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Amen, L. A.

Cover of Amen, L. A.

Amen, L. A.

Amen, L. A. Series, Book 1
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When Natalie Shelton and her family move from Minnesota to Beverly Hills, more changes than their zip code. Natalie's mom accepts a position as pastor with the Church of Beverly Hills--and Natalie's along for the ride. Before she can blink, she's living in a mansion once owned by Ricardo Montalban, going to school with hot young Hollywood stars, and partying in the park with kids who know no limits. It's an amazing new life--but if she doesn't watch out, Natalie could find herself seriously messed up. Natalie has values . . . but how long can she hold on to them?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

When Natalie Shelton and her family move from Minnesota to Beverly Hills, more changes than their zip code. Natalie's mom accepts a position as pastor with the Church of Beverly Hills--and Natalie's along for the ride. Before she can blink, she's living in a mansion once owned by Ricardo Montalban, going to school with hot young Hollywood stars, and partying in the park with kids who know no limits. It's an amazing new life--but if she doesn't watch out, Natalie could find herself seriously messed up. Natalie has values . . . but how long can she hold on to them?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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  • Reading Level:
    7 - 12

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Of course, that didn't mean I didn't think about what I'd done with Sean the entire two-hour shuttle van ride from Mankato to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and then a goodly part of the four-hour flight from the Twin Cities to Burbank, California. Fortunately, my father, brother, and sister were sitting in the row behind me, row 12, while I had secured the window seat on the left side of row 11. My father was doing hard-copy revisions of his latest novel, Gemma was rewatching Jersey Shore on her iPod, and Chad was sleeping.

    As for row 11, unfortunately, the middle and aisle seats were occupied by a pair of adult twin ladies in wide matching poodle-themed skirts. Members of the Poodle Club of America, en route to a poodle convention in Los Angeles, they were traveling with matching champagne toy poodles named Fred and Ginger. Ginger sported a rhinestone collar and her nails were painted silver. Fred had a black tuxedo collar. Their little poodle carriers were a joke.

    Some people say that evangelical Christians can get too enthusiastic in their efforts to bring church to the unchurched. I am here to say that they have nothing on the poodle ladies in their efforts to convert me to the pulpit of poodles.

    Pretending to sleep was my best option, but then I really did doze off, with thoughts of Sean and what we'd done the night before dancing in my head. Not good. Sugarplums should dance in your head, not the loss of your virginity on the floor at a party and not being too pleased with yourself for having done it.

    My mom had come to Los Angeles a week ahead of the rest of us to start at the church; Dad had stayed behind in Mankato so that we kids could finish our finals. The church had put her back in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, since our new home was being repainted and re-everything else, but that day it would be ready and we'd all move in. I was half convinced that the moment my mom saw us, she'd know I'd had sex. Sometimes she's spooky like that. If she asked me, I'd be dead, because I found it impossible to lie to her. On the other hand, even if she didn't ask and I didn't tell, it would still be the building of a false impression.

    I could imagine her writing a sermon about that.

    What woke me up was a poke in my ribs through the space that separated me from one of the poodle ladies. It was Gemma, lifting folds of poodle skirt to find me.

    "We're landing!" she shrieked with excitement.

    I rubbed my sleepy eyes and then gazed out the window. Thanks to Google Earth, I had an idea of what Los Angeles looks like from five thousand feet, but a computer screen can't give you the scale. It's huge. A hundreds-of-square-miles sprawl of buildings, houses, and freeways, stretching from the San Bernardino Mountains to the ocean. I got a bird's-eye view of the two big freeways, the 101 and the 405, which I would come to know and loathe well. It was just a little after noon--we'd dropped two time zones on the flight--but both freeways were stop and go. Mostly stop.

    "Isn't this exciting?" Gemma squealed. "California. Thank you, Mom. Thank you!"

    Fifteen minutes later, we were on the ground. I retrieved my guitar from the overhead compartment--it's a beauty, an acoustic Takamine that was an operative result of several hundred hours of babysitting--and slung a small backpack over my other shoulder, and after heartfelt hugs from the poodle ladies, I was good to go. Since it had been eighty degrees in the Twin Cities when we'd taken off, and it was the same temperature here in Burbank, I was traveling comfortably in a battered pair of no-name jeans, a Mankato State University T-shirt, and...

About the Author-
  • CHERIE BENNETT and JEFF GOTTESFELD have been writing partners on projects in fiction, film, television, and stage. Their most recent Random House book was A Heart Divided. This is their first Random House series.

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    Random House Children's Books
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