Ten Rules for Living with My Sisterby Ann M. Martin
Pearl’s older sister Lexie is in eighth grade and has a boyfriend. Pearl’s only boyfriend is the family’s crabby cat, Bitey. Lexie is popular. Pearl is not, mostly because of the embarrassing Three Bad Things that happened in school and which no one has forgotten. Everything Pearl does seems to drive Lexie crazy. On top of that, their
Pearl’s older sister Lexie is in eighth grade and has a boyfriend. Pearl’s only boyfriend is the family’s crabby cat, Bitey. Lexie is popular. Pearl is not, mostly because of the embarrassing Three Bad Things that happened in school and which no one has forgotten. Everything Pearl does seems to drive Lexie crazy. On top of that, their grandfather is moving into their family’s apartment and taking over Pearl’s room. How will these sisters share without driving one another crazy?
Pearl is good at making lists of rules, but sometimes, life doesn’t play by the rules!
New York City is the setting of Newbery Honor winner Martin's (A Corner of the Universe, 2002) latest, which deftly explores the discord between two sisters.
Just barely nine, Pearl Littlefield, at times wise beyond her years, knows all too well that being the younger sister of a 14-year-old has its ups and downs. To keep harmony, Pearl needs to figure out how to live with Lexie without irritating her. This is especially hard now that they are forced to share a tiny bedroom because their grandfather, Daddy Bo, is living with them while he awaits his move to an assisted-living facility. To keep the peace, Pearl makes the titular list. "Rule #3. Try not to tease Lexie, sometimes this is hard because she says stupid things." Throughout the school year, Pearl discovers that adhering to her rules does make a difference. Pearl, as narrator, shows herself to be a keen observer of the people around her and mature enough to handle some sticky situations, all with a sense of humor and aplomb. Readers will welcome Pearl's insights as she grapples with loneliness after her best friend moves across town, Lexie's frequent outbursts and her concern for Daddy Bo as he grows increasingly forgetful.
Martin has a gift for creating appealing characters in an atmosphere of caring and forgiveness. (Fiction. 9-12)
“The imaginative, artistic Pearl is a likable character, and girls with sisters will easily recognize themselves in either Pearl or Lexie.” BCCB
“Ten Rules is a fun read with a relatable young narrator…” Shelf Awareness
“The book will undoubtedly appeal most to younger girls, and would make a delightful shared, read-aloud between parent and child, or grandparent and grandchild.” VOYA
“Martin's expertise at capturing a character's authentic voice brings a high level of depth and meaning to this work.” School Library Journal
“Ann M. Martin gives us the real deal in this easy-to-read, eventful novel.” ReadKiddoRead.com
“Martin, from her Baby-sitters Club days, knows all the ins and outs of Pearl's demographic, and the nine-year-old's travails will surely resonate with the intended audience.” The Horn Book
Read an Excerpt
Ten Rules for Living with My Sister
By Ann M. Martin
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2011 Ann M. Martin
All rights reserved.
Half an hour ago my sister locked me out of her room. Then she opened her door long enough to hang this sign on it:
Then she closed the door again. It was the sixth time Lexie had hung the NO PEARL sign this month.
When I saw the sign, I went to my own room, put on my pirate costume, and made a sign that said MY FEET SMELL. I hung it on Lexie's door underneath the NO PEARL sign and waited for my sister to come out.
I had to wait a long time, and I got a little bored. This was nothing new. I never know what to do with myself. Which is one of the differences between Lexie and me. Here are some others:
First I waited for Lexie standing up. When my feet got tired, I sat down in the hallway. Bitey came along and crawled in my lap. Bitey's full name is Dr. Bitey McCrabby. He doesn't bite very often, and he's only crabby sometimes, which is why I let him be my boyfriend. I don't know where the doctor part of his name came from. A lot of things happened before I was born. One of them was naming Bitey. Lexie was three when she heard him meowing in the alley next to our apartment building. The vet figured Bitey was five months old then, which means he's ten now, which means I'm the youngest person in our family.
Lexie suddenly opened the door to her room and found Bitey and me sitting in the hall. The moment she saw us, she crossed her arms. "Pearl," she said, "do you know why I hung the sign? It's because if you are going to come in my room, I insist that you wear clothes. No more underwear visits. And I have to invite you first."
I shooed Bitey out of my lap, stood up, and removed my eye patch so I could see Lexie better. "How about if I wear my new underwear?" I asked. "It doesn't have any holes."
"What if you're in your underwear?"
"That will never happen."
My sister has a lot of rules these days, and many of them involve privacy.
Lexie turned around and noticed the MY FEET SMELL sign. She snorted, pulled it off of her door, walked down the hall, and stuck it on my door. Then she went back in her room and closed the door again. The NO PEARL sign was still hanging. I considered removing it, but the last time I did that, Lexie just made another one.
I threw away the MY FEET SMELL sign and changed out of my pirate costume and into a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans.
The doorbell rang, and I ran to answer it. No one was in the hallway outside our apartment, which is #7F, which means it's the F apartment on the seventh floor.
"Justine!" I called. "I know you did that!"
Justine peeked out from where she'd been hiding behind the door to the service elevator. There are two elevators in our building, the regular one, which is in the hall, and the service elevator, which is behind a door marked SERVICE and is for delivery people and people who are walking their dogs. Almost everybody in our building who has a dog forgets to take the dogs up and down in the service elevator. No one cares about this except for Mrs. Mott, who lives on the tenth floor and is crabby and hates children in addition to dogs.
Justine was giggling. She jumped into the hall, letting the SERVICE door slam behind her. She plays this trick on me about 5x a week. It was funny the first 60x. Now it isn't so funny.
Justine Lebarro is seven years old and my best friend. She's in first grade at Emily Dickinson Elementary School, which is a few blocks away from our apartment building in the West Village, which is a neighborhood in New York City. Emily Dickinson was a poet. I'm in fourth grade at Emily Dickinson. (Lexie goes to a middle school, since she's thirteen-going-on-fourteen and is in eighth grade.)
One interesting thing is Justine is in first grade but she's supposed to be in second, and I'm in fourth grade but I wish I were in third. Justine is on her second round of first grade since she hasn't exactly learned to read yet. All her last-year first-grade friends went on to second grade and she misses them. If I were Justine I would be thrilled. I would love to have gotten rid of Jill and Rachel and Katie and the rest of my last-year third-grade friends, but unfortunately we all went on to fourth grade together where, once again, I am the youngest kid in my class.
Justine lives down the hall in apartment #7D.
I held my finger to my lips. I had just had a great idea. "Shhh," I said to Justine. "Come on in."
"Why are you whispering?" she asked.
I shook my head and motioned for her to follow me.
We tiptoed past the kitchen and the family room and down the hall with the bedrooms and bathrooms and Mom's office. My bedroom is the smallest of all and it's at the very end of the hall. I closed my door quietly.
"Did you notice anything as we passed Lexie's room?" I asked Justine when we were sitting on my bed. Bitey had crawled into my lap, so Justine had moved to the exact opposite end of the bed since Bitey once almost bit her.
"No. I couldn't see in. Her door was closed."
"Exactly. Did you see what was on her door?"
"Oh. Is the NO PEARL sign up again?"
I nodded. "So I think we should scare Lexie."
Justine brightened. "Okay!"
"All right. You go back out in the hall and stand there and call, 'Lexie! Lexie!' I'll be right outside her door, and when she opens it to see what's wrong with you, I'll jump at her and go, 'Boo!' She hates that."
"Hates it," agreed Justine.
I opened my door and gave Justine a little push. She walked a few steps down the hall and said, "Lexie?"
I flattened myself against the wall by Lexie's door.
"Lexie?" said Justine again.
"Louder," I whispered.
Lexie flung her door open. "What?"
"Boo!" I shouted.
Lexie jumped straight up in the air, as if her legs had cartoon springs attached to them. "Aughhh!" she shrieked.
Down the hall another door opened. My mother stuck her head out of her office. "Girls? What on earth is going on? Oh, hi, Justine."
"Hi, Mrs. Littlefield."
"Lexie? Pearl? What's the matter? I'm trying to work."
My mother, whose complete name is Adrienne Read Blackburn Littlefield, is a writer. She writes books for children. But all the books just say "By A. Littlefield." We are not supposed to disturb Mom unless it is an emergency.
Scaring Lexie was not an emergency. But that didn't stop her from saying, "Pearl is being a giant pest. As usual."
"Do you think you can work this out yourselves, girls?"
Lexie glared at me. "Do not," she said, "I repeat, do not bother me again. Can't you see the sign?"
"I thought the NO PEARL sign meant I'm supposed to be dressed when I go in your room." Or was it that Lexie was supposed to invite me in? I wasn't sure. Sometimes Lexie's rules were confusing.
I looked at my mother, but she had already ducked back into her office. Before I was born, my bedroom was Mom's office, but then I came along and she had to move into a closet.
Lexie closed her door again, so Justine and I went back to my room and I found the game of Sorry! and got prepared to play the way I have to play when my opponent is Justine. In other words, I got prepared to remind her what every card means, and to help her figure out every move to make. I don't mind doing this. If I had trouble remembering rules, I would still want someone to play Sorry! nicely with me. We had barely started the game, though, when I realized that I hadn't done my chore for the day.
"Uh-oh," I said. "I forgot to get the mail. Want to come downstairs with me?"
Justine was on her feet in a flash. She likes to ride the elevator without adults so that she can pretend she's nine years old and we're twins.
"Going to the lobby!" I called as I passed Lexie's room. "I have to get the mail." I grabbed the mailbox key and the spare key to #7F, which hang on a hook next to the bulletin board in the kitchen. Those are the only keys I ever get to use. Lexie has her own key to the apartment, Mom has a key to the apartment and six other keys, and Dad has a key to the apartment and five other keys. I have absolutely no keys of my own.
Justine and I rode the elevator to the lobby with Mrs. Mott, who was coming down from the tenth floor and who spoiled Justine's twin game by saying, "Justine Lebarro, where are your parents?"
Justine didn't answer her, and Mrs. Mott huffed away through the lobby and out onto Twelfth Street.
John was standing by the doorman's desk. "Hello, Pearl! Hello, Justine!" He's our favorite doorman. When Justine's balloon from the street fair slipped off her wrist and floated to the lobby ceiling, John got a ladder and rescued it.
"Hi, John," we said.
Just then Mr. Thompson, who is wrinkled and old and reminds me of my grandfather, Daddy Bo, came in from outside, walking his dog, Hammer, and got on the regular elevator, not the service one.
"It's a good thing Mrs. Mott didn't see that," I said to John. Then I led Justine into the mailroom, found the box with 7F on it, opened it with the key, and took out three magazines and a handful of envelopes.
We rode the elevator back to the seventh floor and I looked through the mail while Justine said things like, "I am so excited about trying out for the fourth-grade play" and "Tomorrow let's go shopping for matching dresses, okay, twin?"
I let us back into my apartment with the spare key and returned both keys to the hook in the kitchen. I looked longingly at that hook and wished it were a key chain instead. One that was pink and had PEARL spelled out in blue and green gems from the crafts store. Then I sorted the mail into three piles: a pile of magazines for my parents, a little pile of envelopes for Dad, and another little pile of envelopes for Mom.
"Hey!" I exclaimed. "I got a postcard!"
Justine jumped up and down 3x. "Who's it from?" she asked.
"Daddy Bo." I looked at the postmark. New Jersey, so he wasn't on vacation or anything. "Here, I'll read it out loud. 'Dear Pearl, Hi! How are you? Yesterday Will Henderson and I went on a bus trip to Philadelphia.' Mr. Henderson is Daddy Bo's next-door neighbor," I told Justine. I turned back to the postcard. "'We saw the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House.'"
"They went on a field trip?" asked Justine.
"A grown-up one, I guess. Anyway, then he writes, 'We didn't get home until ten at night! Love, Daddy Bo.'"
"Ten!" exclaimed Justine. "That's almost midnight."
I love Daddy Bo. He never asks how school is or who my friends are (besides Justine). And when he sees me, he never says how much I've grown. Three other things I like about Daddy Bo are:
1. He chews gum, the good kind, not sugarless
2. On my birthday he always gives me $5 in addition to a present
3. One time he went to Egypt and he rode a camel, which is a desert animal that has a hump and can spit
There was a knock on the door then, and Mrs. Lebarro called from the hallway, "Justine! Time to come home!"
At the same moment, my mother poked her head out of her office and called, "Pearl! Please start your homework."
Justine groaned and left. And I groaned and went to my room. I absolutely hate doing homework.
One good thing was that Lexie had taken down the NO PEARL sign.CHAPTER 2
Here's a fact about my father: He's punctual, which means he's always on time. Daddy Bo says you could set your clock by him. So when I heard the door to our apartment open I knew it must be 6:15, since that is the time Dad comes home from work. I looked at my clock. It said 6:14. I was about to call, "Dad, you're early!" but then the clock numbers changed to 6:15.
I had not finished my homework. In fact, I had not started it. I had looked out my window instead. That is how disgusting my homework was. I would rather have just stared out the window. My window faces into an airshaft. I have a view of bricks and pigeons.
What's too bad is that at the end of my second year of preschool, Lexie was starting to attract the attention of her teachers, who thought she was practically brilliant. So Mom said, "Let's test Pearl!" like I was a new game at Toys "R" Us. They found someone to give me a test and it turns out I'm practically brilliant too, which is why my parents decided to start me in kindergarten then, which, if you ask me, was not a good idea. I think I could have used another year of preschool. For one thing, I would still be getting third-grade homework this year, and believe me, there is a LOT less homework in third grade than in fourth grade. For another thing, I would be the oldest in my class, not the youngest. And for a third thing, I would not have wound up in the same grade as Jill and Rachel and Katie.
I walked casually into the kitchen, trying to look like someone who had done all her homework.
"Hey, Dad," I said, all cool.
"Hi, pumpkin." My father is a university professor. He teaches economics, which is the serious study of money and taxes, etc., etc., etc.
"Did you finish your homework?" asked my mother.
"Did you start it?" asked Lexie from behind me.
I knew Lexie had been doing her own homework all afternoon and not even talking on the phone to her best friend, Valerie, or her new boyfriend, Dallas.
"Well ...," I said again.
My parents glanced at each other. "Pearl," said Mom, "do you remember our agreement?"
I did, since this was the first time my parents had had to make an agreement with me about homework. But I didn't want to admit it.
Luckily, just at this very moment, Bitey threw up in his water dish, so Dad hurried to clean it up and Lexie said, "Now I'm going to puke," and Mom said, "No, you're not. Go sit at the table." And my homework was forgotten.
The table my mother was referring to is in the big room that is the living room, family room, and dining room all rolled into one. While we eat dinner, we talk about our days. It's supposed to foster close family relationships.
My mother said, "I'm mad at one of my characters." This happens sometimes. She starts writing and then she gets stuck and blames it on a character. But I know she straightens things out, because her stories always get published.
"Which character?" I asked.
"Fiddle," Mom replied.
We had been hearing about Fiddle for quite some time. Fiddle was a horse with one blue eye and one red eye, which readers were supposed to find puzzling until they learned he was a stuffed animal horse and his eyes were buttons.
"Why are you mad at him?" Lexie wanted to know.
"I've written him into a corner," replied my mother.
"Then shouldn't you be mad at yourself?" I asked.
My mother smiled. "That's an excellent point, Pearl."
This was nice to hear since Lexie is usually the one who makes excellent points.
"Now that you've recognized that you're actually mad at yourself," Lexie said to Mom, "maybe you'll find a solution to your problem."
"Very astute," Mom replied.
Next my father said, "Well, the new school year is underway and I can safely say that this year's freshmen are more prepared for my introductory course than any of the freshmen before them."
I tried hard to appear interested, but the truth is that I don't really care about economics except for how much money is in my piggy bank, which is actually an elephant bank, which at that exact moment contained $8.91.
"That's a nice change, isn't it?" said Mom.
And Lexie said, "I wish we could take economics in middle school."
"Pearl? How was your day?" asked Dad.
I shrugged. "You know. Fine."
"Anything interesting happen?"
I thought for a moment. "No."
My parents looked at each other and sighed.
I sighed too. "I'm sorry," I said, "but I just went to school and came back. That was it."
I knew my parents wanted to hear me say that I had gotten the highest score in my class on a math test, or that Jill and Rachel and Katie had invited me to do something with them. I couldn't even imagine what that something would be. Getting the highest math score was at least possible if I studied, but being invited somewhere by any one of my sworn enemies (let alone all three of them together) was about as likely as my suddenly needing a bra.
"I had an interesting day," Lexie spoke up. "Valerie decided to have a sleepover on Saturday night and she's inviting me and four other girls."
"Polly and the Emmas and who else?" I asked with interest.
"Gillian Meyer. You don't know her." Lexie turned back to Mom and Dad. "Valerie's parents are going to take us bowling."
Excerpted from Ten Rules for Living with My Sister by Ann M. Martin. Copyright © 2011 Ann M. Martin. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
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
Ann M. Martin is one of the most beloved and acclaimed authors publishing today. Her novel, Everything for a Dog, also published by Feiwel and Friends, was name a Best Book of 2009 by Kirkus Reviews and Book Page, and called “beautifully crafted” by Publishers Weekly in a starred review. Ann lives in upstate New York.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I got the sample and it was HILAREOUS!!!!!!!!!! I am so getting the book!!!!!!!!!!!
Its 146 paes and its worth it
I read the sample and it seems good iv can relate to it very well and im sure many other girls between ages 9-12 Could
I could not put this book down! It was full of suprises! And i dont wanna give to much away but a 12 year old luvs it :)
This is a fun, silly, fantastic tail about sisters! I bought this to read to my two younger girls. They have an older sister named Lexi. The age difference between Lexi an Pearl are about the same as our two oldest girls. My little girls loved hearing about Pearl's relationship with her older sister...it is so similar in this house. They felt like they were hearing a story about their own life! We had a lot of laughs reading this entertaining book! We reccommend it for any family that has kids with a big age gap and a huffy puffy teen sibling. Kids in the 8-10yr range could read it themselves, but my 5yr old had no problem listening and following along with the story.
A great read for kids ages 9-12/13 !! I love it! Its great!!
This book is to die for. Even though i only read the preview book, im still gonna love this book!!!!!!!!!!!
I loved this book. It was soooo cute and funny! Pearl and Lexie kind reminded me of Bezzus and Ramona
I got this book in september and it never loaded ,but i read the preview and it was awesome. Press like if you want more of these books! You should really get the book!
I got the sample and loved it sooooo much! I just wish that I could get the book. If you can get it, go on ahead because I know that you won't regret it. Warning there may be a few errors with spelling, spacing, or grammar. Other than that it is an amazing book and isn't a waste of your money! You will love the book!
I love this book. It was funny silly and sometimes just random. It is a great book to read. U must read it
To those who wondered, it is fiction, and a really great book. Look at the ratings, people! Get this book!
This was an amazing book on how to live with my sister. It can be really hard sometimes , but if Pearl and Lexie can than so can I !!!
This book was great. I loved that Justine moved only to another part of town and not across the country. I am also glad that Pearl was able to get another friend because I have multiple friends and Pearl was in fourth grade but had only 1 friend.
I am just like lexie my sister miabis so annoying but shes 5 and im 11 and she kicks my door good book but could have spelt a little better
I love this book buy it
This was the best book i' ve ever read!!!!
I love this book I checked it out from my school library, and I couldn't stop reading it! My sister,who is 6" loved it and kept asking me to read her more. It is told from 9 year old Pearl's point of view. It really showed me what its like ti be a little sister, and that its not always perfect to be the youngest. The storyline is cute, funny, and creative. Kept me guessing from the first page. 10 stars!
I know exactaly how lexie feels i have a 5 year old sister and i am 12 she can be really anoying,but you know i still love her ohh and by the way really good book LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you like it to -jojo
Howdy,this is BLACKASNIGHT432 This book is okay.It is not the best and a little to easy for me. Then again,I am 10 and read at a college level.If you are around my age ,read the hunger games,the city of ember or any book by wendy mass. If you have comments or questions,make your review out yo BLACKASNIGHT432
I liked this book because it kept you guessing. It also had those really funny moments that you were'nt expecting. I reccomend this book to everyone.
i didnt get it in the nook but i read it and it was one of my favorites. i recommend it to anyone even if they dont have a sisiter
My little sister is in 2nd grade I'm in 5th . She has all tjese 2nd grades chase me. And +she has more friends then i do.
Well i havent read the book yet but i can relaye also... i have an older sister and we drive each other CRAZY and already share room. The only differ is that my sister is in 7 grade and we dont live in an apartment. So i think i will really like this book... wish me good. P.S- i will start with a sample and i cant rate but since a lot of people like it ill just put 5 stars