Win a signed copy of A Whole Lot of Lucky! Details at the end of this post.

I didn’t do it.

I am innocent.

I know convicts say that even when they’re guilty, but I’m telling you the truth. At three-oh-five today, I didn’t mean to push Amanda on her bike so hard that she sailed off the curb and fell splat on the road in the pickup line after school. Thank God Mrs. McCrory had just paid the garage to tune up her Honda. That van stops on a dime now (and hardly even came close to hitting Amanda).

If you’re the type of person who judges people guilty instead of presuming them innocent, you should put this book down and walk away. Don’t even look back. But if you’re still reading this—and I know you are because there you are and here I am—then you are the type of person who likes to know the truth and that’s just what I’m going to tell you.

“How do you like my new bike?” Amanda had asked, running her fingers along the pink, thickly padded seat. “It’s got twelve speeds.” She’d made a special trip to my house Sunday afternoon. Her shiny blonde hair was still pinned back on either side in her church barrettes, but she’d changed from her dress into capris and a green top. Usually, I rode to her house after church, so that’s how I knew she was showing off. A new bike—it wasn’t even her birthday.

I stepped out from the chilly shadow of the house into the warm brightness of the day. Florida sunshine is at its best in February. Your feet feel like blocks of ice in the morning, but your toes are sticking out of sandals by lunch. The air is light and sends ribbons of sunshine through your window, inviting you to come outside and play.

Amanda stood by me as I took in the glittery seat, the tangle of wires that allowed for speed and braking, and the rainbow-colored monkeys she’d already clipped to the spokes. The frame was pink and white with black lightning striking the sides. “Nice,” I said. “Can I ride it?”

Her gaze flitted over to our garage. Bougainvillea vines crept up the outside of it and wove green tendrils through the fraying net of the basketball hoop. Huge bunches of purpley-pink explosions hid the thin white paint of the cinderblocks. Occasionally, Dad cut the branches with his hedge trimmers, but those vines ran wild at night, growing an extra foot for each one Dad lopped off.

My bike leaned inside the open-mouthed garage.

Excerpt copyright © 2012 Danette Haworth 


About the book:

Hailee Richardson never realized how much she hated her Salvation Army life and Goodwill accessories until the night her family wins the lottery. All of a sudden she’s no longer the dorky girl at school without a cell phone or a brand-new bike! And the newfound popularity that comes with being a lottery winner is just what she’s always dreamed of. But the glow of her smartphone and fancy new clothes wears off when Hailee is transferred to Magnolia Academy, a private school. All of a sudden, her best friend and parents seem shabby compared to the beautiful Magnolia moms and the popular bad-girl Nikki, who seems to want to be her friend. Now, Hailee wants nothing more than to grow up-and away-from her old life. It’ll take one very busy social networking page, a stolen first kiss, and a whole carton of eggs for Hailee to realize that not all luck is good, not all change is bad, and a best friend who’s just a call away will always be more valuable than a phone.

What people are saying:

“Haworth effectively captures the self-consciousness, self-absorption & limited experience of a preteen, and the seductive charms of Facebook friendships for that age. Realistic, modern and still familiar, this is a middle school story both children and their parents should read.”–Kirkus, Starred Review

“Haworth does an excellent job of portraying the modern kid’s life (cell phones, Facebook) mixed with evergreen problems like trying to fit in with the popular crowd and cheating on tests.”–Booklist

Released: September 4, 2012

About the author:

Danette Haworth lives in Orlando, Florida with her family. The only thing Danette has ever won (beside Scrabble games) is a stuffed dog from a fireman’s bazaar. She named it George. Visit her at www.danettehaworth.com.

Giveaway:

Danette has been kind enough to contribute a signed copy of A Whole Lot of Lucky for a giveaway!

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on October 17th at midnight EST.

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter or like us on Facebook [+1 entry each].

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

Please list your extra entries in the comments.

Good luck and happy reading!