The Journal of Angela Ashby
By Liana Gardner
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: September 25th 2018
Genres: Middle-Grade, Paranormal
A Middle Grade “Death Note”
“With great power comes great responsibility.” ~Voltaire
I have great power.
That’s what she told me. The old fortune-teller at the school carnival.
I thought I was doing the right thing … with the magic journal she gave me. But nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
Or, for what I unleashed.
At a school carnival, a mysterious fortune-teller gives twelve-year-old Angela Ashby a journal and warns her to use it wisely. Nothing prepares Angela for the journal’s power—when she pours her heart onto its pages her desires come true.
She tests the journal by conjuring a gnome, a unicorn, and a farting fairy and then uses it to stop the school bullies in their tracks. But the unintended consequences alienate her best friend and puts her favorite teacher in danger of losing her job.
After she shares her deepest desire of all—that her parents get back together—her adversary steals the journal, and Angela fears she will use it to bring mayhem to the entire school if she doesn’t get it back.
He turned the key. He cranked it for a moment before the engine caught. “You’re going to have to give me more to go on than a shrug.”
I braced a foot against the dash. “Wherever. It’s your dinner.”
The engine idled. “No, it’s our dinner. I want to take you someplace you’ll enjoy.” He put the car in reverse to pull around the car parked in front of us. “Hey, how about the Kid Zone. You used to always love going there.”
“Dad, I’m twelve. Not two.” Parents could be so exasperating.
He hit a button to open a ceiling-mounted compartment. “Sorry. I can’t get used to my little girl growing up.” He pulled out his sunglasses and put them on. “Well, because you’re so grown up, do you want to try sushi?”
“You want to make things up to me with a special dinner and suggest raw fish? Ew, Dad. That’s gross.” I barely ate cooked fish, so the thought of raw fish disgusted me.
“I just want to spend time with my best girl.” Dad sighed. “They have teriyaki and tempura; you don’t have to have sushi. But we can go wherever you want to.”
I didn’t care where we went. “The fish place is fine.”
I turned on the radio and stared out the window as we drove along. Dad had the station set to talk radio. Boring.
When the station went to commercial break, the volume kicked up a notch. “Tired of feeling uncomfortable in a crowd? Struggling to get rid of the itchy, burning sensation and the crusty aftermath it brings? Don’t let jock itch ruin—”
Dad lunged for the button to change stations. I kept my head turned toward the window and attempted to suppress my giggles. His face was probably beet red.
He played with the radio stations trying to find something other than the talk show. I didn’t know what. After all, it was his car; you’d think he’d have other stations programmed.
Dad finally stopped fiddling with the stations when he landed on KWHZ.
Good grief. He thought he found a station I liked.
I had news for him. No one but young kids and adults trying to act like kids listened to it.
He bopped his head sideways to the beat of the music. “Good beat, huh, Angela?”
Someone please kill me now. I slumped further down in the seat. What if someone from school saw us together? While I sat helpless, a prisoner in his barely functional car, my dad acted like the dork of the century.
“Yeah, it’s happenin’, Dad.” I kept my tone deadpan, hoping he’d pick up the hint.
The restaurant better be close. The shorter the ride, the happier I’d be.
Oh no, he drummed the steering wheel in time with the head bopping. Next he’d start singing along.
My dad. The one-note wonder who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket with both hands. Maybe I’d be spared because he didn’t know the words.
Nope. He hummed with the music. Or tried. He sounded like a dying bumblebee in the last throes of an agonizing death. Would he get offended if I plugged my ears?
Too late. He broke out into full voice. With the wrong words.
The sound would worm its way around my fingers anyway. At this rate, it might melt my eardrums. “How far to the restaurant, Dad?” I had to stop the torture.
“What? Oh, we’re about five minutes from there.”
Great. Now to keep the conversation rolling for five minutes so he didn’t break into song again.
Liana Gardner is a two-time teen choice award-winning author of the Misfit McCabe series and finalist in 2018 International Book Awards for Children's Fiction. Daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana Gardner combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface. Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home, but allows her imagination to take her wherever she wants to go.
She fostered her love of writing after reading Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and discovering she had a great deal in common with the character Jo. The making up of stories, dramatic feelings, and a quick temper were enough for her to know she and Jo would have been kindred spirits.
Liana volunteers with high school students through the International Trade Education Programs (ITEP). ITEP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, ITEP helps young people "think globally and earn locally."
Her debut Middle Grade novel, 7th Grade Revolution, launched 10/24/2017 and will be followed by The Journal of Angela Ashby out 9.25.2018. Currently she is working on a chapter book series as LK Griffie, with creator Luke Matthews and co-authors Olivia Claire and Jared Cross, entitled Timmy and the Golden Lion Tamarin. In addition to the children's book series, she is working on a Middle Grade series which will be released under the name Liana Gardner, with the first book titled, The Star Warriors and the Secret of the Red Key. Her most recent YA novel, Speak No Evil, will also be released under the name Liana Gardner.
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