The ideal L.A. fairy tale for fans of Once Upon a Time and L.A. Candy!
Inspiration for the Disney Channel TV movie, Geek Charming!
Dylan Shoenfield is the princess of L.A.'s posh Castle Heights High. She has the coolest boyfriend, the most popular friends, and a brand-new 'it' bag that everyone covets. But when she accidentally tosses her bag into a fountain, this princess comes face-to-face with her own personal frog: self professed film geek Josh Rosen. In return for rescuing Dylan's bag, Josh convinces Dylan to let him film her for his documentary on high school popularity. Reluctantly, Dylan lets F-list Josh into her A-list world, and is shocked to realize that sometimes nerds can be pretty cool. But when Dylan's so-called prince charming of a boyfriend dumps her flat, her life--and her social status--comes to a crashing halt. Can Dylan--with Josh's help--pull the pieces together to create her own happily-ever-after?
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Robin Palmer grew up in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and graduated from Boston University before she hit the road for Hollywood. Starting as an assistant in the television literary department of the William Morris Agency, she quickly moved up the ranks and spent the next decade as a literary agent, producer, and television network executive at Lifetime Television, where she developed over one hundred scripts and oversaw the production of over thirty of the cable network's original movies. In 2001, she remembered that she had originally intended to spend her life either as a writer or a toll booth collector (so she could indulge her penchant for spending her days alone reading), but as there are no toll roads in southern California, she decided to give the writing thing a try. Since then, she's written everything from screenplays to essays to a novel to a preschool guide. Although she's constantly threatening to move, she currently resides in New York City.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Table of Contents
chapter one: dylan
chapter two: josh
chapter three: dylan
chapter four: josh
chapter five: dylan
chapter six: josh
chapter seven: dylan
chapter eight: josh
chapter nine: dylan
chapter ten: josh
chapter eleven: dylan
chapter twelve: josh
chapter thirteen: dylan
Special Excerpt from The Corner of Bitter and Sweet
“I guess I don’t have a choice.” I sighed. “Meet me on The Ramp at lunch on Monday and you can start then. But I’m telling you I don’t care what my father says—if I see that you’re trying to make me look bad, the deal’s off. Got it?”
“Got it,” he replied, nibbling away on the black side of the cookie.
“And don’t think that this means that all of a sudden we’re like friends, or anything,” I said. “It’s strictly business. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, Asher and I are super serious, so if you were thinking of using this documentary thing as a way to, you know, hit on me or anything, it’s not going to work.”
“Don’t worry,” Geek Boy said. “Like you said, it’s strictly business. But who knows—maybe this’ll be the start of a long and rewarding working relationship.”
Sheesh—someone was taking this movie stuff way too seriously. “What?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he said as he stood up and put out his hand. “So we have a deal?”
I put mine out as well. “I guess so.”
As I walked him to what he called the Neilmobile (Hello? Can you get cheesier than that?) I tried to look at the bright side of things: helping Geek Boy fulfill his dream of getting into USC film school had to balance out whatever bad karma I may have had.
Not that I had any, of course.
BOOKS BY ROBIN PALMER
Little Miss Red
The Corner of Bitter and Sweet
FOR YOUNGER READERS
Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker 1: Girl vs. Superstar
Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker 2: Sealed with a Kiss
Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker 3: Vote for Me!
Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker 4: Take My Advice
Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker 5: For Better or for Worse
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Published by speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (usa) Inc., 2008
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION Data
Palmer, robin, 1969-
Geek charming / by robin Palmer.
summary: rich, spoiled, and popular high school senior Dylan is coerced into doing a
documentary film with josh, one of the school’s geeks, who leads her
to realize that the world does not revolve around her.
the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume
any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
To the real Amy Loubalu,
For restoring my sanity on a daily basis
With special thanks to:
Jennifer Bonnell—the world’s best editor and midwife—for getting me the way she does, and for always making me laugh through the pain of the contractions.
Eileen Kreit at Puffin for being such an enthusiastic cheerleader.
My agent, Kate Lee, for everything else.
And New York City, which became my new home while writing this.
chapter one: dylan
One day as I was watching Oprah, waiting for her to get to her “Favorite Things for Spring” segment (she has the cutest taste in accessories), I heard this self-help guru guy say that the word for crisis in Chinese is actually two words: danger and opportunity.
The reason I looked up from Vogue when the guru said this is because I have one of those lives where there’s always a crisis going on. Like 24/7. My best friend, Lola Leighton, says that I’m just a drama queen and that they’re not real crises, like, say, the kind she would’ve had to deal with if her parents hadn’t adopted her from the orphanage in China. Okay, yes, when you put it in that context, I guess Lola’s right. But since I live in Beverly Hills and not a third-world country, my crises and the crises of nonadopted kids are bound to be different, you know?
Take, for instance, the time I was driving home from the Justin Timberlake concert at the Staples Center and I was all by myself because I had a huge fight with my boyfriend Asher after I caught him staring at Amy Loubalu’s boobs like seven times that night even though he swears he wasn’t, and my BMW conked out on the 405 freeway at midnight and I had to wait an hour for Triple A to arrive. Now, that, in my book, is a crisis—especially since I was wearing a miniskirt and tank top because it was a million degrees out. I mean, if a serial killer who liked girls with long blonde hair and blue eyes had driven by at that moment, I would’ve been dead meat. The only “opportunity” there was the opportunity to be chopped up into a million little pieces.
As far as I’m concerned, sometimes a crisis is just a crisis. Like what happened last week with my Serge Sanchez bag. Yet another crisis—and the only opportunity there was to see what $1,200 worth of red leather would look like after it dried out. (FYI, it turns out that it doesn’t look so bad—sort of a cross between my two favorite nail polishes, OPI’s I’m Not Really A Waitress and Essie’s Scarlett O’Hara.)
It was Tuesday afternoon and I was at The Dell, which is a huge outdoor mall on the border of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood that my dad happens to own, with Lola and Hannah Mornell, our other best friend. The day before I had seen these absolutely darling J.Crew red gingham ballet flats that I just had to have because I knew they’d look so cute with my black capris and a white shirt I had bought the week before. Very 1960s movie-starlet-ish, which was going to be my new look for fall. So I had gotten the shoes (plus two dresses, some tank tops, a cashmere hoodie, and some lip gloss) and the three of us were hanging out in front of the fountain deciding whether we should go to Urth Caffé for sugar-free iced vanilla lattes or Pinkberry for frozen yogurt when the Crisis-with-a-capital-C occurred.
“Omigod, Dylan,” said Hannah as she clipped a tortoiseshell barrette onto her short auburn bob. Hannah is incredibly preppy for L.A. standards. While I may buy something from J.Crew occasionally, like the ballet flats, almost her entire wardrobe is from there. B-o-r-i-n-g, if you ask me, but I do believe in freedom of speech in fashion choices, so whatever. “I can’t believe I forgot to tell you who Jennifer Bonnell saw at Pinkberry on Sunday afternoon!”
“Who?” I asked, with my face tipped up to the sun as I tried to get some fall rays.
“So?” I said.
“So,” said Hannah, “she just happened to be talking to Asher.”
My head snapped down so fast I’m surprised I didn’t break my neck.
This is when the Crisis began.
“She is so Single White Female-ing me!” I cried. Single White Female was a movie I once saw on HBO about this woman whose roommate starts dressing like her, and gets the same haircut, and then steals her boyfriend and kills him.
Lola rolled her brown eyes as she put on some lip gloss. “Um, excuse me but she looks nothing like you. If anything, she looks like me.”
“Um, don’t take this the wrong way, but if you haven’t noticed, you’re Asian,” I said.
“Yeah, but we both have long dark hair,” she replied.
“She has a point,” added Hannah.
Okay, so maybe Amy didn’t look like me, since I’m blonde and she’s brunette, but she was obviously trying to copy me by stealing Asher away from me. People like to say that when people copy you, it’s supposed to be flattering, but I don’t see it that way. Frankly, I find it very lazy. I’ve worked very hard to be the most popular girl in the senior class at Castle Heights High and it’s not fair for some girl to think she can just ride on my coattails.
As I continued going off on Amy in front of the fountain, I was waving my arms a lot, which is what I tend to do when I go into what Lola calls DQM (Drama Queen Mode). Just then my Serge Sanchez bag—which had been hanging on my right arm like it always was because I was terrified of having it stolen—went flying into the fountain. Apparently my arms had gotten really strong from Pilates because it’s not like the bag just sort of plopped over the edge so I could easily fish it out. It went soaring all the way into the middle, and since it’s such a huge fountain, there was no way I could get it out myself.
After that I did what anyone in my situation would do—I started freaking out and threatening to sue until Hannah pointed out that not only did I not have a reason to sue because the whole thing was my own fault, but since my dad owns The Dell, I’d be suing him and that probably wouldn’t go over very well. When I realized Hannah had a point, I did the next best thing that someone in my position would do—I started looking around for a guy to jump into the fountain to fish it out for me. Not to sound full of myself or anything, but getting guys to help me out with stuff is never a problem, whether it be trig homework or opening my locker, which is always getting jammed due to the fact that I like to keep a few different ocharset=UTF-8its in there at all times in case I have a fashion mood change. The only problem is that most of the guys you find at a mall at 4 P.M. on a weekday are either old or gay, so the chances of one of them agreeing to jump into a fountain fully clothed to fish out a handbag aren’t so good, even when you start screaming that there’s a reward at stake.
I’m sure I was causing quite a scene, but it’s not like you could blame me. I mean, if you had put yourself on the wait list at Barneys New York a year earlier for the Serge Sanchez Jaime bag and then used all your Sweet Sixteen booty to buy it, you’d be freaking out, too. Not only was it the bag of choice for every celeb who had been on the cover of US Weekly or People over the last few months, but I—Dylan Frances Schoenfield—was the only nonstarlet high school girl in all of L.A. who had scored one so far.
“Miss. Miss. MISS!” I heard someone say as I sat there on the edge of the fountain with my head between my legs trying to get my breathing back to normal.
My head popped up. “What?!” I snapped.
In front of me was a pimply-faced security guard, dressed in overalls and a straw hat to go along with the whole “Dell” theme. Everyone who worked at The Dell—from the parking-garage people to the bathroom attendants—were forced to dress up like farmers or milk-maids. Ridiculous, I know. You can thank my dad for that. I tried to talk him out of it because not only is it corny, but farming and shopping—unless it’s for eggs—don’t really go together, but Daddy says that if you want to succeed at something, you have to have a gimmick. He may be a genius when it comes to real estate, but the truth is he’s kind of a geek. I mean, I love him to death but he’s utterly hopeless when it comes to being creative—especially if it happens to be fashion-related. In fact, after my mom died a few years ago, I had to take over her job of picking out which shirt and tie he should wear with his suit in the morning. I’m not complaining, though. Sharing my incredible talent for color coordinating and accessorizing with the man whose name is on my Amex card is the least I can do.
“Uh, you’re gonna have to quiet down or else I’m going to have to remove you from the property,” Farmer Security Guard mumbled.
“Excuse me, but my father happens to own this property,” I shot back.
“Yes. He does. I’m Dylan Schoenfield, daughter of Alan Schoenfield of Schoenfield Properties.”
“Oh.” He shrugged. “Then I guess it’s okay,” he said, shuffling away.
I turned toward the fountain to get an update on my bag and saw it bobbing along in time to Christina Aguilera’s “What a Girl Wants” that was blasting over the sound system. Another one of Daddy’s gimmicks was to have the spray of the fountain synchronized to the music, like you see at the hotels in Las Vegas. I just hoped that it didn’t switch to something with a really fast beat or else I’d never get my bag back.
“My poor bag!” I cried as Hannah and Lola stood on each side of me and patted my shoulders. I couldn’t remember being this devastated since the time Asher blew off my Sweet Sixteen dinner for a Lakers game. “What am I going to do, you guys?” I panicked as a brown-haired guy with thick-framed glasses walked toward us.
“Get your dad to buy you a new one?” asked Lola.
The guy was so busy trying to juggle his knapsack, doughnut, and Coke that he tripped on Lola’s Marc Jacobs bag, which she had bought with her Sweet Sixteen money, and fell flat on his face right in front of me.
For a few seconds he didn’t move.
“Are you all right?” I asked while watching with horror as my bag bobbed around in the fountain.
When I didn’t hear a response, I tore my eyes away from the fountain and looked down at him. Because of the glare of the sun, it was hard to see if his body was rising and falling with his breath.
“Um, hello?” I said.
I started to get scared that maybe he had broken his neck and died instantly, which would not have been good because not only would his parents probably sue Lola’s parents but they’d probably also try to sue my dad as well. Daddy likes to say that suing is what people do for fun in L.A.
As Hannah ran to the edge of the fountain and reached her arm toward the bag (as if that was going to do anything), I watched with horror as it got caught on a water jet and started whipping around like it was in a T-ball tournament. Extending my foot, I carefully poked the guy with my shoe. Obviously if he was dead it wouldn’t matter if I did it carefully or uncarefully, but I was raised to be polite and courteous. “Excuse me, but ARE. YOU. ALL. RIGHT?” I yelled as if he were deaf and non-English-speaking.
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