I thought everything would make sense when I grew up. But the adults are falling apart, my friends are being weird, and I might not make it to 13.
The Buena Vista RV Resort perches high on a hill overlooking Flathead Lake in Montana. Every day, as long as the weather is nice, I can see rigs of all shapes and sizes crawl up the hill to our entrance. They pause for a moment while the owner’s check in with my mom, then rumble to their site behind a golf cart driven by Franklin Twoteeth, the resort’s all around gofer, or my Aunt Liz.
I’m Sophie Brown, and I can’t wait to grow up and get out of here. Living at an RV resort may sound like fun to you, but it’s a lot of work. Maybe that’s why my dad took a job as a long-haul trucker about four years ago. Mom runs the place most of the year with help from Franklin and Aunt Liz.
These last few months at school, things were different. What was easy isn’t any more. I’m not sure how to act because very few people are acting like they used to. And it’s not just how they act. Boys that used to be my height loom over me. They hang their arms on top of the lockers and stare at the girls who dress up.
I don’t want to dress up. I like wearing jeans. If I wear a skirt, it’s hard to play football or basketball outside. But if everyone else is changing, will I have to go along just to fit in? Just to have friends?I’ve got the summer to figure it out. But then my best friend goes away on vacation, some mean girls show up, and things get bad between my parents. How am I ever going to know what to do when I go back to middle school?
Things I’ll Know When I Grow Up is a children’s book for ages 9 through 12 set in small town Montana. It’s ideal for pre-teen girls who are struggling to figure out what is happening in their lives.
Teachers, to get a list of story questions, click here.
Read an Excerpt
Maybe talking to my dad about history would make it more understandable. Mr. Graf says the part about what happens, when it happened, and who did it are going to get worse next year. Besides, that will give me more time to spend with my dad.
I head back to the gym class. The rest of the kids are out playing a game of soccer. There’s only ten minutes left, so I go to the basketball court where a couple of teachers are helping some of the kids shoot baskets. These are the kids who are in special classes and come in and out of our regular classes, usually with an adult in tow.
“Hi!” says Segar with a big grin. “I like you!” Segar’s one of my favorites. She’s always happy to see me when she comes into our classroom, no matter what kind of day she’s had. Why does someone as nice as she is have to struggle with school? I hope when I grow up I’ll understand the reason. That’s why I put it in the notebook. But I’m not sure adults know either.
The kids roar back from the playground. I look for Kennedy and spot her talking to one of the popular girls. They’re giggling together. I give a hesitant wave as they come closer. The girl with Kennedy gives me a look, then stares at Segar, and then looks back at me.
“Some kids are just hopeless,” she says to Kennedy.
Kennedy looks shocked but doesn’t say anything.
The girl points at me. “I didn’t mean you. The other one.” She gestures at Segar. “C’mon, let’s get to class.” She waves at me to come along with them.
I join them, not defending Segar, not even daring to look back at her, just grateful to be included.
But it doesn’t make me as happy as I thought it would.
End of Excerpt