I received this book at no cost from the publisherLexi's Pathetic Fictional Love Life by Jo Noelle
Published by Little Box Press LLC on August 10th 2014
Lexi’s Pathetic Fictional Love Life
Lexi Middleton has been socially invisible to her classmates, but starting her junior year, that’s going to change. First, she’s determined to hook a boyfriend, ensuring dates with flowers and possible kisses on the doorstep. Second, she wants to be a writer for the school paper, even though it freaks her out to think of everyone judging her by her punctuation and metaphors.
High school is difficult enough—keeping up her grades, dealing with increasing sibling rivalry, and trying to stay out of the way of her personal nemesis, Amberlee—but when Lexi catches the eye of her long-time crush, she also becomes the focus of mean-girl tactics.
Caught between who she was and who she wants to be, Lexi must decide how to confront a bully, and choose who to let into her heart.
Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also spent time in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids. She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking especially for desserts, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains. Oh, and by the way, she’s two people—
Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team.
They began writing separately several years ago but found the process much more fun when they started collaborating. They are debut authors, with Lexi’s Pathetic Fictional Love Life as their first completed work. Other titles include Newbie and Damnation.
Deanna attended college before marrying and starting her family.
Canda received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Reading Specialist endorsement, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Her day job focuses on teaching teachers and children about literacy.
It is hard enough having a sister who is only two years younger than you and worse still, if that sister is more accomplished than you. Lexi’s sister, Tifani, seems to be perfect and anything she tries or does just comes naturally. Lexi has some serious self-esteem issues that she really needs to work out since what she thinks are faults turn out to be qualities that are excellent traits to have. There seems to be several sub plots at work here. She thinks she has finally found her calling as a writer but when she is asked to join the school newspaper, she compares herself to all the “perfect” girls and doesn’t think she measures up even though she is a wonderful writer. You see samples of her writing (a story within this story) that are really great. Amberlee, the requisite antagonist and mean girl, is always pushing Lexi and sometimes that goes a bit too far for me.
I was glad that the relationship between Tifani and Lexi was painted as a true sister relationship with both love and hate. That really rang true. We are also given a taste of a high school crush that was just too adorable for words. I really enjoyed this clean slice of life with a bit of romance and teen dreams. I recommend this for even younger teens that want something different and are looking for a bit of creative writing insight.
Here is an excerpt of Lexi’s story
This party is like hundreds of parties young models are contracted to attend. We provide the ornamentation to the center of the room. The clothes and jewelry are themselves works of art, and we are the canvases which give them display. It’s an art exhibit, appropriate for Halloween, of medieval torture and monsters. Everyone on the guest list dressed according to the theme for the evening. No fangs or fake widow’s peaks, but plenty of black.
At eighteen, you don’t expect your nightlife to include the gray-haired set. Friends my age are hitting nightclubs and meeting new lips. I take these jobs anyway because of all the connections I make, furthering my career. It’s not like I’m going to live forever, and in this career, you take jobs whenever you can, before your youth grows dull and your smile wrinkles. But modeling is kind of a pre-career to my real hope of designing. There’s a plan to all of this. I’ll start learning the business, making contacts and money, then I’ll finish design school. It’s not like modeling is a long-term option anyway, but these events allow me to study the lines and colors of fashion.
Chastelle Alexander and Cosmina are designers, both showing gowns at this event. I haven’t met either one—probably won’t, we’re in very different circles—but I’m getting to know them through their designs, studying the drape and cut of the bodices or the shape of the silhouette from shoulder to hem.
I’m paid to mingle, to show the gown to as many people as possible while holding small talk. My agent ushers me between groups, making introductions like we’re speed dating in groups. When we move away, she comments about adjustments to make in my posture, stride, or conversation, much like a coach would do during a game to improve the performance of his players. A very seasoned coach, one who is used to winning, demanding and impatient. Then we mix again and try the new “play” on the next group.
After several rounds, we take a break and get a drink.
“Who are you?” Tingling sensations ramble across my scalp, making my brain instantly awake. I look around, but see no one close enough to whisper to me. The words are simple but seem to ask not just who I am, but who am I to the speaker. My heart burns a bit as the memory of the phrase loops again and again. I continue searching the room for a face I should know by the longing in his request.
Following my agent across the room to another refreshment table, I’m reluctant to move away from the voice without discovering the speaker. Maybe I’ve imagined the words—that makes more sense than to think they were spoken by no one near me. Yeah, I’m crazy.
As I lift a macaron to my lips, I hear his voice again. When love is not madness, it is not love. Chills raise bumps on my arms, and I drop the treat back to my plate and look around. The unexpected words thrill my emotions and make my heart pound. The conversations around me continue casually. Everyone is engaged in the business of making connections. Scanning the room, I catch glimpses of a photographer traveling the periphery of the crowd, taking candid photos. My mind seems to settle on his face and eyes. My heart leaps, and I ache to walk across the room.
“Back to work,” my agent prompts, and we begin working the crowd. Shifting my weight or turning my shoulders allows me to look past present company and watch him. When my attention is my own, between introductions, I follow his movement. Each time our eyes meet, my heart pounds with blissful uncertainty, passion drawing me toward him. But another equally disturbing feeling, maybe danger, repels me with the same intensity. Forward and back, my emotions parry against both restraints.
He’s young, maybe twenty, with rippling blue eyes that make his face stand out in a room filled with beautiful people. The invisible pull between us turns me toward him, now on the other side of the room. How odd how I know where he is without really watching him. Do I know him from somewhere?
He looks as if he is watching me intently though through his camera lens. An answer floats quickly back, “Soon,” setting off a tempest in my stomach.
Has he worked for the agency at some other event? No, I’m certain I would have noticed him before, though his familiarity to me now is unnerving, as if he’s imprinted on my soul.
A couple in their mid-forties approaches us. The woman is Cosmina, whom I recognize as the founder and designer of Dark Culture Chic Fashions—and she looks it, although she is one of the few women not wearing a black dress. Hers is deep red, the color of fresh blood. The fitted top has a low, sleeveless, boat-necked bodice and a tight, mermaid-style skirt. Beaded clusters of black flowers are strewn along the top, with a black widow occasionally scattered through the motif. As the clusters trail toward the bottom, spiders gradually overcome the design until only a random flower is thrown in among their mass. The webbing of her bib necklace is accented with black diamonds and rubies, creating a cascading vine pattern. She definitely understands Gothic trends in style; regal yet understated, alluring yet fresh, glamorous and eerie.
“Cosmina, we’re honored to be included in this year’s charity event.” My agent offers her hand and then gestures to me. “This is my newest model, Lina, but one with a bright future.”
“Your dress is stunning,” I breathe with admiration.
“Thank you.” She doesn’t say another word, though her gaze seems to be appraising me. I should be used to this after all, that’s the career. Each job is an audition in making the clothing the best they can be while not drawing attention to myself. However, her scrutiny seems more personal. It feels as if there’s a hint of curiosity to the look in her eyes.
“She’s truly an artist,” her husband, Paul, adds, pointing to my dress. “You’re also wearing one of her creations.” Both of his hands wrap around mine as if I were a friend of the family. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Lina.” The warmth in his eyes prods a genuine smile from me.
Cosmina’s gaze attaches mine. “I’m introducing a new line of Gothic prom dresses and wondered if you would work the photo session and runway show?”
Though the question is clearly directed to me, my agent jumps. “Yes, she’d love to,” already handing the designer her card. “Just call the office tomorrow to make arrangements.”
“Until then, Lina,” Cosmina turns to leave. After taking only a step, she faces my agent again. “You may take her home now. We wouldn’t want her tired for the shoot tomorrow.”
A moment later, I see Cosmina and Paul talking with the photographer. A simple phrase pierces my heart, more felt than heard this time. “It is her voice I hear.”
Cosmina nods toward him, and they leave the party.
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