Chapter OneWhat's a Girl Thing .
AND WHAT'S NOT?
Emily Ellen Edwards was having a very strange day.
It started to get weird when she slipped into her usual
seat on the school bus. Her best friend Lara Lillo was
there, of course. But this morning she barely gave Emily a glance
before she zipped her eyes back to someone in the seat in front of
It was Katy Cuthbert - the girl who practically kept the
price tags on her clothes so everyone would know how expensive
they were. She even had her nails done - in the fifth grade - hello-o!
Emily and Lara and the rest of their friends didn't talk to
her that much because obviously Katy thought she was way better
than they were.
But there she was, hands cupped around Lara's ear, whispering
into it. Whispering. Like a best friend.
When Katy turned to another Price Tag Girl who slipped in
beside her at the next stop, Emily caught Lara by the sleeve and
hissed into her other ear.
"What's going on?"
"What was Katy Cutthroat talking to you about?"
"Nothing," Lara said.
Emily lowered her chin. "Hello-o! She was flapping her lips,
like, nine hundred miles an hour. She must have been sayingsomething."
Lara rolled her eyes. "Something about herself-of course."
Okay. That was better.
When they got to school and everyone was in their seats,
Emily wrote Lara a note.
I'm glad you're my best friend.
Lara wrote back, Totally.
Then why, when it was time to pick their groups for the social
studies project, did Lara let Katy drag her into the circle she'd
made with the other girls who had French manicures?
"Come on, Em," Lara said over her shoulder.
Emily followed, feeling like a pitiful puppy.
Katy patted the chair beside her for Lara to sit in. That left
no place for Emily. Katy gave Emily a smile like the plastic lips
on Mr. Potato Head.
"Looks like you'll have to find a different group," Katy said.
"I could pull up another chair," Emily said.
"We have enough people," Katy said.
Emily looked quickly at Lara, but she was staring down at
her cuticles. Her cheeks were the color of cranberries.
"La-ra," Emily said between tightened teeth.
"Sorry," Lara said. She didn't even look up.
Emily stumbled over to her two almost-best friends, who had
obviously witnessed the entire scene. They pulled a chair in close
to theirs and tugged Emily into it. Kimberly's eyes were blazing.
Mary Elizabeth's were shooting glares at Lara like little gun
"I can't believe Lara did that to you!" Kimberly said in a
"To us," Mary Elizabeth said, not in a whisper.
Kimberly leaned toward Emily. "Don't even worry about it,
Em. We'll have our own group."
"And not just for this project." Mary Elizabeth shot a few
more eye bullets at Lara. "For real. Like, all the time."
"Just wait 'til she tries to sit with us at lunch," Kimberly said.
"Then she'll see how it feels."
Mary Elizabeth nodded. "That's what she gets for ditching
us. Right, Em?"
"Sure," Emily said in a tiny voice. But she wanted to shout, Lara! What just happened? We're best friends!
Her mind spun. This was really strange. It was absolutely
And it hurt like nothing else.
If you are a girl between the ages of eight and twelve,
you have probably faced something like what Emily is going
through. Or maybe your situation has been more like Lara's,
or Kimberly and Mary Elizabeth's, or even Katy's. If none of those
kinds of things have happened to you, they just might. That's
because you're still learning about friendship, which, though fun,
can get pretty complicated. This book is here to help you
* know what real friendship is like,
* fix the mistakes everyone makes from time to time in
* avoid the major bummers like cliques and bullying, and
* help make your girl community a safe place for every girl
to be her true self.
Let's get back to poor Emily. What do you think she should
do about Lara, about Mary Elizabeth and Kimberly, and about
Katy and the Price Tag Girls? Decide what you would say to her
if you were there with her and write it in the space below. There
are no right or wrong answers, so be honest. If, as you read the
rest of this book, you discover something that makes you change
your mind about how to encourage Emily, you'll have a chance to
"talk" to her again in the last chapter.
Here's the Deal
Can you imagine what it would be like not to have at
least one girlfriend? Think about it. What would you do
* at lunchtime?
* at recess?
* when something freaky happened to you?
* when something cool happened to you?
* when you were bored?
* when your feelings were hurt?
Even worse, how would you feel? (Hopefully you don't feel
that way right now, but if you do, this book can really help. Read
Circle any of these words that describe what it would be like
to be girlfriend-less. Add your own if you think of some.