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Betty Jo Writes
When Kaitlin Thomas finally overcomes her shyness, she's forced to do it in front of the whole world, but her best friend Melinda cheers her on as she finally dares to dream.
This is a coming of age story. Dare to Dream is full of wonderful characters and scenes that will appeal to a preteen who is full of worry about her appearance. Kaitlin's wish for curly hair and her conflicting feelings about being a wallflower will make a young reader feel right in tune with the story.
"I can't believe you're crying in front of two hundred kids. My best friend Melinda Vest stared across the table at me. "Something really bad must have happened."
"Grossly awful. Totally terrible. The pits." We were sitting in the school cafeteria. I dashed the tears away with my hand. "Mom and Vic are planning a formal wedding. The big splashy kind with rice and music. And Mom wants me to be flower girl."
Mel shrugged and ate a potato chip. "Tell her eleven is too old for a flower girl."
"I'm not the only one who's too old! My mother is forty with a daughter in college, for Jake's sake. A big wedding at her age is embarrassing."
"Don't be so dramatic. My mother's thirty-five and had a baby this year. Try that for embarrassing."
"Thirty-five isn't as bad as forty!"
"Marriage isn't as bad as Rosie. I have to baby-sit."
"At least, no one's looking at you."
"Rosie spits up milk and dirties her diapers. I have to clean her up."
"That's really gross," I admitted, shuddering. If my mom and Vic had a baby, I'd run away from home.
"You like Vic, don't you?" Mel asked.
"Well, sure. What's not to like? Victor Margola is Italian with dark curly hair and good-looking. And he has a mustache. I love mustaches. Besides that, he's nice. But--"
"I win," Mel said, grinning. "Rosie is worse than Vic."
"Of course, she's worse," I screeched. "But I have to walk down the aisle in front of fifty wedding guests."
"So? Get out of it or get over it."
"Being self-conscious. You worry too much what people think and say about you."
The bell rang and we went back to class, but I fumed all afternoon.
I am self-conscious, but get over it? Easy for Mel to say. Tall for eleven, she's African-American with skin the color of coffee ice cream. She's beautiful and wants to be a model. She walks with her shoulders thrown back like she owns the world. Me? I'm vanilla, plain, and shy.
More often than not, I have a zit on my nose. I lope instead of walk and sometimes I slump. And I don't know what I want.
All I know is what I don't want. I don't want Mom to have a fancy wedding. And I sure don't want to be a flower girl.