"Spontaneous, natural, and humorous." —The Bulletin
J.P. is in love, and it’s making him do all sorts of weird things. Like using deodorant, bumping into walls, and imagining he hears serenading violins. J.P. has even forgotten his obsession with chess, too caught up in pondering the beauty of Angela Patricia Galsworthy, a girl who has just moved to town from London and has the most charming British accent.
J.P. will do anything to impress Angela, even lie about having a fatal disease called triple framosis. From there, his lies grow bigger and bigger and bigger, until he can barely keep them all straight. What’s a poor lovesick boy to do?
About the Author
Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at www.loislowry.com
Read an Excerpt
It was an April morning—a Tuesday morning, to be exact—a morning that had nothing whatsoever unusual about it. The sun was shining, the trash had been collected from the sidewalk, the breakfast toast was moderately burned but still edible, and the various clocks in the apartment, which never agreed exactly, indicated that it was somewhere close to seven-thirty a.m. It was a morning just exactly like every other Tuesday morning in April on the West Side of New York City, except for one thing. James Priestly Tate, age twelve, had an overwhelming urge, for the first time in his life, to use deodorant. He tried to ignore it at first. But he found that he was not able to put on his shirt. His arms were paralyzed. When he attempted to manipulate his arms to enter the armholes of the light blue button-down shirt that was part of the uniform he wore every day to school, they wouldn’t move. They weren’t ready to move toward those armholes—and they wouldn’t be ready until James Priestly Tate used deodorant. Frowning, J.P. headed back to the bathroom of the apartment. He had already been there once, and brushed his teeth. J.P. was a dedicated, almost religious toothbrusher. He had been devoted to brushing his teeth from the time he was three years old and a dentist uncle had given him a green toothbrush with a frog’s face on the handle. He had already combed his hair and tied his shoes. He was wearing his chino pants, also part of his school uniform. But he was shirtless when he stood at the bathroom door, thumped on it with his fist, and called to his ten-year-old sister inside. “Caroline, hurry up!” “I can’t hurry up, I’m in the shower! You had your turn already. I thought you were all through with the bathroom!” “I forgot something. I need something,” J.P. called through the closed door. “What do you need?” Caroline called back. “I’ll hand it out.” Oh, great. J.P. couldn’t stand his sister to begin with, and now he had to call his most intimate needs to her through a bathroom door. He should forget the whole thing. But he couldn’t. He had this overwhelming urge to use deodorant. He couldn’t figure it out. He didn’t even smell. It wasn’t as if he had just run the marathon or something. But he had this urge; and the urge was so great that he was even willing to embarrass himself in front of Caroline. “Deodorant!” he bellowed through the door. He heard the sound of the shower stop. He heard the rustle of the shower curtain. He heard the door of the medicine cabinet click open. Then the bathroom door opened an inch, and his sister’s hand appeared. It thrust a plastic container at him. “Here,” Caroline said, and closed the door again. J.P. looked down at the pale green aerosol can, which was decorated with yellow flowers. He uncapped it and sniffed it. He looked at its name: Sunny Meadow. He made a face. He wanted deodorant. He maybe even needed deodorant. Certainly he had an overwhelming urge to use deodorant. But he didn’t want to enter his seventh-grade homeroom smelling like a sunny meadow. He headed for the kitchen, where his mother was cleaning up the breakfast dishes. “Hi,” Joanna Tate said cheerfully. “Where’s your shirt?” J.P. didn’t answer. He held out the bottle of Sunny Meadow toward her. “Is there any other deodorant in this apartment?” he asked. She shook her head. “No. Why?” “This is too feminine,” J.P. explained. “It smells like flowers.” “Well, of course it does. That’s why I like it. Also, it’s cheaper than some of the others.” “Next time you go shopping, would you buy something with a more masculine smell, and something with a more masculine name?” Mrs. Tate nodded. “I guess so. I didn’t know you even used deodorant, James. You smell okay to me.” Then she stared at him affectionately for a moment. “But I forget how old you’re getting. Twelve. My goodness. You’re an adolescent already. Next thing I know, you’ll start shaving. Let me see your chin for a minute.” She reached for J.P.’s chin, cupped her hand around it, and held it up toward the light. He pulled away, irritated. “My chin’s fine,” he muttered. “I don’t need to shave. I just want to deal with my pits, is all. But I don’t want to smell like wildflowers.” “What would you like to smell like?” his mother asked, turning back to the breakfast table. “Locker room? Auto body repair shop?” “Ha ha,” J.P. muttered, heading back to his room. His sister, Caroline, appeared in the hall, combing her damp hair, wearing her bathrobe. “Jockstrap?” she suggested cheerfully. “Super Bowl?” “Quit eavesdropping,” J.P. said. He entered his bedroom and picked up the blue shirt that he had left on his unmade bed. He dropped the Sunny Meadow deodorant unopened on his desk and finished dressing. Tomorrow, he thought. Tomorrow he would use deodorant, and tomorrow maybe he would smell strong and masculine and pleasant during second period when he went to math class and sat down in his seat next to— J.P. blushed, all alone in his room, with his shirt half-buttoned. That was it, he realized. Be honest with yourself, Tate; it’s because there was that empty seat next to yours in math class, and now all of a sudden it isn’t empty anymore because that new student arrived last week and was assigned that seat, and now instead of an empty seat beside you in math class there is an occupied seat, and it is occupied by— He blushed again. Say it, Tate, he told himself. Say the name. Say it aloud. J.P. took a deep breath. He checked to be certain that the door to his bedroom was tightly closed, so that his eavesdropping sister wouldn’t overhear. And he said it. “Angela Patricia Galsworthy,” he said reverently. He could almost hear violins playing in the background as he said the name aloud. He could hardly believe it. It had never occurred to him, in his twelve—almost thirteen—years of life, that this might someday happen. Now it had. James Priestly Tate was in love.
The Burke-Thaxter School was a very small private school. Everyone knew everyone else. The kindergarten kids knew the high school kids. All the students knew the gray-haired janitor, Mr. Donovan, as well as they knew their own grandparents. The entire fifth grade had been invited to the wedding when their teacher, Ms. Jackson, got married; she had sent each one of them—there were thirteen fifth-graders—a postcard from her honeymoon in Acapulco. And now that she was married and her new name was Ms. Jackson-Wyden, all the students, even those in the other grades, watched her husband, Stan Wyden, when he did his nightly newscast on television, even if they weren’t at all interested in the news. When a new student enrolled in the school, everyone knew about it. So it was not surprising that Angela Galsworthy was well known: not only in the seventh grade but throughout the Burke-Thaxter School. Unlike most new kids, she hadn’t entered at the beginning of the school year. She had arrived and been introduced to the class on a Monday morning in mid-April, just last week. “Class,” said Mr. Goldfine, J.P.’s homeroom teacher, “I’d like you to meet, ah”—he looked at the card in his hand—“Angela Patricia Galsworthy, who has moved here from, ah”—he looked again—“my goodness, London.” J.P. had looked up from the Smithsonian magazine he’d been reading at his desk. J.P. was not at all interested in girls, and it was somewhat surprising that he looked up at all. But Mr. Goldfine had a loud voice, and the article J.P. was reading wasn’t very interesting. So he looked up. And when he did, he blinked. Angela Patricia Galsworthy was wearing the Burke-Thaxter uniform, so her clothes weren’t at all interesting. They were the same clothes that all the girls, including J.P.’s sister, Caroline, wore every day to school. But her hair! Her hair was long and blond, freshly washed, and it looked like—spun gold, thought J.P. And her teeth! She was smiling at the class, and she didn’t have braces like so many of the girls, and her teeth were straight and white, and they looked like—pearls, thought J.P. Her eyes! They were a deep blue-green, large and fringed with long lashes, and they looked like—pools, thought J.P. Her skin! It was the same shade as a pale, translucent dish that his mother had inherited from a great-aunt and kept high on a shelf so that it wouldn’t break. Her skin was like—porcelain, J.P. thought, remembering the word that described the dish. Then he blushed, cringed, and slouched in his seat, lifting the magazine again. He couldn’t believe the thoughts he’d been having. Hair like spun gold; teeth like pearls; eyes like pools; skin like porcelain. Cool it, J.P., he said to himself. For a moment there you were writing a trashy novel. You’re sick. He could see, suddenly, that the girl was about to speak. J.P. tried to impose deafness on himself because he didn’t want to listen. For the first time he envied Kevin Kerrigan, his classmate who wore a hearing aid. Kevin could just switch his aid off whenever he wanted to. Turn off, J.P. commanded his ears. It is not in your best interest to listen to this. But for the first time, J.P.’s phenomenal willpower didn’t work, and he heard Angela Patricia Galsworthy greet the seventh grade. “Good morning,” he heard her say. “I’m terribly pleased to meet all of you.” And her voice! Her voice was like—oh, no, J.P. told himself; don’t even think it—but he did. Her voice, he thought, against his will, was like a rippling brook. He didn’t look up. His face felt flushed and warm. His stomach lurched. His hands itched. His shoes seemed suddenly to be too small; his toes hurt. Quickly J.P. flipped the pages of Smithsonian and began to read much more than he had ever wanted to know about alligators. He had known the terrible truth that morning, though he hadn’t admitted it, even to himself. Now—just a few days later—he realized that it was something he had to face. He would face it with courage and a stiff upper lip and valor and—J.P. winced—yes, he would face it with deodorant. Slowly he unbuttoned his shirt and, with his eyes closed because that seemed to make it easier, he sprayed himself with Sunny Meadow. He knew he was doomed.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read this book in 5th grade good book
cool story for kids. its short and lets u keep reading till the end
I recomend this book for girls mostly. Girls can actually see all of the struggle boys have when they like a girl.I liked this book. Kat! p.s Miss.Mibb's 6B literature class rocks!!