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Sass & Serendipity Paperback – September 25, 2012

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About the Author

JENNIFER ZIEGLER is the author of Alpha Dog and How Not to be Popular. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

Gene(sis)

The dress in the window of Shelly's Boutique was not a tasteful pink. It was an unnatural, overly shiny, shout-in-your-face pink. Barbie-aisle pink. Putrid-antidiarrhea-medicine pink. Slutty-disco-queen-on-LSD pink.

Or, as the residents of Barton, Texas (population 5,853), would probably refer to it: hawt pank.

Gabriella Rivera automatically curled her upper lip--making her tilde mouth, as her mother liked to call the expression--and muttered, "God, look at that. When did hooker fashions become formal wear?"

Mule quit slurping down his sixty-four-ounce Dr Pepper and shrugged. "What do you expect? It's prom season."

"It is not prom season," Gabby replied. "It is the middle of March. I barely survived the big Valentine's freak-out without throwing myself off a cliff. Now I have to see this crap everywhere for two months?" She gestured toward the display window.

Mule considered the dresses while continuing to sip from his near-empty soda cup, making loud squelching noises through the straw.

"Besides, prom shouldn't even be a season," Gabby went on. "Not like a holiday season or flu season. It's just a dumb party."

"So? It's not like you're going anyway," Mule pointed out. He stuck the straw back into his mouth and sucked noisily. Gabby resisted the urge to grab the monster-sized drink out of his hand and chuck it at his head. She imagined the crushed ice scattered about his brown curls, glistening like jewels, and the weak soda residue spattering his white T-shirt with the faded Captain America image on the front.

She didn't know why she was so annoyed with him today. His know-it-all tone was getting on her nerves even more than usual. Maybe it was because school had been extra-infuriating that day, with everyone shrieking about prom. Or maybe it was the fact that she had to go to her lame job at the lame movie theater in half an hour.

Or maybe it was because her dad was coming for a visit at the end of the week, just like he did every third Saturday of the month. A stale routine of dinner and some sort of god-awful bonding ritual in the form of cheap entertainment--like bowling or minigolf.

Or maybe it was because she knew her younger sister would be an off-the-charts lunatic this weekend. Daphne was usually late and unprepared. But when Dad came she'd spend hours trying on different outfits (tossing her rejects on the floor between their beds) and then sit on the porch waiting for him a half hour early--completely insensitive to their mom's feelings. It had to sting seeing your daughter make a big gushy deal over your deadbeat ex, but did Daphne care? No. Watching her squeal and bounce over his arrival, you'd think he was rescuing her from the clutches of an ogre.

Basically everything in Gabby's life sucked right now. So she really didn't want to hear Mule's actual sucking sounds.

"But don't you hate all this romantic bull?" she went on, hoping to drown out the noise with her own voice. "It's even worse than Valentine's Day. Instead of cheap, five-dollar crap everywhere, there's like chintzy, three-hundred-dollar crap everywhere."

"I don't know," Mule said, making a neutral half smile, half grimace. "It doesn't bother me too much. I figure, as long as they don't make me go, I'm okay with it."

Gabby sighed. Of course he would just accept it. Mule accepted everything stupid and horrible in life. Including his rotten nickname.

Seventeen years ago, for some strange reason, every woman who gave birth to a boy in Fayette Memorial Hospital had named her son Samuel. Four boys--all in the same grade. By the end of elementary school it was all sorted out, though. Samuel Milburn got to be Sam, since he was the biggest and coolest--and he basically claimed it first. Samuel Farnsworth, the next coolest (and most spastic), got to be Sammy. And Samuel Moore got to stay Samuel. That left a skinny, half-Jewish wiseass named Samuel Randolph with nothing but the second syllable to set him apart from the others. Thus the moniker Mule was bestowed upon him, and since none of the other Samuels had had the decency to move away, die, or get a sex change, he'd had to keep it throughout his school career.

"What's the theme again?" Mule asked.

"What?"

"This year's prom theme. What is it?"

Gabby made her eyes big and dumb-looking. "A Walk in the Clouds," she said breathily.

Mule snorted. "Sounds impractical. Why not call it Bird Crap on My Tuxedo? Or Bugs in My Teeth?"

"A 747 Ruined My Hair!" Gabby mock screeched, grabbing her long, dark waves.

The two of them laughed and pantomimed some more, hooking elbows and flapping their free arms. It was supersilly and totally juvenile, but Gabby didn't care. At least she got a good laugh in before work.

Mule was always good for that--when he wasn't being annoying.



Ms. Manbeck was going to lose it.

Daphne Rivera raced down the corridor from the gymnasium, through a pair of squeaky metal doors, and up the stairs to the 200 wing. The skirt of her JV cheerleading uniform swished rhythmically about her legs and her ponytail swung in an almost complete circle.

She was dead. Ms. Manbeck would surely kill her in some slow, torturous way. This would be Daphne's third tardy this grading period, and her teacher was going to shriek nonstop. She'd probably do that weird twitchy thing, the one that made it look as if her face were being sucked backward into her left eye socket. She might even call Daphne's mom.

That was all Daphne needed. Her mom had been so stressed lately about the bills and her job. If she got a screechy phone call from Ms. Manbeck, she'd start handing out punishments as if they were Halloween candy--a you-should-know-better-young-lady lecture . . . grounding . . . cell phone confiscation . . . and . . . Oh, god! She might change her mind about letting Daphne go to prom this year!
 


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375859640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375859649
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,097,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lauren on July 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sass & Serendipity possess a cute and eye-catching cover, but what is inside is where the gold lies. It contains family as well as sister drama, unpredictable romantic subplots, and best of all two realistic main characters you cannot help but adore and root for.

Sass & Serendipity begins the story of two sisters- Daphne and Gabby- who could not be any more different. Gabby has always been the girl most likely to succeed, the girl that makes her decisions with her head not her heart. She does not let love get in the way, because the last time she did it ended horribly. Daphne, on the other hand, remains a romantic to the bone. She believes in true love, and most often than not, she lets herself be caught up in it all, though everything changes when Cole enters the scene. He seems to be the perfect match for her. However, after a surprising development in their home life, the girls and their mother are left homeless. Left to salvage what remains, Daphne and Gabby are left to rely on each, switching everything up once again. They will find love, heartbreak, and will begin to see what it truly means to have and be a sister in this new fantastic addition to contemporary YA.

Daphne and Gabby are my favorite type of characters. Not only because of the way they are flawed and realistic but also in the way they evolve as the novel progress. I especially loved the way in which Sass & Serendipity allows the reader to get a view into each of their heads through switching third person narratives.

My favorite aspect of this novel would have to be the bound between Daphne and Gabby, though. I always love reading stories about sisters, especially ones in which the girls are incredibly different, and this one was no different.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Rummel - YABookNerd on July 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A modern day retelling of Jane Austen's masterpiece Sense and Sensibility.

Sisters Gabby and Daphne are nothing alike.

Daphne's the younger sister - she's romantic, believes the best in people, social, and out going.

Gabby's the older more responsible sister. She helps run the household, studies constantly to win a scholarship for college, and has one best friend.

They fight all the time as neither sister can put herself in the other's shoes. Each sister wishes her sister would be more like her. When their mother goes out of town for job training, the two sisters must learn to live together to survive their mother's absence. Will they ever be able to see eye to eye???

My Thoughts: I can't stop thinking about this book - and wondering how much I liked it. As a sister, I can see both sister's view perfectly. On one hand, it was hard to connect with the sisters as they were so dramatic with each other - everything was in black or white. On the other hand - the story was compelling and I needed to see it ended. I really liked Mule and Prentiss. I loved how closely it related to Sense and Sensibility.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S Day on August 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I received this book to review and had I not been fully expected to review it, I would not have finished it.

Daphne and Gabby are both awful, and I could find no redeeming qualities in either of them. Daphne is very very selfish, thinking only of herself for the entire 384 pages. Gabby is the opposite - extremely bossy and mean. The girls never get along with each other, and hardly get along with anyone else besides Gabby's friend Mule - and I'm not sure why he sticks around to listen to Gabby complain and be mean all the time, honestly.

I have not read Sense and Sensibility, which this book is loosely based on. I did read a short summary of the book so that I could comment on the similarities, but I don't think it was close enough for me to do that. When I read Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg I could draw direct parallels between the stories, but I am not able to do so in this case.

Since I detested both of the characters, I did not care at all what happened to them throughout. They constantly made selfish or mean decisions about everything; the only change in this behavior was literally in the last few pages, which is much too late for me.

I realize that the relationship between the girls and their general attitude could be very realistic, but reading a story about them holds no appeal if the negative qualities never improve. If even one sister had been bearable over the other it may have fared better, but as is both Daphne and Gabby irritated me so much that I could not enjoy myself at all.
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By Jude on April 1, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
~1.5/5

(May contain spoilers.)

I am so very disappointed with this book. I’ve liked both of Ziegler’s other books. I guess I expected so much from it, because it really let me down.

First of all, I’ve never read Sense & Sensibility. I don’t believe I’ve seen any movies based on it, either. I know some people were upset about the comparison, though, as apparently this is nothing like it. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought it was a sister story? About how sisters find out how important the other is? How they end up getting along by the end of the book? Because, I mean, that’s not even close to what happened in this book.

Second of all, I hated both main characters. They’re both selfish bitches, and I can’t believe I read 369 pages about them.

I’ll start with Gabby, the one I liked the least. Gabby is a bitch. She’s rude to everyone, insulting, blowing up at everything, taking anything anyone says and making it into some insult that she can take offense at. There is not a single thing to like about her, in my opinion. She’s hateful and rude and I don’t see how she even has one friend. She’s given some sob story about a boy she kissed who died and how that really scarred her or something. But, I mean, she kissed the boy once, had like one conversation with him, and then he died. There was no reason for her to fall for him or develop any real feelings for him during that time. Plus, it was like five years ago or something.

She has a love interest, who I honestly don’t understand why he likes her. She’s a hateful person, and I didn’t even want to be reading about her. I didn’t see how he kept flirting with her and was still interested at the end of the book, when she was never anything but rude and hurtful to him.
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