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Mean Girl Makeover: So Not Okay Part 37

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Ophelia toyed with a piece of popcorn. "Do you think they'll still be the Pack when they come back from suspension?"

"I hope not," I said. "Isn't that the whole point of stopping them? Not so they'll get in trouble, but so they'll stop . . . being wolves?"

Ginger shook her head. "I don't know about Kylie. She might always be an Alpha Wolf."

"What if we stopped calling her that?"

They all looked at me, like they were as surprised as I was that had just come out of my mouth.



Ophelia said. "What are you going to call her then?"

"Um, 'Kylie'?" Winnie said.

"That's the 'Gold Thumb,' " Ginger said.

Ophelia squinted. "What's that one again? I can't keep them all straight."

"We don't want them calling us names," I said, remembering Winnie the Ninny and Mitch the Witch and all those other things I'd never told the tribelet. "So we shouldn't call them names."

"Oh." Phee suddenly looked shy. If that was possible. "But can we still be the tribelet?"

"Wait." Mitch leaned toward Phee. "Are you in?"

"Can I be in?" Phee said.

In. I wanted us to define in. But maybe we'd done enough for now just getting rid of the Pack name.

It was all about "Baby Steps."

And Ophelia and I took one after the rest of the tribelet left. We went to my room and sat on my bed with Nestle. Mom said she thought I should be rewarded for all I'd done, and that's what I asked for-bed privileges for Nestle. She also said I was a true lady, no matter how many times a week I wore my Einstein sweatshirt.

"So, Tori?" Phee said.

"Yes," I said.

"You don't even know what I was going to ask you!"

"Was it, 'Can we be best friends again?' "

"It was."

"Then yes."

Ophelia flipped her braid. "But I had it all planned out how I was going to say it!"

Her eyes were all big and sad, so I let her do her whole thing-about how sorry she was and how she should have trusted me, only she let the Pack scare her and how she would never do that again.

I didn't stop her until she said, "I'll do anything you want me to, Tori, as long as you'll still be my friend forever."

"No," I said, and before she could go all drama queen on me, I put my hand up. "Don't ever do anything just because I say it. You have to keep the power to be yourself. And don't let anybody take that away, no matter who they are."

"Oh, Tori!" she cried and threw her long, lanky arms around my neck.

That was the Ophelia I loved, drama queen and all.

The next day, Wednesday, a lot of people decided to be "in," if that was what signing the code meant.

Okay, so maybe some people did it because Mr. V said it was cool. And some did it because they didn't want to have to go to the special cla.s.ses-which Lydia said she'd think about doing. I knew that was why Riannon and Heidi and Izzy finally signed it. In tiny, tiny letters.

Kylie wouldn't, even after Mrs. Bernstein, of all people, went over and talked to her. She just sat at her table and bared her teeth. Yeah, it was going to take me a long time to stop thinking of her as the Alpha Wolf.

The coolest thing about the whole code-signing was that Shelby wrote her name on the poster first. I looked at her handwriting. Yep. That was proof. She was the person who left me that note, telling me we should have the pledge. Someday I would make sure she got credit.

Lydia was proud when I talked to her on the phone that night. I knew she would be. But I wanted to discuss something else with her too.

"You know that prayer you left for me?" I said.

"I do."

"I prayed it."

"Good."

"I've been praying it every night."

"I love it."

"Nestle prays it with me. I mean, I think dogs can pray, don't you?"

"Yes, I think they do."

"Do you think that's why it worked? Our presentation and the . . . those girls getting caught and everything?"

"That. And the fact that you're following what G.o.d teaches."

"I am?"

"The whole tribelet is. Everything I taught you comes right out of the Bible."

"Seriously?"

"Check it out. I left your dad a list of the verses that go with everything." She laughed a gurgly laugh. "You scientists always have to do your own research."

"Well, yeah," I said.

When I went to bed that night, with Nestle snoozing beside me, I did some counting, and I figured out that it was exactly-and I like to be exact-thirty-eight days since Kylie Steppe looked at me and saw something besides, well, nothing.

This day, Thursday, March 5, should be circled in red on the calendar too. Because it was the day I took back the power to be myself.

Who Helped Me Write SO Not Okay?

It takes more than just the author to write a book. These are the people who helped me get Tori and the tribelet's story as right as it can be: Mary Lois Rue, who let me stay with her in Gra.s.s Valley and made it come alive for me. She's my mother-in-law, the other Mrs. Rue.

Amy and John Imel, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law who told me what it was like to grow up in Gra.s.s Valley, California. (And fed me wonderful food . . .) My prayer team-Janelle, Barb, and Lori and her family-who prayed when it was hard to write about girls being mean to each other.

My editors, Amy Kerr and Tori Kosara. (We call her "the other Tori!") All the people who have written books and made films about the problem of bullying. And all the bloggers and website folks who kept me up to date.

And especially the Mini-Women on the Tween You and Me blog who bravely shared their stories with me. They're the ones who showed me that "sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can break your heart."

SO Not Okay is only the first of three books that will make up the Mean Girl Makeover trilogy. If you would like to help with the next two books by sharing your story of being the victim of bullying or your experience as a bully, please e-mail me at

You can be part of the solution!

Blessings, Nancy Rue.

end.

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Mean Girl Makeover: So Not Okay Part 37 summary

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