||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||deleterious, exalt, frenetic, megalopolis, mordant, nerdy, once-shy, plans-BIG, postulate, thing-if, triplicate, illogical, contrive, disapproval, disseminate, trellis
||North Dallas High School, Aunt Gracie, Peach State, When Valerie, Auto Antonym, New York City, Richardson Street, Second Avenue, Be Gracious
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By Laura G. Smith
1 Valerie Anderson's freshman year at North Dallas High School hadn't been an easy one. She was relieved that the summer break had finally arrived. Valerie and her two new friends, Karen and Jessica, had plans-BIG plans. This was going to be the best summer ever!
2 Just one year had passed since the Andersons moved from a small suburb on the outskirts of Gainesville, Georgia, to the huge megalopolis of Dallas, Texas. When Valerie's parents had first announced the news about moving, her feelings were so convoluted, she could hardly speak! She hated the thought of moving away from her friends and relatives, but at the same time, Valerie was intrigued by the idea of life in the big city.
3 Now that she was settled into a new neighborhood and had survived that awkward first year in a new school, Valerie's memory of her ordinary life in Gainesville began to fade. Dallas was her home now. This is where her summer dreams would come true.
4 "Time to get up!"
5 Valerie was still half asleep, but as her mother's shrill voice began to escalate, it startled her into consciousness. She peered through squinted eyes at the alarm clock on her night table. "Mom, it's only 7:30 in the morning! And unless I'm dreaming, it's the first day of summer break! Why are you waking me up so early?"
6 "I need you to get up and pack your suitcase," explained Mom. "Your grandmother has been very sickly ever since we moved from Gainesville, and I'm afraid she's taken a turn for the worse. When I talked to your Aunt Gracie last night, she said Grandma is suffering from constant lethargy, and her blood pressure is lower than it should be. I need you to go with me to help take care of her for a while."
7 Valerie had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. All she could think about were her plans to hang out with Karen and Jessica that afternoon. The three of them had been in almost every class together during the school year and seemed to share a unique sense of camaraderie that Valerie hadn't felt before. There's no way she was going to miss out on sunbathing or shopping at the mall with her best friends just because her mom wanted her to go on some boring trip!
8 In her mind, Valerie tried to contrive a seemingly rational explanation as to why she couldn't go to Gainesville. But she figured her mom would probably think her reasons were illogical. So, she came up with an even better idea. If she couldn't stay in Dallas, then maybe she could do the next best thing-if only her mother would agree to it.
9 This once-shy girl from Gainesville put her drama skills to work and convinced her mom that Karen and Jessica would be the perfect road companions during the 13-hour trip to her grandmother's house. They all worked at a frenetic pace to load up the van and then made a beeline for the Peach State. The girls weren't thrilled about spending time with a sick old lady, but at least they would be together.
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