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By Lisi Harrison

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Because a true Spalpha should be able to work a party solo, even if she was in another country with a half-naked Q-Tip in mismatched ballet flats lagging a few feet behind her. The universe obviously was testing her. And Alicia was determined to score big. M. ” Alicia blurted when she stepped away from the lobby and into a party that looked like it had been masterminded by Willy Wonka. A giant mirrored conveyor belt supported by small, black glitter–covered pillars snaked around the L-shaped pool, offering brightly colored cocktails, an assortment of tapas, gum, mints, water, perfume, cologne, candy, soda, ¡i!

Hey, wait! ” Alicia reached for the hoop. Nina jumped back and the earring swung back, too, taunting Alicia and mocking her desperation. Alicia’s bottom lip began to quiver. But why? Was she hungry? Tired? Lonely? Confused? Humiliated? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. But crying in public was only for funerals, where waterproof mascara was a must. Instead she summoned her inner Spalpha and reached for the earring again. This time she managed to hook her finger through it. Nina’s ear stretched out like the skin on an old lady’s elbow.

I love how you say grassy! ” asked Isobel, who was wearing a Mediterranean blue tube top, white short shorts, and oversize Ray-Bans with bright blue plastic frames. They made those? ” Celia reached out and poked Alicia’s braided Ralph Lauren. ” Alicia smiled, thinking of her new summer wardrobe and how much her cousins were going to worship it. “My closet is your closet, but . ” Her voice trailed off as she remembered their thirteen-year-old sister, Nina, and her passion for stealing designer clothes.

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