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What Matters Most

Cover of What Matters Most

What Matters Most

Diary of a Teenage Girl: Maya Series, Book 3
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Maya's Green Tip for the Day: Recycled fashion is one of the most fun ways to go green. A pair of jeans could be transformed into a denim skirt. A sweater into a vest. A bunch of old ties into a dress. A blanket into a poncho. Accessorize it in new way--with beads, buttons, appliqués, buckles, stencils, or ribbons...your imagination is only the limit. (65 words)

Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She's considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable--and Maya's ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything.

To complicate matters even more, Maya's mother will be released from prison soon, and she'll want Maya to live with her again. That's a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad's old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a "normal" life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Maya's Green Tip for the Day: Recycled fashion is one of the most fun ways to go green. A pair of jeans could be transformed into a denim skirt. A sweater into a vest. A bunch of old ties into a dress. A blanket into a poncho. Accessorize it in new way--with beads, buttons, appliqués, buckles, stencils, or ribbons...your imagination is only the limit. (65 words)

Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She's considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable--and Maya's ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything.

To complicate matters even more, Maya's mother will be released from prison soon, and she'll want Maya to live with her again. That's a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad's old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a "normal" life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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  • Reading Level:
    7 - 12

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Awards-
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One September 16
    Is it possible that trouble just naturally follows some people? Or perhaps there's something about my "magnetic personality" that attracts negativity. Or as Caitlin would say, maybe God is at work on me. But seriously, sometimes a girl just needs a break.

    Here's the deal. It's the third week of school, and I'm finally on fairly good terms with Brooke and Amanda, and Dominic and I are getting along okay, and my classes are going pretty well, and I've even made a few new friends. Things are looking up for Marissa, although she's still not out of the woods completely, but I'll get to that later.

    So anyway, it almost seems like I can relax just a little--like maybe I can just breathe and enjoy a taste of the normal life (a life still fairly unfamiliar to me). And suddenly I find out that I've made an enemy. Not just any enemy either. The girl who's set her mean-girl sights on me is none other than Miss Popularity. Not that I'm into that kind of thing. But according to Brooke and Amanda, Vanessa Hartman is. And for whatever reason, Vanessa Hartman is also into making my life miserable. Yesterday I thought our little encounter was just an accident. I actually laughed when she and her friends burst into the cafeteria with so much enthusiasm that they practically knocked me off my feet. Okay, I'll admit her apology sounded a little phony, and I thought I saw a glint of evil in her big blue eyes, but who am I to judge? Then today we had another "encounter." Only this one was a lot messier.

    I was standing in the cashier's line, minding my own business and waiting to pay for my lunch, when something icy cold slid downmy back. I jumped and turned around in time to see Vanessa looking surprised (maybe it was faux surprise).

    "Oh, did I do that? I was trying to squeeze into line and lifted my tray up." She shook her head with dumb blond wonder. "And it just sort of tipped. Sorry."

    Her friends were snickering, and I tried to shake ice off my back and pay for my lunch and get out of there as fast as possible to assess the damage.

    "What's up with that girl?" I asked Brooke Marshall as I sat down next to her. I've been eating lunch with her and Amanda Groves lately. Although I'm sure we make a strange trio since both these girls are petite and preppy whereas I'm more into retro and almost a foot taller. "I mean, yesterday she practically knocked me down, and today she does this. I can't wait to see what's on tomorrow's agenda."

    Brooke tried to blot the cold liquid out of my hoodie with a wad of napkins, but it was obvious I'd need to change. "It's okay," I told her. "I've got some work clothes in my car." Brooke laughed as she tossed down the damp napkins. "It figures you'd keep your cool clothes in your car and dress like this for school."

    "Well, Jacqueline's is known for stylish fashion, so I can't exactly show up in jeans." I peeled off my soggy hoodie. "And I can't go in wearing soda-soaked clothes either."

    "I can't believe she really did that. And her apology...give me a break." Brooke rolled her eyes, then imitated Vanessa. "'It sort of tipped. Sorry.' I mean, how does something 'sort of' tip?"

    "Conveniently down your back," added Amanda.

    Now Dominic Walsh was joining us. I smiled up at him, thinking, not for the first time, that he has the dreamiest blue eyes--such a contrast to his dark hair. "Hi, ladies." He set down his tray and slid next to me.

    "Did you see what Vanessa just did to Maya?" Amanda demanded.

    He nodded. "And it was pretty low."

    "Seriously, I wonder what's wrong with that girl?" Brooke asked.

    "I know what's wrong." Dominic smiled...
About the Author-
  • Melody Carlson is an award-winning, best-selling author of nearly two hundred books for teens, children, and adults, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the Secret Life of Samantha McGregor series, the True Color Series, and Notes from a Spinning Planet series. Melody has two grown sons and lives in central Oregon with her husband, where they enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping, and biking.

    From the Trade Paperback...

Reviews-
  • Jenny B. Jones, Award winning author of In Between and The Charmed Life series

    "Maya is a fun character! It's not even possible to read It's a Green Thing and not relate to her questions, her challenges, and her struggles as a teen and Christian. And I found myself jotting down her awesome eco-friendly tips!"

  • Virginia Smith, author of Sincerely, Mayla and Stuck in the Middle "As Maya Stark pours her heart out in her journal, readers are treated to an inside view of a life that is at times exotic and unfamiliar, and at other times hauntingly similar to our own. Maya's struggles become our struggles, her pain our pain, and her successes, therefore, even sweeter. A Not-So-Simple Life is another triumph for Melody Carlson."
  • Erynn Mangum, author of Miss Match "Fantastic book! Maya is so easy to like--this is a hard story to put down!"
  • Michelle Buckman, author of Maggie Come Lately and My Beautiful Disaster "Melody Carlson has proven her skill once again at writing gritty stories about characters in difficult situations. In A Not-so-Simple Life, Maya Stark seeks to escape life under the controlling hand of her drug-addict mother by acting on a plan for independence with admirable determination."
  • Patricia Rushford, author of the Max & Me Mysteries "I just finished Melody's book and loved it! The journal format makes the story, and Maya, so real and believable. Readers will easily be able to identify with the realistic approach to a prevalent situation."
Title Information+
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    The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
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Diary of a Teenage Girl: Maya Series, Book 3
Melody Carlson
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