Jennifer Niven tackles her most harrowing expedition of all: high school. Her first two books, The Ice Master and Ada Blackjack, relayed the tales of deadly and dramatic Arctic adventures, but now she tells a survival tale of a different kind--her own thrilling, excruciating, and utterly unforgettable adventure in a midwestern high school during the 1980s.
Jennifer gives an overview of the book:
Over all the noise in my room, there was the distant thud of a car door slamming. From outside, I heard voices. I opened the blinds of one of the two front windows. At first, I thought it had snowed. The trees were white and the lawn was white. But then I looked closer and it wasn’t snow, but toilet paper. There were dark figures crouched in our yard and swinging from our trees. My heart did a little leap.
I knew that Teresa Ripperger and Tom Dehner and the whole gang of them were always TP-ing each other’s houses. Jeff Shirazi had told me about a time when an entire group of them drove out to his house at two in the morning and Rip and everyone started throwing toilet paper everywhere until Jeff ran out screaming. He said it scared them to death, and he just laughed and laughed as they drove away.
We had never had our house TP-ed. I consoled myself by thinking about how far out our house was, on the other side of town from Rip and Dehner and all the rest of them. Sometimes at Halloween, the boys from my neighborhood TP-ed a tree or two, but these were boys like Duane Rooks and Gary Greenwalter who took Auto Shop and hung out in the Smokers Hall.
It was beginning to look like a blizzard outside when there was—suddenly—a flash of silver from the street. I watched in horror as my father pulled up in front of the house and climbed out of the car, dressed in one of his impeccable and expensive custom-tailored business suits. He was carrying his briefcase, and at the curb he stopped and yelled something. All the dark figures scattered in five directions, and just like Superman, my father, in his suit and spectacles, threw down his briefcase and began running after them.
I watched, helpless, from the window, unable to stop him. I heard a male voice scream, “Mr. McJunkin is coming!” And then the unmistakable putt-putt-putt of a VW Bug speeding away.
I was sick. What had my father done? I sat there for a long time on my green floor, and then I thought about calling Joey, but realized it was after midnight and I didn’t want to wake his parents. I went downstairs.
My mother was looking out the living room window, puzzled. “Have you seen this?” she said, waving at the yard.
“Where is Dad?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Dear God,” I said. Because I somehow knew—but didn’t know—who might be behind this. I only knew one person who drove a VW Bug, and it was too wonderful and impossible to even think that he might come all the way out to my house and go to the trouble of TP-ing it.
Jennifer Niven lives in Los Angeles (where her film Velva Jean Learns to Drive won an Emmy Award and she once played the part of Shania Twain in a music video). Even though she's always wanted to be a Charlie's Angel, her true passion is writing, and her first...
Velva Jean Learns to Fly
By Jennifer Niven
Reviewed by Philip K. Jason
Jennifer Niven won much praise and...
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