Feb 20 2013 2:00pm
Check out this awesome excerpt of Lindsay Ribar’s The Art of Wishing, out March 21 from Dial:
Margo McKenna has a plan of attack for everything, from landing the lead in her high school musical to dealing with her increasingly absent parents. But when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the opportunity to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Especially since Oliver—not blue-skinned, not bottle-dwelling, but a genie nonetheless—can see more than what she’s willing to show him. With one peek into her mind, he can see the wishes that even Margo herself doesn’t know she wants.
But Oliver comes with more than just mind-reading abilities, a flair for magic, and the prettiest eyes Margo’s ever seen. Someone from his past is hunting him—someone bent on killing him, along with all the other genies in the world, for the sake of honor. And as Margo soon discovers, it will take more than three wishes to save him.
A whole lot more.
The plan was this: I’d get up on that stage, blow them away with the best damn audition they’d ever seen, and walk out knowing the part I wanted was mine.
And when I was called into the auditorium, that was exactly how it happened.
I walked over to the piano and handed my sheet music to George. “You know this one?” I asked him.
He peered quickly at the title. Nodded and said, “Yup.” Of course he did. Silly question.
George flexed his fingers, and I strode up the little side staircase and onto the stage. Bright lights flooded my face, but I was used to that. I shielded my eyes so I could focus on the lone figure sitting in the first row: Miss Delisio, math teacher by day and play director by night. I smiled warmly at her. This was the woman who was going to cast me in my dream role.
“Margo McKenna,” she said in greeting. “I do love a straight-A trig student with stage presence. How’s calculus treating you?”
I wrinkled my nose. “Straight A minuses this year. Calc is hard. Who knew?”
Miss Delisio laughed appreciatively. “Why do you think I don’t teach it?” she said. “All right, what are you singing for us today?”
“I’m doing ‘Last Midnight’ from Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim,” I recited.
“Great song,” she said. “Whenever you’re ready.”
This was it. I took a moment to steady myself, then nodded to George. On my cue, he started playing. I molded my body into the shape of the song, and the lyrics flowed out of me like I owned them. For those few minutes, I became someone totally different from my real self. Someone worldly and manipulative. Someone with very real power.
I’d chosen “Last Midnight” because of that power. And as the song grew in intensity, and my performance grew to match, and the air in the theater seemed to dance to the rhythm of George’s piano and my voice . . . I knew I’d chosen right.
When I finished, a couple of breaths passed before anyone said anything.
“That was lovely, Margo,” said Miss Delisio. I couldn’t see her face, but I could hear the smile in her voice. “Really, really lovely.”
“Yup,” said George.
“Thanks,” I said breathlessly.
I heard the rustle of a notebook page being flipped. “Stick around for a little while, okay?” said Miss Delisio. “We’ll pair you up and have you read from the script.”
“Sounds good,” I said. “I’ll be in the hallway.”
Naomi Sloane, my best friend and Miss Delisio’s stage manager, was manning the door that stood between me and the hallway full of nervous students outside. She gave me a thumbs-up as I approached her.
“McKenna, you just nailed that,” she said. “Don’t tell the masses, but you’re the best audition I’ve seen so far.”
I flashed her a coy smile. “I bet you say that to all the girls.”
She laughed and held the door open for me, and I floated out into the hallway as she called the next student’s name. Sure, I still had to do the reading part of the audition, but that would be a piece of cake. The hard part—the important part—was over. And Naomi was right.
I’d nailed it.