This Is Not the Abby Show

This Is Not the Abby Show

by Debbie Reed Fischer
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This Is Not the Abby Show by Debbie Reed Fischer

“Abby’s funny and engaging first-person narrative recalls the tone of Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid and Rachel Renee Russell’s Dork Diaries, and the ultimate message—friends can help bring out the best in someone—is heartwarming.” —Booklist
Fans of Joey Pigza, Meg Cabot, and Because of Mr. Terupt will root for hilarious, one-of-a-kind Abby as she navigates ADHD, middle school, family, and friendships.
Abby was born for the spotlight. Now it’s her time to shine!
Abby is twice exceptional—she is gifted in math and science, and she has ADHD. Normally, she has everything pretty much under control. But when Abby makes one HUGE mistake that leads to “The Night That Ruined My Life,” or “TNTRML,” she lands in summer school.

Abby thinks the other summer-school kids are going to be total weirdos. And what with her parents’ new rules, plus all the fuss over her brother’s bar mitzvah, her life is turning into a complete disaster. But as Abby learns to communicate better and finds friends who love her for who she is, she discovers that her biggest weaknesses could be her greatest assets.

Hilarious and heartwarming, This Is Not the Abby Show is for everyone who knows that standing out is way more fun than blending in.

“Like Jack Gantos’s Joey Pigza books, this lively novel from Fischer offers a firsthand view of life with ADHD.” —Publishers Weekly

“A captivating portrayal of one girl’s experiences with ADHD. . . . Fischer’s spunky and introspective protagonist offers a sympathetic mirror for many kids, both boys and girls.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The characters are likable and fun to follow from start to finish, and their growth rings true. The author does a great job of shining some light on ADHD and how it can affect people differently.” —School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553536362
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 07/12/2016
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

DEBBIE REED FISCHER is the author of novels for teens and tweens and has been praised by Kirkus Reviews for balancing “weighty issues with a sharp wit.” When she isn’t writing, Debbie is chatting online with her readers, teaching writing workshops, playing guitar, singing with her band, running, or watching just about anything on TV. She has lived in England, Greece, and Israel and now lives in South Florida with her husband and two sons, who don’t mind eating takeout when she is on deadline. Visit her at

Read an Excerpt




Pretty much everything I do is inappropriate.



How come I haven’t been discovered by talent scouts yet? It is the big mystery of my life.


Maybe it’s because I’m stuck in Poco Bay, Florida, surrounded by suburbanoids. I should be in Hollywood on the set of my own TV show, not sitting here like a wilting plant in Mr. Finsecker’s class. He’s the meanest teacher in the whole seventh grade. Right now he’s practically having a seizure because I don’t have my homework, even though I told him I did it.


“It’s in here somewhere,” I say, pulling out two old, crumpled English tests from deep inside my backpack (one C–, one D). So far I’ve found lip balm, hair bands, a gummy bear with a penny stuck to it, my school ID, five broken pencils, and a pair of PE shorts I’ve been missing since spring break.


“Abby Green, if horse manure were music, you’d be a symphony.” Finsecker is always saying stuff like that. No one ever knows what he’s talking about. Especially me.


Emptying my backpack in front of everyone feels like stripping off my jeans and performing a little undies dance, which is something I like to do at sleepovers. Embarrassing. But funny.


I’ll do anything for funny.


Except I don’t love people seeing what a secret slob I am. Silent Amy is watching me with caution and curiosity, the way you might look at someone with a face tattoo. I bet her pretty pink backpack is filled with heart-covered notebooks and candy-scented erasers.


Finsecker glares down at my mess. His ears have gray hair balls, as if someone stuffed dryer lint in there. If I ever grow hairy ear shrubs, I’ll wax them off like my mom does to her lady mustache.


I pull out a random piece of paper all folded up and hand it to him. “Here’s my homework.”


Finsecker unfolds it. Crumbs rain down onto the linoleum tile, filling the air with the unmistakable scent of Fritos. I spot the half-eaten bag, take it out, and wave it around. “Anybody want a Frito?” The back row is giggling like crazy.


“I’ll take one!” Caitlin calls out. Caitlin’s my best friend. We used to sit next to each other, but Finsecker separated us for horsing around.


He ignores Caitlin, pulls the paper flat, and reads, “Yo momma’s so dumb she gets lost in thought.” Every-one laughs.


“Oh, yeah, that’s, uh . . . for a different class,” I say. “Creative writing.”


“You don’t take creative writing,” Finsecker says. “I teach it, and I’m certain you are not in it.” He crumples up the paper. “That’s a zero.” The giggles stop. It gets quiet. Uncomfortably quiet.


Another zero. Because he thinks I’m a zero.


My face burns. What does he know? I’m gifted in math and science, but Finsecker only cares about English. Now he’s going off about how the inmates aren’t going to run the asylum. He talks slower than an ice cube melts.


In two weeks, this torture will be over. Good-bye Palm Middle School, hello Camp Star Lake for the Performing Arts, my first step toward becoming an actress. At school I always get the roles with lines that make the audience fall out of their seats laughing, like Rizzo in Grease last month. I hope I get the same kind of parts at camp.


When I was little, I used to pretend I was the star of a TV show called The Abby Show, which I “performed” for an audience of stuffed animals. It was a combo of comedy sketches and interviews with famous people. Sometimes I’d interview myself and play both parts. I still make up crazy characters and do accents at dinner, until Mom or Dad goes, “Enough! This is not the Abby show!”


It doesn’t faze me. Someday there will be The Abby Show.


Finsecker is still blah-blahing. White, cotton-bally things are gathered in the corners of his mouth. If I offered to get him a drink, he’d yell at me for not paying attention. He doesn’t understand that I do pay attention, just not to the same things as everyone else. For instance, yesterday, I noticed that Brett’s eyes are the exact same blue as Windex. He made it into Star Lake too, another reason I’m dying to get there already.


Finsecker’s lips are moving, but whatever he’s saying is white noise. I mind surf when I get bored, which happens a lot in this class because Finsecker is a human sleeping pill, and because of my Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. I have the type of ADHD boys usually have, the hyperactive/impulsive variety. Girls typically have the spacey, able-to-sit-in-your-seat kind. I’m spacey too, but some part of my body is always moving.


Now, for instance, I’m squirming like a caught fish. I need to get up, but if I go sharpen my pencil, Finsecker will probably stab me with it.


“NOW!” Finsecker yells.


“Aaah!” I yell back, startled. My knee bangs the underside of my desktop. “Ow!” I have no idea what he just said, but a lot of people are laughing, so I cross my eyes and force out a chuckle. Here comes a new bruise. The pain is blinding.


“Good one, klutz!” Caitlin calls out. “Abs the Spabz again!” Some friend. Who is she to call me a klutz? I’m the one who made the soccer team, not her.


Taptaptap. Finsecker has this annoying habit of tapping the board with his marker. If he had bothered to read my Individual Education Plan (IEP), he would know that I find repetitive noises HIGHLY distracting.


My eyes stray and land on Trina Vargas sitting next to me. She’s wearing pajama pants with monkeys on them, plus she forgot her shoes again. Does Trina just roll out of bed and come to school, or what? Our school may not require uniforms, but it does require shoes. It’s amazing how many classes Trina goes to before a teacher finally notices she doesn’t have shoes on and sends her to the office.


One of Trina’s socks has a hole in it. Her big toe is sticking out. She sees me looking, wiggles it, smiles. It’s so funny. A giggle escapes out of the basement of my belly. Then another. And another. Once I get started, I can’t stop.


This always happens at the worst times, like in synagogue or at the doctor’s or in the principal’s office. It’s really inappropriate. Pretty much everything I do is inappropriate.


My giggling goes viral.


“SETTLE DOWN!” Finsecker yells. I clap my hand over my mouth. He points at me. “You are purposely disrupting my class.”


I waggle my purple pen back and forth at lightning speed. “I resent the insinuendo!”


And then it happens.


My pen flies out of my hand, whirling through the air like a helicopter wing.




Magic Max Finkelstein gets it right between the eyes. The back row explodes in laughter. Max’s blond, wavy-haired head bobs up from his laptop screen, dazed. He rubs the red mark on his forehead where the pen hit him. “Sorry!” I call out to him. Max is new this year, and nobody knows much about him, except that he’s obsessed with magic. He spends most of his time looking up magic tricks on his laptop, pretending he’s taking notes.


“Well, Miz Green,” says Finsecker. “Regardless of how you feel about my insinuation, you are one final exam away from failing. Flunking. Do you hear me?”


Flunking? Because of a few missing assignments? A prickly heat spreads across my face. Why did he have to say that in front of the whole class?


Everyone is watching me, but not like before when it felt good, when I was cracking jokes and getting laughs. I slide down in my seat and hide behind my long brown hair. There’s a faint scratch carved into my desk. Right now I wish I could be like that scratch and blend into the background. If only I was a blending-into-the-background kind of girl. But I’m not. I’m a one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others type, the type that’s born to stand out.


That’s the problem.








It means “go poop in the ocean.”



Finsecker writes on the board:



Abby said she would hand in her homework on Monday.



“Identify the misplaced modifier, Miz Green.”


The only things I can identify are the insults in my head. According to my grandpa, the absolute worst insult in Yiddish is gay kocken offen yam. It means “go poop in the ocean.” Who came up with that dis? It’s not even an insult. It’s more of a suggestion, -really.


Taptaptap. Chairs creak as kids shift in their seats, waiting for me to give an answer. I comfort myself with the thought that surfaces every time this happens: When I’m famous, you’ll all brag that you knew me.


Misplaced modifier. Sounds familiar. I think that was in last night’s homework. Which, as has been established, I didn’t finish.


Or do at all, to be honest. Because when Finsecker was assigning it, I was watching Trina doodle dragons. Then this kid kept sniffing every two seconds, and I was going crazy wanting to tell him to go blow his nose already. Then the period was over, and I forgot to get the homework from Caitlin.


I wish Finsecker’s class wasn’t before lunch, when my meds don’t—


Wait. Did I take my pill this morning?


Uh‑oh. No, I didn’t. I forgot. Again. This morning I was playing a game on my phone instead of eating breakfast, so I didn’t pay attention to my pill or my Cheerios. I’ve kinda been doing that a lot lately.




Mom will see the yellow pill on the kitchen table. It will be “the last straw,” and tomorrow she’ll go back to leaving me babyish Post-its with messages like Good morning, Abbles! This is your friendly reminder to take your medicine J. Or worse, she’ll sit next to me, sipping her coffee, watching me like a hawk so I can’t do what I like to do in the morning, which is play on my phone at the table, sit with my feet up, and pour sugar into my cereal instead of honey.


I am never going to hear the end of this.


The thing is, there isn’t a pill or a patch in the world that completely cures ADHD. Believe me. I’ve tried a lot of them. Some work great for focus but don’t let me eat or sleep. Others give me headaches or stomach pains. Now I’m on a good med with the only side effect being that sometimes I have no appetite, but it only works for a few hours at a time, so I take one in the morning and one after lunch.


Max is mouthing something to me. Ah, money. What? Oh! On Monday.


“On Monday!” I shout. “That’s the answer. On Monday.”


Surprise and irritation pass over Finsecker’s face. “Correct.” When he turns around to erase what he’s written on the board, I mouth “thank you” to Max. He always knows the right answer but never seems to be paying attention. Sometimes I spot him with his dad at the pool in my development. We act like we don’t see each other, although you can’t miss him because he’s so tall. It’s awkward enough to be caught in public with your parents when you’re twelve, let alone while wearing a bathing suit.


“Explain to us, Miz Green, how you found the misplaced modifier. Hmm?”


If I make a joke, they won’t notice I’m lost. “I never misplaced the modifier, so it was easy to find.”




“I never misplaced it, know what I mean? I knew where it was the whole time.” Everyone laughs, even Silent Amy.


Finsecker points to the door. “Get out of my class.”


Okay, not quite everyone.


“Get out! Get out! GET! OUT!”


“You want me to get out?”


“Yes! You have earned yourself a detention. Wednesday.”








I am a genius. Earlier in the day I was an idiot. That’s how it is with me.



My mother thinks she’s always right.


I know this because she says “I’m always right” approximately fifty times a day. She’s saying it to me now. “I’m always right. I knew your Aunt Roz wouldn’t come to your brother’s bar mitzvah.” She rips open another RSVP envelope right here on the sidewalk in front of our mailbox, too bar mitzvah–crazed to go inside and open them in the kitchen like a normal person.


I’m right about a lot too, like the fact that she’s on a need-to-know basis about my English grades and possible suspension. So far Finsecker hasn’t called, but I’m worried he might, so I have a plan to get my parents to a loud restaurant tonight where they’ll never hear their phones. Then maybe Finsecker will come to his senses and forget the whole thing.


Mom slides another RSVP card back in its envelope. “I bet you Roz is still swollen from her facelift. That’s why she’s not coming to see her nephew become a man.”


I dribble my basketball on the driveway. My knee is turning blue-black where I hit it against my desk in class, but it’s not swollen. “I don’t understand how reading the Bible in Hebrew turns Drew into a man.”


Mom shrugs. “Ask the rabbi.”



This day is getting better and better.


He starts to mark it down in his book, then stops and rubs his chin. “Did you know you’ve already had two detentions this semester?”


Of course I know. I got the first one when we had a sub and I wrote Primrose Everdeen on the attendance sheet and then screamed “I VOLUNTEER AS -TRIBUTE!” when she called the name. The second time was because Finsecker saw me pull the S off the art teacher’s scrap art bulletin board. Not exactly federal offenses.


Finsecker rubs his chin some more. “After two detentions, a third offense is a suspension.”


WHAT? He can’t do that. Suspension is a serious punishment for bad kids.


I’m not a bad kid. “Please, don’t,” I beg. “It’s almost the last week of school. I’ll make up the work. I promise. I’m sorry. Please.”


Mr. Finsecker turns around and starts erasing the board. I can hear my heart pounding. I stuff my books and papers back into my bag, zip it, and sling it over my shoulder. I will not cry. That’s what he wants. Head held high, I walk slowly out of the room, partly because my knee is killing me, partly to show I don’t care.


But I do. Everyone will talk about me behind my back after I leave. I can already feel the glances and whispers. Silent Amy turns all the way around in her seat to watch me go. A couple of the nicer kids whisper, “Sorry, Abby,” as I pass their desks. I don’t open my mouth to say thanks, because my lower lip is starting to tremble.

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This Is Not the Abby Show 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
KerryOMalleyCerra More than 1 year ago
I am tough when it comes to judging a book for its humor content, but I can honestly say I laughed my way through most of this one. Prior to reading THIS IS NOT THE ABBY SHOW, I had little knowledge of ADD/ADHD other than the negative stigma that is so often attached to the diagnosis. I’m grateful that this book allowed me inside Abby’s head to truly experience her thoughts, her desperate desire to control her impulses, but mostly witness her hope to be accepted for who she is despite all of those things. Every single character touched my heart, yet I was especially fond of Abby’s circle of new friends—each phenomenally unique and warm. The world is better for having this book to offer, and I applaud Debbie Reed Fischer for tackling this subject, not only from a female point-of-view, but also in a way that will impact readers for generations. Get ready to laugh, you guys!
Tori_Kelley_PhD More than 1 year ago
It was such a pleasure to read Debbie Reed Fischer’s newest book, THIS IS NOT THE ABBY SHOW. Fischer’s comedic timing is pitch perfect as well as portraying the life of a kid with ADHD. I laughed out loud with Abby and felt her frustration, too. I also found her family highly relatable. Fischer tackles real issues such as the systemic effect a child with a mental illness has on the entire family and her surrounding community. I cheered Abby along as she learned to increase her awareness and empathy and in doing so, improved her relationships with friends and family. The characters are drawn from real-life, at least that is how they feel, just a group of imperfect folks all trying their best. All the characters’ motivations were well thought out and believable. As a psychologist who has treated children with ADHD, I found the book useful therapeutically for families and patients, as well as highly entertaining. And who doesn’t love an intimate peek at another culture? Abby’s family is Jewish and I was fascinated to learn how Abby’s brother’s Bar Mitzvah effected family dynamics. Bottom line: This is a Must Read book for any family with a child struggling with ADHD and by far the most fun you will have learning about the very real disorder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This Is NOT the Abby Show is that rare middle-grade book that appeals to adults too, maybe because we see pieces of ourselves in Abby, or maybe because we see pieces of our children in her. Abby is a precocious seventh grader whose mouth gets her in trouble, who’s easily distracted, and who sometimes says hurtful things without meaning to. She is also hilarious. And that’s kind of what the book is about—how your biggest flaw can be your greatest asset. I found myself smiling throughout the book, but I also found myself getting teary-eyed. Repeatedly. Because, for me, more than anything, this book is about kindness and acceptance. Here are some of my favorite parts (without giving too much away): * The magic show Abby and her friend Max put on for the old people—so funny! * How Abby starts off as kind of a snob, but she’s insecure at the same time. To me, that’s very real. * The kindness Abby and her friends show to Silent Amy. Nothing brings tears to my eyes faster than kids being kind to other kids. * When Beth chose to confide in Abby about her childhood. That one also brought tears to my eyes. I also loved the Author’s Note at the end. Like Abby, my son has ADHD, and hearing the author share some of her real-life experiences with ADHD was helpful to me as a parent. So was Abby, who came to life on the page and who reminded me that what I find most frustrating about my son’s brain might also be his greatest gift.