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He backtracked so he stood in my open doorway.

“Do you have any ideas for a podcast?” I asked him.

He thought for a second. “Hmm. Gaming? Comics?”

“Any mainstream ideas?”

“Lots of people like both those things,” he argued.

“I know, but the show has to have mass appeal.” Actually, maybe that didn’t matter. Ms. Lyon didn’t say it had to appeal to a wide audience. She just said it had to be original. “Maybe I should suggest lake myths. Or lake sports.”

Max shrugged and walked on.

I threw my swimsuit on my bed, pulled out my laptop, then logged on to the website for Ms. Lyon’s class.

I was surprised to see that there was a list of ideas already there. People had beaten me to it! And I was even more surprised to see that one idea listed was: lake stories. I growled. Had Frank submitted that? Was there someone else from Lakesprings in the class? The entries were anonymous on the site (only Ms. Lyon could see who had entered what). If I wrote in lake sports, would that be too close to lake stories?

Liza came barreling back into my room and flung herself on my bed. “She said no!”

“What?”

“My mom. She says tutoring is nonnegotiable for at least the first quarter of school. I even told her you would tutor me.”

I frowned. “Why did you tell her that?”

“Because the other thing Alana told me to say wasn’t working.”

I rolled my eyes.

“I start next week,” Liza said glumly.

“I’m sorry, Liza. But it won’t be that bad, right?”

“My mom walking me to my weekly tutoring session?”

“I can take you.”

Liza scrunched her nose up like she hadn’t thought of that idea and wasn’t sure if it was a good one. “Okay. Yeah … sure. You’re a junior now, after all. That makes you at least cooler than my mom.”

“Thanks … I think.”

“This might work!” And just like that, she was gone again. That girl was a ball of energy.

I scanned the list of topics once more. Not only was lake stories taken, but comics, music, and fashion were on there, too. Someone had even submitted the suggestion my mom had given, about exposés of high school life. And this was the first day! There’d be nothing left if I waited.

I tapped my fingers lightly on the keyboard. I just had to think of an idea. It wasn’t like it would actually get used when the whole class had to vote. Maybe I could call Alana back and get her advice.

Advice.

The thing Alana had wanted about Diego. The thing Liza had wanted about tutoring. Wasn’t that something teens were always looking for? Whether from their friends or parents or teachers? An advice show could totally work.

I typed in my idea. It was a solid one. Or at least original enough to count. I hurried into the kitchen to tell Mom I’d submitted my topic, and she gave me a thumbs-up. Within seconds, I’d changed into my swimsuit and was on my way to the lake.

The next day, at lunch, Alana and I discussed my topic choice.

“I like it,” Alana said as we sat side by side on our usual bench outside. “The Ask Alana Advice Show.” She placed each word in the air with her hand. “Triple A.”

“That might be copyrighted,” I said, sticking a straw into my smoothie.

“Either way, I’m voting for your idea.”

“You don’t have to,” I said.

“I know. I want to. It would be fun to hear people call in with their problems.”

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