The Advice Avengers: Two girls on a mission to give the best advice possible, no matter what. Andi has never been interested in attending church, but then Tyler tricks her into going on a youth retreat! If Andi refuses to go, her dad will be crushed. Well, how bad could a weekend in the woods be, anyway? Maybe it’s just what Andi needs to clear her head. But then she sees something in the trash container that she can’t ignore. Is someone in trouble, or is it a colossal joke? And why does Tyler keep teasing Andi? Boy, does he make her mad! The youth minister is no help at all, so the Advice Avengers are on their own. They can unravel any mystery and solve any problem, because good advice always saves the day… right?
Hold on while I find an excerpt…
Tyler dumps his backpack onto a glass coffee table. “Andi, how would you like to go on a youth retreat this weekend?” I open my mouth to answer, but he cuts me off. “Picture it: a cabin in the woods; no parents around, unless they’re chaperons; just nature, and friends, and good times,” he appeals with earnest.
“No,” I say.
He continues undeterred. “We’ll hike. We’ll bond. We’ll—
Tyler pouts. “Why don’t you ever want to do anything with the youth group?” he whines. “Come on. It’ll be fun. You’ll have a good time. If you don’t have fun, I’ll…”
“I’ll… buy you a red sports car. I promise.”
I nod, as though I’m about to agree, and flip my straight blond hair over my shoulder. “No.”
Tyler grunts. “Come on, Andi. We here at church are your homeys. We’ll have fun together. Why are you always such a buzz kill, girl?” His voice rises to a squeak on the last word.
I roll my eyes. “Tyler, it doesn’t sound cool when you talk that way. You’re far too geeky to pull it off. Give it up, please!!”
Tyler flips his white-blond bangs back and flashes a smile, showing me his braces. Does Tyler even know that they make invisible braces? Of course he does—I’d wager anything on it. He wants the visible kind, complete with the colorful little rubber bands. He’s such a goof. “You know you want to, Andi,” he cajoles, talking to me as though I’m a baby who won’t eat her squished peas.
I roll my eyes, almost feeling defeated. “It’s nothing personal. I’m not in the mood to go retreating into the woods. OK?”
Tyler slaps his forehead in frustration. “Andi! A retreat is a noun, not a verb. You go on a retreat. You do not go retreating. Geez, girl.” He moves his arms in front of him, rapper-style. “How you not know that?”
“Stop talking that way! What is wrong with you?! I’m going to go retreating right now,” I say, standing. “I’ll show you that it can be a verb. I’ll see you later. See? Watch me, I’m retreat—”
At that exact moment, my dad enters the lobby and I almost bump into him. He stops abruptly and looks from me to Tyler and back again. “Well, hello, young Tyler Richards. How are you doing on this pleasant afternoon?”
“Hi, Dr. Greene! I’m fine, thank you. Did you know that Andi wants to go on the youth retreat this weekend?”
Oh, the betrayal. A puff of air comes out of my mouth as though I’ve just been punched in the stomach. I glare at Tyler with a look that lets him know that he’d better run and run fast as soon as there are no witnesses around.
“How delightful! Is that true, Candice?”
“No!” I insist, a little too forcefully. My dad’s face falls. “I mean, yes. I would love to go retreating, Dad—I mean, I would love to go on the retreat—but I’m behind on my science homework. I really need to catch up.”
I turn back to Tyler with narrowed eyes. Ha, I say to him silently, with my facial expressions alone. Take that.
“Oh, Candice,” says my dad softly. “I thought I knew you better than that. You fell behind on your science? How could that happen?” He is a man undone, his jaw dropped in surprise and disappointment.
“I’m sorry, Dad.” I look down penitently (I hope), and chew on a cuticle. “It was very irresponsible of me. I should stay in my room all weekend and get caught up on it. Maybe I should watch some of your informational videos as well.”
He nods slowly. “Perhaps so, young lady, perhaps so. We’ll discuss it in the car, I assure you. Are you ready to go?” I nod. “Good day, Tyler,” Dad says. “Give my regards to your parents, please.”
“Yes, Dr. Greene. Bye, Dr. Greene. Candice.” He looks at me with wide, mischievous eyes.
I let my dad walk ahead down the hallway, and then I deal with Tyler. I run toward him and he bolts out the front exit, squealing and laughing maniacally. As soon as Tyler is too far ahead to notice my absence, I turn around, abandoning the chase. Let him run through the whole darn neighborhood like a freakin’ idiot, for all I care.