Title: Sincerely Claire
Author: Jean Ann Williams
Genre: Middle Grade
After living in California for almost a year, Claire returns to Oregon with high hopes that seventh grade will be better than sixth. Barely off the school bus, though, trouble smacks her in the head. Literally. Her California bullies! Here?
The Lavender Girls’ dads were hired to supervise a local tunnel project, and the families came along. Claire knows to watch her back. But she fears for her hometown friend Lizbeth, who has yet to discover how far the Lavender Girls can take their harassment.
Fudging a little on what her parents would approve of, Claire creates her own club to battle the bullies’ evil ploys. What will she do when she must make a choice: an eye for an eye – or turn the other cheek?
1961, Redwood Highway, Oregon
“We don’t want a tardy slip on our first day.” Claire opened the locker door and placed her sack lunch inside. Her friend, Lizbeth, nodded from two lockers over and then started to chat about her summer. With a sudden shove, Claire’s locker door banged against her head. She stumbled but caught herself before she hit the ground. The hall spun.
“Oops.” A hazy form appeared from around the half-closed door. “Well, if it isn’t the grade flunker.”
What? Not that voice. Her head smarted and she blinked as her eyes adjusted. Oh. No. She let out a breath she’d been holding. Please, not her. Shoulders rigid, shock and denial coursed through her like a winding stream. Her mouth dropped open. Could she do this again? She had hoped that leaving Gallagher Springs, California, behind had meant leaving the girl with the mean, hateful voice behind as well. She touched her head and winced. “Shouldn’t you be home in Boston? Didn’t your dad finish his job when mine did?”
“Well, ClaireLee, what kind of greeting is that?”
Lizbeth leaned near Claire’s ear while steadying her wobbly feet. “That had to have hurt.” She whispered, “How does she know you?”
She bowed her head near Lizbeth’s ear. “It’s a long story, but I can tell you she’s a bully.”
Lizbeth gasped, “Surely not.”
The mean girl’s toe nudged Claire’s shoe. “I sure didn’t intend to hit your head. I sort of stumbled against your locker door.” She smirked, right when Lizbeth turned her head away.
She’s still a bully and a sneak.
A blonde, curly-mopped girl appeared beside the Toe Nudger. “Hi, ClaireLee. Fancy meeting you here.”
Double oh, no.
The bell rang.
The few kids that stood nearby left, including the two girls who called her ClaireLee.
Lizbeth’s soft voice came with her extended elbow. “Let’s get to class. You can tell me during our lunch hour how those girls know you.”
As they walked into the room, the two friends found desks where they could sit together.
The teacher clapped her hands. “Okay. Class, let’s go around and introduce ourselves. I’m your homeroom teacher, Mrs. Byers. Do not call me by my first name, even though many of you know me. I’m not June to you. Never. I’m Mrs. Byers, to show respect.” She aimed her chin toward her black low-heeled shoes. She glanced around the room, her thin lips turned down. “Even when we meet out of this school environment, you are to call me Mrs. Byers. Is that understood?”
A chorus of voices rang out. “Yes, Mrs. Byers.”
As Claire lowered her aching forehead into her cupped hands, a loud snicker came from behind. She could guess who that was. Bully Kaye Tyner. Did she really not mean to shove into her locker door and hit her in the head?
Dear Lord, have mercy. And Kaye wasn’t alone either. She came with her friend, Wendy Lavender.
Mrs. Byers nodded. “I see at least two new faces to our community. Stand for us and tell your name and a bit about yourself.”
Wendy stood with the grace of a queen, then sniffed. “My name is Wendy Lavender. Like the flower lavender.” She raised her nose a bit higher. “My father is one of the bosses for the current tunnel being built near the Oregon state line.” She touched the collar of her blue, velvet dress. “I’m from the city of Boston.” She looked down her nose at a few of the students. “And in case you aren’t aware, Boston is an important cultural and historical city in Massachusetts.” She patted the curls around her face and sat back down in her seat.
It seemed like Mrs. Byers smiled her approval. Claire had to keep from rolling her eyes. Good grief. If the teacher only knew Wendy, she’d turn several shades of purple.
“You, young lady, with the corded jumper are next.”
She stood. “I’m Kaye Tyner.” She opened a palm and aimed it at Wendy. “Wendy is my best friend. I also live in Boston. She and I grew up together, and our dads are the bosses for the tunnel crew.” She pursed her lips. “We’ve had the privilege of attending the best private school in the most outstanding city in the United States.” She rotated her head—ever so slight—and sat down. Then popped back up like a deranged jack-in-the-box. “And I just want to say I can’t wait to meet everyone personally.”
Mrs. Byers’ smile grew.
Claire couldn’t resist an eye roll. If Mrs. Byers knew about Kaye, she’d probably faint. Brother. This school was not ready for those two.
After everyone stood and introduced themselves, Mrs. Byers asked Kaye to pass out papers for the homeroom rules.
She hurried to the teacher’s desk and grabbed the stack. She went to each desk and handed the students their papers. At a desk near Claire, Kaye said, “Nice dress, Holly.” She continued around the room. Once again, she spoke. “Hi Lizbeth. I really like your green hair ribbon.” It got quiet for a second, so Claire turned in her seat. Kaye whispered near Lizbeth’s ear, and they both chuckled.
Her chest steamed with anger. She would have a hard time explaining to Lizbeth what a bully Kaye was if she acted nice.
Before Kaye handed Claire her papers, she bent close and whispered, “I’m going to steal Lizbeth from you, ClaireLee.” She spread her mouth into a fake smile.
She gritted her teeth so hard they crunched and at the same time grabbed the papers from Kaye’s hand. It was not easy to make her face a mask of indifference.
Would this be a repeat of school last year in Gallagher Springs?
What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?
Nancy Drew series because of the likeable heroin and the action and adventure.
What makes your featured book a binge-worthy read?
Sincerely Claire is the second of the three Claire series, where the bullies follow her back to her hometown. And she’s got to figure out how to outsmart them.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US account to win.
Runs August 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on September 1.
Jean Ann Williams lives on the Coast of Oregon with her husband Jim. She began her writing career in 1994 by reading a stack of books on the craft of writing. Since then, Jean Ann has published over 300 articles and short stories on the topics of Christianity, health, travel, friendship, relationships, family life, Sunday school take-home papers, and the loss of a child by suicide.To date, Jean Ann has published six books. In her free time, she enjoys Tunisian crochet, inspirational historical books, and vegetable gardening in her greenhouse. Her granddaughters excel in the game of Scrabble. Sometimes they let Nana win. *smiles*
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Ann-Williams/e/B01AB4P95A/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Ann-Williams-848295125269670/?ref=hl
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14840858.Jean_Ann_Williams
Author Website: jeanannwilliamsauthor.com<