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Make Believe

Make Believe

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Make Believe

117 pages
1 heure
Mar 3, 2015


When her best friend’s parents separate, a seventh grader struggles to keep their friendship alive

When Carrie and Jill are alone together, they can be anyone in the whole world. Whether they’re pretending to be movie stars, environmental activists, or the leaders of the free world, there is one thing they don’t have to imagine: They are as close as any friends could be. Going into seventh grade, there is a lot that Carrie is afraid of, but she knows Jill will be by her side forever—until, suddenly, she’s not.
When Jill’s father announces that he wants a divorce, it puts a distance between the two friends that never used to be there. As Jill’s life falls apart around her, Carrie must find a way to talk to her friend again and save her from a problem that’s anything but make-believe.
Mar 3, 2015

À propos de l'auteur

Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of many books for teens, including the New York Times best-selling novel Life As We Knew It, which was nominated for several state awards, and its companion books, The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon. She lives in Middletown, New York.

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Make Believe - Susan Beth Pfeffer


Make believe.

Okay, what?

Carrie Baird-Talmann looked at her best friend. It was Labor Day, practically the last day before school, and the last chance they’d have to do make-believe for days, weeks, months, maybe. Carrie tended to take the long view of things. Her choice had to be perfect.

Let’s make believe we’re movie stars, she said, choosing the make-believe that had always been their favorite.

Famous movie stars? Jill Densley asked.

Sure, Carrie said. No, I take it back. Just-starting movie stars. I mean, we’re going to be really famous movie stars someday, but right now we’ve each only made a couple of movies and people are just starting to recognize us on the streets and ask us for autographs and stuff. Okay?

I like that, Jill said. Maybe I’m not sure of myself yet—know what I mean? Like we’re both going to be big movie stars, but I don’t really believe it, so I’m always asking people if I’m any good.

I know I’m good, Carrie said. But I’m not sure I want to be a movie star. I think the environment is real important, and maybe I should give up all the money and everything and devote myself to whales.

I’d rather be a movie star, Jill said. Besides, you can be a movie star and worry all the time about whales. It’s even better if you’re a movie star, because then people listen to you when you tell them about whales.

Okay, so we’re both movie stars, Carrie said. Do you think we could keep our names or do we have to change them?

Keep them, Jill said. Lots of movie stars nowadays have really weird names.

Our names aren’t really weird, Carrie said. Well, maybe yours is, but mine’s perfectly normal.

Normal names don’t have hyphens, Jill declared.

You’re just jealous, Carrie replied. My name is so much classier than yours. I bet I could become a movie star right away just because of my name.

You sure won’t make it on your looks, Jill said.

Carrie swiped at Jill with the nearest available weapon, the pillow on her bed. Not my beautiful face! Jill cried. My face is my career.

The girls began to giggle. What do you think it’s going to be like? Carrie asked when they calmed down. Seventh grade.

I thought you meant being movie stars, Jill said. Seventh grade should be great. In May I’ll be an actual teenager.

Sure, rub it in you’re older than me, Carrie said. I won’t be a teenager until eighth grade.

Seventh grade should be okay for you too, Jill said. Mom says boys get more mature right around now. Maybe not taller, but more mature. And I bet we’ll get really good teachers, and we’ll learn lots of good stuff and get elected president of student council and everything.

We can’t both be elected president of student council, Carriepointed out. Butifyourun, I’ll vote for you.

If I become president, I’ll appoint you something, Jill said. Secretary of state, something like that.

Only eighth graders get elected president, Carrie said. And I don’t think middle schools have secretaries of state.

We’ll work something out, Jill declared. In between being movie stars and saving the whales.

Girls, come on out! The burgers are on the grill, yelled Carrie’s father.

Food! Carrie cried, and she grabbed Jill by her arm and pulled her off the bed.

You like food too much to ever be a movie star, Jill grumbled, but she joined Carrie and ran down the stairs, through the hallway and kitchen and out to the backyard, where Carrie’s father was flipping hamburgers over the charcoal.

It smells great, Carrie said.

Don’t sniff, help, he replied. Carrie, go back to the kitchen and get the salad. And Jill, help your mother set the table.

Carrie went into the kitchen. She found the salad in the refrigerator and carried it out. Where’s Mike? she asked.

We ran out of soda, Carrie’s mother answered. So I sent him to get some.

Carrie looked around. Jill and her mother were setting the picnic table under the elm tree. Jill’s father was joking with her father about the proper way to flip hamburgers. Jill’s older sister, Chris, was emptying bags of potato chips into a big bowl. All the picture needed was Carrie’s older brother, Mike, to be complete.

Carrie couldn’t remember a time her family hadn’t been best friends with the Densleys. She smiled to herself as she carried the salad to the picnic table. Her father and Tom Densley had been roommates in college and stayed friends ever since. They’d each been the best man at the other one’s wedding (Carrie loved looking at the wedding albums and seeing pictures of her parents in both of them), and her mom and dad had met when her dad was best man and her mom was one of the bridesmaids. Tom and Mary Densley were her godparents, Mike’s too, and her parents were Chris and Jill’s. The two families went on vacations together every summer, had July Fourth and Labor Day picnics (the years when it rained, they ran to and from the barbeque and spread the picnic tablecloth on the living-room floor), always had Thanksgiving dinner together (sharing it with grandparents and aunts and uncles from both families), and spent New Year’s Day together watching football and making resolutions. Carrie and Jill were best friends, everybody knew that and respected their special relationship, and it didn’t bother either of them that they both had different friends and interests. Carrie loved playing tennis, and her father took off from work early on Fridays just to give her private lessons (he’d been captain of his college tennis team). Jill took saxophone lessons. Two years ago, Jill had been second-best friends with Jennifer Gage, a total creep, and Carrie had been second-best friends with Jennifer Marx, whom Jill didn’t like (it had been very confusing, keeping those Jennifers straight). None of that mattered. They were best friends and would be for the rest of their lives.

Carrie saw Mike and ran out to get the sodas from him. Jill was the only friend she had she could still play make-believe with. All her other friends would think it was too babyish. Carrie knew she and Jill would stop playing it soon themselves, but in the meantime she enjoyed doing it, especially when in a couple of days they’d be in seventh grade. Carrie wasn’t sure why, but seventh grade sounded very grown up to her, much more than sixth. In seventh grade you stopped playing make-believe and started dealing with real life. Or so she suspected.

The burgers are ready, she told Mike.

I got here as fast as I could, he said. The store was really crowded.

Carrie looked at her brother. He was fifteen now, a sophomore in high school. Jill’s sister, Chris, was sixteen and going into her junior year. Carrie had always idolized Chris. She seemed to know so much, and now she wore makeup and dated and gave Carrie and Jill lessons on how to talk to boys. But Mike was okay too. He taught Carrie about chess and baseball, and when he wasn’t teasing her, he could be pretty nice. Carrie knew Jill really wished she had an older brother, and when they were younger, they used to figure out ways they could trade (the only problem was, they were sure their parents would notice).

Too much wrist action! Tom Densley cried as Carrie’s father flipped a hamburger onto the grass.

Oh no, Carrie’s mother said. Is that going to leave us one hamburger short?

It doesn’t matter, Chris declared. I’ve decided to become a vegetarian.

Not until tomorrow, you don’t, her mother said. I’ll have a hot dog.

No, no, Tom Densley said. I’ll have the hot dog. Why should you get to be the noble martyr all the time?

What’s the matter with my hamburgers? Carrie’s father demanded. Why the big rush on hot dogs all of a sudden?

I like hot dogs, Mary Densley announced.

You also like being a martyr, Tom said.

Not a martyr, Mary said. "A noble martyr. Remember?"

I don’t care who’s the martyr, Carrie’s father said. The burgers are ready, and so are the hot dogs.

They all sat at the picnic table and helped themselves to the traditional Labor Day feast. I like your hamburgers, Don, Jill said to Carrie’s father. No matter what my parents think.

Thanks, I guess, Carrie’s father said. "Of course the one that landed

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