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Just Ask

Cover of Just Ask

Just Ask

Diary of a Teenage Girl: Kim Series, Book 1
Borrow Borrow Borrow

Who Do You Ask When You Don't Have the Answers?

What's a girl to do when caught between a rock and a hard place? The "hard place" is losing the use of her beloved car, and the "rock" is her immovable dad. In order to regain driving privileges, Kim Peterson's dad talks her into writing an advice column for teens in his newspaper. Kim reluctantly agrees and writes under a pen name. But as she reads letters from peers and friends, she becomes keenly aware of two things: (1) Some kids have it way worse than her, and (2) she does not have all the answers! Who can she turn to?

Thursday, September 1

I've been saving for my own car, but my parents decided that I can only get a car if I keep a clean driving record. That means absolutely NO tickets--period--nada. And the policeman said he'd clocked me going 72 in a 55 mile zone. Oops.

When Kim Peterson gets a speeding ticket, her dad offers her a way to retain her driving privileges. If she'll write the anonymous teen advice column for his newspaper, she can still get a car. So Kim becomes "Jamie" of "Just Ask Jamie." No big deal, she thinks.

She answers letters about stuff that's everyday and stuff that's not: parents, piercings, dating, drugs, depression, and people who are just users. Nothing Kim can't handle.

But when a classmate is killed, the letters turn to questions about life, death, and what it all means. And Kim starts to wonder if she really does have all the answers--and if not, where to find them. The Christian faith of her adoptive family? The Buddhism of her Korean heritage? Who can she turn to--to just ask?

Story Behind the Book

"My teenage years remain vivid in my mind. It was a turbulent time full of sharp contrasts--love and hate, pain and pleasure, trust and doubt. Then, just as I reached my peak of questioning, rebelling, and seeking, I found God. And I found Him in a really big way! My life turned completely around and has, thankfully, never turned back. Hopefully this story will touch and change hearts--speaking to teen girls right where they live, reminding readers that God is alive and well and ready to be intimately involved in their lives right now! "

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Who Do You Ask When You Don't Have the Answers?

What's a girl to do when caught between a rock and a hard place? The "hard place" is losing the use of her beloved car, and the "rock" is her immovable dad. In order to regain driving privileges, Kim Peterson's dad talks her into writing an advice column for teens in his newspaper. Kim reluctantly agrees and writes under a pen name. But as she reads letters from peers and friends, she becomes keenly aware of two things: (1) Some kids have it way worse than her, and (2) she does not have all the answers! Who can she turn to?

Thursday, September 1

I've been saving for my own car, but my parents decided that I can only get a car if I keep a clean driving record. That means absolutely NO tickets--period--nada. And the policeman said he'd clocked me going 72 in a 55 mile zone. Oops.

When Kim Peterson gets a speeding ticket, her dad offers her a way to retain her driving privileges. If she'll write the anonymous teen advice column for his newspaper, she can still get a car. So Kim becomes "Jamie" of "Just Ask Jamie." No big deal, she thinks.

She answers letters about stuff that's everyday and stuff that's not: parents, piercings, dating, drugs, depression, and people who are just users. Nothing Kim can't handle.

But when a classmate is killed, the letters turn to questions about life, death, and what it all means. And Kim starts to wonder if she really does have all the answers--and if not, where to find them. The Christian faith of her adoptive family? The Buddhism of her Korean heritage? Who can she turn to--to just ask?

Story Behind the Book

"My teenage years remain vivid in my mind. It was a turbulent time full of sharp contrasts--love and hate, pain and pleasure, trust and doubt. Then, just as I reached my peak of questioning, rebelling, and seeking, I found God. And I found Him in a really big way! My life turned completely around and has, thankfully, never turned back. Hopefully this story will touch and change hearts--speaking to teen girls right where they live, reminding readers that God is alive and well and ready to be intimately involved in their lives right now! "

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    7 - 12

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Awards-
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One Thursday, September 1
    I never would've guessed that my own father would resort to using blackmail against me. I mean, I'm his only daughter, his "little princess" even. But it seems my dad has sunk to a new low lately. I suppose it's just the desperate cry of a frustrated newspaperman who lives in a rather small and boring town where big news only happens once in a great while. Like the time that guy went bonkers and shot a bunch of kids at McFadden
    High.

    I was still in middle school then, but the whole town was turned inside out over the senseless tragedy. All the big news networks flew in, and my dad ran stories in his
    paper for weeks--some that were even picked up by United Press International. He actually keeps those articles framed and hanging above his desk, which I personally think is kind of flaky, but I don't let on.

    It's not like we want these particular sorts of disasters (like the McFadden shooting) to happen on a regular basis exactly, but as my dad says, "That's what sells papers."

    Of course, we have other kinds of news too. Our local paper recently enjoyed the celebrity of the Christian rock band Redemption. Which is one of the reasons my
    dad started a new section in the paper called Teen Beat. A pretty lame name if you ask me, although he didn't. Anyway, I do go the extra mile to keep him informed of Redemption's latest news (like when they won a music award last spring). And that seems to keep him happy. Well, most of the time.

    The reason I keep him up-to-date on Redemption is because Chloe Miller (leader of the band) is a pretty good friend. I've actually known her for years, not just after she became rich and famous. There are those usertypes who really take advantage of her generous nature. Like "Chloe is my best friend" just because they had one conversation with her. But here's what's weird--she actually lets them use her like that.

    She says it's because she's a Christian. Yeah, right. I mean, just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you should let people walk all over you, does it? Not that
    she really lets people walk on her like that. But it's like she doesn't really mind either. And this seriously confuses me.

    Still, I do like and respect Chloe, and despite her whole Christianity thing, she seems like a genuinely real person to me. And even though she knows that I'm not so sure about the whole religion thing myself, she treats me like I'm a decent human being and worthy of
    respect.

    And I can't say that about all Christians. I mean, we have some kids at our school who are always trying to evangelize EVERYONE. And if you're not interested in listening to them, they snub you and treat you like you're Satan or just plain hopeless.
    It's not like I'm a "perfect heathen," as my mom sometimes teases when I skip out on church--something I've been doing a lot lately. But it's not like I don't know what goes on there. I mean, I used to go pretty regularly with my parents (well, only because they
    made me), and okay, I'm sure it's just fine for some people, but it's not for me.

    And it's not because my parents go to an "old-fashioned" church (as my best friend likes to call it). In fact, I actually kind of like the oldness to it--the reverent sounds of the organ playing up in the loft, the rich hues of stained glass, and the pungent smell of wood oil on the pews. But that's about where it stops for me. The rest of it is like one giant snooze. And frankly I'd rather do that in the comfort of my own bed.

    Fortunately, I was able to avoid church most of the time this past summer thanks to my job at the mall, which I had to give up because school was starting and my parents...
About the Author-
  • Melody Carlson has published more than 90 books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than 2 million. Several of her books have been the winners of various writing awards. Her Diary of a Teenage Girl series has received great reviews and overwhelming fan mail. Melody has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping, and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains .

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    The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
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