PARTY PRINCESS SNEAK PEEK
Here's a Valentine from me to you—a sneak peek at PARTY PRINCESS, Princess Diaries 7, as well as a link to download your very own Party Princess iMix!
Click here to see the official Princess Diaries, Volume 7, Party Princess song list from author Meg Cabot. From “Michael's Theme” (Girl U Want) to “Mia's Song” (Don't Wanna Behave), listen to the songs behind the characters! (A complete songlist is available at the end of this post for those without access to iTunes.)
Here's the sneak peek from the book! Princess Diaries 7, Party Princess, takes place second semester of Mia's sophomore (2nd) year in high school. That's all you need to know, I think, to jump in to this excerpt. Look for Party Princess, PD7, in US stores on March 28, 2006!
Tuesday, March 2, The Loft
Just when I thought my day couldn't possibly get any worse, Mom handed me the mail as I walked in the door.
Normally, I like getting mail. Because normally, I receive fun stuff in the mail, like the latest edition of “Psychology Today,” so I can see what new psychiatric disorder I might have. Then I have something besides whatever book we're doing in English class (this month: “O Pioneers” by Willa Cather. Yawn) to read in the bathtub before I go to sleep.
But what my mom gave me when I walked through the door tonight wasn't fun OR something I could read in the bathtub. Because it was way too short.
“You got a letter from Sixteen Magazine, Mia!” Mom said, all excitedly. “It must be about the short story contest!”
Except that I could tell right away there was nothing to get excited about. I mean, that envelope clearly contained bad news. There was so obviously only one sheet of paper inside the envelope. If I had won, surely they'd have enclosed a contract, not to mention my prize money, right? When T. J. Burke's story about his friend Dex's death-by-avalanche got published in “Powder Magazine” in the movie “Aspen Extreme,” they sent him the ACTUAL magazine with his name emblazoned on the front cover. That's how he found out he'd gotten published.
The envelope my mom handed me clearly did not contain a copy of “Sixteen Magazine” with my name emblazoned on the front cover, because it was much too thin.
“Thanks,” I said, taking the envelope from my mom and hoping she wouldn't notice that I was about to cry.
“What does it say?” Mr. Gianini wanted to know. He was at the dining table, feeding his son bits of hamburger, even though Rocky only has two teeth, one on top and one on the bottom, none of which happen to be molars.
It doesn't seem to make any difference to anyone in my family, however, that Rocky doesn't actually have the ability to chew solid food yet. He refuses to eat baby food—he wants to eat either what we or Fat Louie are eating–and so he eats whatever my mom and Mr. G are having for dinner, which is generally some meat product, and probably explains why Rocky is in the 99th percentile in size for his age. Despite my urgings, Mom and Mr. G insist on feeding Rocky an unmitigated diet of things like General Tso's chicken and beef lasagna, simply because he LIKES them.
As if it is not bad enough Fat Louie will only eat Chicken and Tuna Flaked Fancy Feast. My little brother is turning out to be a carnivore, as well.
And one day will doubtless grow up to be as tall as Shaqille O'Neal due to all the harmful antibiotics with which the meat industry pumps their products before they slaughter them.
Although I fear Rocky will also have the intellect of Tweety Bird, because despite all of the Baby Mozart videos I have played for him, and the many, many hours I have spent reading such classics as Beatrix Potter's “Peter Rabbit” and Dr. Seuss's “Green Eggs and Ham” aloud to him, Rocky doesn't show any signs of interest in anything except throwing his pacifier very hard at the wall; stomping around the loft (with a pair of hands—usually mine—to hold him upright by the back of his OskKoshes…a practice which, by the way, is starting to cause me severe lower back pain); and shrieking “Tuck!” (truck) and “Kee!” (kitty) in as loud a voice as possible.
Surely these can only be considered signs of severe social retardation. Or Asperger's Syndrome.
Mom, however, assures me Rocky is developing normally for a nearly one year old, and that I should calm down and stop being such a baby-licker (my own mother has now adopted the term Lilly coined for me).
In spite of this betrayal, however, I remain hyper-alert for signs of hydrocephalus. You can never be too careful.
“Well, what's it say, Mia?” my mom wanted to know, about my letter. “I wanted to open it and call you at your grandmother's to give you the news, but Frank wouldn't let me. He said I should respect your personal boundaries and not open your mail.”
I threw Mr. G a grateful look—hard to do while trying not to cry–and said, “Thanks.”
“Oh, please,” my mom said, sounding disgusted. “I gave birth to you. I nursed you for six months. I should be able to read your mail. What's it say?”
So with trembling fingers, I tore open the envelope, knowing, as I did so, what I'd find inside.
No big surprise, the single sheet of typed paper said:
New York, NY 10018
Thank you for your submission to Sixteen Magazine. While we have chosen not to publish your story, we appreciate your interest in our publication.
Dear Writer! They couldn't even be bothered to type out my name! There was no proof at all that anyone had even READ “No More Corn!”, let alone given it any kind of meaningful consideration!
I guess my mom and Mr. G could tell I didn't like what I was seeing, since Mr. G said, “Gee, that's tough. But you'll get'em next time, tiger.”
“Tuck!” was all Rocky had to say about it, as he hurled a piece of hamburger at the wall.
And my mom went, “I've always thought Sixteen Magazine was demeaning to young women, as it's filled with images of impossibly thin and pretty models that can only serve to legitimize young girls' insecurities about their own bodies. And besides, their articles are hardly what I'd call informative. I mean, who CARES about which kind of jeans better fit your body type, low rise or ultra rise? How about teaching girls something useful, like that even if you Do It standing up, you can still get pregnant.”
Touched by my parents'—and brother's–concern, I said, “It's okay. There's always next year.”
Except that I doubt I'll ever write a better story than “No More Corn!” It was this total one shot deal, inspired by the touching sight of the Guy Who Hates It When They Put Corn in His Chili sitting in the AEHS cafeteria picking corn out of his chili, kernel by kernel, with the saddest look I have ever seen on a human being's face. I will never witness anything that moving ever again. Except for maybe the look on Tina Hakim Baba's face when she found out they were canceling “Joan of Arcadia.”
I don't know who wrote whatever “Sixteen” considers the winning entry, and I honestly don't mean to brag, but her story CAN'T be as compelling and gripping as “No More Corn!”
And she CAN'T possibly love writing as much as I do.
Oh, sure, maybe she'
s better at it. But is writing as important to her as BREATHING, the way it is to me? I sincerely doubt it. She's probably home right now, and her mother's going, “Oh, Lauren, this came in the mail for you today,” and she's opening her PERSONALIZED letter from “Sixteen Magazine” and going through her contract and being all, “Ho hum, another story of mine is getting published. As if I care. All I really want is to make the cheerleading squad and for Brian to ask me out.”
See, I care MORE about writing that I do about cheerleading. Or Brian.
Well, okay, not more than I care about Michael. Or Fat Louie. But close.
So now stupid, Brian-loving Lauren is going around, being all, “La, la, la, I just won the Sixteen Magazine fiction contest, I wonder what's on TV tonight,” and not even caring that her story is about to be read by a million people, not to mention the fact that she's going to get to spend the day shadowing a real, live editor and see what it's like in the busy, fast-paced world of hard-hitting teen journalism—
MICHAEL!!!! MICHAEL IS IMing ME!!!!!!!
Mia? You there?
Michael! Yes, I'm here. I'm having the worst day. My government is out of money and “Sixteen” rejected “No More Corn!”!!!!!!
Wait—the government of Genovia is out of money? I didn't see anything about that on Netscape. How did THAT happen?
This is why my boyfriend is so wonderful. Even when he doesn't understand a single thing that is going on in my life, he's still, you know, way concerned for me.
I meant the student government. We're in the red for five grand. And “Sixteen” rejected me.
“Sixteen” rejected “No More Corn!”? How could they? That story rocks!
You see? You see why I love him?
Thanks. But I guess it didn't rock enough for them to publish it.
Then they're fools. And what's this about being five grand in the red?
Briefly, I explained to Michael about the no-return recycling bins and the fact that I am going to be drawn and quartered by Amber Cheeseman as soon as she hears about her commencement taking place in Hell's Kitchen instead of Lincoln Center.
Come on. It can't be that bad. You have plenty of time to raise the cash.
Normally my boyfriend is the most astute of men. That is why he goes to an Ivy League university where he takes a course load that would prove a mental challenge even to Stephen Hawking, that genius in the wheelchair who figured out about mini black holes–as well as how to get his nurse to fall in love with him–let alone your average college student.
Well, sometimes, he just doesn't GET it.
Have you ever seen Amber Cheeseman, Michael? She may have a 4.0 and sound like a chipmunk when she talks, but she can throw a two-hundred pound man over her shoulder in a split second, and her forearms are as big as Koko the Gorilla's.
Hey, I know. You could try selling candles. We did that to raise money for the Computer Club one year!
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! NOT YOU, TOO, MICHAEL!!!!!!!!!!
They have these candles shaped like strawberries. Everybody in my mom and dad's therapy groups bought one. They smell like real strawberries.
Great! Thanks for the tip!
Change the subject. NOW.
So how was YOUR day?
Not bad. We watched “THX 1138” in class and discussed its influence on later dystopic films from the same era, such as “Logan's Run,” in which, like “THX,” a young man attempts to flee the stifling confines of the only world he knows. Which reminds me, what are you doing this weekend?
Oooh, fun! A date! Just what I need to cheer myself up.
Going out with you.
That's what I was hoping you'd say. Only how about staying in instead of going out? My mom and dad are going out of town for a conference, and Maya's got to have her feet scraped, so they asked me if I could come home for the weekend to stay with Lilly—you know, on account of what happened last time they left her alone.
Did I ever. Because the last time the Drs. Moscovitz let Lilly out of their sight, when they went to their country house in Albany for the weekend and allowed Lilly to stay in the apartment alone because she had a report due on Alexander Hamilton and needed Internet access, of which there is none at their country house, and Michael had finals, and the Moscovitzes' housekeeper, Maya, had to go back to the Dominican Republic to bail her nephew out of jail again, so neither of them could stay with her, Lilly invited her foot fetishist stalker Norman over, to interview him for a segment she was doing on “Lilly Tells It Like It Is” titled, “Why Are Only Weirdos Attracted to Me?”
Well, Norman took umbrage at being called a weirdo, even though that's what he is. He insisted that a healthy appreciation for the foot is actually extremely sane. Then when Lilly was busy getting them Cokes in the kitchen, he snuck into her mom's room and stole her favorite pair of Manolo Blahniks!
But Lilly saw the stiletto heel sticking out of Norman's anorak's pocket and made him give it back. Norman was so mad about the whole thing that now he's started his own website, “I Hate Lilly Moscovitz,” that has message boards and stuff that all the people who hate Lilly and her show can come and post things on (and it turns out there are a surprising number of people who hate Lilly and her TV show. Plus there are some people who don't even know who Lilly is but they joined just because they hate everything).
I have to say, after all that, I'm kind of surprised the Drs. Moscovitz would leave her without parental supervision, even with Michael there.
Fun! I'll totally come over! What are we going to do? Watch a movie marathon?
Only, please, not a screening of one of the hideous movies he has to watch for that sci-fi film class he's taking. He's already forced me to see “Brazil,” one of the most depressing movies of all time. Can “Blade Runner,” another giant bummer of a movie, be far behind?
Oooh, how about we watch the high school seasons of “Buffy” on DVD? I just love the prom episode, when she gets the twinkly parasol….
Actually, I was kind of thinking of having a party.
Wait. A what? Did he say…PARTY?
Yeah. You know. A party. An occasion on which people assemble for social interaction and entertainment? We can't really have parties here in the dorm because no one's room is big enough to fit more than, like, eight people. But three times that many can fit in my parents' apartment. So I figured, why not?
Why not? WHY NOT? Because we are not party people, Michael. We are stay-at-home-and-watch-videos people. Doesn't he remember what happened last time we had a party? Or, more accurately, the last time I had a party?
And I could tell he wasn't talking about Cheetos and Seven Minu
tes in Heaven, either. He was talking about a COLLEGE party. Everyone knows what happens at COLLEGE parties. I mean, I have seen “Animal House” (because it, along with “Caddyshack,” is one of Mr. G's favorite movies of all time, and every time it's on he HAS to watch it, even if it's on one of those channels where they cut all the dirty parts out, which leaves it with practically no plot).
I am not, under any circumstances, wearing a toga.
Not that kind of party, you goof. Just a normal one, you know, with music and food. Next week's midterms, and everybody needs to blow off a little steam beforehand. And Doo Pak has never been invited to a real American party before, you know.
When I heard this startling fact about Michael's roommate, my hard, party-hating heart melted a little. Never been invited to a real American party before! That was just shocking! Of COURSE we had to have a party, if only to show Doo Pak what real American hospitality is like. Maybe I could make a vegetarian dip.
And remember Paul? Well, he's back in the city, and so are Felix and Trevor, so they're going to come over.
My heart stopped melting. It's not that I don't like Paul, Felix, and Trevor, all members of Michael's now defunct band. It's just that I happen to know that, while Paul, the key boardist, is back from Bennington, where he goes to school, because of Spring Break, Felix, the drummer, just got out of rehab (not that there's anything wrong with that, really, I'm glad he got help, but, um, hello). And Trevor, the guitar-player, is back because he got kicked out of UCLA for something so scandalous, he won't even tell people what it was.
These are just not the kind of friends who, in my opinion, you want to come over when your parents aren't home. Because they might “accidentally” light the place on fire. That's all I'm saying.
And I thought I'd invite a bunch of other people from the dorm.
A bunch of other people from the dorm?
My heart stopped melting even more. Because I know what that means: Girls. Because there are girls in Michael's dorm. I have seen them in the hallways when I've gone to visit him there. They wear a lot of black clothing, including berets—BERETS!–and quote lines from “The Vagina Monologues” and never read “Us Weekly,” even when they're in a doctor's office. They're just like those girls from “Legally Blonde” who were very mean to Elle when she got to law school because they thought just because she's blond and likes clothes, she must be stupid.
I myself have encountered this kind of prejudice from these girls, since, being blond and a princess, they just automatically assume I must be stupid. I so know what poor Princess Diana must have dealt with every single day.
I do not think I could handle being at a party with girls like this. Because girls like this know how to act at parties. They know how to smoke and drink beer.
I hate smoking. And beer smells just like that skunk that Papaw hit with the station wagon that time we were coming home from the Indiana state fair.
What is Michael thinking? I mean, a party. This is so not him.
Then again, college is a time for self-exploration and finding out who you really are and what you want to do with your life.
Oh my God! What if he's into partying now???? Partying is a very large part of the college experience. At least, according to all those movies on the Lifetime Channel in which either Kelly Martin or Tiffani Amber Thiessen star as co-eds campaigning to shut down the fraternity house at which their friend or roommate was date-raped and/or choked to death on her own vomit.
Which isn't the kind of party Michael's talking about. Right?
Wait. Michael's parents wouldn't LET him have a party like that. Even if he wanted to. Which I'm sure he doesn't. Because Michael can't stand fraternities, since he says he can't help but feel suspicious of any heterosexual male who would pay to belong to a club which females are not permitted to join.
Speaking of the Drs. Moscovitz:
Michael, do your parents know about this? This party, I mean?
Of course. What do you think, I'd do this without asking them? The doormen would completely rat me out, you know.
Oh. Right. The doormen. The doormen in the Moscovitzes building know all and see all. Like Yoda.
And they babble about it like C3PO.
Still. The Drs. Moscovitz are okay with this? Michael having a college party in their apartment when they aren't home…with Lilly there?
It's just so unlike them.
Wow. I totally can't believe this. Having a party with no parents around…that is a really big step. It's like…grown up.
So you'll come, right? The guys were trying to tell me there was no way you'd want to. On account of the whole princess thing.
The princess thing? What did they mean by that?
Just, you know. I mean, it's not like you're much of a party girl.
Not much of a party girl? What does that even mean? Of course I'm not a party girl. I mean, Michael is not exactly a party guy–
At least, he didn't used to be. Before he went to college.
Oh, God. Maybe it would behoove me to indicate that I am not adverse to partying. Just the date-rape and vomit part.
I am TOO a party girl. I mean, given the right circumstances. I mean, I like to party just as much as the next girl.
I do, too. This isn't even a lie. I've partied. Maybe not in recent memory. But
I'm sure I've partied. Like at my birthday party just last year.
And okay, it ended in disaster when my best friend got caught making out with a busboy in the closet.
But technically, it was still a party. Which makes me a party girl.
And okay, maybe not a party girl like Paris Hilton is a party girl. I mean, I like Red Bull and all. Well, not really, since I drank one can from my dad's mini-bar in his suite at the Plaza and it made me stay up until four in the morning dancing to the disco channel on digital cable.
But you know. Who wants to be like Paris anyway? She can't even keep track of her dog's whereabouts half the time. I mean, you have to find a BALANCE with the party thing. You can't party ALL the time. Or you might forget where you left your chihuahua. Or someone might release an embarrassing video of you, um, partying.
Limit the amount of partying—and Red Bull–and you limit the amounts of embarrassing videos.
That's all I'm saying.
That's exactly what I said. Great! So I'll talk to you later. Love you. Night!
Oh, God. What have I gotten myself into?
I hope you'll enjoy reading more about Princess Mia's disastrous quest to find the party spirit when PARTY PRINCESS hits bookshelves next month!
And if you'd like a chance to win a free advanced reader copy of PARTY PRINCESS, register here!
And Happy Valentine's Day!
PS If you don't have iTunes, you may not be able to see the link to t
he iMix, so here's the songlist, so you can make your own:
PARTY PRINCESS MIX
Girl U Want/Devo/Devo Greatest Hits
Feel Bad Vibe/Damone/From the Attic
All Cheerleaders Die/Switchblade Kittens/Hey Punk! Try Heroine[s]
I Want Candy/Bow Wow Wow/Best of Bow Wow Wow
Do You Wanna Dance?/The Ramones/It's Alive
Kids in America/The Muffs/Hamburger
Don't Wanna Behave/Dance Hall Crashers/Lockjaw
The Prettiest Girl/Some Girls/Feel It
One Way or Another/Blondie/The Best of Blondie
Baby Got Going/Liz Phair/whitechocolatespaceegg)