Win a copy of The Upside of Ordinary! Details at the end of this post.

A big THANK YOU to Dad and the Super-pro vacuum he ordered on the internet. The huge carton it arrived in yesterday is just my size.

Through the little peephole I made in one of the cardboard walls, I film my sister Zelda eating left-over lasagna for breakfast.

I zoom in on her face as she spoons a stack of cheesy noodles into her mouth, her eyes glued to the TV. On the screen, two girls argue and a bad word gets bleeped out.

“Ha! UNBLALEEVRABLE!” Zelda says with a stuffed face.

“Mom doesn’t like us to watch this reality show,” I say popping up from inside the box.

“AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” My sister screams. A hunk of curly pasta drops out of her mouth. Zelda coughs. “Are you trying to kill me?” She sputters, “I almost choked to death!”

“Sorry,” I say lifting my leg over the top of the box. Zelda drops her plate onto the coffee table. It clanks against the wooden top which makes a great sound effect. Susie shuffles over and gobbles up the rest, the tags on her collar clinking with every lick.

“You’re not sorry!” Zelda sneers, “you’re a sneaky, annoying GERM!”

I’m not really a germ. ‘Jerm’ is short for Jermaine, my name. Out of context it sounds like another word for bacteria… gross… I know. But it’s catchy too… perfect for a famous person.

“You were great!” I tell Zelda. “The element of surprise works for you.”

“Leave me alone!” she snaps. I follow her, filming the back of her head, as she stomps into the kitchen.

Five days ago I started filming the reality show I am making about my family. So far this is what I have for footage: Mom cleaning a chicken for dinner, and thirty minutes of her working up a sweat on the Stairmaster; Susie rolling over for a biscuit; Dad plunging a toilet, sweeping the garage, and grumbling that no one but him ever thinks to throw out the brown bananas. The best stuff I’ve filmed is of my cranky big sister Zelda. I surprised her when she stepped out of the shower (though Mom made sure I erased it), I caught her hissy fit when she couldn’t find one of her sneakers, and of course there’s this morning’s riveting moment when she spat out that forkful of lasagna. And I’m just getting started! My reality show will be hugely interesting, which will make me hugely famous. I plan to include the seven hamsters living under the Ping-Pong table in my basement too. I didn’t mean to have seven. I brought only one home from the pet store. But a week or so later, Bernie gave birth to six babies! Dad says we should change Bernie’s name to Bernadette, but I think her name works just fine. (Note to self: film the cleaning of the cages).

Excerpt copyright © 2012 Susan Lubner

About the book:

Jermaine Davidson wants to be famous: limo-riding, camera-flashing, crowd-waving famous.

Since her family isn’t likely to move from Maine to Hollywood so she can become a movie star, Jermaine decides she’ll make a reality show about her family and friends. This laugh-aloud debut novel takes a lighthearted look at unbridled ambition, the cult of celebrity, the reality behind reality TV, and the upside of being part of an ordinary but loving family.

Released: August 1, 2012

About the author:

Susan Lubner is the author of three picture books (Abrams), and the middle grade novel The Upside of Ordinary (Holiday House). Her work has been published in Spider Magazine and two other stories will be published in forthcoming issues of Highlights for Children. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and a very spoiled dog who loves books so much he tries to eat them when no one’s looking. Visit her at


Susan has been kind enough to contribute a copy of The Upside of Ordinary for a giveaway!

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter [+1 entry].

-Link to this contest on Twitter, Facebook, etc. [+1 entry per each link].

Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on September 12th at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!