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Children's Fiction New Experience

In Over Her Head

Hannah Smart

by (author) Melody Fitzpatrick

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2016
New Experience, Friendship, Money
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Being totally scared of the ocean is no big deal when it means being on TV with the boy of your dreams — right?

Hannah Smart is the happiest she’s ever been. She’s doing great in school, she’s got her own spot on the Friday evening news, and she’s desperately in love with the boy next door. But when Hannah’s boss asks her to be part of a treasure-hunting reality show for teens, she instantly feels ill. For most kids, a high-seas adventure searching for treasure would sound amazing, but for Hannah, who suffers horribly from seasickness, it’s a total nightmare. When she finds out that her crush and “the more perfect than perfect” Piper Steele will both be there, she has no choice, and agrees to the trip. In true Hannah fashion, she comes up with a plan to overcome her fears once and for all. What she doesn’t know is that Piper has a cunning plan as well, which means stormy seas for Hannah Smart.

CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens (Spring 2017) Selection

About the author

Melody Fitzpatrick writes outrageously funny and empowering books for children. When she’s not busy dreaming up stories, she is an educational program assistant in the public school system, helping kids discover their amazing inner awesomeness. Melody lives in Bedford, Nova Scotia.

Melody Fitzpatrick's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens (Spring 2017)

Excerpt: In Over Her Head: Hannah Smart (by (author) Melody Fitzpatrick)

Invasion of the Green-Eyed Monster

The doorbell rings.
I know who it is without looking. It’s Gabby … and Piper. Hooray … not!
For the last three and a half months, it’s been Piper this and Piper that, and Piper everything! I’m so sick of the name Piper that it’s hard not to cringe every time I hear it. Gabby sometimes tends to get stuck on things, and right now it’s on her old friend, Piper. Seriously, she talks about her so much, I feel like I could write her biography if I had to.
I remember the first time I heard her name; I actually shuddered, which was kind of weird ’cause I didn’t know a thing about her. Maybe it was the way the girls called her Piper the Viper, like they were almost afraid.
According to Gabby, Piper is good at everything; things always just seem to go her way. I once heard a girl say that if Piper wants something, she gets it … no matter what. (Whatever “no matter what” means.)
Anyway, I wonder how many girls were secretly thrilled when Piper’s dad struck it rich on an expedition, sold everything, bought this huge boat, then took off with Piper and the rest of the family to sail the Caribbean — especially the girls on the ski team. They actually had a shot at winning for a change. Not to mention the chance to finally get a little attention from the boys who were all gaga over her, apparently.
But now she’s back, waiting outside my door, and according to Gabby, “dying” to meet me.
I know I should be excited, too. Gabby thinks the three of us are going to be the best of friends. She says it’s impossible not to like Piper. In fact, Gabby has a million reasons for exactly why. Here are just a few of them:

1. Her “magnetic personality” — everyone loves her. EVERYONE.
2. Her intelligence — she’s a total straight-A student.
3. Her beauty and gracefulness — she won the title of Junior Miss Maple Ridge at the Maple Ridge Maple Syrup Festival the last three years in a row — a huge honour, apparently.
4. She’s an ah-maaazing singer, with an ah-maaazing voice and plays the guitar ah-maaazingly. Last year she almost won the TV talent show, Young America Sings, but lost to some freckle-faced eleven-year-old kid with a banjo. The whole thing was rigged … according to Piper.
5. She can fish — she caught not one, but two big mouth bass on a catch-and-release fishing trip with her dad last summer. This really impressed A.J. Whatever.
6. She can cook a full turkey dinner, all by herself, from start to finish. Oh, and that includes stuffing, gravy, and homemade apple pie.
7. She reads gigantic novels like War and Peace and Gone with the Wind.
8. She has her junior lifeguard certification in swimming.
9. She is a certified scuba diver.
10. She’s a junior sailing instructor at the Maple Ridge Harbor Yacht Club, and she’s also on their elite youth racing team.
11. She’s a great snowboarder.
12. She’s a ski champion, winning every race she’s ever been in.
13. She’s crafty! She knit “the most adorable” mitten, scarf, and hat set for Gabby last Christmas (the rest of the class only got mittens). Who knits mittens for their entire class, and where’d she find the time?
14. And last, but not least, Gabby says she’s got the most generous heart in the world; she even volunteers at a homeless shelter. Although when I asked Gabby which one, she said Piper never mentioned it because she doesn’t like to brag about her good deeds. Hmmm …

Piper sounds pretty fantastic, as you can see. This is the reason why I’m truly embarrassed to say I am not looking forward to meeting her. And, on top of everything, I still can’t get it out of my head that A.J. probably still has a crush on this girl. I mean, he has to! She’s perfect! Gabby said she thinks they only kissed once. I told her I didn’t need to know the details. Can you imagine! A KISS between A.J. and Piper! Seriously gross and sickening!
So, now perfect Piper is anxiously waiting outside my door, and I’m trying to force myself to go downstairs to answer it. I have to meet her sooner or later; after all, we’re going to be spending half of the summer together filming this stupid reality treasure-hunting show that I’m still freaking out about. Hopefully when the show is over she’ll disappear again, Gabby will find something new to obsess over, A.J. will snap out of his weirdness, and I’ll never have to worry about this girl again.
I know … I sound terrible, right? I’ve been envious before, but never one-hundred-percent, from-top-to-bottom jealous. Just so you know, I’m not proud of myself right now, not one bit. Jealousy is an AWFUL feeling and I don’t recommend it.
I’m usually a pretty positive person, so maybe it’s time I start thinking like one, right? Who cares if Piper is wonderful? She’s only here for the summer and Gabby says she is dying to meet me; she actually used the word dying! That says something, doesn’t it? It’s possible that I’ll like her, right? For all I know, we just might become bosom buddies, inseparable amigos, besties for life! Yes! I need to think positive. I can do that; I’ve done it a thousand times before.
I suck in my breath and pull open the door.
“Took you long enough! ” Gabby bursts in, kicks off her shoes, and leaps up the stairs. “I would have let myself in, but you had the door locked, which is weird, ’cause you knew I was coming, and I always let myself in. Why’d ya lock the door?”
“Where’s Piper? ” I ask, ignoring her question.
“Oh, hmmm … ” Gabby says, frowning, “I’m … oh jeez … I’m really sorry. I mean, I told her you were dying to meet her and … ”
“You did what? ” My forced smile disappears.
“I knew you wouldn’t mind me saying that cause, I mean … well … she’s Piper, and who wouldn’t be dying to meet her? ”
“Um … sure, ” I say, trying not to roll my eyes. “So where is she? ”
Gabby looks through the window and sighs. “Well, she was talking to A.J. about the show you guys are doing this summer and she said they had lots more to discuss, and that I should come over here by myself … without her. ”
“Without her? ” I raise an eyebrow. “So, she’s not really dying to meet me, then, is she? ”
“Of course she is! It’s just that she hasn’t seen A.J. in so long and she said they needed some alone time. ”
“Alone time? Seriously? ”
“Yeah, I thought that was weird, ’cause I mean, after all, I am her best friend. ”
“So, what did you say? ”
“I told how excited I was for her to meet you, but then she shushed me and told me to come over on my own.”
“Oh. ”
“Yeah, I guess whatever they were talking about must have been pretty important. Don’t you think? ”
She wants me to agree with her? Well, that’s not going to happen. There is no excuse for that girl not coming over here. It’s just rude. Obviously, she’s not that excited to meet me. She’s probably over there kissing A.J. right now! Ew!
“Yeah, super important, ” she repeats. “Like mega …”
I shrug, secretly wanting to run across the street, bang on the door, and give Piper a piece of my mind! Friends don’t come any better than Gabby. She’s sweet, she’s funny, she’s freakishly loyal, and she deserves way better than this!
Gabby stares back at me wide-eyed.
Finally, I nod my head in agreement. “Um … yeah, probably, ” I say, managing a smile.
“If I wasn’t already going to Paris this summer, I’d be super jealous of you guys, ” Gabby blurts out, trying to change the subject, which is just fine with me.
“A whole summer in Paris … le sigh … I’m actually super jealous of you,” I reply.
“Really? ”
I pull a face. “Um … yeah! Gabby, you’re going to Paris! The City of Light! ” With beautiful clothes, handsome boys, and … the food! Who doesn’t love French food? ”
“I didn’t know there was a difference. ”
“Oh my gosh, Gabby! French bread, French toast, and French fries! And think about how much fun you’re going to have hanging out with your aunt in her pastry shop. ” I’m picturing Gabby in this cute little black-and-white polka-dot apron, standing in the doorway of a pretty little pastry shop, with a pink-and-cream-striped canopy, on a quaint little cobblestone street in Paris.
“I’ll probably gain ten pounds this summer. ” Gabby laughs.
“I’ll probably lose ten.” I grin. “I’ve been on a boat exactly three times in my life, and every single time it’s the same — I’m okay for the first half hour, but then my stomach starts churning and then my head starts spinning and I’m over the side, tossing my cookies. ”
“Hannah! ” Gabby exclaims, pulling her phone from her pocket. “I got a message! ”
“Is it from her? ”
“Yeah! She must be on her way over. ”
No sooner does Gabby have the words out of her mouth, when the doorbell rings.
Gabby bounds down the stairs so fast that I’m afraid she’s literally going to break her neck! She runs to the door and squeals, “You open it! I want her to see you first! ”
I open the door only to come face to face with A.J., not Piper. I look behind him; she’s not there, either. Gabby pushes past me.
“Where is she? ” Gabby asks breathlessly.
“Oh yeah … um … Piper had to split, ” A.J. replies, running his fingers through his hair.
Gabby’s smile fades into sadness. I know she’s devastated.
So far, Piper hasn’t impressed me much.

Editorial Reviews

A gentle, positively toned series intended to provide accessible, realistic lessons for girls struggling with the multiple and sometimes conflicting messages they receive from peers, family, and media.

Resource Links

Hannah is a funny, slightly goofball heroine with good intentions who has a talent for doing and saying the wrong thing. Her endearing clumsiness will keep readers laughing and cheering her on.

Atlantic Books Today

[T]he book is well-written and captures the dialogue and self-absorption that some teens exhibit…the book also provides some life-lessons about being your own person, doing your best, and taking the high road.

Canadian Materials

Other titles by Melody Fitzpatrick