What happens when you break the rules?
Kelsey Gene Blackwell and her classmates in advanced placement English have all agreed: Until Mrs. Delaney starts to teach again, they're going to do nothing-no homework, no tests, absolutely nothing.
But bucking the system is a lot harder than they imagined. What starts out as a simple sit-in designed to last one period soon becomes a disaster that threatens Kelsey's academic future as well as her relationships with family and friends. Worst of all, Kelsey learns that one very important fact lies beneath her teacher's actions, something none of them could have foreseen.
|Edition description:||1ST HARPER|
|Product dimensions:||4.19(w) x 6.72(h) x 0.64(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Although Katie Cobb was born in Kansas City, she grew up in Baltimore and has traveled widely throughout the country, Her roots are now deeply set in Fort Worth, Texas, where she teaches high school English in a neighboring community. Like Kelsey, she highly values both family and friends, and evenings and weekends find her enjoying both. Her degrees come from Frostburg State University (B.S.) and Texas Christian University (M.Ed.), though she admits she is always learning from her students, who, unlike those in Happenings, have never protested against her teaching style.
Read an Excerpt
“Kelsey Gene Blackwell! You're crazy if you go through with this.”
Kelsey stared at her friend Marti Lawrence and said nothing. Clearly this was an argument she was not going to win, so why bother?
“Russ'll kill you,” Marti pressed. “And so, for that matter, will Elliot.”
Kelsey blinked, trying to hide her frustration. Her brother Russell she could handle, even if he was her guardian and took his responsibilities way too seriously. She'd just have to make sure he never heard about today. But Ms. Elliot would freak if she found out one of her seniors, one of her starters, walked into English class and willfully chose to do absolutely nothing.
“She'll get in your face and make you run bases until you think -- ”
“Back off.” Kelsey exploded, forgetting that the argument was already lost. “These are my friends. What do you want me to do?”
Marti jumped on the opening. “They may be your friends, Kelsey Gene, but this isn't right. You can't up and decide one day to stop doing what the teacher asks. That's not how it works.”
“But Mrs. Delaney is wrong,” Kelsey insisted. “It's an advanced placement class, and time is running out. We've all signed up for the AP tests, and if we pass, we can skip freshman English next year. But how can we do that if we don't know sh -- ” Kelsey caught herself. No use getting Marti more riled. “The stuff?” she finished.
“Come on, KG. You've made As in English since kindergarten. You'll ace the test.”
“That's not the point.”
“Then what is?”
Kelsey inhaled deeply, calming herself. She didn't like Marti's attitude, but neitherdid she like the feeling of her own swelling temper.
“Look,” she said, forcing her tone to stay neutral, “it isn't fair. In the fall Mrs. Delaney was really great. She said the work we did was like the first year of college, and trust me, it was tough. We had forty-minute writings at least twice a week, and she was constantly challenging us to think. We were reading two books a month -- hard ones -- and the discussions were, well, great. Now all we get are work sheets, more and more work sheets. She hardly opens her mouth, and we certainly don't say anything because if we don't finish, she marks us down. I don't know why she's changed, but if she isn't going to teach, like she's paid to do, then why should we cooperate?”
“Because you are the student, and she is the teacher. You don't run the class. She does.”
“Well, we are changing all that today.” Kelsey spun away, ending her part of the conversation. Hanging around listening to someone overreact was only going to make her late. She still had to stop by her locker, get her books, her homework --
No, wait. Everyone in the class had agreed: Do no work; turn in no assignment until Mrs. Delaney started really teaching again.
“Then I don't want to hear it when Russ grounds you for life,” Marti called loudly to her back. “Not one word.”
Two passing sophomores, members of the junior varsity team, turned to stare, and Kelsey shook her head. Marti'd just have to get over it.
Like Russ? And Elliot?
Kelsey sighed. Yeah. They'd get over it, about as fast as Santa Claus came on December 26. She glanced at a hall clock and picked up her pace. She definitely didn't want to be the last one into class, not today. She wanted to be in place and settled when the protest began, following Drew's lead, because at lunch that was what they'd all agreed to do.
And who died and left him in charge? Kelsey asked herself. Did it matter?
Not anymore. The time to object had been thirty minutes ago, when the idea of the protest first began, not now, after everyone had agreed. Like it or not, she was committed.“Hey, girl! Hurry up.”
Ratasha Harris, a longtime friend and teammate, was waiting at the foot of the stairs. “You and Marti okay?”
Kelsey shrugged. What a silly question. Ratasha had been with them at lunch, and Marti certainly hadn't hidden her objection.
“What do you think about all this?” Kelsey asked, taking two steps at a time.
Ratasha followed close behind. “I think this class is going to be a trip, man.”
Kelsey opened her mouth to say something, anything, like maybe they were moving too fast, maybe they should think things out a bit more, but stopped when they stepped through the door. Drew, in his customary desk at the front of the room, was sitting, back erect, hands folded, eyes locked straight ahead. And, as agreed, the others sat equally unengaged. The protest had begun.
Quickly Kelsey took her seat at the back and assumed the same position, sitting bolt upright, hands folded in the middle of her desk. She found a spot on the board and let her eyes gently unfocus. All she wanted to do was survive for the next fifty-five minutes. Then, once Mrs. Delaney got the message that they wanted a change, it would be class as normal again.
At least that was what Kelsey hoped. But somewhere deep down an alarm was sounding, warning, insisting that she yield to her better judgment. And as it grew louder and louder, screaming for attention, Kelsey mentally reached out and shut it down.
After all, this was only one English class in the middle of a string of others. She always did her work. Always. What harm could possibly come from joining with a protest for just one day...Happenings. Copyright © by Katie Cobb. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It's funny and it teaches you the values of trust between people. I really enjoyed the book and look forward to her next one!
this lady actuallly came to my school and talked about her book. she works at Everman Joe c. bean high school she was my cousins teacher his last year of school her real name is well i wont tell you ill give you a hint L.P she is a great writer and is working on another book.