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Kitty Kitty

Kitty Kitty by Michele Jaffe
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Jasmine had everything a girl could want.1

So it wasn't her idea of SuperFun to move halfway around the world to Venice, Italy, leaving her fab pals and hot new boyfriend back in Los Angeles.2 But Venice isn't so bad . . .

Until Jasmine's Evil Hench cousin, Alyson, and her Best Fiend Veronique arrive,3 Jasmine's secret plan to jet to California is foiled,4 her boyfriend starts hanging with someone named Candy,5 and her only friend in Venice turns out to be in deadly peril.6

Faster than you can say "gelato," Jasmine is caught up in a catastrophic caper featuring a runaway heiress, a smoldering gondolier, 142 kinds of pizza, and a bothersome kitty. But before she can face off against a dangerous adversary, she has to face herself.

While wearing white leather pants.7

1 Rock star boyfriend, homicidal hair, fabulous pals, iNsAnO father . . .
2 No, this was the work of Dadzilla, smiter of life's happiness.
3 They ask to be called by their faerie names, Sapphyre and Tiger's*Eye. No, I am not joking. What? I'm supposed to keep the scary stuff inside the book?
4 Hello Dadzilla!
5 Who may or may not have perfect hair and boobs and be able to communicate with dolphins.
6 Not that anyone believes it. Until— What? That is for inside the book too? Okay, fine.
7 Only part of the time. The rest of the time I have to wear . . . oh, right. ScArY stuff inside.

HarperCollins; March 2009
320 pages; ISBN 9780061919084
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Kitty Kitty
Author: Michele Jaffe

Chapter One

My best friend, Polly, thinks that people should come with warning labels, like mattresses. If they did, mine would be Crime Scene Do Not Cross.

Or at least it would have been, once. But not anymore. Not since Jas's European Exile started. For the past six weeks, nothing had happened to me.

Even the horoscope I found while skimming the newspaper to do my current events assignment for Italian class, on the Saturday morning this all started, said:

"The Gobi Desert is one of the most inhospitable places in the world, and your sign is likewise right now. You feel battered by storms outside your control and beleaguered by a drought of change. Rest, meditate, and conserve your strength until this dry period passes. Any attempt to alter its course could have grave consequences."

Yes. As though having to go to class on Saturday was not bad enough, my horoscope compared my life to the Gobi Desert. And said there was nothing I could do about it. Horrorscope was more like it.

As the full meaning of its words sank in, I realized I had two choices. I could either continue to soldier on, dead inside but wearing the mask while the fates Riverdanced over my whole life's happiness. Or I could take action. Because as far as my eyes could see, there were no Graver Consequences than sitting around as my life ebbed from me a little more every day. My friends, my boyfriend, my whole world was 4,000 miles away, going on without me. If that horoscope told me nothing else, it was that things could not get any worse. (Yes, Fates, I hear you laughing. I know, I'm so, so funny.)

I'd been waiting patiently, but the time for patient waiting was over. It would have been jolly to email a friend for some moral support, but it was 11:00 on Friday night in Los Angeles and all my friends would probably be out doing something really fun. Without me. Plus, ever since my dad saw the bill for the day I spent fourteen hours hitting the get mail button on my email screen praying to see Jack's name pop into my inbox, I wasn't supposed to go online from my room. As was always the way these days, I had to be an Army of One.

I took a big breath and marched next door to my father and Sherri!'s room at the Grissini Palace Hotel (& Insanity Emporium), full of brave purpose, and knocked. But all the Brave Purpose in the world could not have steeled me against what I faced when the door opened.

My father was standing in the middle of the sitting area wearing a shiny yellow shirt and shiny black bike shorts with yellow piping.

To express the complete dreadfulness of it, you've got to understand that for the entire seventeen years of my life, my father has exclusively worn safari suits. Some people have a signature color, like my superchic friend Polly (pink). Or a signature scent, like my demon cousin the Evil Hench Mistress, Alyson (Bubble Yum). My father had a signature look. That of an explorer of the African outback.

If there is such a thing as the African outback.

True, he let me iron the sleeves on the safari jacket he wore for his wedding to my stepmother, Sherri!. And while we were in Las Vegas, he nightmarishly substituted khaki shorts for the long pants. But fundamentally, there was always a Ready for Safari feel to his look.

No longer. Unless they'd started holding safaris during the Tour de France.

I would not be lying even a little if I said that I would have taken the Nightmare on Khaki Street ensemble over what I saw before me. Because what I saw before me wasn't just a code red toxic fashion disaster. It was another sign of what I had been trying to deny. My father and his mind had split ways.

I know, I should have seen it earlier. The writing was on the wall forty-four days before, when the happy Isle of Jas (population: me) had been brutally destroyed by the dread beast Dadzilla.

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