by Carol Weston
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Excerpt from Ava and Taco Cat:
Dear Brand New Diary,
I’m really worried. At dinner tonight, Mom said that right before closing, a man came into the clinic with an injured cat. He’d found him shivering in a tree! The cat was scrawny and scared and his neck had a gash and his left ear was bitten up. The man got the cat down and took him to the nearest vet—which was Dr. Gross’s.
“Poor cat!” I said.
“Is he going to be okay?” Pip asked.
“I don’t know,” Mom said. “Dr. Gross stitched him up and gave him antibiotics. If he makes it through the night, we’ll call the shelter in the morning.”
“If!?” I said.
Mom nodded. “I think a coyote got to him.”
“What’s his name?” Pip asked.
“No idea. But he’s neutered, so he’s not feral.” Pip and I know that “feral” means wild, and “neutered” means he can’t make baby cats. But does Mom know that stories about hurt cats and dogs make me sad?
“What does he look like?” I asked.
“He’s honey-colored,” Mom said. “But his right leg and paw are white, and he has a white zigzag above his nose.”
“Awww,” I said, trying to picture the cat’s sweet little zigzag.
“No chip or collar or anything?” Dad said.
“No identification at all,” Mom said.
Soon Mom and Dad and Pip were talking about other things, including dinner, which was stuffed eggplant—blecch! (Dad just started a terrible tradition of “Meatless Mondays.” At least tonight he also made plain bowtie noodles for me.)
Well, I couldn’t stop thinking about how lonely that cat probably felt all by himself in a cage at Dr. Gross’s. I wished we could go check on him. But no way would Mom agree to go back to work after she’d already come home and put on her slippers.
I was trying to imagine what it must have been like for the skinny cat when the coyote started attacking him. He must have known it was life or death. He probably thought he was a goner for sure! It was lucky he was able to scamper up that tree, but then he must have been too afraid to come back down. And maybe too weak? I bet he was starving as well as stuck and petrified! Poor little thing!
Suddenly my nose and eyes started tingling. I blurted, “May I be excused?” but it was too late! Teardrops fell right onto my bowtie noodles.
“Are you crying?” Pip asked, surprised.
“Oh Ava,” Mom met my eyes. “I’m sorry I brought it up.”
Dad gave my hand a squeeze, and I ran upstairs and splashed water on my face. I don’t know why I was getting so upset about a lost honey-colored cat. But I was. I am.
It’s just so sad to think of him all alone in a cage instead of a home.
Summary: Ava desperately wants a pet for her eleventh birthday—but gets way more than she bargained for when she adopts T-A-C-O-C-A-T.
When Ava Wren hears about an injured yellow tabby with mismatched ears, she becomes obsessed and wants to rescue him. She even picks out a perfect palindromic name: T-A-C-O-C-A-T. But when Taco joins the family, he doesn’t snuggle or purr—all he does is hide. Worse, Ava’s best friend starts hanging out with Zara, a new girl in fifth grade. Ava feels alone and writes an acclaimed story, “The Cat Who Wouldn’t Purr.” What begins as exciting news turns into a disaster. How can Ava make things right? And what about sweet, scared little Taco?
The New York Times called AVA AND PIP “a love letter to language. ” With this second diary, Girls’ Life advice columnist Carol Weston hits another home run
Also by Carol Weston:
Ava and Pip :
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Meet outgoing Ava Wren, a fun fifth grader who tries not to lose patience with her shy big sister. When Pip’s 13th birthday party turns into a disaster, Ava gets a story idea for a library contest.
But uh-oh, Ava should never have written “Sting of the Queen Bee.” Can Ava and her new friend help Pip come out of her shell? And can Ava get out of the mess she has made?
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Love is in the air—and Ava thinks she’s allergic
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and Ava couldn’t care less. That is, until a new girl, Kelli, asks out Ava’s friend Chuck…and he says yes! What?!? Ava is NOT okay with this. But since when does she think about boys? For the first time ever, words fail Ava. She isn’t sure what she’s feeling (Like? Love? Friendship? Frustration?), or what “going out” even means. After all, fifth graders aren’t allowed to go anywhere by themselves, are they?
To top it off, Pip’s friend Tanya is being bullied for her size. Ava wants to help—but, uh oh, it’s not as easy as she imagines.
About the Author:
Carol Weston has been the “Dear Carol” advice columnist at Girls’ Life since 1994. She is the author of fourteen books including the two Ava Wren titles, The Diary of Melanie Martin (Knopf), three other Melanie diaries, and Girltalk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You (Harper Perennial, Fourth Edition). She lives in New York City.
Rafflecopter Giveaway for 2 copies of Ava & Taco Cat: Runs April 1-April 30th (US & Canada only)