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Other titles in the Ashleys series:

The Ashleys (Ashleys)

The Ashleys (Ashleys) Cover

ISBN13: 9781416934066
ISBN10: 1416934065
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Excerpt

1

THE NOT-SO-NEW GIRL

Lauren page smoothed down the folds of her short plaid skirt and crossed her legs so that she could admire the shiny new black-and-white Chanel spectator oxfords on her feet a little better. They looked so cute with her thick cashmere socks scrunched down just above the ankle, she thought. She'd been wearing the same green plaid uniform to Miss Gamble's all her life, but she was in the upper form now — seventh grade — which meant saying good-bye to her boring old Buster Browns and hello to the first boy-girl dance with the hotties from Gregory Hall, which was only three weeks away. And as far as she was concerned, upper form meant a whole new Lauren.

She leaned back on the plush, baby-soft leather seat in her dad's sparkling new Bentley Continental and pressed a button that flipped a mirror on the console in front of her.

Sometimes she couldn't believe it herself. The girl who smiled back from the mirror looked nothing like the old Lauren. This one had pin-straight chestnut brown hair that fell softly on her shoulders and shone with reddish and caramel gold highlights, a killer Mystic spray tan, and cheekbones so sharp they could cut ice. Lauren felt a little like those young starlets who lost so much weight and started looking so hot that people whispered they'd had major plastic surgery. Lauren turned her head sideways to try and get a good look at her profile. Her nose certainly looked different now that her baby fat had melted away.

"Nervous?" a voice asked from the driver's seat.

Lauren stopped preening and raised a carefully plucked-by-Anastasia eyebrow at the speaker via the rearview mirror. "Should I be?" she asked Dex, her father's seventeen-year-old intern and personal pet project who, when he wasn't dreaming up online schemes for her father as part of his "regular" job, was part brother, part bodyguard, and full-time chauffeur.

"Maybe, because you're still ugly." Dex laughed.

"Takes one to know one," Lauren said, sticking her tongue out at him and feeling suddenly anxious. What if Dex was right? She checked the mirror again. A smoldering, gray-eyed brunette beauty glared back at her. No, there was no way. He was just being a smart-ass as usual.

"You shouldn't care so much what people think. Seriously, it's not attractive," he said, as he took a sharp turn down a curve and Lauren had to clutch at the hand rest to keep from sliding down the length of the backseat.

"Um, did Dr. Phil die or something? Because 'Dr. Dex' has a slightly stupid ring to it," Lauren retorted. Easy for him to say, she thought. Dex had always been popular and was criminally good-looking, even after he shaved off his pretty-boy curls to sport a Justin Timberlake buzz cut. He was smart, too — graduating early from prep school, where he had been captain of the lacrosse, crew, and soccer teams, and taking the year off before enrolling in Stanford's accelerated computer program. Whereas Lauren had been going to Miss Gamble's all her life, and no one ever talked to her unless it was to ask for answers to the social studies quiz.

But all that was going to change this year.

She looked out the dark-tinted car window at the familiar roller-coaster streets of San Francisco's Pacific Heights. The exclusive neighborhood's palatial Victorian mansions didn't look intimidating anymore; some of them looked small, even downright dinky.

Life had taken a turn for the ultra-luxe ever since YourTV.com went public last year. The video-sharing website was her father's brainchild, a deceptively simple idea that allowed anyone on the planet to be a star in the cyberuniverse. The site exploded suddenly and without warning, catapulting the family from their shoebox-size Mission District one-bedroom walk-up to a grand estate of their own in the Marina, with an unparalleled view of the bay and their own helipad on the roof.

Dad was the newly crowned king of Silicon Valley and had made the covers of Fortune and Forbes, and Mom had gone from protesting animal testing on the sidewalk to chairing benefit dinners for African orphans. And Lauren, who had made do with thrift-store castoffs and clearance-bin remnants all her life, suddenly found herself at designer boutiques on Maiden Lane with a personal shopper hanging on her every word.

Last year she was a financial-aid pity case, fretting over whether anyone at school would notice that her blue cashmere sweater had been bought secondhand at the school's charity shop. This year her sweater was a nine-hundred-dollar one with a fancy Italian label. Lauren had been worried about getting a stain on it, until her dad — who used to pay the grocery bill with change from the kitchen jar whenever his graduate teaching assistant stipend ran out — had told her that she wouldn't have to worry about anything ever again. At least not where pricey designer clothes were concerned. Well, then. Bring on the twelve-ply Mongolian cashmere.

Lauren grabbed a tall, frosty Voss water bottle from the mini-fridge hidden in the side compartment to calm her nerves.

Because Dex was right. She was a little nervous. A head-to-toe Emma Roberts-like makeover was one thing, but there were still the Ashleys to contend with. Lauren could see them now, giving her the daily head-to-toe fashion evaluation and shaking their heads in mock disgust. Even if there was a school uniform and all students were supposed to look the same to eliminate "status consciousness," the Ashleys always looked like they stepped out of a J. Crew catalog, while Lauren looked like she'd stumbled out of an old Full House episode. They never let her forget it either.

Lauren clenched her jaw. What if they saw through her six-hundred-dollar haircut and carefully accessorized uniform and decided she was just the same old dork she had always been?

The old Lauren was a meek, frizzy-haired girl who sat in the back, whom no one ever paid attention to until her name was called at the end of every year during Prize Day, when the whole school gathered in the main hall, all the girls wearing ivy-covered garlands in their hair while the headmistress gave out the awards for the top student in every subject. She would stand for what seemed like an excruciatingly long time while Miss Burton read out the list of awards she'd received, in every subject except gym — mercifully, she escaped that one mortification.

What if they looked at her and saw the same Lauren from last year?

She would not allow that to happen. She dug her Black Satin manicure into the Bentley's thick upholstery, leaving ugly grooves in the Italian leather. Uh-oh. That was going to cost a fortune to fix. Then she remembered with relief that a fortune was exactly what she had right now. And like Angelina Jolie, she was going to use her money to do something good for a change.

First she was going to join the Ashleys. And then she was going to destroy them. She wanted to change the world one day, and she was going to start by making the seventh grade a better place to be.

The car pulled up to the main gates, where a slew of expensive European cars were lined up, depositing their precocious charges on the sidewalk — the rosy-cheeked daughters of the most elite families in the Bay Area. Several girls who lived down the street in the multimillion-dollar townhouses Lauren had just passed were casually walking up the hill, Marc by Marc Jacobs messenger bags slung across their chests.

Lauren spied the Ashleys in their usual before-school hangout by the stone bench in front of the playground, the three of them holding matching venti decaf soy lattes and looking beyond bored. They looked so sweet and innocent — not at all like the soul-destroying creatures they really were. She inhaled and said a little prayer to whatever gods watched over made-over twelve-year-olds with secret intentions.

Today was the first day of the rest of her new life.

Copyright © 2008 by Melissa de la Cruz

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

ridewitme.ashley, January 11, 2014 (view all comments by ridewitme.ashley)
This was one of my favorite books years ago and I still find myself checking it out time and time again. It's a great read with just enough drama
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781416934066
Publisher:
Aladdin Paperbacks
Subject:
Situations / New Experience
Photographer:
Moenks, Roger
Author:
Cruz, Melissa de La
Author:
Moenks, Roger
Author:
de La Cruz, Melissa
Subject:
Social Issues - New Experience
Subject:
Social Issues - Peer Pressure
Subject:
Social Issues - General
Subject:
Teenage girls
Subject:
Preparatory school students
Subject:
High schools
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-General
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Ashleys
Series Volume:
01
Publication Date:
20080131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Children/juvenile
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in
Age Level:
09-13

Related Subjects


Children's » Situations » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Young Adult » General

The Ashleys (Ashleys)
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Aladdin Paperbacks - English 9781416934066 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A line from the movie Heathers is one of two epigraphs to this series debut (the other is Groucho Marx's quip about refusing to join any club that would have him as a member); although de la Cruz's (the Au Pairs series) writing lacks the wit of these sources, it has the same snarky baby-barricuda-meets-credit-card appeal of another possible inspiration, Lisi Harrison's Clique books. Here, a trio of privileged, pretty and petty girls, all named Ashley, rule the seventh grade at Miss Gamble's exclusive private school in San Francisco. Smart Lauren Page has been a target of their bullying since kindergarten, but now that her dad has struck it rich, she has scored a major makeover and launched a mission: 'First she was going to join the Ashleys. And then she was going to destroy them.' The author lards her writing with copious references to designers, restaurants and imagined habits of the mega-rich (Lauren flies the Ashleys to L.A. on a private plane for a day of shopping). The Ashleys' contempt for Lauren doesn't diminish despite her blandishments; they are cruel to her and even to one another. Disappointingly, Lauren would rather be liked by the Ashleys than wreak revenge, and she has no scheme anyway. She's nowhere mean enough to be a match for the queen bee, who hatches all the best plots even though everyone hates her; but she's not nice enough to make readers root for her, either. Ages 9-13." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , In her first-ever tween series, the author of the bestselling Au Pairs books channels "Heathers" with this introduction to the Ashleys--three private-school princesses and one new kid, whose real name is Lauren, who discovers theres nothing scarier than seventh grade.
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