The Advice Avengers: two girls on a mission to give the best advice possible, no matter what! Corey and Andi are the new Advice Avengers at Emerson Middle School. But someone doesn’t like their advice column—and the Advice Avengers have no idea who it is! Will Corey face her fear of the ear-piercing gun? Will she find the Kleenexes she needs, or will she use her sleeve? And what should she do when her stomach rumbles in class? Can she keep Andi calm when they get locked in the library, or will Andi go berserk? Corey races to figure out who doesn’t like the Advice Avengers before her new best friend quits the column. But at Emerson Middle School, nothing is quite what it seems…
Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Hold on while I find an excerpt…
Our afterschool newspaper meeting is relaxed, casual, and completely unsupervised. Bruce, Tyler, Andi, and I show up, as well as two sixth-grade boys. The sixth graders work together on the Sports section, while Bruce asks for help at the computer. Since a lot of kids aren’t at the meeting and we are already a day behind, he puts Andi and me to work entering next week’s lunch menu and other scheduling information into the newspaper’s publishing software.
That takes all of fifteen minutes, and at that point it seems silly to switch gears toward giving advice. We goof off.
“Hey guys,” calls Tyler from his computer. “What do you think of this editorial? Should mongooses be allowed to play on the boys’ basketball team: A look at the pros and cons.”
We laugh and Andi throws a sofa cushion at him. He doesn’t see it coming, so intent is he on writing his ridiculous editorial. “Hey! Watch it!” he yells when it hits his left arm. We laugh harder.
The sports reporters leave first, and for several minutes it is just the four of us. Eventually, we gather our things and turn off the light. We linger as we walk through the long library. Bruce and Tyler joke around about Tyler’s editorial, and Andi and I reach the library door ahead of them.
“Oh my gosh. It’s locked,” Andi says, trying to turn the knob.
The boys catch up with us. Bruce presses his face to the door’s small window pane. “Help, help! We’re locked in here! We’re trapped!” He pretends to pound on the door.
“This isn’t funny, you guys! Cut it out!” Andi looks scared.
Tyler smiles. “I guess we’ll have to stay here all night. I call dibs on the vending machine!”
“Wait a second,” says Bruce, turning to me and Andi. “I think I heard once that this old library is haunted.”
Andi is completely freaked out. “Don’t say that! Do something! Get us out of here! Break open a window if you have to. Just do something!”
A part of me thinks that Andi is being ridiculous, but I don’t say anything.
Bruce continues, ignoring her pleas. “Remember that algebra teacher who worked here back in the nineties? They say she killed herself right over there because her students couldn’t—or wouldn’t—solve for x.” He raises his hands and shakes his fingers menacingly. “Wahahahaha.”
Andi looks like a deer trapped in the headlights, wanting to flee but with nowhere to go.
“Andi,” I say, yanking on her sleeve. “It’s OK. See? Tyler’s got his cell phone.”
“Yes, hello,” Tyler says into his phone. “This is Tyler Richards. Yes… Yes… We’re locked in the library.”
A female voice squeaks through the phone, causing Tyler to pull the phone away from his ear. It sounds like she yells, “You’re WHAT!!!” I can’t make out what she says next.
“Thanks. OK, bye.” Tyler hangs up. “That was the office lady. She’ll be here in a few minutes.”
We laugh with relief. “How did you know to call that number?” I ask.
“I have it saved in my phone for when I call in sick.”
We hear the clop-clop of high heels in the hallway as the school secretary hurries toward us. “Oh! Andi, I’ll be right back,” I say. “I forgot my jacket. Hang on.”
I leave the group and hurry through the library toward the study room. I open the door and flip on the light.
There, on the middle of a table, is a paperback book that has been completely ripped apart.
My mind goes numb. That hadn’t been there, had it? No, we always leave the area tidy. Besides, why would one of us rip apart a book? I look over my shoulder. The others are out of sight across the long library. I’m all alone. I walk over to the table and pick up the chunk of book that includes the front cover.
It is a French-English dictionary.
“Corey! Are you coming?” Andi’s voice sounds a mile away. I barely register it, but I know I don’t have much time.
Think, think, think. I quickly take off my backpack, unzip it, throw all the ripped-up parts of the book inside, zip it back up, grab my jacket and flee from the room. I shoulder my backpack and run at the same time, panting as I hurry past the free-standing bookshelves. Each one towers over me and makes the room seem darker than it already is with its lights off. In my panicked mind, I have a ridiculous image of one of them getting knocked onto another one, and all of them falling forward like bookshelf dominoes, hardcover books flying through the air and burying me in a book avalanche. I finally reach the door.
“There you are!” The secretary stands aside for me to file out behind the others. She smiles pleasantly. “Are you the last one still inside?”
My breath leaves me as I realize that I don’t know the answer to that question.