The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter

The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter

by Kristen Tracy


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From the author of the Project (Un)Popular series and Too Cool For This School, a funny, authentic story about fitting in, growing up, and making it in middle school!

After an unfortunate incident at the hair salon, Bessica is not allowed to see her best friend, Sylvie. That means she's going to start middle school a-l-o-n-e. Bessica feels like such a loser. She wants friends. She's just not sure how to make them.

It doesn't help that her beloved grandma is off on some crazy road trip and has zero time to listen to Bessica. Or that Bessica has a ton of homework. Or that gorgeous Noll Beck thinks she's just a kid. Or that there are some serious psycho-bullies in her classes. Bessica doesn't care about being popular. She just wants to survive—and look cute. Is that too much to ask when you're eleven?

"Funny, goofy, anxious, and absolutely emotionally authentic." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred Review

"Many a middle school girl will find a piece of herself in Bessica Lefter." --VOYA

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375845475
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 02/14/2012
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 570L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 Years

About the Author

Kristen Tracy is the author of many popular novels, including the PROJECT (UN)POPULAR series and Too Cool for This School. She lives with her family in the popular state of California. Visit her online at and on Twitter at @kristen_tracy (it will make her feel popular).

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I stared into the dark, cavernous hole with my best friend, Sylvie. I didn't know what had made the hole or how far down it went or if its bottom contained dangerous sludge. To be honest, neither Sylvie nor I cared that much about holes. The less we knew about this one, the better.

"I'm not sure," Sylvie said.

This was the sort of thing Sylvie Potaski always said. She wasn't the kind of person who would go down in history for leading a revolution where people burned flags or bras. She was the kind of person who would check with other people (several times) about what they thought about burning flags or bras. Some people might consider this a shortcoming. But I didn't mind it. Or that she repeatedly licked her fingers after she peeled an orange. Sylvie Potaski was my best friend.

Sylvie stopped looking into the hole and started looking at our diary again. Every page was full. This wasn't because of me. It was Sylvie. She was detail-oriented. She couldn't just write in the diary that she saw a tree. She'd tell you how green the leaves were and how brown the bark was and how much shade the tree gave and if there happened to be a bird in it. I'd read every word she wrote in our diary. And she'd read every word I wrote. Because our diary was collaborative, which meant that we each paid for half of it and we both got to use it.

Writing in it had been a lot of fun. We'd passed the diary back and forth for three years. At one point, we thought about keeping a blog instead, but then we saw a story on the news about two girls in Utah who had one, and they posted lots of pictures of their cats, and they got over one hundred thousand hits a month. Sylvie and I didn't want one hundred thousand hits a month, so we kept writing in our diary.

Except it wasn't fun anymore. Because I didn't want anybody finding what we'd written. Some of it was stupid. Actually, a ton of it was. And I regretted that. Especially the stuff I wrote in third grade about liking Kettle Harris. He turned out to be such a dork. And if I went to middle school and somebody managed to find written proof that I liked a dork, I'd be bummed for the rest of my life. And ostracized. Which was what popular kids did to dorks and people who liked dorks. It basically meant that you lived inside an imaginary trash can and that nobody talked to you.

Sylvie held our diary over the hole, but she didn't drop it. I hadn't expected this event to take all afternoon. I sighed. I wanted to go to the big irrigation canal across from my house and observe the flotsam, and then go inside and watch television, and then beg my grandmother to drive us to the mall.

"What if I lock it inside something in my bedroom?" Sylvie asked.

"That's a terrible idea," I said. "Anytime you lock something up, you're just begging for it to get stolen." That was why criminals robbed bikes from bike racks. Didn't she know that?

"Sylvie, remember the pages where we left our toe prints and then wrote poems to our toes?"

Sylvie blinked. Sylvie was always blinking.

"And remember all those awful pictures we drew of our classmates with fart bubbles near their butts?"

Sylvie nodded. Those particular drawings occurred in fourth grade. The fart bubbles had been my idea. But she was the one who sketched them.

"The diary needs to disappear. When we show up at North Teton Middle School, we can't be haunted by our pasts. We need to walk down those halls like two brand-new people."

Sylvie looked up at me and did more blinking.

"Just toss it," I said.

She hesitated.

"But what if one day when I'm old, like thirty, I want to look back at how I was feeling and thinking when I was in elementary school?"

"That will never happen," I said. "Trust me."

I wanted the diary out of my life. In addition to its being embarrassing, I thought Sylvie had grown too attached to it. Sylvie held the notebook tightly as she stared down into the hole. The ground where we stood was about to have a storage lot built on top of it for farm equipment. And after that happened, after it was covered with a thick coat of cement, after front-end loaders and tractors and hay balers were parked there, our diary would be buried forever.

"Can I keep one part that means a lot to me?" she asked.

And even though I wanted her to throw the whole thing away, I also had a soft heart. And so I said, "Okay. But it has to be ten pages or less."

Sylvie opened the diary and tugged at a group of pages in its center. After she ripped them out, she folded them carefully and put them in her back pocket.

"What did you save?" I asked.

"My drawings of the ocean," Sylvie said.

And that really surprised me. Because those drawings weren't so hot. When Sylvie finally dropped the diary into the hole, the pages fluttered in the breeze like a bird trying to fly. Except it didn't fly. The diary dropped like a rock. Lower and lower. Bonk. Bonk. Bonk. It smacked against the side of the hole as it tumbled. And then the sounds ended.

"Kiss it goodbye," I said. "That thing is in China now."

I walked away from that hole in the ground, feeling like I'd solved something important.

"We're about to have the best year of our lives," I said.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2011:
"Bessica's voice is funny, goofy, anxious, and absolutely emotionally authentic...Readers negotiating their own middle-school minefields or soaking up all the preparatory information they can find will breathlessly follow Bessica's escapades."

Customer Reviews

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The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book i have ever read and im only ten i suggest this book to every 10 year old in the world even though i think this is a book that i suggest for GIRLS
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is like the best book ive ever read i reccomend it im 12 andits awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books ive ever read it tells so much about bessicas life but i wish it just told about bessica going through her puberty hahas
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome. I am 10 and I love it!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book soooo much and i know a lot of 10-13 year olds would too. One thing that kind of scared me (since next year im going into middle school) is in this book it gives middle school a bad rep even though i know middle school wont be like this. Yes there will be bullies and bigger kids, but Bessica came totally unprepared and alone since her and Sylvie got separated plus her gma is out exploring caves in the US. She doesnt know anybody else there either. Most schools arent as big as North and South Teton so they dont have to split. What im saying is if you are afraid of what middle school will be like bc of this book, you dont have to worry bc you will most likely not go into middle school totally alone. You DO NOT need to change everything just to fit in. I know many people who did just fine in middle school and they didnt change a thing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book i would reccomend to ages 9 1/2- 12 1/2 i think it was funny and heartfelt and im 10 and read it in 2 hours (I couldnt put it down) ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! It was amazing written and was hilarious! I would recomend it for girls going through a hard time in middle school....
puckabrinaforever185 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so amazing!! It made me laugh so much and I couldnt put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi. I'm 12 and I love The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter. I did not read it on my nook, but it was still awesome. Exept it did get me more nervous about going to seventh grade in middle school next year. So basically, this book kind of gave middle school a bad reputation. But, it shouldn't be that bad, right? Anyway, The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter is a book l HIGHLY recommend to everyone who is going to face something totally new: middle school.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a really good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tell me if its good!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Helen Owen More than 1 year ago
U must tead this it is so good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hows this book?