Chapter 1 [Two options]
A miniature paper airplane flew by Maren’s face as she looked up from her book.
She had an idea where it came from, but she didn’t care to look in Steven’s direction.
She noticed Gina two rows over. The new girl from across town was busy with something behind her math book.
And since they were in the middle of reading, Maren had to know what it was.
Another paper airplane flew by her, but she kept her eyes on Gina.
“Okay, class, how are we doing with our questions today? Steven, you don’t exactly look like you’re on task right now,” said Mr. Gray, the teacher in Room 13.
Gina, meanwhile, had looked up and noticed Emily, sitting in the back desk of the first row, drawing squares on a small piece of cardboard.
Maren followed Gina’s eyes toward Emily and saw what Gina saw.
“Really, ladies and gentlemen, I’m thinking we need to focus a little bit better,” said Mr. Gray.
Emily looked up toward her teacher to give him the impression she was listening, but noticed two girls looking at her.
“That’s weird,” she thought. “No one ever pays attention to me.”
Maren leaned forward to get a closer look at Emily and this time a wadded-up piece of paper smacked her on the forehead.
That did it!
“Enough!” she yelled as she stood up and looked around.
Mr. Gray, eyes wide, stepped back.
“Is there a problem, Maren?”
She eyed the other two girls she had been watching. “I just can’t concentrate sometimes!” she said.
“Well, I’ll see what I can do to help that,” said her teacher.
Maren sat down. “I’m sorry, Mr. Gray.”
The teacher looked to the others. “All right, folks, time to put your books away and get ready for recess,” said Mr. Gray. “And remember—“ The kids piled toward the door. “And remember to line up in the order of your student number!”
The bell rang. Mr. Gray worked his way to the front and led the kids to recess. All but three, that is.
Room 12–utter chaos.
In Group 1, Steven leaned over toward John’s worksheet and scribbled away.
Still, Emily kept her head down and continued to draw a series of connected squares.
In Group 2, Mason finished folding his paper aircraft [he insisted on calling them crafts.] and sent one flying toward Group 1, skimming Steven’s blonde buzz cut.
Steven raced over and pushed Mason’s math book on the floor.
Through it all, Gina continued sketching the cloud formations outside the classroom window.
Three of Group 3’s students—Marcus, Jason, and Lainie—argued over who could balance their pencil on their forehead longer.
“Marcus is cheating!” said Jason. “He keeps using his hand to steady it!”
“Yeah, I see him doing that too!” said Steven from across the room.
Maren, meanwhile, scribbled away in her journal, filling the page with observations of the classroom confusion.
She raised her head to shake the soreness out of her hand and noticed Gina.
Gina caught Maren’s glance and looked away, her eyes falling on Emily’s hunched-over position.
She cocked her head and wondered what kept Emily so engrossed.
Emily raised her head as well, as if she knew she was being watched. She caught Gina looking and then noticed Maren holding up her notebook with a message in large block letters.
LET’S MEET DURING RECESS.
Emily nodded. Maren nodded back. Gina, following Emily’s eyes, turned toward Maren’s message and nodded as well.
The three couldn’t wait…
What do you think? Do you have a preference as to the beginning of this book? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading! [Also, if you have some ideas for illustrations [or illustrators], let me know!