Totally Confidentialby Sally Warner
Mary McQuinn Todd, better known as Quinney, gives the best advice in the whole world. In fact, she is so good at giving advice that she decides to become a professional listener for the summer. It's the perfect job. She makes money. She meets new people. She gets away from her wacky parents and her annoying twin brothers and their imaginary friend, Monty. And
Mary McQuinn Todd, better known as Quinney, gives the best advice in the whole world. In fact, she is so good at giving advice that she decides to become a professional listener for the summer. It's the perfect job. She makes money. She meets new people. She gets away from her wacky parents and her annoying twin brothers and their imaginary friend, Monty. And best of all, it's her own secret that no one knows about.
While Quinney loves giving advice to strangers, she's got problems of her own. Her two best friends, Brynn and Marguerite, are barely talking to, each other. Her pledge of client confidentiality may put Marguerite in danger. And Just how is she supposed to give relationship advice to Cree Scovall, a guy she has the biggest crush on? Will Quinney be able to give the right advice to everyone and still keep her cool? That, of course, is totally confidential!
Author Biography: Sally Warner is a writer and artist with many middle-grade novels to her credit, including Sort of Forever and Accidental Lily, both published by Knopf. She enjoys gardening, swimming, and spending time with her three cats, her 18-pound rabbit, her dachshund puppy, and her two sons. She lives in Altadena, California, and spends several months each year in a little town in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, not unlike Quinney's Lake Geneva.
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"So, should I get a divorce, or what?" the round-faced woman asked Mary McQuinn Todd across the gleaming table. They were sitting in the rear room of the tiny Lake Geneva Public Library in upstate New York, surrounded by reference books. It was a hot and sticky summer afternoon, but the thick stone walls of the old building made it feel cool inside. Quinney scheduled all her listening appointments to start fifteen minutes before the library closed, which made it easier to stop each session promptly when the time was up.
Quinney stared at the woman in shock, her green eyes unblinking. She tried to look calm. She thought hard as she twiddled a strand of her reddish hairwhich she always insisted was brown. "You do know I'm only twelve, don't you, Mrs. Ryder?" she asked.
"Ms.," the woman corrected Quinney.
"Oh, sorry," Quinney said, surprised. Not many women in Lake Geneva called themselves Ms.
"So you're twelve. What's your point?" the big woman asked sharply, shifting in her creaking chair. "You do give advice, don't you? You took my dollar fast enough."
Quinney watched Ms. Ryder's violet T-shirt rise and fall with the woman's indignant breaths. "Well, my ad says professional listener," she finally pointed out.
"Same thing," Ms. Ryder snapped.
"Giving advice would depend on the question," Quinney said. "I mean, on how easy the question was."
"Your ad just said 'No medical advice given,' period. This isn't medical, it'spersonal."
"It sure is," Quinney said, thinking of the woman's long, involved story.
Quinney Todd was famous among her friends and family for her calm demeanor and common sense. But she was too calm and too sensible, she sometimes felt.
For example, why was she always the one who had to patch things up when a squabble broke out between Brynn and Marguerite, her two best friends? And why did her parents count on her to handle disputes between her two little brothers and their invisible friend, Monty?
Still, that's the way things wereshe was always the peacemaker. And so I might as well make it pay, she had thought.
Pay, as in money.
So Quinney decided to go into the listening business for the summer.
The idea had come to her a month earlier when one morning at breakfast her dad said, "Hey, listen to this!" and started to read aloud from the newspaper. Some lady who'd just gotten married had written in to an advice column, complaining that her new husband didn't like it when her three big hound dogs slept on the bed.
"People are just amazing," Quinney's mother said, laughing and shaking her head.
Quinney chewed on an English muffin while she listened to her father read the new bride's letter, and she thought, What advice would I give her?
"I think she should take her husband to the pound," Teddy declared, pink with rage. Teddy was five years old and a fierce animal lover.
"Yeah," Mack chimed in, loyal to his twin. Both boys then shoveled cereal into their mouths, invigorated by their anger.
"What about you, Quinney?" her father had asked. "What do you think the woman should do?"
Quinney swallowed her bite of muffin and wiped her mouth with a napkin. "I think she should make the dogs sleep in the hall. And she should shut the bedroom door and apologize to her husband," she finally said.
"Boo," Teddy muttered. "I never say I'm sorry!" Mack gazed at him in admiration.
"We know, Teddy-bear," Mr. Todd said, laughing. "But the columnist said exactly the same thing that Quinney did."
"She did?" Quinney and Teddy said together.
Quinney took a sip of orange juice and waited for things to quiet down. "Dad," she asked, after the twins had tumbled out of the kitchen and into the backyard, "do people really get paid for answering questions like that?"
"Surepsychologists do," her father said. "They make a fortune, too." He sighed and took off his glasses, polishing the butter-smudged lenses absentmindedly on an edge of the red-and-white plaid tablecloth. Norman Todd taught high school math, and he did not make a fortune.
"Huh," Quinney said thoughtfully.
"They don't even need to answer any questions, not really," Mr. Todd said, shaking his head. "Sometimes I think that all people really want is for someone just to listen for a change."
"Huh," Quinney had repeated, her green eyes shining.
It was so obvious, really!
In fact, Quinney couldn't believe she hadn't thought of it before. She would put an ad in the local Save-a-Cent. Readers' ads were free, after all; reply boxes were even provided free of charge. The weekly publication made its money from business advertising.
Nearly everyone in the three-town rural area of Lake Geneva, Marathon, and Rocky Creek read Save-a-Cent. Her ad had run the following week, appearing between Lose Weight Fast! and For Sale: Double-Wide Trailer:
Will listen to what you have to say. $1 for 15 minutes. No medical advice given. Totally confidential! Write c/o Box 112, Save-a-Cent, 112 Main Street, Lake Geneva, New York
Just listening. It sounded so easy.
But now, two weeks into it, Quinney's summer job was proving to be more challenging than she'd expected when she'd first mailed in her ad. Because even though people said that all they wanted was someone to listen to them, they really wanted more.
They wanted answers.
Quinney kind of wished she could tell her dad what she'd discovered, but her summer job was a secret. She knew that her parents would have tried to talk her out of doing something so crazy if they'd known about it in advance.
Or worse, they'd have teased her. Two against one.
And Quinney hated being teased.
Even Brynn and Marguerite didn't know about Quinney's secret summer job. But Quinney couldn't think about them just now. She had work to do.Totally Confidential. Copyright © by Sally Warner. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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This is a good book but it was quite shallow. Recommended to anyone who likes lighthearted reads but for someone who would rather be sucked into the book it would be quite not what they would want.
theres alot of great books out in the world but I think this one is in the top three. I really love this book because of Sally Warners a great author!I love the characters in this book the main characters are Quinney,Margarite,Brynn.This book defently devserves a solid 5 stars. This one of the best Sally Warner books yet!It really pulls you in it makes you feel like your there. MUST READ GREAT BOOK!!!!!!!!
I think this book is really good and it's really keeping my intrest. If you are picking a book from this great author Sally Warner pick Totally Confidential I'm sure it will keep your intrest to!!!!