By Geoff Rodkey
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Claudia Tapper just doesn’t get it: How is it possible that the video of the best breakup song she’s ever written is watched by virtually nobody, when her brother Reese’s completely moronic 2-second clip of an video game wipeout ends up being the hottest thing online at Culvert Prep? Unfortunately, Claudia’s bold declaration of injustice sets the stage for the bet of her life: Which of the Tapper twins can get more online followers in a week? She had better top Reese’s rapidly escalating popularity or she can kiss her social life goodbye if she loses the bet and is forced to post the most embarrassing video imaginable!
I MIGHT HAVE JUST WRITTEN A HIT SONG
It all started when I wrote a song. Then I posted it online. Because I was hoping it would go viral, and millions of people would listen to it and turn it into a massive hit.
Basically, you were trying to get famous.
I guess so. But not in a gross way. I'm not one of those people who's totally into herself and desperate for attention, so she vlogs every day on MeVid about her shoes, or her nail polish, or how her dog barfed in the car on the way to the vet.
For me, it's all about my music. The only way I'd ever want to get famous is by creating amazing songs that people love. And I work VERY hard at it. I've been taking guitar lessons for almost three years, and I try to practice an hour every day. Ed. Note: (or getting elected president of U.S.A.—but that is a whole other story) (which you can read in THE TAPPER TWINS RUN FOR PRESIDENT)
You're for sure getting better. Like, I used to hear you practice and think, "Is she playing that guitar? Or just chewing on the strings? 'Cause that does NOT sound like music."
But lately, I'm more like, "Hey, I think that's an actual song."
Thanks, Reese. I'm SO glad Ed. Note: (sarcasm) you don't think it sounds like I'm chewing on my guitar strings.
Not as glad as I am. My bedroom's right next to yours. And the walls are mad thin.
FYI, Reese and I live in New York City. Which is very inspiring, because a LOT of famous singer-songwriters have lived here. For example, John Lennon of the Beatles used to live just thirteen and a half blocks from our apartment on the Upper West Side.
And according to OMG Celebrities In The Wild!, my absolutely favorite singer-songwriter of all time, Miranda Fleet, just bought an apartment downtown for 20 million dollars. Which is completely crazy. It seems like if you spend 20 million dollars, you should get the whole building.
Anyway, not only have I worked incredibly hard on my guitar skills, but I've been writing tons of songs lately. The one I posted online, "Windmill," was the tenth song I'd written just that week.
This is because whenever I have majorly intense feelings I don't know how to deal with, I write songs about them to try to get my head straight. And I was in serious emotional pain that whole week. I'm not going to discuss why, because it's personal and nobody's business.
SOPHIE KOH, best friend of Claudia
Claudia, you HAVE to discuss it! You're still hurting inside! You need to talk it out!
PARVATI GUPTA, second-best friend of Claudia
OMG, Claude, you TOTALLY have to! Not only that, you DEFS need to call out Jens for how insanely cruel he was to you.
CARMEN GUTIERREZ, other second-best friend of Claudia
Seriously. You're writing this book to teach people important lessons, right? Well, you know what's an incredibly important lesson that every boy on earth should learn?
"DON'T BREAK UP WITH SOMEBODY IN A TEXT MESSAGE!"
Okay, fine. I will discuss the breakup. But just for a second.
More than that! Make it a whole chapter!
Totally. It should be its own chapter.
JENS KUYPERS BROKE UP WITH ME IN A TEXT MESSAGE
Jens Ed. Note: "Jens" is pronounced "Yens" (he is from the Netherlands) (where J's sound like Y's) Kuypers and I went out for about four months. And we had gotten pretty close. So I really thought I knew him as a person.
Which is why it was basically devastating when he randomly texted me on a Tuesday night and broke up with me.
Since Jens has only lived in America for about six months, and his English still isn't great, at first I didn't really understand what he was saying.
JENS AND CLAUDIA (text messages)
For the record, "mad" does not really come close to describing how I felt. It was maybe 10% of my total feelings. Ed. Note: other 90% of feelings were: -shocked -betrayed -confused -sad -barfy -heartbroken -MURDEROUSLY RAGEFUL
You were SO sad after that breakup! I felt so bad for you, I tried to get Mom and Dad to get a puppy to cheer you up.
You were just using my breakup as an excuse! You've been trying to get Mom and Dad to get us a puppy for YEARS.
I know. But I still felt bad for you.
Jens was just the worst. And I STILL think you should get back at him by posting that totally embarrassing pic on your ClickChat page.
I'd never do that. No matter how much he deserves it. It's just too mean.
On the bright side, though, you DID get an awesome song out of it.
Like I said, I wrote a lot of songs about the breakup.Ed. Note: FULL LIST OF BREAKUP SONGS I WROTE: -Devastated -It's Over -Brown Eyes, Black Heart -Deleted (aka The Swipe Left Song) -Textless -Jens Is a Yerk (WARNING: explicit lyrics) -Empty Vest -Brand New Me -Windmill But "Windmill" was definitely the best. It had an awesome riff, and the chorus ("One day you're up and the next day you're down / Life is like a windmill going round and round…") was super catchy.
So I kind of suspected it was good. But I didn't realize HOW good until I played it for my guitar teacher, Randy.
RANDY RHOADS, Claudia's guitar teacher
I'm not jiving Ed. Note: Randy is from the 1970s you, kid. "Windmill" is a HOT song.
But you say that about all my songs.
Well, yeah. But… I'm a guitar teacher. Being encouraging is half the gig. So even if some cat brings in a tune that makes me want to stab myself in the ear with a pencil, I gotta be all, "Great job, kiddo! Keep at it!"
Umm… this is actually kind of awkward. How many of MY songs have made you want to stab yourself in the ear with a pencil?
Don't go there, kid. We're just talking "Windmill" right now. Which is HOT! No jive. That song could be on the radio.
After Randy told me it was great and helped me write a bridge Ed. Note: bridge = part in mid-song that's different from the rest of the song for it, I played "Windmill" for my friends while we were all on a ClickChat video hangout.
And they pretty much loved it.
If that song came up on a playlist, I would DEFINITELY check to see who the artist was. And I would get ALL her songs.
OMG IT WAS THE MOST AMAZING SONG EVER!
I was like, "I can't believe this! You're going to be a star! And I'm going to be in your entourage! SQUEEEEEE!"
Until my friends heard it, I hadn't even been thinking about putting "Windmill" online. I knew for a fact that my idol, Miranda Fleet, didn't start putting songs out until she was fourteen. So I figured I should wait until I was at least in seventh grade.
But after I played it for them, all three of my friends told me I absolutely had to put it out there and get huge.
So I did.
GETTING HUGE IS MUCH HARDER THAN IT LOOKS
The first thing I had to do was make a video. Because on the Internet, you can't just ask people to listen to a song—you have to give them something to look at while they're listening.
Carmen is very artistic, and she agreed to direct the video for me.
I've been wanting to get into filmmaking for a while. So this was a great opportunity. And it was kind of a challenge. Because you wouldn't let me show your face in the video.
I didn't want Carmen putting my face in the video because A) I wanted to keep the focus on the music, and B) sometimes when I play guitar, I scrunch up my eyes in a weird-looking way, and I didn't want people seeing that and trolling me for it.
It's hilarious when you make that guitar face! You look like you're pooping!
This is EXACTLY what I mean by "trolling."
Instead of filming me playing the song, Carmen shot close-ups of my hands playing the guitar. Then she intercut those with shots of a pinwheel that we filmed on the roof garden of my building.
The video turned out great. And Carmen was totally right that a pinwheel was just as good as an actual windmill. So I'd like to officially apologize to her for the fight we got into about that.
It's all good. I mean, it's not like I didn't WANT to use a real windmill. It's just that it's basically impossible to find them in New York City. And when you do, they don't look like windmills.
After Carmen finished the "Windmill" video and all I had to do was upload it to MeVid, I got incredibly nervous. Because the way my friends were talking, this video was going to be MAJOR. And it seemed like once I put it online, my whole life might change forever.
CLICKCHAT POSTS (PRIVATE CHAT)
It took me a whole day to get up the courage to put "Windmill" on MeVid. When I finally did, I posted on ClickChat to let everybody know about it:
Then I shut down my computer, because I didn't want to spend all night constantly reloading the MeVid page to see how many views I'd gotten.
But I couldn't help myself. So after half an hour of pacing back and forth in my room and reminding myself to stay totally down-to-earth no matter how huge I got, I went back online.
Then I spent the rest of the night constantly reloading the MeVid page.
It turned out I didn't have to worry about staying down-to-earth. Or about my life changing forever. Or even for five minutes.
Because nobody watched the video. That whole first night it was online, it only got 37 views.
And at least 30 of those were Parvati.
I had it on repeat. Because it was SO AWESOME!
By the next morning, "Windmill" was only up to 41 views. And I realized if I wanted to make it a hit, I was going to have to do a TON of promoting it.
Which felt a little icky. But fortunately, my friends helped a lot.
We pretty much forced the whole Culvert Prep sixth grade to watch it.
It wasn't just sixth graders. I was personally responsible for at LEAST ten page views from eighth graders.
AKASH GUPTA, eighth grader/older brother of Parvati
My annoying little sister parked her butt at our lunch table and refused to leave until my friends and I all watched Claudia's video on our phones.
Aren't you glad I did? You LOVE "Windmill"!
It's pretty catchy. Not my kind of music, though. If there was an EDM remix, I'd be more into that.
The reaction I got from kids at school was VERY encouraging.
KALISHA HENDRICKS, sixth grader/extremely smart person
It's a really excellent song, Claudia. You should be proud of yourself.
DIMITRI SHARANSKY, sixth grader/moderately smart person
Big ups! It was cool.
Although not everybody was encouraging. The Fembots Ed. Note: FEMBOTS = annoying 6th grade rich girls who look down on everybody else for not being rich/annoying enough all ragged on it. Then again, they rag on everything.
Praise for The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other):A New York Times Bestseller*"This uproarious series opener... is packed with both laugh-out-loud moments and heart."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
- "Appealing to tween digital natives and fans of 'Origami Yoda'...and 'Charlie Joe Jackson'.... A fine beginning to a funny, new middle grade series."—School Library Journal
- "An engaging mash-up of history, gaming, social media and family dynamics."—Shelf Awareness
- "An authentic and funny look at sibling rivalry."—VOYA
- Praise for The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York:*"The scavenger hunt is a total success, as is the writing style and humor of this story.... Readers who like to laugh aloud will enjoy this book"—School Library Connection, starred review
- "Everyone--not just native New Yorkers--will enjoy this madcap, uproarious romp around the Big Apple.... It won't take long for fans of the first installment, or new fans, to drop right into the action, hilarity, and mayhem."—School Library Journal
- Praise for The Tapper Twins Run for President:
"Rodkey's comical picture of the political arena's cut and thrust is certainly timely...the parallels with campaigns on broader stages will be obvious to all."—Kirkus Reviews
- On Sale
- Mar 6, 2018
- Page Count
- 256 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers