Amber Brown Sees Red
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Amber Brown's going through a growth spurt . . . and her body's not the only thing that's changing. Her mom and Max are engaged. Her dad is moving back from Paris. And now her school's overrun by skunks, and she feels like she's being held captive in a hot, crowded school bus that's going nowhere. But growth spurts and skunks are not her only concerns. Why can't her parents agree on anything . . . and most important, what will happen when Dad moves back?
one of the teachers, in front of everyone, that I have to go to the bathroom. If I do, I’ll die, just die, from embarrassment. If I don’t die, one of the teachers will have to escort me back into Skunk School and then when I get back on the bus, the sixth graders will yell out, “Hope everything came out all right.” It’s all the skunks’ fault. The skunks have won. They’re still in the school. So are Mr. Robinson, the principal, Mrs. Clarke, the vice principal, Mrs. Peters, the school
are the closest thing that Brandi and I are going to have to paychecks for a lot of years. Allowances are different somehow and we’re not old enough to baby-sit. So, our choices are important. Should we get one big thing and share it? Brandi and I have done that before. We sort of share a mermaid doll that Max bought for me after I didn’t win one in a burping contest. Should we each get our own separate things? “My stomach is starting to growl,” Max says. “You girls have five minutes to make
Brandi and some of the new kids ... once we meet them. Max sighs and then smiles. “Sure. Instant family. Instant bowling team.” I think about what Max has just said. He and Mom aren’t even married yet. He isn’t even living with us ... and already he thinks of us as family. For a minute, I wonder where my father is .... what he’s doing right now. And then I think again about the team and Max coaching it. “Bowling will be a ball.” Max groans. Brandi throws a French fry at me. And Skunk Day
shirts look soooo good.” They’re white T-shirts, outlined in black so that they look like real bowling shirts, with our names printed over make-believe pockets. The back looks really great with the team name and the picture. “Try it on,” my mom says. I go into the downstairs bathroom, take off my other T-shirt, and put the team shirt on. Looking at myself in the mirror, I check out the front and then the back of the shirt. It makes me feel like I will bowl even better when I wear it,
maybe even break a hundred. (The highest score I’ve ever gotten was ninety-seven and that was with those “cheater” thingies in the gutter, so I couldn’t get a gutter ball.) I, Amber Brown, want “The Pinsters” to be the best team in the Pee-Wee league. I, Amber Brown, want to understand why the league is called “Pee-Wee.” Maybe because I’m standing in the bathroom, I think it’s a weird name ... but it does sound like something to do in a bathroom. Maybe the Pee-Wee Championship should be called