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As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough (My Mother Is Running for President) Paperback – May 25, 2010
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From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
I, Vanessa Rothrock, am sweating like a pig--do pigs sweat?--and wishing I could smell my pits, but the whole audience is looking at me. I pump my left leg up and down like crazy and hear Mom's voice in my head: Don't fidget, Vanessa; it's unbecoming. Still yourself. Still yourself? Easy for her to say. She's all poise and grace, forever saying and doing the perfect thing. Maybe I'm not really Mom's daughter. Maybe I was adopted, or switched at birth. But when I think of Mom's enormous feet, I know I'm all hers. I rest my hand on my leg to stop fidgeting and crane my neck. Is Mom even--?
"Vanessa Rothrock, please come up."
I gasp and choke on my own saliva. Then I stand and grab the back of my chair. Unfortunately, I do not die of asphyxiation (Asphyxiation. A-S-P-H-Y-X-I-A-T-I-O-N. Asphyxiation.) and I maneuver around students' feet and chair legs. The microphone is in sight. I'm sighing with relief at having passed through the minefield of legs without tripping when my gigantic feet tangle in the principal's microphone cord.
I lurch forward, grab for the podium, and end up with a handful of papers before crashing to the stage. I say something charming, like "Ooomph!" The audience lets out a collective gasp.
Unfortunately, I do not crack my head and die instantly. Why am I such a klutz?
As I lift my cheek from the dusty floor, I see camera lights flash like lightning. I put my head down and imagine tomorrow's headline: governor's daughter takes spill during school spelling bee. entire state of florida humiliated.
"No photographs, please," Mrs. Foster begs. "You were informed."
I look up again and see Mr. Martinez marching toward me from backstage. That's all I need to complete the humiliation package--my six-foot-tall security guard scooping me up from the stage and brushing me off.
I hold up a few fingers and he stops. I mouth the words "I'm okay." Mr. Martinez backs up so that he's offstage again. And against my better judgment, I stand and face the audience, who, by the way, have their mouths hanging open. My cheeks grow so hot I'm sure my head will spontaneously (Spontaneously. S-P-O-N-T-A-N-E-O-U-S-L-Y. Spontaneously.) combust. I look at Mrs. Foster and silently plead: Give me a word already and put me out of my misery.
Mrs. Foster clears her throat and motions toward my feet. I realize that her papers are scattered there. I gather them up and give them to her with trembling hands. I hear Mom's words again: Still yourself, Vanessa. Still yourself!
After adjusting her glasses and clearing her throat, Mrs. Foster says, "Your word is 'resuscitate.' "
I snort. I can't help it. I imagine a cute emergency tech resuscitating me on the floor of the stage. Unfortunately, when I snort, it makes a screeching noise in the microphone, and the people in the audience (even Mrs. Foster) cover their ears as though a supersonic jet has flown overhead. I see Mr. Martinez wince.
Why, I wonder, do I suffer such humiliation? What was God thinking when She made me?
Someone clears her throat. For a moment I think it's God, but then I look over and see Mrs. Foster tapping her watch.
My nostrils flare in a less-than-flattering way. I hate when someone taps a watch. I shake my head. What is my word again? OHMYGOD! I've completely forgotten. Sweat begins to pool under my arms. Did I remember to apply deodorant this morning or did I just spray perfume and hope for the best? "Could I have the origin of the word, please?"
"Resuscitate," Mrs. Foster snaps. "It comes from--"
"Resuscitate." I cut the principal off midsentence. "R-e-s-u-s-c-i-t-a-t-e. Resuscitate."
"That is correct." I imagine the "thank goodness and sit down" she doesn't say.
I curtsy--CURTSY? what am I, five years old?--then scamper back to polite applause. It's obvious I impress the audience by making it to my seat without tripping.
"Reginald Trumball, please come up."
Reginald turns and winks at me. At least I think it's at me. My heart goes into overdrive, and fingers of heat creep up my neck.
I notice my best friend, Emma Smith, staring at Reginald as he gets out of his seat. I wonder for a moment if she's even more in love with Reginald than I am. Not possible.
I watch Reginald jog to the microphone. He doesn't even stumble. That boy is all grace and good looks. If I'm lucky enough to have children with Reginald Trumball someday, I hope they inherit his good looks and quirky charm . . . and my ability to spell obscure (Obscure. O-B-S-C-U-R-E. Obscure.) words.
Mrs. Foster smiles and nods at Reginald. "Your word is 'categorize.' "
I close my eyes, squeeze my fingers into fists, and will the correct spelling into Reginald's gorgeous head. But something must be blocking my brain waves, because Reginald says: "C-a-t-i-g-o-r-i-z-e."
When the cowbell signals his defeat, Reginald's mother has her arm around his shoulders before he's even completely off the stage. Reginald puts his arm around his mother's shoulder and leans his head close to hers. She whispers something into his ear, probably about how he'll never need to spell that word again and how she'll take him out for ice cream later. I want that mother.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Kids will love this book! The mix of suspense, humor, and fantastic characters will keep even reluctant readers enthralled to the very end. I hope there's a sequel. I can't wait to read more about Vanessa, a smart, funny, endearing and incredibly memorable girl.
I can't rave enough about AS IF BEING 12 3/4...! This book dealt with so many issues that are pertinent to today's young girls -- mother/daughter relationships, single parenting, working mothers, crushes, embarrassing moments, and normal teenage insecurities. I think most girls will relate to at least a few of these topics. Not only do I appreciate how Ms. Gephart handled all of these topics in this book, but the storyline is also very interesting. By having Vanessa's mom run for president, the reader gets some insight into the presidential campaign and election process -- and it's in a very fun way, not like a boring history class!
While I did find this book hilarious and I can admit that I laughed out loud many times, I was also touched by Vanessa's story. Vanessa was a very sensitive young woman who was dealing with a lot of changes. Pre-teen and early teen-age years are difficult in the best of times, but Vanessa had a lot more to deal with than the average young girl. Not only was her mom away campaigning, but Vanessa was also coming to terms with losing her father.Read more ›
It gives young readers a timely look at the inside of a campaign from the point of view of a kid who's not at all happy her mom is running for president. Perfect for the middle school girls on your list. Should provide them with some good laughs and a bit of topical current events education, with plenty of suspense to keep them turning the pages until the end.
This book is huge fun. Girls especially will love the story, relate to the characters, learn a little more about politics, and perhaps love their mothers even more after reading it.
The relationship between Vanessa and her mother is probably the nicest aspect of this novel. Vanessa is not the perfect daughter. She's a bit whiny, and not terribly understanding how busy her Mom is running for president. She even causes her mother some major campaign problems when she sends off some poor responses to a teen magazine's questionnaire. Of course, her Mom is not perfect either. She misses Vanessa's County Bee, fails to make it to the emergency room when Vanessa breaks her wrist, and laughs when Vanessa shows her a threatening letter saying that Rothrock better not run for president, but there are wonderful moments too. I love how they always try to watch Gilmore Girls together. And when they can't, her Mom remembers to tape it so they can watch it together later. Also, her Mom does make it to the Regional Bee and is there to comfort Vanessa when she loses. They have a very realistic, loving relationship.
For the rest of this review and other reading suggestions, see my site.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Being 12 or 13 is not that fun, if your mother is running for President it gets even worse, before it gets better. Read morePublished on February 25, 2014 by M. Crockett
This book is great and the storyline intriguing. I would recommend this book highly to anyone who likes a book with secrets, suspense, and a strong character.Published on July 20, 2013 by Margaret M. Seehorn
This was an exceptional book for my daughter. She's not big on reading, yet read this book in two days. It also has a good lesson.Published on June 8, 2013 by S. TOP
Good read loved the entertainment and excitement loved how the author detailed the scenes and made the book worthwhile. Read morePublished on June 3, 2013 by Paul E. Warren
Ms. Gephart weaves a political thread into "As if Being 12 ¾ Isn't Bad Enough..." with just the right amount of humor and substance to captivate young readers. Read morePublished on February 2, 2012 by Julie
I borrowed this book from the library originally. It is so good, I had to buy it. Don't miss this!
"As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President" is that rare book - a real hoot plus a touching story about mothers and daughters. Read morePublished on May 8, 2010 by Barb Best
I haven't been a teen for 53 years but I loved Donna Gephart's novel. I knew it would resonate with teenage emotions (some funny, some nostalgically horrid)but I didn't realize it... Read morePublished on October 24, 2009 by Kathy Biesheuvel