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Stephanie Tanner laughed. "I can't believe I missed it, Allie!" she said to her best friend. "I would have loved to see you ride a donkey!"
Allie Taylor blew her dark brown bangs back from her face and reached into her locker for a book. "It was tons of fun," she said. "Maybe you can come with me to my next Taylor family reunion. My cousin Sarah is the greatest!"
Stephanie smiled although she was only half-listening. Allie had returned from her New Mexico vacation three weeks before, and she had already heard all her vacation stories — some of them twice.
"By the way, Steph," Allie said, "that's a great haircut."
Stephanie pushd back a lock of her thick blond hair behind one ear and grinned. She really liked her new hairstyle, too. It was the first time she had actually loved the way her hair looked. Just yesterday she had had it cut just above her shoulders with a side part. She liked wearing the longer side pulled across her forehead and tucked behind her ear. It made her feel older and more sophisticated.
"Thanks," she told Allie. Then she leaned back against her locker and peered down the hallway. "Hey! There's Darcy. Darce!" she called to their other best friend.
"Hey, guys!" Darcy skipped up to them and stopped. She had just gotten a new haircut, too, and Stephanie thought it was awesome. Darcie's light brown curls were cropped close to her head, and with her smooth, dark complexion and bright hazel eyes, she looked alot like the actress Jada Pinkett-Smith.
"Ready for social studies?" Darcy asked.
Stephanie and Allie both nodded. In a stroke of good luck, all three friendshad managed to get the same second-period class this semester.
"I was just telling Stephanie about the coolest little jewelry shop in Santa Fe," Allie said as she tugged a large textbook out of her locker.
"Wait, don't tell me — let me guess," Darcy said with a grin. "Was this the jewelry shop where you and your cousin bought a pair of earrings to share?"
Stephanie felt a major urge to laugh. Allie had told them about the jewelry store three times already! Instead, she buried her head in her own locker and pretended to look for something important.
"I guess I already told you about it," Allie said with a shrug. "Still, the store was so-o-o amazing. They had this one necklace made of silver and — "
"Hang on a second," Darcy suddenly whispered . "You guys have got to check this out."
"What?" Stephanie asked. Even Allie stopped talking.
Darcy pointed down the hallway. "Look at that girl with the Sport-Glo backpack!"
"What? Where?" Stephanie's eyes darted from person to person. Finally she noticed a girl with shoulder-length blond hair and a bright red Sport-Glo backpack — the exact same backpack as hers.
"Wow!" Allie exclaimed in shock. "Stephanie, that girl could be you from the back. Same height, same hair, same Sport-Glo and everything!"
"I thought those backpacks were, like, incredibly hard to find," Darcy commented.
Stephanie nodded as she adjusted her own Sport-Glo. "They are," she said. "I managed to get mine only because my father interviewed the designer on his TV show. I thought I was the only one in school with a Sport-Glo."
"Not anymore," Allie pointed out.
"It's weird how much she looks like you from the back," Darcy said.
Stephanie shrugged. "I don't exactly know what I look like from the back."
"Like that," Allie said, pointing at the girl with the Sport-Glo. "That girl could be your from-the-back twin!"
"Maybe she is your twin," Darcy joked. "Maybe you guys were separated at birth, like in the movie The Parent Trap!"
"Yeah!" Allie cried. "Maybe she grew up far, far away while you were growing up here in San Francisco. And now you're destined to meet..."
Stephanie rolled her eyes. "Give me a break, guys," she said with a laugh.
"Look! She's standing outside Leviton's room, Allie said. "Maybe she's in our class!"
"I hope so," Stephanie said, fishing her notebook out of her locker. "I'd really like to know how she managed to get a Sport-Glo."
Allie and Darcy followed Stephanie down the hall toward class. They reached the classroom just as the blond girl was about to head inside.
"Uh, excuse me!" Stephanie said loudly.
The girl turned to face them. "Who, me?" she asked.
Stephanie studied her face. The blond girl looked nothing like her. For one thing, this girl had about a zillion freckles. Stephanie didn't have any, unless you counted the small beauty mark on her temple. Stephanie shot a look at Darcy. "See?" she said knowingly. "We're obviously not twins!"
The blond girl seemed confused. "Twins?" she asked.
"My friends thought we were twins from the back," she said with a laugh. "you know, same hairstyle, same backpack."
The girl's eyes widened. "You have a Sport-Glo?" she asked.
Stephanie turned around to show off her backpack.
"How'd you get a Sport-Glo?" the girl asked her.
"My dad got it for me," Stephanie said.
The girl smiled. "My dad got mine for me, too!" she said.
"Okay, so you both have cool Dads. But haw come you guys have the same exact hairstyle?" Darcy teased.
"I get my haircut downtown, at Off the Top." the girl said, as she pulled the longer side behind her opposite ear.
"Hey! Me, too," Stephanie said with a laugh. "By Marissa," she added.
"Get out of here! Marissa cuts my hair!" the girl cried.
Darcy and Allie stared at them.
"Weird," Allie muttered. "What's your name, anyway?" she asked.
"And if you say Stephanie, I'm calling the five o'clock news!" Darcy put in.
The girl laughed. "No, it's Tamar. I guess you're Stephanie," she said to Stephanie.
Stephanie nodded. "Yup. These are my friends Darcy and Allie. Are you new or something?"
Tamar nodded. "Yeah. I used to go to Kennedy Middle School, but we moved and I switched school districts. This school is a little bigger than mine — I can barely find my classrooms! Are you guys in this social studies class?" she asked.
"Yes," Stephanie said. "Mr. Leviton's the best. You can sit with us if you want."
"Thanks," Tamar said. "What are you guys studying?"
"Mostly, we're learning American history," Stephanie told her, "but on Fridays and Mondays we have current events."
"Sounds cool," Tamar said, walking into the classroom.
Stephanie noticed a newspaper sticking out from Tamar's backpack. It looked like a school newspaper, but it wasn't the Scribe. It was called Lines.
"Lines?" Stephanie asked. "What's that?"
Tamar smiled. "Oh, that's just my old school's newspaper. I was the editor there."
Stephanie's eyes widened. "I can't believe this!" she exclaimed. "I'm the editor of the school paper here!"
Tamar grinned. "Really? you like to write?" she asked.
Stephanie laughed. "Do I like to write?" she repeated. She turned to Allie and Darcy, who were still obviously dumbstruck by the similarities between Tamar and their best friend."Will you guys tell Tamar how much I love writing?"
"She loves writing," Darcy confirmed.
"In a big way," Allie added.
Tamar shook her head. "This is wild," she said. "We have so much in common. Hey, maybe we can have lunch together, too! I have it fifth period."
"Excellent! so do we," Stephanie said.
"You can sit at our table if you want," Darcy added. "And I bet you and Stephanie will have the exact same food for lunch."
Tamar nodded. "That would be great — I hate sitting alone. Thanks."
The girls all took their seats as Mr. Leviton called roll. "Today, for Current Events Friday," he said When he was done, "I have a special surprise."
Stephanie exchanged excited looks with her friends. Mr. Leviton had a reputation at John Muir Middle School for giving awesome current events projects. Stephanie loved his assignments almost as much as she loved doing her stories for creative-writing class.
Mr. Leviton began handing out the Teen Weekender. Every other Friday he gave the class copies of the little magazine, which was filled with hip stories, fun places to go, great things to do, and current events — all just for teens in northern California.
"This is the coolest magazine," Stephanie whispered to Tamar as they were handed copies.
"Oh, I know," Tamar replied. "They have this at my old school, too."
"And today, class, we have a special guest," Mr. Leviton announced as Stephanie and her classmates began flipping through their copies. "I would like you to meet Sheryl Stetson. She's the editor in chief of Teen Weekender."
Stephanie glanced up as a young woman with curly red hair rose from a chair at the front of the room.
"You'll be happy to know," Mr. Leviton went on, "that Teen Weekender has picked our school, from all the schools in northern California, to do an entire student-written issue!"
Stephanie's eyes widened with excitement.
"That"s right," Sheryl Stetson said with a smile. "For this special issue, I'm looking for stories about teenagers and their families. Stories about interesting places teenagers have visited, that sort of thing."
I can do that, Stephanie thought happily. I've got plenty of stories about my family.
"I'll choose the best story idea from each class in the school," Miss Stetson went on. "So every class will have an article in the magazine. And the best idea of all will be chosen as the cover story. The student who writes it will get his or her picture on the front cover. Now this has to be done quickly. Your stories are due a week from Monday and the John Muir issue will be out on that next Friday."
Stephanie listened carefully. It all sounded too good to be true. She tried to imagine what it would be like to appear on the cover of Teen Weekender. It would be unbelievable.
"Stephanie, did you hear that?" Allie whispered. "You must have a zillion ideas for a good article. You'll get the cover story for sure!"
"Yeah, if anyone has story ideas, it's you. You're the best journalist in the whole school," Darcy added.
Stephanie's eyes twinkled. She was already lost in thought — her mind working overtime.
Allie and Darcy are right, she thought. How hard can it be to come up with a great story idea?
Stephanie glanced over at Darcy and gave her the thumbs-up. Look out, Teen Weekender, she thought. You have a new cover girl — Stephanie Tanner!
Copyright © 1999 by Warner Books.