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“Hi I’m Lizzie Wilcock. I’m going to read to you from my “tween” novel, Give Me Four Reasons, published by Little Hare in July 2011. The scene is the last day of primary school, and a group of friends are about to read the comments written in their Yearbooks by their peers.
We all flip to the back of our Passports and begin reading.
I smile and nod as I read Rochelle’s comment. Elfi’s brings tears to my eyes. Jed’s makes me laugh.
I turn the page. And then I feel sick.
The rest of the pages are blank.
I flip frantically through the front pages, thinking that maybe people wrote in the wrong place, but there are no comments there, either.
Maybe my Passport is empty because nobody could find it. My desk was over near the fish tank, under the last window. Maybe people forgot to go up there. But then I remember that mine was second from the top, right under Janie Harrison’s when Mr Muir handed them out at the end of the day.
The fact that there are no comments in it means one of two things: 1. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Or, 2. Who is Paige Winfrey?
My hands begin to shake, so I gently close my Passport. I clench my teeth and blink my eyes, determined not to let the tears escape. My friends smile and laugh as they read their Passports.
‘Listen to this one from Matthew Portman,’ Elfi says. ‘Thanks for letting me copy your Maths answers, and for teaching me how to say “Get Lost” in German.’
‘I really like this one,’ Rochelle says. ‘Thanks for being such a laugh on the basketball team. I’ll never forget when we won the state title together. Kim Johnson.’
I glance up. Nobody has noticed I haven’t read anything out from my Passport, but if I sit around much longer, perhaps someone will ask me to. I stand up and walk over to the pool shed. I shove my Passport under some old magazines. Then I drop my towel and dive into the pool.
When I surface, Rochelle is at the CD player. ‘Time for our anthem,’ she declares, pressing some buttons. She grabs Elfi and Jed and drags them up to the small wooden deck beside the pool.
‘Come on, Paige,’ she yells. ‘It’s our motto. Don’t Change.’
I shake my head. Give Me Four Reasons why Paige is invisible? I want to shout out. I have all the answers.
1. She’s plain.
2. She’s quiet.
3. She’s boring.
4. She comes up with a motto that says, ‘Don’t Change’ even though nobody except her three friends likes her or even notices her the way she is.”
ABOUT LIZZIE WILCOCK:
Lizzie Wilcock is one of nine children and grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney and later on a dairy farm near Scone, NSW. She is a Primary School teacher, artist and photographer and the author of five Children’s/Young Adult novels.
Lizzie lives in Newcastle, NSW with her husband and four year old daughter.
“I was part of a Young Adult Writers Longlines Residency Program in August-Sept 2005. My first novel was due to be published and I worked with Peter Bishop on my second novel, Grieve, which went on to be shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2008.” Lizzie Wilcock
Young Adult Fiction:
Losing It, Scholastic 2006
Grieve, Scholastic 2007
Extinction: The Day The World Ended, Scholastic 2011
Extinction 2: The Explosive Conclusion, Scholastic 2011
Give Me Four Reasons, Little Hare 2011
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