Oh, the Angst

[ETA:  I just want to say, Ellen and I did not plan this today!]

So I don't know if you've been following the Teen Diary Contest Extravaganza over at Nathan Bransford's blog, but the entries are angstarific.  Who knew there were so many cases of dead best friends, cheating boyfriends, cruel mothers, treacherous sisters, and unrequited crushes?  (Okay, I knew about the unrequited crushes.)  I would love to see the word cloud of all the entries.  I think the words "hate", "fair", and "mom" would rank pretty high up there.

I fought the urge to pull out my high school journals before writing my entry (and I've actually read a few of my followers' entries while perusing the comments...well done, guys!)  So here's my entry, and I feel I should clarify that I already submitted it, so any ideas for changing it would be a little moot at this point, but you're welcome to give suggestions anyway in case I ever develop it into something. [Oh, and 3 bonus entries in my upcoming giveaway, which shall involve a lot of pinkness and awesomeness, to the first person who can guess what story this is a modern day takeoff of.  Hint:  there's a name clue.]

Without further adieu...angst-o-rama:

Dear Diary,
Oh. My. Gosh.  Is this really my life?
Whenever anyone asks how we ended up living in this neighborhood, I’m always tempted to say, “Ours was a slow descent into poverty.”  Doesn’t that sound deliciously intriguing?  (Instead of what it is—humiliating and crappy.)  But, then, I don’t because (a.) that sounds like something Mare the drama queen would say, and (b.) it’s not technically true.  Dad ran off with a nineteen year-old, so the whole thing went down pretty fast.  And even though I hate it, I guess you can’t actually refer to living in a two bedroom condo in the outskirts of the best school district in Phoenix as being “poverty-stricken”. 
But I do have to share a bedroom with Mare.  Which sucks.
I’m probably the only teenager alive who can say she went to high school with her stepmother.  Brianna was exactly what you’d think.  Head cheerleader, head pom squad, head of her class.  And, apparently, head homewrecker.
Secretly, I think Mare enjoys it a little.  Oh, not the reality of it—Dad gone and consignment shop clothes.  But I think she relishes the excuse to throw herself face down on the bed sobbing every night and refusing to eat like a two year-old.
I’m sharing my bedroom with a two year-old.
Yesterday, I asked Mare to keep it down while I was studying, and she yelled, “We can’t all be Spartacus like you!”  I’m sure she meant “Spartans”, but I couldn’t muster the emotional energy to correct her.
So what new artillery shell got thrown into my ditch this morning?  Oh, just that Brianna the evil she-shrew’s brother got transferred to our school.  How is it possible that she is still ruining my life over a year later?  She’s not even old enough to drink.
Mrs. Huggins, the guidance counselor, called Mare and me into her office to break the news to us.  Mare lapped it up, of course.  She actually managed to wrangle an off-campus lunch pass out of it…to help “manage her anxiety”.  Anxiety, my left bum cheek.  I found a bunch of fun-sized candy bar wrappers stuffed under the driver’s seat after school.
I still can’t decide if the forewarning made it easier or harder.  I couldn’t think about anything else all day.  Mrs. Huggins left the reason behind his transfer kind of vague, which didn’t help.  She said he had to leave his boarding school due to an “incident”.  Which is funny because everyone knows that his parents sent him to said boarding school because of an “incident”.  (Namely, his bimbo older sister running off with those poor Dashwood girls’ father.)  
So there I was in Trig this afternoon, trying to focus on the sine of x or the cosine of y or…oh, who knows what the frack was going on?  He walked into the classroom.  My stepuncle.  But it gets worse.
He’s hot.

[P.S. Mystery solved! My fabulous friend Kristin sent it to me for Christmas, and Amazon.com didn't include the gift tag.  It was one of her favorite books of 2009, and I can't wait to read it!]


  1. I just adore your YA voice, Karen. The sense of humor and wit just shines through every time. The allusions to pop culture (BSG's "frack" for instance) make it so delicious, at least to me. But then, I suspect we are geeky in similar ways--like I was a girl percussionist in HS too.

    I'm guessing this is a new take on Sense and Sensibility. Am I right?

  2. Yay, Laurel! You figured it out! I'll give you +3 bonus entries in the giveaway coming up. :)

    ("Dashwood" is a unique name, isn't it? lol)

  3. You're BOTH BSG fans? No frackin' way! I love BSG. My hubby and I watched every single one.

    I absolutely loved your excerpt, Karen. More. more. more. :-)

  4. Shannon, I actually have never seen an episode of BSG, but I love the word frack. All my BSG fan friends have told me how much I'd love it. I'll rent the series.

  5. This was so awesome, I was laughing while reading it, just well done! I think if this girl was real I would so be friends with her, just so good.

  6. Great job! I didn't enter that contest, because I never wrote in a diary. I can't quite "get" it. You know what I mean? But you did fabulous!

  7. Yeah, the more I re-read it (a bad idea in general), the more I think it was too much story, not enough diary.

    C'est la vie!

  8. Love the twist at the end. You've managed to give the narrator a believable voice.

    I've been thinking about my entry, and yours has a similar "plot structure" to it, that it could work as flash fiction.