Revenge of the Snob Squad


By Julie Anne Peters

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A novel about friendship and finding your place from National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters.

When the relay race teams are chosen in gym class, it's clear that one team doesn't have a chance of winning: Jenny is more interested in eating candy than running around a track; Prairie has a bad leg; Lydia is a complete klutz; and Max is, well, Max. But together, they proudly dub themselves the "Snob Squad" and vow revenge on their arch enemies, the Neon Nikes, headed by the principal's spoiled daughter, Ashley Krupps.

As the Snob Squad members band together to thwart the Neon Nikes, they realize that their greatest weapon might not be as out of reach as they think.



Copyright © 1998 by Julie Anne Peters

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

First eBook Edition: December 2009

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

ISBN: 978-0-316-07223-6

Chapter 1

If they gave out a World's Worst Whiner Award, Lydia Beals would get it. She was already an official member of the Mickey Mouth Club. Totally obnoxious. And a brown-noser to boot. Nobody at Montrose Middle School could stand Lydia Beals. Including me.

Today Lydia was whining about having P.E. for six weeks straight. I had to agree, even though I didn't say it. Not even Lydia could hate gym class more than me. Mrs. Carpezio, our gym teacher, was off on maternity leave—having triplets, she claimed. Secretly I suspected she'd been bingeing on basketballs. It was real exciting for her but left us with this substitute, Mr. Dietz. Old. Crotchety.

First time I saw him I thought, He's not going to make it across the court without a walker. As I dragged into the gymnasium behind my class, I heard Lydia tell him, "Don't you know that choosing up teams causes permanent psychological damage in children? I should know. My mother's a child psychologist."

We heard this about six times a day.

Mr. Dietz said, "How 'bout if I make you a captain?"

Lydia's jaw jammed in the stuck-open position. "Okay." She beamed.

I dreaded gym anyway, but when Mr. Dietz announced that our school would be participating in a new fitness program, he almost got to scrape my lunch off the freshly lacquered floor. And when he said the first phase was team relay races, I considered leaving him breakfast, too. I wasn't alone. The communal groan could be heard in Pittsburgh. Where is Pittsburgh, anyway?

"Shut the door," Mr. Dietz told me. "Look alive."

I gave him my classic look of the Living Dead. It was a vacant stare perfected after many years of practice.

As usual, the elite cliques immediately separated themselves from the rest of us pond scum. Mr. Dietz blew his whistle, hoping, I guess, to cut through the comas. Good luck.

"Okay, folks, let's choose up teams."

To make myself invisible (which is a laugh if you could see me), I slouched against the tumbling mats in the back. Why delude myself? I always have been, and always will be, the last one picked for any team—sports or academic. Lydia Beals may be called Bealsqueal behind her back, but they call me Lardo Legs to my face.

"Melanie," Lydia called out her first choice. Prize pick for a relay race. Melanie had legs from here to Hong Kong. Where is Hong Kong?

"You gotta be kidding." Melanie tossed her thick lemon locks up over her shoulder. Melanie also had an ego that stretched to Toledo. Where is—oh, forget it.

"Mr. Dietz, do I have to?" she whined. "Ashley said I could be on her team."

Mr. Dietz hemmed. He hawed. Ashley Krupps was the principal's daughter and Dietz knew it. You didn't disappoint the principal's daughter. Not if you wanted to work at Montrose tomorrow.

"Okay, forget Melanie." Lydia saved his scrawny neck. "I'll take Zach Romero." As opposed to the new Zach whatever-his-name, who was as yet unproven. He'd be picked before me, too. Watch.

"No way, Jose," Zach said. "I'm on Kevin Rooney's team."

The sound of Kevin's name perked me up. I'm deeply in love with Kevin Rooney. Like I have a chance.

"Kevin hasn't even picked yet!" Lydia screeched. She hoisted her hands onto her hips. Through squinty eyes, she threatened the rest of us. Everyone lurched backward a step. Except me, of course.

"I'll go," a raspy voice rose from the sidelines. Pushing off from the brick wall with one army boot, Max McFarland strode across the basketball court. The sea parted to let Max through.

This is an interesting development, I thought. Max McFarland rarely participated in gym class. Only when we played basketball (which was my second most despised sport) or volleyball (a close third). Max was big. Not fat, like me, but solid. Bones of bronze. And tall, at least five ten. Mean, to boot. She scared the bejeezus out of us. Boys included.

Maxine McFarland. The only girl I knew who wore a training bra in second grade.

"Kevin, your pick," the daring Mr. Dietz called out. Kevin, love of my life, hitched his chin a fraction of an inch. Zach Romero responded. He swaggered up to take his predetermined position behind Kevin.

The last six squad captains made their picks. Then it was Lydia's turn again. "Rachel Cagney," she said.

"Mr. Dietz, Ashley promised I could be on her team, too." Rachel batted her mascara-caked eyelashes at Mr. Dietz. Gag me with an ice cream scoop.

"This isn't fair," Lydia wailed. "I'm the team cap—" Her words got garbled by the stranglehold Max imposed on her neck. The grip and twist caused the top button of Lydia's white lace blouse to pop off. It skittered across the shiny floor, while Max whispered in Lydia's ear.

"What!" Lydia recoiled. She glared at Max. Only for an instant, though. Lydia wasn't stupid. Her tight lips drew tighter. She folded her arms and humphed. "I pick Prairie," she muttered.

My eyebrows arched. Two interesting developments in one day. Spare me the excitement. Apparently Max McFarland planned to lose the race. Prairie Cactus (what a name, huh?) limped across the floor and teetered into place behind Max. If her head was even with Max's elbow, Prairie had grown an inch since lunch.

Even the physically challenged got picked before me. I tried not to let on what torture this was. From my pocket I withdrew a KitKat and unwrapped it.

As teams formed, the throng thinned. The lights dimmed. Finally it was the last round. Oh, the agony. I yearned for a Reese's peanut butter cup. A Snickers. One nub of a soft and chewy super-size Tootsie Roll.

Lydia's final turn. She opened her mouth, then clamped it shut. Twisting her head around, she queried Max. Max considered the crowd, nodded, and handed down her decision in Lydia's ear.

Lydia balked. Apparently she didn't value her life. Max balled a fist. Clucking in disgust, Lydia said, "Okay. Jenny Solano."

What? I jerked awake. Me? My eyes darted around the gym. It's a miracle, I thought. As I waddled my way past the remaining sixth graders to the opposite end, I counted heads…. Five, six, seven. For the first time in my life, I wasn't dead last. I was seventh to last.

"Thank you, God," I prayed to the acoustic tile. So this is what it feels like to be among the chosen few.

Chapter 2

Loudmouth Lydia, macho Max, peg leg Prairie, and sumo Solano. Talk about the dream team. We had the slowest time of all the relay teams. Big surprise. If you think we're going to exercise, get energized, and rally from behind to win in the end, you've OD'd on Disney. Get real. We didn't kill each other, which was a big disappointment for Max, I think. After the first heat she asked Mr. Dietz if she could just run all four legs of the race herself. That made Lydia foam at the mouth. Personally I felt it was the only chance we had. If Mr. Dietz promised me the Milky Way, or even a package of them, I couldn't have made it around that track again. Luckily he didn't have to decide because the bell rang.

Mr. Dietz's shrill whistle brought the thundering herd stampeding toward the building to a slow-motion, dust-raising halt. "Since we're going to run relays for two weeks to see how our times improve," he announced, "we'll keep the same squads."

Rats. I was hoping somehow, by default, to end up on Kevin Rooney's team. I wasn't the only one disappointed. Lydia looked like she was going to throw a hyper hissy fit, right there on the gravel, until Max shut her down with sledgehammer eyes. "Good idea, Mr. Dietz." Lydia smiled through clenched teeth. Always the brown-nose.

After school I plopped down in front of the TV with a bag of Cheetos to watch Oprah. She's my idol. Oprah says addictions, especially food addictions, are caused by a void in your life. I wasn't sure what my void was. Lately I'd begun to think it was my hamster, Petey, who'd died on Halloween night. His empty cage still sat in my bedroom, haunting me.

Oprah's show today was on mixed marriages. Mentally I replaced the happy couple on stage with Kevin Rooney and me. Major mix: the Blob and the Babe.

Vanessa, my demented sister, crashed in the front door. She clucked her tongue at me in disgust, and I returned the greeting. "Turn it down," she snarled. "I have to practice."

Vanessa was addicted to the clarinet, among other things. I knew what her void was. She was missing a brain.

Dad, who was between jobs and had been for four years now, followed Vanessa in. He juggled a couple of grocery bags on one arm.

"Ahoy, matey," I called to him. "Toss me them thar cookies."

He threw me the bag of Chips Ahoys. While he played Mr. Mom in the kitchen, I turned up the volume on Oprah, just to irk Vanessa. It worked. She slammed her door. Dad hollered. I warmed from within.


  • Praise for Revenge of the Snob Squad:

    "A dark laugh-out loud comedy." - Booklist

    "Peppered with verbal repartee and humorous asides...Peters's writing is smooth and funny page to page, which makes this an enjoyable read." - Kirkus

    "This amusing light read... deals realistically with problems that many youngsters face and may even allow them to laugh at themselves in the process." - School Library Journal

On Sale
Dec 1, 2009
Page Count
128 pages

Julie Anne Peters

About the Author

Julie Anne Peters is the critically acclaimed author of Define “Normal,” Keeping You a Secret, Pretend You Love Me, Between Mom and Jo, She Loves You, She Loves You Not…, It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It), and Luna, a National Book Award finalist.

Learn more about this author