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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: Nicole's "To Do" List
By Kristen Hester


I shove the loose papers into the back of my school locker and quickly slam the door before anything can fall out. I really should organize my locker. Of course, I also need to finish my research paper, get a summer job, learn the pep rally routine, and find a prom date. Currently, finding a prom date is at the top of my “to do” list, and organizing my locker is way at the bottom.

I feel a tap on my shoulder and turn to see Jessica, my oldest friend and polar opposite. I stare at Jessica in surprise. Jessica recreates her image on a weekly basis. Apparently, her new style is “urban.” While this look is a slight improvement over her gothic faze, she appears ridiculous in the baggy jeans that are a foot too long and the huge hoodie that swallows her large frame. She has completed her new look with a big Mercedes emblem worn on a chain around her neck and a backwards baseball cap. I’m more Gap than Rocawear. And while I’m often self conscience about my tall, too thin body and my long, too straight blonde hair, shorter, rounder Jessica never lacks confidence.

“Hey, homie. Whuzzz up?” Jessica asks.

I do an eye roll at her urban lingo. “Not much.”

“Any prospects for prom?” she asks.


Jessica knows I’m in a desperate situation. I have a prom dress but no date. I’d had a date with my boyfriend, Justin, but that all ended last weekend. Justin said he had to stay home and study, so I went to the movies with Jessica. During the movie, I was disgusted by a couple three rows in front of us who locked lips through the entire flick. Unfortunately, when the lights came on, I realized the male part of the two headed make out monster was my boyfriend. The female part was varsity cheerleader Tiffany Snow, the person responsible for my loathed grade school nickname, “Nicole the Pole”.

I’m just thankful I didn’t know it was my boyfriend starring in the side show until after the movie. It would have totally distracted me from the picture, and I love Orlando Bloom. Needless to say, witnessing your boyfriend make-out with another girl has a negative affect on your relationship and prom arrangement.

“Cheer up, emo kid. The Big Man has your back,” Jessica says as she points Heavenward.

I smile. Despite Jessica’s oddities, she is a good friend and helps keep me focused on the right things.

“Thanks,” I say. The warning bell rings indicating we have two minutes until we are late for class, so I attempt to turn and run. Unfortunately, my purse strap is caught in my locker and I’m yanked backwards. This causes me to lose my balance and fall, scattering my books and the contents of my purse across the hallway.

Jessica, who is one tardy away from detention, shrugs her shoulders and mouths, “Sorry,” then jogs to class. So much for “good friend,” I think grimly.

I am on all fours, trying to crawl around the floor and collect my belongings with as much dignity as possible, when I find myself face to face with David Walker. David is a new, handsome transfer student and star baseball player.

“Okay, God,” I pray silently, “This would be a really good time for the rapture.”

David gathers my books and belongings. He pauses when he comes to my Bible.

“This is a really good study Bible. I have the same one,” he says as he stands.

Gulp. He’s talking to me. He holds out his hand to help me up. He touched me! Deep breath. Sigh.

“Hey. I’m David Walker. Who are you?”

“Nicole Livingston,” I manage to say.

“Nice to meet you,” David says with a smile. The tardy bell rings.

“I have to go. Thanks for helping me with my books.” I start to leave.

“Wait. I think this is yours,” he says as he hands me a tampon.

“Oh, thanks.” I grab the tampon, stuff it into my purse, and make a quick get away.

After school, I’m stressing about not having a prom date and my embarrassing introduction to David McDreamy, when my home phone rings.


“Nicole? This is David Walker. I met you today in the hallway. I’m new here and I was wondering . . . Would you like to go to prom with me?”

“Wow God!” I pray silently. “Sorry I stressed. You do always have my back.”

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This article has been read 927 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jacquelyn Horne06/14/07
Good article on teen's woes and how God works even for teens. Good story. A winner maybe?
Kaylee Blake 06/14/07
This is pretty darn great! As a teen myself (I have a feeling, I'll be saying that a lot), this really held my attention. I thought that the tampon thing (though antirely possible, I know...) felt sorta out of place, especially with the sudden "Hi, I'm David, I'm new. Ya wanna go to prom with me?" lol, but I know the word count can be an issue sometimes. I suspect you'll be moving up to advanced pretty soon...
Kaylee Blake 06/14/07
Oh, and I forgot to mention, Keep up the good work!
Marilee Alvey06/14/07
Superb job! You did such a good job replicating a teenager's life that I found myself breaking out as I read it! One of the biggest challenges for teenagers is the embarrassment they're always feeling. Boy, did you capture it, authentically. You could do no better than to have the girl spill her purse...with a tampon in it! Could there possibly be anything more embarrassing? My only suggestion here is to have her show it more: make her face turn red, make her feel hot and flushed as her face turns red. She must have wanted to crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after her. You've set it up, now finish the picture! You have an incredible talent and, in my opinion, this may very well be a winner. I hope that your bags are packed for Advanced, because, if this doesn't do it, with this talent, it won't be long. Well written and creative. Keep it up.
Joanne Sher 06/15/07
You did a wonderful job of getting right into the middle of your MC's life and heart. This felt completely, entirely and totally authentic. Good stuff!
Dee Yoder 06/15/07
Very good story! I like the humor and the setting; it's very authentic.
Beth LaBuff 06/16/07
Yes, you did capture a teen setting -- with teen issues and teen priorities. I enjoyed the "urban lingo" and learned a new spelling for "phase" (I might have to throw that one at my 15-year-old). :) I'll definitely have her read this!

As for the purse contents...that made for a memorable first meeting. :)

Could you have possibly wanted the word "conscious" instead of conscience?

I enjoyed this very much...and I'll soon get an "expert" opinion for you. :)
Paul Potenza06/16/07
I loved the whole thing but especially the last line where you thank God for "having your back".


Beth LaBuff 06/17/07
Comments from my teenager (plus a couple of 20-something girls listened as well) -- They enjoyed the humor that was throughout the piece. The description of the scene in the movie theater, and the phrase that went something like "the male head of the kissing monster" was really enjoyed.

I asked my 15-year old if anything like this had ever happened to her. I WAS SHOCKED to learn that when she was at Wal-Mart once her purse caught on the bag holders spilling all its contents! She said, fortunately no boys were around or there were no embarrasing items spilled ;).
Catrina Bradley 06/18/07
Excellent! She sounds so real - and I love her friend. I would have been much more mortified than the MC was when he handed her the tampon; she seemed to almost take it in stride. You have a good chance of placing with this article (imho). :)
Leigh MacKelvey06/19/07
Told you that you would move up quickly and this story isn't going to hold you back!
If not this quarter, next one you will be with me in advanced and more than likely get to Masters before me! I epecially liked the make-out monster and the "side show". Great descriptive, humorous phrases. Yes, a couple of tech mistakes, but nothing huge and it didn't take away from the story. Another great job!
Victoria Weathers06/19/07
I loved this story. It wasn't so dark. I loved that it contained humor. A romantic comedy.

My favorite line was, "“Okay, God,” I pray silently, “This would be a really good time for the rapture.” I also loved the tampon bit.

Good work. I could picture it in my mind like a movie was playing. Thank you.
Mo 06/19/07
Jan Ackerson 06/20/07
One of the best this week.
Trevas Walker06/20/07
Your story drew me in, and kept me the whole way through. I love the way you used humor to deliver such a powerful message. The big man has your back... great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/20/07
A most enjoyable read for the humor and the characters, as well as the plot. I hope it places.
Brenda Welc06/20/07
Well done. This would make a good after school special--do they still have those? LOL I loved the flow of this story. I also am very proud of myself for knowing what an emo is having just gone over this with my teenagers! Great writing.
Pam Carlson-Hetland06/20/07
Great story and great writing. Loved "McDreamy" - cute! Well done!
Sally Hanan06/20/07
This was great. You should really move up into advanced; you're too good for even this level. The end was the only part that could use some help, and that can be solved by making it longer so that it's not such a rush job on his asking her to prom. I'd look into ttrying to submit it somewhere after that -- maybe Brio magazine has fiction.
Sara Harricharan 06/20/07
LOL! This is definitely teen stuff. I liked it and I loved Nicole. She was easy to relate to. Good job. T and all. lol. ^_^
Melissa Albrecht06/20/07
Really enjoyed reading this Kristen!! Just loved the humour throughout...Well done!!
T. F. Chezum06/21/07
Very well written. This is a very good read. Great job.