreya used up a whole bottle of Sweet Pea lotion in one day. What do you know? The water is cold. It's okay, though, because I love taking cold showers in the fall. Sarcasm in full effect.
Strands from Aunt Charlie's platinum blond yaki weave are all over the shower curtain and clogging up the drain, causing the chilly water to rise up around my feet. I let out a long sigh and wash myself quickly, because I really am running late.
After I'm dressed in a bebe tee and Apple Bottoms jeans, I slick my hair into a bun with a long, curly side bang in the front. My gold hoop earrings and grape lip gloss complete the look. Yes, my gold hoop earrings.
When I finally emerge from the bathroom, my best friend, Bethany, is in the living room harmonizing with Dreya on a song that I wrote. I should say that they are attempting to harmonize, because Dreya doesn't harmonize. She can sing the mess out of a solo, but getting her voice to blend with other voices is a pretty tough task.
Bethany must be able to tell that there's something not right about their vocals because she twirls her thick, brown cornrows between her fingers. Nobody likes to tell Dreya she hit a wrong note, especially not Bethany. She looks away from Dreya and slides her hand over the words on her baby tee and into her snug jeans pocket.
Bethany is cool as what. We've been girls since elementary school. We have the occasional beef, but she's a down type chick, and she can sing.
Even if she competes with me over boys.
Dreya, Bethany, and I are a girl singing group called Daddy's Little Girls. The name was Dreya's idea, and since I do write all the songs, the least I could do was let her name the group.
"You're flat, Dreya," I say, as my cousin tries unsuccessfully to hit another string of notes.
Dreya puts her hand on her hip and gives me the stank attitude look. "Hi, hater. You're just mad because my runs are off the chain."
"I don't know about off the chain, but they are off. Actually, every time you do a run, you go flat. You've got to learn better voice control, Dreya. When was the last time you sang scales?"
"Whatever, Sunday. Who made you vocal instructor? Oh, and I see you conveniently found your earrings," Dreya says as she flicks one of my earrings with her hand.
I reply, "Imagine that."
Bethany laughs. "As if she'd ever lose them. Her boo gave her those."
"Romell is not my boo," I protest.
"Yes, he is," Bethany teases.
"No. Romell is a cheater. And that's why you look like Ice-T's wife, Coco, with them cornrows to the back."
Clearly, I'm trying to deflect attention away from the conversation about cheater Romell and onto Bethany's hip-hop look. Although I just clowned her, the cornrows actually suit her dainty, pretty face, pulling her wide eyes into slants that make her dark eyelashes even more striking. Glitter lip gloss completes her look.
Bethany giggles. "I love it when you get all angry, Sunday. Anyway, Coco's boobs are bigger than mine."
"Are we rehearsing after school or what?" Dreya asks as she grabs her backpack. "Truth is outside."
"Yeah, because y'all most definitely need it," I reply.
Carlos chuckles from the kitchen.
"What are you laughing at?" Dreya asks.
"You could use a lil' work, Dreya," Carlos replies. With his thick Puerto Rican accent, he almost rolls the r in Dreya's name.
"Ugh. Why don't you just make your pancakes?" Dreya says with attitude.
The fact that Dreya and Carlos don't get along makes him even cooler in my book. He laughs her off and flips a plate-sized pancake on the skillet.
My mother storms up the hallway from her bedroom. She looks really mad about something as she snatches her keys and purse and walks toward the door.
Carlos calls from the kitchen, "You not gonna say 'bye or wish me luck on my class?"
Maybe after dating my mother for two years, Carlos still can't read her moods. But I wasn't even about to trip about her leaving without a word, because I can tell she's heated about something. I'd help a brotha out, but I ain't trying to get in my mama's warpath.
She spins around with fire in her eyes. "Carlos, you really need to check your baby mama."
He blows breath through his lips in an irritated-sounding whistle. "Did LaKeisha call you again? What did she want?"
"The same thing she always wants, Carlos. Money. She said your son needs some new sneakers."
Carlos sighs. "Okay. I'll call her back."
"When you talk to her, tell her to lose my number."
Carlos walks over to my mother and pulls her into a hug. "I'm so sorry, Shawn. I'll handle it."
Just like that her anger melts away and the fire leaves her eyes. Carlos's got some serious skills, because I thought she was going to flip out on him.
My mom looks at the three of us girls all up in their business. She narrows her eyes at Carlos, like she wants to say more but doesn't want to say it in front of us.
"I'm going to work, Carlos. We'll talk about it when I get home."
My mom slams the door as she leaves and Carlos goes back to fixing his breakfast.
"Come on, Bethany," I say. "This is too much drama this early in the morning."
Bethany, Dreya, and I walk outside. Me and Bethany are on our way to the bus stop, but Dreya's grown, nineteen-year-old boyfriend, Truth, is waiting for her in his tricked-out Impala. You would think they'd offer us a ride since we're all going to the same school, but nope-they're not even cool like that.
As Bethany and I start down the street, my cell phone rings. "Hello."
"Sunday, it's Dreya."
I whip my head around to see if they're still parked in front of the house, but they've already pulled off.
"What's up?" I ask.
Excerpted from Not a Good Look by NIKKI CARTER Copyright © 2010 by Nikki Carter. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Sunday and Dreya were in their last year of high school and love to sing. They had a girl group and had dreams of becoming stars. They don't all have the same idea of what being stars will be or how it may ruin their friendship. Sunday has the voice and the song writing skills, but has long term dreams of being successful. Dreya has the attitude and the man that gets her into the door to start her singing career. When Dreya sings the hook on her boyfriends Truth's first single, it opens up the door for her to get a record deal. Although her voice wasn't as strong as her cousin Sunday's she had the look that the industry wanted to have in the front of the stage while Sunday carried her as a background singer. Making Sunday Dreya's assistant to have her on the road putting life into Dreya's songs the two collide as Dreya's attitude gets out of control. Both girls learn a lot in a short time and realize that life is not as simple as they dreamed it would. They fall in love, experience heartbreak and learn that they can't always have what they dream about. The competition to be better than the other forms a wedge between them and the jealously is off the charts. This novel was a quick and easy read. I gave it a four instead of a five because it started out slow and took a while to really pick up for me. I will compliment Nikki for her style of writing. She has the ability to entertain teens and adults and I'd recommend this book to young girls. I look forward to reading more of your work. If you are looking for an enjoyable read for yourself or a young adult this is one to be recommended. Great job Nikki! Anna Black AAMBC Book Reviewer
OH man! This book is amazing! It was funny and relatable, and also really fun to see how Sunday bulids up her success thoughout the book. I am definitly a big fan of Nikki Carter now! :)
i suggest u make some more of these book nikki cuz ur the bomb and so are ur books no wonder
Walk into the Sunday Drama. This work of fiction is well developed, well written, and has believable characters because their personalities are detailed enough for you to visualize them in your head. As the front cover says, "The fiercest drama is behind the music ..." Come along for plenty of drama between cousins Dreya a.k.a. Drama (big time) and Sunday. Get a behind the music peek at what really happens within this singing group.
This was the best book ever i keep reading it over and over
This book was so amazing. I like how Carter described the drama behind Drama and Truth's tour.
"Not a Good Look" is a charming and entertaining read for both young and old. It garners all the topics that young people find interesting; music, fashion, gossip blogs and reality television. It's the story of Sunday Tolliver, a young woman with a passion for music who wishes to attend the prestigious, Spelman College. Once she discovers that her college fund has been depleted, she's devastated. Her cousin, Dreya is recently signed to Epsilon Records. With Dreya on the verge of stardom, Sunday warily decides to become Dreya's personal assistant. While on tour, Sunday's talent as a gifted songwriter comes to light. A budding romance is also on the horizon when Sunday meets a gifted, young man named Sam. The two begin to create beautiful music together which overshadows Sam's blossoming feelings for Sunday. Divalistic, Dreya knows she can work the stage. The problem is she has just as much attitude as talent. Self centered and spoiled, she's dating Truth, the sexy rapper whose first single is quickly climbing the charts. The two love birds are destined for disaster due to the fact that Dreya isn't the only chick Truth's side. Nikki Carter is a delightful storyteller whose accurate portrayal of today's youth puts a smile on this 30+ year old face. I'm looking forward to the sequel, "All the Wrong Moves" in December. Rating: 9/10 Plot: 9/10 Characters: 9/10 Ending: 8/10 Enjoyment: 9/10 Cover: 9/10
this.book was.awsome just amazing cant get enugh and didnt want to put it down