“With great power comes great responsibility.” -Voltaire
I have great power.
That’s what she told me. The old fortune-teller at the school carnival.
I thought I was doing the right thing … with the magic journal she gave me. But nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
Or, for what I unleashed.
At a school carnival, a mysterious fortune-teller gives twelve-year-old Angela Ashby a journal and warns her to use it wisely. Nothing prepares Angela for the journal’s power—when she pours her heart onto its pages her desires come true.
She tests the journal by conjuring a gnome, a unicorn, and a farting fairy and then uses it to stop the school bullies in their tracks. But the unintended consequences alienate her best friend and puts her favorite teacher in danger of losing her job.
After she shares her deepest desire of all—that her parents get back together—her adversary steals the journal, and Angela fears she will use it to bring mayhem to the entire school if she doesn’t get it back.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||10 - 13 Years|
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I have great power.
That's what she told me. The old fortune-teller at the school carnival.
I thought I had done the right thing ... with the magic journal she gave me. But nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
Or, for what I unleashed.
My cutoffs inched their way up and tried to give me a wedgie. I tugged at the hem in an attempt to make them longer before I knocked on the door. I'd grown so much, none of my clothes fit.
Mrs. Chan opened the door and smiled. "Come on in, Angela. Mallory isn't ready yet."
I strode through the door. "Is she in her room? Can I go back?" Not waiting for her answer, I hurried to Mallory's room and knocked before throwing the door open.
Everything in the room was princess pink, from the wall color to the bedspread and pillow shams, to the carpet underfoot. Boy band and movie posters covered every available inch.
Mallory sat on the stool in front of her vanity, brushing her hair, but still wore her pajamas.
She shook her brush at me. "One day you're going to burst in on me, and I'm not going to be decent."
I snorted. "Like you're ever ready on time. And if it happens, I'll gouge my eyes out."
She eyed my shorts and opened her mouth.
I held up my hand. "One word about my shorts, and we can talk about the four-year-old pink of your room."
Her mouth snapped shut and she frowned. "I'm going to redecorate."
Yeah, like she hadn't said that fifty times before.
She gathered her hair into a ponytail to brush the ends free of tangles.
I plopped on her bed. "Mom hasn't had time to take me shopping and Dad hasn't given her the money yet." Mom and I always had so much fun shopping for new clothes before school started. Except this year. Because of the divorce.
Mallory opened her closet and searched through the rack.
A spurt of irritation flared as she struggled to pull the clothes apart. She had so many, she'd outgrow them before she wore them even once. Too bad I wasn't the same size ... I could borrow half her wardrobe and she'd never notice.
"Oh." She faced me and put one hand on her hip. "We have to take Kirky with us because Dad can't watch him today." She sighed and went back to the task at hand.
I kicked my feet back and forth. "No problem. I like your little brother. He's so cute."
"Having a younger brother is not all fun and games." She glanced at me over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow. "He can be a pain sometimes."
Mallory didn't know how lucky she was. She at least had a whole family, while mine had been torn apart. I'd always wanted a baby brother or sister — but that was never gonna happen now. Dad had left Mom and me and married Holly-the-homewrecker.
I fell back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. "Hurry up, already. By the time you're dressed, the carnival will be over."
I searched for pictures in the lumpy surface, like indoor cloud gazing. A dragon with wings unfurled stood next to a howling wolf.
"Why are you always in such a hurry?"
I stopped looking for images in the cottage-cheese ceiling bumps and thought for a moment. "I guess because I don't want to miss out on anything."
"I'll be back in a couple minutes. Try not to explode with impatience because I don't want to have to clean up the mess."
* * *
The smell of popping kettle corn melded with cotton candy and funnel cakes filled the air. The sweet scent almost overwhelmed me. Booths and tents ranged in rows across the athletic field and rides were in the center of the track; a Ferris wheel, a megaslide, a rock climbing wall, and a Tasmanian Twister. Bells, whistles, excited squeals, the cries of booth vendors hawking their games, mingled with conversations.
"Come on." Mallory tugged on my arm. "I wanna see what they have."
Now she was in a hurry.
Mrs. Chan put a hand on Mallory's shoulder while the other kept a tight grip on Kirky's wrist.
He'd already escaped twice since we'd arrived because Mallory's mom couldn't find his leash before we left. Until Kirky learned to walk, I had thought leashes were for dogs. But the boy was an escape artist, and tying something to him was the only way to keep track of him.
"Let's check in with each other in two hours. Meet me by the dunk tank over by the sand. Have fun." The last words were said to our backs.
Mallory and I made a beeline for the booths. I wanted to play as many games as we had time for. We wove our way through the people clogging the aisles. Mallory stopped by a booth sporting hats with bling, but I kept moving. If I didn't, we'd be stuck there all day while Mallory looked at each one. I snorted. As if she needed another hat.
I didn't see Cynthia until she blocked my way.
"Nice shorts, Ash-can. Did you borrow them from your doll?"
Did she have to be so vile? "You're just jealous they won't fit you."
Mallory walked up behind Cynthia. I bit back a laugh. The two were so mismatched. Mallory, short, slender, with long, dark hair and the perfect porcelain skin of her ancestors, wore square-framed glasses, which slid down her nose. She stopped short and her knees trembled.
In front of Mallory stood Gargantua. As much as she tried, Mallory never could quite hide her fear of Cynthia. I kept trying to tell her it only made the bullying worse.
"Of course they won't fit me. I'm a beautiful Amazon."
"If you mean you're from the Amazon Rainforest, your skin is the wrong color and you're too tall to come from one of the pygmy tribes." I sneered. "They prefer bronzed goddesses to a baboon-faced troll with a red mop on her head."
Her fingers curled and face scrunched.
"Awww, if you meant an Amazon like Wonder Woman, well ..." I drew the word out. Did I really want to push her hard so early in the day?
"Wonder Woman has nothing on me." Cynthia tossed her red curls over her shoulder and spied Mallory. "Well, if it isn't MAL-feasance."
Mallory's eyes widened and she took a small step back.
My face got hot. I couldn't stand the way Cynthia picked on Mallory. "Oh, good for you, SINnnn-thia. You learned a vocabulary word. Can you use it properly in a sentence?"
Mallory hid a grin behind her hand.
Cynthia's red face clashed with her hair, a horrible sight. She moved closer until our noses almost touched. "You looking for trouble, Ash-can?"
"That's so old, Benson. Why don't you come up with something fresh?" Patting my mouth, I gave an exaggerated yawn. "At least you're picking on someone closer to your own size."
Before Cynthia could respond, Mallory grabbed my arm. "Ang ... Angela, c-c-c-come on. We gotta go. My m-m-mom will be w-w-waiting."
What? We just left Mrs. Chan and didn't have to meet her for two hours.
"P-p-p-oor, M-m-m-m-allory." Cynthia sprayed spit as she jeered. "C-c- c-an't even get the w-w-w-w-ords out."
I clenched my jaw. I couldn't stand Cynthia mocking Mallory's stutter. She only had it when she got nervous. I raised a fist, but Mallory gave a slight shake of her head.
Oh. Enlightenment dawned. She had made up an excuse to get away from Cynthia.
"Aw, sorry we can't stay and chat, Cyndy. Toodles." I waggled my fingers at her and let Mallory pull me away before Cynthia erupted. Although I was sure I'd get extra points if I made her head blow up.
"Angela, you know you shouldn't play with the trolls." Mallory pushed her black-framed glasses back into place. "Do you have to bait her?"
"Yes. Especially when she makes fun of you." I put my hand on her shoulder. "You don't think I'm gonna stand by and let her pick on my best friend in the whole wide world, do you?"
"She is so mean." Mallory's brows furrowed. She slowed next to a rack of purses. "When do you think your mom will be able to take you shopping?"
"I don't know. Lately, she always has to work extra. She told me I should ask my dad to take me when I see him tomorrow." I looked over my shoulder to make sure Cynthia wasn't following us.
She stood glowering where we'd left her.
We stopped at the baseball throw booth. I bought a chance and took the three balls. I aimed then threw the ball as hard as I could. Missed. "Can you imagine how embarrassing? How would you like to have your dad take you clothes shopping?"
"No way." Her nose wrinkled in disgust. "Have you seen my dad's clothes? I'd be mortified. My life would be Ooooo-ver."
Mallory, the drama queen.
I took aim with ball number two and hucked it at the bottles. Shoot. I nicked one, but the bottle didn't fall. "But I need new clothes, and Mom doesn't have the time." And money was tight if Dad didn't help out. Having divorced parents sucked.
The sun glinted off Mallory's glasses and masked her expression. "Why don't we see if my mom can take you instead?"
"Really? You think she would?" I tossed the ball in the air then caught it.
"Sure. I finally talked the parentals into redecorating my bedroom so it doesn't look like an overgrown toddler lives there."
"About time." I tossed the ball up again to keep from rolling my eyes over Mallory referring to her parents as the parentals.
"We're going to the mall today anyway, so why not throw in a little clothes shopping, too?" She tilted her head. "I could use a new purse ..."
"How're you going to redo your room?" I had to stop her thinking about clothes shopping before she dragged me through sixteen stores, all of which didn't have the kind of clothes I liked best. Comfortable.
A raspy voice interrupted us. "Are you gonna take your last throw?"
I glanced over my shoulder.
The man running the booth leaned forward, an unlit stogie clenched in his teeth. "You're holdin' up the line."
"Mister, are you supposed to have a filthy cigar on school grounds?"
His chin shook as he frowned. I'd better throw the ball before he came over the counter after it. I turned and fired.
Direct hit. Bottom center.
With a satisfying crash, the entire pyramid wobbled and fell.
Mallory and I took a few steps away.
"Hey, kid." His voiced scratched out. "Don'cha wan'chur prize?" He held out two sport soaker balls — a baseball and a football.
I grabbed them and handed the football to Mallory. "Stellar prize, right?"
"Well, if we had about fifty, and a good hiding place, and ambushed someone, we'd have a blast. But with two? Not so much."
I tapped her arm. "So? What about your room?"
Mallory moved out of the aisle and stood in the shade at the side of a booth.
"I want to do a black and white scheme."
I smirked. "You're going from a room where the Disney princesses puked pink everywhere to zebra land?"
"Hey." Her nose wrinkled and her lips scrunched. "I remember your room ..."
"All right, I get it." We were both embarrassed by our childhood decorating taste. "Sorry. So tell me what else, besides black and white?"
She leaned against the booth. "I saw the coolest wall mural on the internet. It's a picture of an enormous spiral staircase with a black wrought iron banister and white steps taken from the top looking down." Her eyes gleamed. "It's like looking into a tunnel that goes on forever."
I grinned. "It does sound cool."
Her eyes grew wistful. "Now all I need is to convince my mom to buy it for me."
I brushed my shoulder against hers. "You will. Your folks agreed to redo your room, and they'll want you to be happy with it." I took a step back. "Come on, let's go see what else there is."
As we checked out the rest of the booths, the sun got hotter. We made our way to the outside edge of the aisles, where the crowd thinned and the noise level dropped. The line for the Hi-Striker looked short. I veered in that direction.
Zachary Taylor grabbed the mallet and stepped up to the launch pad.
Whacking something with a hammer — what a good idea. "I want to do this and then we can finish looking at the rest of the stuff."
Zach rested the hammer head against the ground and wiped his sweaty palms off on his tan cargo shorts before grabbing a handful of chalk. A fine mist of chalk dust covered his legs and turned his dark skin, gray. He hefted the mallet up to his shoulder and he took a step to steady himself from the weight. The mallet was almost as big as he was.
I rested my hand on my hip. "Does that sound like a plan?"
Mallory couldn't take her eyes off him as the hammer head quivered.
What did she see in Zach? His curly black hair looked like it had been styled by a tornado, except the three curls he carefully placed on his forehead. With a slight frame, knobby knees and elbows, and thick-framed glasses, he wasn't exactly heartthrob material. At least with Mallory, it didn't matter that he was short.
I nudged her shoulder. "Mallory?"
She kept her eyes on Zach. "Sure. Sounds fine."
He swung the mallet and missed the strike pad. It thudded against the ground and he dropped it and shook his hands. Must've hurt.
But he regripped the mallet and took another swing. Success. This time the disk rose three-quarters of the way to the bell before falling back down to the bottom.
I prodded Mallory's shoulder. "Do you want to give it a try?"
She took a deep breath. "Sure."
The way she held the mallet, we were in for disaster. Instead of gripping it with both hands together, one was up by the head and the other at the end of the shaft. She'd never get enough velocity to send the disk up the pole. I bit my tongue to keep from laughing. She couldn't even raise the mallet in the air. At least she didn't miss the strike pad. But the disk, as predicted, moved a few inches and no more.
"Oh, Fairy Farts!" Mallory leaned the mallet against the striker.
I snickered. She always said fairy farts when irritated.
My turn. I paid for my chance, grabbed the mallet and thought of all the things going wrong with my life. Clothes that didn't fit were the tip of the divorce garbage heap.
I whirled the mallet through the air. Direct hit.
The disk whizzed up the pole. Ding. Then fell back to earth.
Add another useless prize to the collection for the day.
"Nice one, Angela." Zach tried to look nonchalant as he leaned up against a post, his legs crossed casually and his left foot firmly planted in dog poop.
"Thanks. And, uh, Zach? You might want to clean off your shoes."
He looked at the ground and his face turned a dusky red.
"Let's go, Mal."
She waved. "See you around, Zach."
He wiped his shoe on the trodden grass. "Later, Mallory."
I giggled as we walked off. "Why is he always an accident waiting to happen?"
"Be nice." Mallory flicked my arm. "Think how you'd feel in his shoes?"
"Stinky." I rolled with laughter. I couldn't help it.
Mallory's brows lowered as she frowned.
I jabbed her in the side. "You like Zach?"
She crossed her arms. "No."
We reached the farthest row where a tent stood at the end. Worn, patched curtains covered the opening. It looked like a strong wind could blow it to the ground. The tent didn't belong. The rest of the booths were in good repair, sturdy, and looked new.
"Let's go find something to drink." I wiped sweat off my brow.
"Or we need to find some shade." Mallory turned to go back, then stopped.
Where did all the people come from? A rippling mass filled the aisle. The last thing I wanted to do was make my way back through the throng.
Mallory crossed her arms. "If we go down the aisle we'll get body slammed. Or ..." She drew the word out. "We could check out what's in that tent."
I glanced at the tent again. It should be in another place and time. Like in a ghost town. "I don't know, Mal. It looks odd."
Mallory narrowed her eyes. "Not odd, a fortune-teller tent. It'd be kinda fun to have our fortunes told."
"How do you know ...?" My words trailed off and I blinked. A sign had appeared on the side of the tent. The oval sign had an eye in the center and the words Madame Vadoma above in gold letters, with 'Fortunes Told' below. Why hadn't I seen the sign before?
I grabbed her arm. "What happens if we go inside and the fortune-teller is a psycho mass murderer who kills us and keeps our eyes in a jar as trophies?"
She hesitated then pushed my shoulder. "Ew. That's gross. How do you come up with things like that anyway?" She held up her hand. "No. Don't tell me. I don't want to know."
I laughed. I couldn't help teasing her, she was so squeamish. "You really want to go have some fraud tell you a bunch of stuff that's never going to happen?"
Mallory put her hand on her right hip. "How do you know she's a fraud?"
I rolled my eyes. "Come on, Mal. A fortune-teller at the school carnival? How good's she gonna be?" But we still had over an hour before we had to meet her mom. And it would be cooler inside. I shrugged. "Okay. Let's go have our fortunes told."CHAPTER 2
We pulled back the cloth door and stepped inside. After the bright sunlight, the gloom inside the tent spread into every crevice. Once the curtain closed, the popcorn and funnel cake aroma disappeared and the outside noise fell silent. Neither hot or cold, we had entered a vacuum.
The tent had two rooms. We stood in the entry room, unsure whether to call out. The combination of darkness and silence made prickles run up my spine.
"Welcome." The voice, deep and penetrating, cut through the darkness from the other room.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Journal of Angela Ashby"
Copyright © 2018 Liana Gardner.
Excerpted by permission of Vesuvian Books.
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.
Table of Contents
Chapter One - The Carnival,
Chapter Two - The Fortune,
Chapter Three - Madame Vadoma Disappears,
Chapter Four - Empty House,
Chapter Five - Dealing With the Aftermath,
Chapter Six - Disappointment,
Chapter Seven - First Entry,
Chapter Eight - The Journal,
Chapter Nine - Gnome Outside the Window,
Chapter Ten - The Unicorn and the Fairy,
Chapter Eleven - Bullies and Frogs,
Chapter Twelve - After School,
Chapter Thirteen - Cynthia Lashes Out,
Chapter Fourteen - Unintended Consequences,
Chapter Fifteen - Mallory Pushes Back,
Chapter Sixteen - Broken Friendship,
Chapter Seventeen - Dinner with Dad,
Chapter Eighteen - Like Old Times,
Chapter Nineteen - Explosion,
Chapter Twenty - Journal Exposed,
Chapter Twenty-One - Evasion,
Chapter Twenty-Two - Glimrick,
Chapter Twenty-Three - Missing Journal,
Chapter Twenty-Four - The Big News,
Chapter Twenty-Five - Battle Plan,
Chapter Twenty-Six - Rescuing the Journal,
A Note From the Author,
About the Author,