INSIDE OUT GIRL by Tish Cohen
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“Tish Cohen has created an endearing portrait of a type-A single mom in Inside Out Girl, but what you’ll really love is watching Rachel Berman’s transformation after becoming the guardian of learning disabled Olivia. As the pair’s relationship grows, Rachel finally comes to realize that being perfect has almost nothing to do with being truly happy.” -- Parenting Magazine
“It’s too soon to tell whether Inside Out Girl will be coming soon to a theatre or plasma screen near you, but the odds seem pretty good . . . Cohen uses wry humor and genuine emotion to bring about a bittersweet close. That empathetic quality, regardless of Hollywood’s persistent calls, is what marks Cohen as one of Canada’s strongest new talents.” --MACLEAN'S magazine (Canada)
Read the excerpt below, then answer the questions below for a chance to win a free copy of "Inside Out Girl." If you already have the book or don't want to answer the questions, then please feel free to drop in to say hello and talk to Tish!!
Then—the reason she’d been late getting dressed—Tabitha Carlisle. Gazing at Tabitha from afar, Janie stumbled over a rock. Which pretty much summed things up. About three months ago, Janie tripped over Tabitha and had yet to stand up straight.
It happened in gym class. Well, after gym class, in the locker room. Most of the girls were in the shower, but not Janie. She never showered at school. She didn’t want anyone to see her naked, but Tabitha and her friends had no such bodily hang-ups. They came back from the showers barely wrapped in towels, giggling and completely oblivious to who might be trying not to look at them. Tabitha’s clothes were in the cubby next to Janie’s.
Janie had turned her back and was yanking a t-shirt over her head so no one could see the suit of armor that was her bra, when someone tapped her on the shoulder. She spun around to find Tabitha smiling and holding something out in her hand. It was Janie’s striped hairband.
“It was on the floor,” Tabitha said, wearing nothing but a flimsy blue bra and panties. Powder blue. With tiny blue satin rosettes sprinkled across the front. Not that Janie looked. “Is it yours?”
So nervous she thought she’d throw up, Janie grunted and snatched up the hairband more aggressively than intended.
“You’re from the bus stop, right?” Tabitha had moved in next door a few days prior. But half her gymnastics team went to The Wilton School—the pricey alternative private school Janie and Dustin had attended since kindergarten and would continue to attend until college—so Tabitha had built-in friends. “I’ve learned so many names since moving, I keep forgetting.”
Janie smiled and stood up taller, nodding. “Cool.”
Tabitha smiled and motioned toward Janie’s chest. “It’s sweet.”
“Your hairband.” She reached out and touched the strip of fabric Janie still held in her hand. “I wish I had one like it.” Then she turned back to her friends, leaving Janie more gnarled than the ratted nylon.
Now, Janie swallowed as she approached the bus stop. How could anyone look so good just standing there? Tabitha’s long blond hair was tucked behind her ears. Janie already knew she’d be wearing the faded khakis and three black rubber bracelets. Her binoculars were that good.
Just as Janie was preparing a witty comment—something about Tabitha’s bracelets and good things coming in threes—the bus roared up and blanketed her unlaced Doc Martens in a film of dust. As the other kids hauled themselves up and into the vehicle, Janie hung back.
She had a plan.
Tabitha Carlisle was a creature of habit. Every morning, grinning at Libby Anders in the second row, she sauntered down the aisle, then flopped into the seat with the wheel well so she could prop her feet on it. Always on the left, always by the window. Janie just needed to casually slide into the empty seat beside Tabitha and dazzle her with her shining personality. Simple.
The doors yelped to a close behind Janie. Tabitha’s blond hair glowed, beckoning, just where it should be – about two-thirds of the way back, on the left. By the window. For a second it looked as if Dustin, little shitface, might swing into Tabitha’s seat. Janie held her breath and vowed to pound him after school, but at the last moment his revolting friend burped Dustin’s name from the back seat and he continued on, clearly charmed.
As the bus pulled out into traffic, Janie slid into the left wheel well seat. Right beside Tabitha.
Tabitha glanced up and pretend-smiled. “Saved,” was all she said.
Janie jumped up, mumbled, “Sorry,” and dove into the next seat back. She folded her arms across her chest and tried not to stare at Tabitha’s hair the rest of the way to school.
1) Tish has acquired many hang-ups throughout the years. Name one of them.
2) Residing in Tish's computer is a folder called "Character Nicknames." Little Shitface is in there. What's another nickname in that folder? (Not too racy, folks!)
3) How does Tish charm her friends into sitting next to her on the bus?