"Ms. Hartford?" Sleep would be good. I could do with some sleep. I should have worn my fluffy jacket today. It would have been a good pillow.

"Ms. Hartford." Sometimes it just isn't worth it to pull myself out of bed. Take today for example. I haul my sorry butt out of bed, drag it outside, run for an hour, drag it back inside, and try to make it presentable. Me, I mean, not my butt, though I like to think it looks good in my only pair of Sevens. I got them at the local thrift store. I'm a self-proclaimed second-hand junkie.

"Ms. Hartford!"

I snap out of my vegetated state at the irate sound of my physics teacher's voice. Um, hello? Can he not see that I'm sleep deprived? "Huh?"

"I would appreciate it," Mr. Chan says in crisp tones that make my head pound. I need coffee. "If you would pay attention to your studies for the next half hour."

"Uh... sure?" I am so not awake this morning. But then again, am I ever awake in the morning?

Mr. Chan shoots me a disgruntled look and starts in on entropy. Again. I am so sick of AP Physics, I don't even have words. It's not like I hate it but I'm just no good at it. I can't bend my mind around all the icky letters and numbers. Normally when I read it's like my brain gets this suction-grip on the text and pulls out all the info. I keep feeling like my brain is sliding across the pages and dripping onto the floor whenever I read my physics book. Which is kind of disgusting because I don't know when the janitorial staff last hazarded mopping this room.

My name's Eve, by the way. You know. In case you were wondering. Actually, it's Yvonne, but no one calls me that unless they want a stiletto heel up their butt. I guess I'm one of the, well, not smarter but I can't really think of any other way to describe it because I'm just inarticulate like that, girls in my class. I'm just you're typical seventeen-year-old. I hate my dad, love my mom, think the world is the suckiest place on the planet, and am praying for a restored Indian for my eighteenth birthday (yeah, like that will ever happen). You know. The typical crap.

But I guess I'm not so typical. I mean, if I were, this stupid reporter wouldn't be following me around everywhere. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Well, let me just tell you now. There's a reporter following me around. Her name's Marcy and she's some kind of junior editor at Lola Magazine. Yeah, Lola Magazine. I bet all of you have a copy of it stuffed somewhere in your room. Well, that's where Marcy's from. She's nice, I guess, but I don't really like having reporters following me around.

Take last night for example. I was just sitting in the armchair in the living room, minding my own business, trying to get through the last few problems in my AP Calculus homework and Marcy just comes popping out of no where, holding up these old photographs and squealing with delight. I know. Squealing. Anyway, they were just some old shots from my stint in Cambodia last summer and a couple from the Peace Camp in Egypt. Considering the fact that I was just barely beginning to grasp the whole limits thing, I was pretty peeved. Marcy was ecstatic. Apparently, she found some photos from Ecuador and New Zealand, too.

I guess you could say I'm a world traveler but I don't really travel for the sake of traveling. I mean, I was in Ecuador to build houses, Cambodia to teach English, New Zealand for environmental research, and that picture she dug up from Paris, well, that trip was just for fun. It's part of my life, I guess. I never wanted to stay in Kirgy, California anyway. Nothing ever happens here. So the two-week stays in foreign countries, no matter the reason, were great. In fact, if you want to know the truth, that's half the reason Marcy's here.

I am now officially Lola Magazine's America's Sweetheart. Yeah, me. Little old me. It's not like I ever did anything special. I mean, tons of kids went to Cambodia and Ecuador and New Zealand. In fact, it has a lot more to do with my mom than it does with me. She's the one who sent the letter out, anyway. I just kind of smiled and nodded. Not that I had any clue what I was agreeing to.

See, my mom's sick. Like really sick. She has this thing called SLE. Systemic Lupus something. I can't remember what. Anyway, it's killing her. It's been killing her for about eight years now and she decided that she wanted me recognized before she died, or something like that. That's what the whole Lola Magazine thing is about. It started out with this research project I did for a scholarship. I researched lupus and why it was occurring more and more often and got involved in the stem cell research to cure it. That's what the letter was about. But then Marcy got here and she started digging a whole bunch of other crap up.

Like Cambodia and Ecuador. And my shift at the animal shelter. And my internship at the local congressman's office. And my parents' quasi-divorce. And how I hold down a job at Betty's Beans to help pay the rent. She just kept dredging more stuff up.

And, yeah, I guess I do do a lot. But there are a whole lot of people out there with lives way worse than mine and they pull through. So it kind of pissed me off when I found about the America's Sweetheart thing. I don't actually want it. But such as life and I guess that's me.

America's Sweetheart.