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ISBN 0-9639450-0-9 Watermelon In A Cucumber Patch by G. I. Shaw
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Joy Books/Joy Enterprises
332 S. Queen Street
Littlestown, PA 17340
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Sixteen-year-old Stevi Powers thinks she's over weight when her best friend, Mona, taunts her because last year's gym suit won't fit anymore. Determined to prove her friend wrong, she squeezes into the suit anywayto disastrous results! Her suit splitsin front of Ari, the boy Stevi likes, and the rest of the gym class. Humiliated, a determined Stevi searches for a way to lose weight. To make matters worse, Dad loses his job, and Stevi needs to find a job to help her family. Watermelon in a Cucumber Patch highlights Stevi's struggle with peer pressure, self-esteem and a stubborn weight problem in her search for a way to feel good about herself.
Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, Watermelon in a Cucumber Patch is a blueprint to help teenagers learn how to raise their self-esteem. Stevi has a weight problem, but you could substitute your problem for hers. You can learn through Stevi's trials, how to accept yourself as you are now, then when you're ready, how to move on, and become the person you want to be.
Stevi looked around the crowded locker room of Millpond High School. Gym; the first day of school. What a bummer! Her face burned as she struggled into her gym suit. "This must've shrunk," she muttered, shoving her glasses back up onto the bridge of her nose. Her friend, Mona, giggled. Stevi sucked in her stomach then gave the gym suit a mighty tug. Finally, it slid over her generous hips.
"You grew over the summer," said Mona, tossing her long blond hair. "My suit still fits." She laughed, then twirled on her toes like a ballerina.
"Your suit's tight at the bust and hips, too!" Stevi yanked her suit's snaps together. They burst open again when she took a deep breath.
Mona's mouth turned down. Her blue eyes glittered. "At least I'm not popping out at the seams!" Slamming her locker door shut, she stomped out of the locker room with the rest of the girls' class.
Stevi blinked back tears. When will I learn to keep my mouth shut? Her stomach growled. She rummaged through her gym bag until she found a crumpled box of chocolate chip cookies, then stuffed one into her mouth. Gently, she shut the metal locker door.
Stevi stopped in the doorway to survey the gloomy gym. A fierce thunderstorm raged outside. Glass windows covered one wall. Usually, the football and baseball fields were visible, but today rain washed away the view. A loud clap of thunder made Stevi jump, and several girls in the gym squealed. The boys' class, which was sharing the gym, laughed.
Ari Toole's deep laugh drew Stevi's attention. Her heart raced. Awesome, she thought, admiring his exotic looks. I wish he'd notice me Her shoulders slumped. No better that he doesn't, the way I look.
Where's Mona? Stevi spotted her friend staring out the window, a hurt look on her face. Guilt flashed through Stevi. Slowly, she walked over to her friend. "I didn't mean to insult you, Mona." Stevi ran her fingers through her coffee-brown hair. "I'm just jealous of your figure."
Mona brushed a cookie crumb from Stevi's chin. "I guess we're both growing up...and out. Okay, you're forgiven." Her eyes twinkled mischievously as she tilted her head toward the boys. "Notice Ari?" Stevi blushed and grinned.
Mrs. Nolan, the Phys. Ed. teacher, entered the gym briskly, blowing her whistle for attention. She looked ready for tennis in white shorts and T-shirt, her short graying hair pushed back in a no-nonsense style.
"Quiet, girls," said Mrs. Nolan. "Let's start with some warm-up exercises. Spread out so you don't hit your neighbor. Ready? Side-bends, everyone." Raising her arms over her head Mrs. Nolan bent to the side and bounced gently.
Stevi raised her arms. A thread popped Oh no! I'll die if my gym suit rips!
Across the room the coach yelled, "Pay attention, boys!" The sound of laughter erupted. "To me, not the girls!"
Stevi could hear the boys' crude remarks. "Look at the cute little blonde! Isn't she hot?" Laughter...followed by, "What about the heifer next to her? Who wants odds her gym suit splits?"
Stevi's body was hot as if she had a sunburn. Is he talking about me? Another thread popped. Sweat beaded on her forehead. She wished she were invisible.
The coach blew his whistle. The talking quieted; the boys began playing basketball. The sounds of heavy breathing, tennis shoes flapping on the floor and the whoosh of the basketball through the hoop filled the gym.
"Okay girls, toe-touch knee-bends," said Mrs. Nolan.
Stevi bent over to touch her toes, then squatted into a knee-bend. R-R-R-RIP. She gasped and straightened up, hiding her behind with her hands. Her class roared with laughter. Across the room, the boys' game faltered. They gawked at the laughing girls.
"Mrs. Nolan, I-I have to r-return to the l-locker room," pleaded Stevi, backing from the gym.
Mrs. Nolan blew her whistle. Silence. "Stevi," she said, her words ringing across the gym, "I think you'd better plan on buying a bigger gym suit...today!"
A male voice slashed through the snickering. "What were those odds on that gym suit splitting?"
Stevi fled from the gym, tears racing down her cheeks. I hate Phys. Ed., I hate school and I hate boys! Slumped against her locker she sobbed as laughter rumbled from the gym.
An arm slipped around her shoulders. Stevi jumped. "It's okay, girl friend. We'll find a way to make it better," said Mona.
Stevi cried harder. "Go away! Nobody can help me. I'm fat and ugly and always will be!" She hung her head, wavy hair falling forward to cover her face.
"So you need to lose a few pounds, Stevi. We'll just put you on a diet." Mona started undressing.
Stevi removed her glasses. "Dieting doesn't work for me." She scrubbed tears from her eyes, smearing mascara across her face. "What are you doing in here? You'll get in trouble for ditching gym class." She peeled the torn gym suit from her body.
Mona patted Stevi on the back. "What's more important, Phys. Ed. or friendship?" She ripped the towel from her locker, then headed for the showers.
Stevi grabbed her towel, wrapped it around hertugging to make it meet. "Thanks, Mona. I don't know what I'd do without you. You're the only person I can talk to."
Mona turned on the hot shower. "It's time to stop talking and find out how to help you."
"Is there really any help for me?" Stevi slipped under the hot spray. Her tension flowed down the drain with the hot water.
"I bet the library has a section on weight control," said Mona, patting herself dry. "Let's meet at the bus stop after school and I'll help you look."
Stevi brushed water from her eyes. Shrugging, she said, "I don't know what good it will do, but I guess it's worth a try."
"Come on, girl friend, let's get dressed," said Mona.
I wrote Watermelon In a Cucumber Patch because I wished someone had written a book like it when I was a teenager. It would have saved me years of feeling bad about myself. I've struggled with a weight problem all my life. Through the concepts in the book, I've learned to accept myself as I am now. When I'm ready, I can change things if I want to, but for now, I'm okay just the way I am. I hope reading about Stevi will help you to be able to accept yourself as you are now, then when you're ready to make changes in your life you will be successful.
Page revised 01/15/2005