All-American GirlMeg Cabot
All American Girl
TO THE REAL AMERICAN HEROES OF
Table of Contents
Prologue Okay, here are the top ten reasons why I…
1 She says she didn’t mean to.
2 Catherine couldn’t even believe it about…
3 Theresa was the one who ended up driving…
4 When I told Jack about it—what had…
5 Fortunately, it was raining on Thursday…
6 It turns out if you jump onto the back of…
7 I guess, even then, it didn’t really hit me.
8 Even though I have lived in Washington, D.C.,…
9 Well, how was I supposed to know…
10 Here’s what happens when you stop a crazy…
11 I have been to the White House many times.
12 I couldn’t believe it. Busted! I was so busted!
13 “So where’d you go, then?”
14 It only took about two hours for it to get…
15 On Tuesday, when Theresa drove up to the…
16 “He said yes!”
17 I began to regret having asked David…
18 “Oh my God, you came!”
19 “It’s not your fault,” Catherine, across the…
20 The next week was Thanksgiving.
21 They made me come out of my room…
22 When I got home from the White House…
23 I stood on Susan Boone’s front porch,…
24 I chose Candace Wu.
25 “Do you see this skull?”
26 A week later, they had the award ceremony.
About the Author
Other Books by Meg Cabot
About the Publisher
Okay, here are the top ten reasons why I can’t stand my sister Lucy:
10. I get all her hand-me-downs, even her bras.
9. When I refuse to wear her hand-me-downs, especially her bras, I get the big lecture about waste and the environment. Look, I am way concerned about the environment. But that does not mean I want to wear my sister’s old bras. I told Mom I see no reason why I should even have to wear a bra, seeing as how it’s not like I’ve got a lot to put in one, causing Lucy to remark that if I don’t wear a bra now then if I ever do get anything up there, it will be all saggy like those tribal women we saw on the Discovery Channel.
8. This is another reason why I can’t stand Lucy. Because she is always making these kind of remarks. What we should really do, if you ask me, is send Lucy’s old bras to those tribal women.
7. Her conversations on the phone go like this: “No way…. So what did he say?…Then what did she say?…No way…. That is so totally untrue…. I do not. I so do not…. Who said that?…Well, it isn’t true…. No, I do not…. I do not like him…. Well, okay, maybe I do. Oh, gotta go, call-waiting.”
6. She is a cheerleader. All right? A cheerleader. Like it isn’t bad enough she spends all her time waving pom-poms at a bunch of Neanderthals as they thunder up and down a football field. No, she has to do it practically every night. And since Mom and Dad are fanatical about this mealtime-is-family-time thing, guess what we are usually doing at five thirty? And who is even hungry then?
5. All of my teachers go: “You know, Samantha, when I had your sister in this class two years ago, I never had to remind her to: a) double space
b) carry the one
c) capitalize her nouns in Deutsch
d) remember her swimsuit
e) take off her headphones during morning announcements
f) stop drawing on her pants.”
4. She has a boyfriend. And not just any boyfriend, either, but a nonjock boyfriend, something totally unheard-of in the social hierarchy of our school: a cheerleader going with a nonjock boyfriend. And it isn’t even that he’s not a jock. Oh, no, Jack also happens to be an urban rebel like me, only he really goes all out, you know, in the black army surplus trench coat and the Doc Martens and the straight Ds and all. Plus he wears an earring that hangs.
But even though he is not “book smart,” Jack is very talented and creative artistically. For instance, he is always getting his paintings of disenfranchised American youths hung up in the caf. And nobody even graffitis them, the way they would if they were mine. Jack’s paintings, I mean.
As if that is not cool enough, Mom and Dad completely hate him because of his not working up to his potential and getting suspended for his antiauthoritarianism and calling them Carol and Richard to their faces instead of Mr. and Mrs. Madison.
It is totally unfair that Lucy should not only have a cool boyfriend but a boyfriend our parents can’t stand, something I have been praying for my entire life, practically.
Although actually at this point any kind of boyfriend would be acceptable.
3. In spite of the fact that she is dating an artistic rebel type instead of a jock, Lucy remains one of the most popular girls in school, routinely getting invited to parties and dances every weekend, so many that she could not possibly attend them all, and often says things like, “Hey, Sam, why don’t you and Catherine go as, like, my emissaries?” even though if Catherine and I ever stepped into a party like that we would be vilified as sophomore poseurs and thrown out onto the street.
2. She gets along with Mom and Dad—except for the whole Jack thing—and always has. She even gets along with our little sister, Rebecca, who goes to a special school for the intellectually gifted and is practically an idiot savant.
But the number-one reason I can’t stand my sister Lucy would have to be:
1. She told on me about the celebrity drawings.
She says she didn’t mean to. She says she found them in my room, and they were so good she couldn’t help showing them to Mom.
Of course, it never occurred to Lucy that she shouldn’t have been in my room in the first place. When I accused her of completely violating my constitutionally protected right to personal privacy, she just looked at me like, Huh? even though she is fully taking U.S. Government this semester.
Her excuse is that she was looking for her eyelash curler.
Hello. Like I would borrow anything of hers. Especially something that had been near her big, bulbous eyeballs.
Instead of her eyelash curler, which of course I didn’t have, Lucy found this week’s stash of drawings, and she presented them to Mom at dinner that night.
“Well,” Mom said in this very dry voice. “Now we know how you got that C-minus in German, don’t we, Sam?”
This was on account of the fact that the drawings were in my German notebook.
“Is this supposed to be that guy from The Patriot?” my dad wanted to know. “Who is that you’ve drawn with him? Is that…is that Catherine?”
“German,” I said, feeling that they were missing the point, “is a stupid language.”
“German isn’t stupid,” my little sister Rebecca informed me. “The Germans can trace their heritage back to ethnic groups that existed during the days of the Roman Empire. Their language is an ancient and beautiful one that was created thousands of years ago.”
“Whatever,” I said. “Did you know that they capitalize all of their nouns? What is up with that?”
“Hmmm,” my mother said, flipping to the front of my German notebook. “What have we here?”
My dad went, “Sam, what are you doing drawing pictures of Catherine on the back of a horse with that guy from The Patriot?”
“I think this will explain it, Richard,” my mother said, and she passed the notebook back to my dad.
In my own defense, I can only state that, for better or for worse, we live in a
capitalistic society. I was merely enacting my rights of individual initiative by supplying the public—in the form of most of the female student population at John Adams Preparatory School—with a product for which I saw there was a demand. You would think that my dad, who is an international economist with the World Bank, would understand this.
But as he read aloud from my German notebook in an astonished voice, I could tell he did not understand. He did not understand at all.
“You and Josh Hartnett,” my dad read, “fifteen dollars. You and Josh Hartnett on a desert island, twenty dollars. You and Justin Timberlake, ten dollars. You and Justin Timberlake under a waterfall, fifteen dollars. You and Keanu Reeves, fifteen dollars. You and—” My dad looked up. “Why are Keanu and Josh more than Justin?”
“Because,” I explained, “Justin has less hair.”
“Oh,” my dad said. “I see.” He went back to the list.
“You and Keanu Reeves white-water rafting, twenty dollars. You and James Van Der Beek, fifteen dollars. You and James Van Der Beek hang-gliding, twenty—”
But my mom didn’t let him go on for much longer.
“Clearly,” she said in her courtroom voice—my mom is an environmental lawyer; one thing you do not want to do is anything that would make Mom use her courtroom voice—“Samantha is having trouble concentrating in German class. The reason why she is having trouble concentrating in German class appears to be because she is suffering from not having an outlet for all her creative energy. I believe if such an outlet were provided for her, her grades in German class would improve dramatically.”
Which would explain why the next day my mom came home from work, pointed at me, and went, “Tuesdays and Thursdays, from three thirty to five thirty, you will now be taking art lessons, young lady.”
Whoa. Talk about harsh.
Apparently it has not occurred to my mother that I can draw perfectly well without ever having had a lesson. Except for, you know, in school. Apparently my mother doesn’t realize that art lessons, far from providing me with an outlet for my creative energy, are just going to utterly stamp out any natural ability and individual style I might have had. How will I ever be able to stay true to my own vision, like van Gogh, with someone hovering over my shoulder, telling me what to do?
“Thanks,” I said to Lucy when I ran into her a little while later in the bathroom we shared. She was separating her eyelashes with a safety pin in front of the mirror, even though our housekeeper, Theresa, has told Lucy a thousand times about her cousin Rosa, who put out an eye that way.
Lucy looked past the safety pin at me. “What’d I do?”
I couldn’t believe she didn’t know. “You told on me,” I cried, “about the whole drawing thing!”
“God, you ’tard,” Lucy said, going to work on her lower lashes. “Don’t even tell me you’re upset about that. I so totally did you a favor.”
“A favor?” I was shocked. “I got into big trouble because of what you did! Now I have to go to some stupid, lame art class twice a week after school, when I could be, you know…watching TV.”
Lucy rolled her eyes. “You so don’t get it, do you? You’re my sister. I can’t just stand by and let you become the biggest freak of the entire school. You won’t participate in extracurriculars. You wear that hideous black all the time. You won’t let me fix your hair. I mean, I had to do something. This way, who knows? Maybe you’ll be a famous artist. Like Georgia O’Keeffe.”
“Do you even know what Georgia O’Keeffe is famous for painting, Lucy?” I asked, and when she said no, I told her:
Vaginas. That’s what Georgia O’Keeffe was famous for painting.
Or as Rebecca put it, as she came ambling past with her nose buried in the latest installment of the Star Trek saga, with which she is obsessed, “Actually, Ms. O’Keeffe’s organic abstract images are lush representations of flowers that are strongly sexual in symbolic content.”
I told Lucy to ask Jack if she didn’t believe me. But Lucy said she and Jack don’t discuss things like that with one another.
I was all, “You mean vaginas?” but Lucy said no, art.
I don’t get this. I mean, she is going out with an artist, and yet the two of them never discuss art? I can tell you, if I ever get a boyfriend, we are going to discuss everything with one another. Even art. Even vaginas.
Catherine couldn’t even believe it about the drawing lessons.
“But you already know how to draw!” she kept saying.
I, of course, couldn’t have agreed more. Still, it was good to know I wasn’t the only person who thought my having to spend every Tuesday and Thursday from three thirty until five thirty at the Susan Boone Art Studio was going to be a massive waste of time.
“That is just so like Lucy,” Catherine said as we walked Manet through the Bishop’s Garden on Monday after school. The Bishop’s Garden is part of the grounds of the National Cathedral, where they have all the funerals for any important people who die in D.C. It is only a five-minute walk from where we live, in Cleveland Park, to the National Cathedral. Which is good, because it is Manet’s favorite place to chase squirrels and bust in on couples who are making out in the gazebo and stuff.
Which is another thing: who is going to walk Manet while I am at the Susan Boone Art Studio? Theresa won’t do it. She hates Manet, even though he’s fully stopped chewing on the electrical cords. Besides, according to Dr. Lee, the animal behaviorist, that was my fault, for naming him Monet, which sounds like the word no. Since changing his name to Manet, he’s been a lot better…though my dad wasn’t too thrilled with the five-hundred-dollar bill Dr. Lee sent him.
Theresa says that it is bad enough that she has to clean up after all of us; over her dead body is she cleaning up after my eighty-pound Old English sheepdog.
“I can’t believe Lucy did that,” Catherine said. “I’m sure glad I don’t have any sisters.” Catherine is a middle child, like me—which is probably why we get along so well. Only unlike me, Catherine has two brothers, one older and one younger…and neither of whom are smarter or more attractive than she is.
Catherine is so lucky.
“But if it hadn’t been Lucy, it would have been Kris,” she pointed out as we trudged along the narrow, twisty path through the gardens. “Kris was totally onto you. I mean about only charging her and her friends.”
Which had been, really, the beauty of the whole thing. That I’d only been charging girls like Kris and her friends, I mean. Everyone else had gotten drawings for free.
Well, and why not? When, as a joke, I drew a portrait of Catherine with her favorite celebrity of all time, Heath Ledger, word got around, and soon I had a waiting list of people who wanted pictures of themselves in the company of various hotties.
At first I didn’t even think about charging. I was more than glad to provide drawings to my friends for free, since it seemed to make them happy.
And then when the non-English-speaking girls in my school got wind of it and wanted portraits, too, well, I couldn’t very well charge them, either. I mean, if you just moved to this country—whether to escape oppression in your native land, or, like most of the non–English speakers at our school, because one of your parents was an ambassador or diplomat—no way should you have to pay for a celebrity drawing. You see, I know what it is like to be in a strange place where you don’t speak the language: it sucks. I learned this the hard way, thanks to Dad—who is in charge of the World Bank’s North African division. He moved us all to Morocco for a year when I was eight. It would have been nice if somebody there had given me some drawings of Justin Timberlake for free, instead of staring at me like I was a freak just because I didn’t know the Moroccan for “May I please be excused?” when I had to go to the bathroom.
Then I got hit by a bunch of requests for celebrity portraits from the girls in Special Ed. Well, I couldn’t charge people in Special Ed, either, on account of how I know what it is like to be in Special Ed. After we got back
from Morocco, it was determined that my speech impediment—I said th instead of s, just like Cindy Brady—wasn’t something I was going to grow out of…not without some professional help. So I was forced to attend special speech and hearing lessons while everybody else was in music appreciation.
As if this were not bad enough, whenever I returned to my regular classroom, I was routinely mocked for my supposed stupidity by Kris Parks—who’d been my best friend up until I’d left for Morocco. Then whammo, I come back and she’s all, “Samantha who?”
It was like she didn’t even remember how she used to come to my house to play Barbies every day after school. No, suddenly she was all about “going with” boys and running around at recess, trying to kiss them. The fact that I, as a fourth grader, would sooner have eaten glass than allowed a fellow fourth grader’s lips to touch mine—particularly Rodd Muckinfuss, who was the class stud that year—instantly branded me as “immature” (the th instead of s probably didn’t help much, either). Kris dropped me like a hot potato.
Fortunately this only fueled my desire to learn to speak properly. The day I graduated from speech and hearing, I strode right up to Kris and called her a stupid, slobbering, inconsiderate simpering sycophant.
We haven’t really spoken much since.
So, figuring that people who are in Special Ed really need a break now and then—especially the ones who have to wear a helmet all the time due to being prone to seizures or whatever—I declared that, for them, my celebrity-drawing services were free, as they were for my friends and the non–English speakers at Adams Prep.