Invaluable (Paperback)

by Holly J. Wood

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help wanted
Sixteen-year-old girl seeks advice on how to reach out to a sister who has become distant; how to make up with my best friend, who spends every moment with her new boyfriend;how to avoid losing my job over working on Sundays; and how to figure out who has been putting love notes in my locker.

Applicants are also required to provide advice on how to handle being head-over-heels for my prom date's best friend—who happens to be the hottest guy in school.

Math tutoring a plus.

Interested persons may contact Eliza Moore.

Sound like a tall order? Well, that is what Eliza Moore is up against during her sophomore year of high school. But when her great-grandmother begins visiting Eliza in her dreams, everything starts to change. These dreams take Eliza back in time to see extraordinary women who help teach her about eight important values. As Eliza learns more about these women and the values they lived by, she discovers the courage and confidence she needs to face her challenges—and her secret admirer.

Product Details

  • Size:  5x8
  • Pages:  350
  • Published:  12/2011

About the Author

Holly J. Wood is an avid reader. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University where she pursued a degree in health science. Holly has a passion for travel and has lived briefly in Israel and Mexico. True to her name, she enjoys watching classic movies and musicals. She currently lives in Mountain Green, Utah, with her husband and two young children. Invaluable is her debut novel.

Chapter One

Eliza! Honey, please hurry down for breakfast. I don’t want you to be late for school again!” This was the second warning from Mom, and I knew better than to mess around with that tone of voice. I took one last glance in the mirror, then grabbed my lip gloss off the dresser and stuffed it into my backpack as I ran downstairs.

Mom stood by the stove wearing her usual morning attire: a velour leisure suit and slippers. Her brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and she was flipping French toast. I could smell the cinnamon she used as a special ingredient.

Argh! French toast was one of my favorites; this dieting thing was not going to be easy. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine myself wearing a stunning prom dress (that I had yet to find) and felt the resolve I needed to say no to the calories.

Just a few more weeks. You can do this.

“Go ahead and sit down. Breakfast is ready.” Mom gave me a threatening look, and I wondered if it was a coincidence that she was serving my favorite breakfast.

Nope. After one glance at her, I could tell that she definitely knew about the diet; how did she do that?

“Thanks, Mom, but I don’t have time today. I’ll just take one of these.” I tried to act casual as I searched the pantry for a flavor of granola bar I liked.

“Eliza, you need to eat!” She cast a desperate glance at my dad, who was sitting at the table finishing his last piece of bacon.

He reached over and picked up the glass of orange juice by my untouched plate and said, “It’s the most important meal of the day, you know. At least drink your juice.”

Mom sighed in exasperation—that was obviously not the kind of backup she’d been hoping for.

I smiled at Dad as I took the glass of juice, and he gave me a quick wink. Dad was more laid-back than Mom about most things, and, fortunately for me, a lot less observant.

I drained my juice glass, grabbed my bag, and headed for the door. I avoided Mom’s glare, but as a peace offering said, “Sorry about breakfast. Maybe Courtney will want it.” Doubtful, since my thirteen-year-old sister had yet to make her appearance this morning. “See you later!” And with that, I was out the door.

I stepped out into the beautiful April morning sunshine and headed for my car. Our neighbor was mowing his lawn and I could smell the freshly cut grass. To me that sound and smell always meant one thing—summer was on the way! For a moment I considered ditching school and heading for a park to bask in the sun all day, but that thought was short-lived. I knew the school would send a recorded phone message to my house that I’d been absent and then I’d be busted.

As I got in my car, I consoled myself with the fact that at least today was Friday. I turned on the ignition, blasted the radio, and headed for Jill’s house.

Jill and I had been best friends ever since second grade, when her family had moved into the neighborhood a block away from my family. I tried to be patient as I waited in Jill’s driveway, watching the minutes tick by with no sign of my friend.

Just as I was about to send her a text message, Jill came flying through the front door. She jumped in the car holding a half-eaten piece of toast in one hand and a mascara tube in the other.

“Sorry, I was trying to hurry,” she said breathlessly.

“It’s okay. It’s not like this is our first time being late for school. Nice shirt,” I added sarcastically as I backed out of the driveway. She caught my tone and smiled; she had borrowed that shirt from me last week.

Jill and I were about the same size and were constantly swapping clothes. We often went shopping together to make sure that we bought clothes both of us liked.

“Don’t make any sudden stops; I don’t want to poke my eyes out,” Jill warned, flipping down the visor mirror and applying her mascara.

I had to hand it to her—even when she just threw things together at the last minute, she still managed to look good!

Although we were similar in lots of ways, our physical features were dramatically different: Jill was of Asian descent, with dark hair cut in a stylish A-line, dark almond-shaped eyes, and a flawless, creamy skin tone. Because of her striking features, she hardly had to wear any makeup. I didn’t even know why she bothered with the mascara.

I, on the other hand, had fair skin, and it certainly wasn’t always flawless. If I didn’t wear makeup, I felt like my face disappeared. I had long brown hair, which I routinely highlighted to break up the monotony; my current highlights were a deep honey color. My height was a completely average five feet five, and although my weight would probably be considered average as well, I really wanted to lose ten pounds.

My one redeeming feature was my eyes. I had inherited my mom’s strikingly bright blue eyes, and it was usually the first thing people noticed about me.

Jill was gabbing away about some TV show she’d watched last night while I inserted an occasional “Mm-hmm” and tried to focus on the road. She and I made a good pair. She was always bubbly and animated and never lacked for something to say, while I was a little bit shy and labeled as a “good listener.” Jill made me go out of my comfort zone by suggesting fun and spontaneous things to do, and I kept her (or at least tried to keep her) from getting too carried away.

She was right in the middle of a sentence when her cell phone buzzed.

“Wow, lover boy’s getting started early this morning. What has it been, like ten whole hours since you talked to him last?” I smirked.

She rolled her eyes at me and flipped open her cell phone. “Oh, he’s sooo cute!” she gushed. “He says he misses me and he can’t wait until lunch.”

I made a gagging sound, but her fingers were already flying as she replied to his text message. I hoped she would spare me the details of whatever mushy message she was sending.

Jill and Nick Forrester had been dating since the beginning of the school year. At first it had been fun to watch them become a couple and hear all of Jill’s stories about what Nick said and how it felt to have a boyfriend (especially because neither of us had ever had one before), but after a few weeks, it started to get old, and I began to feel like I was losing my best friend. It didn’t help that I’d never particularly liked Nick. He was always so clingy with Jill, almost as if he didn’t have any life outside of their relationship.

And, yeah, I was a little bit jealous—jealous that Jill had a boyfriend and I didn’t, and jealous that she spent so much time with him.

When she finished her text, she smiled at me and said, “He’s gonna meet me by my locker before class. Isn’t that sweet?”

I grimaced. “Thanks for the warning. I’ll be sure to go in another direction.” She smacked my arm, and I grumbled, “Just kidding, sheesh!”

We pulled into the parking lot and started searching for an open space.

“Wow, there’s actually a spot toward the front, hurry!”

I looked to where Jill was pointing and lightly pushed down on the accelerator. I had gotten my driver’s license only two months ago, and I prided myself on cautious driving.

Just as I was about to reach the blessed opening, a flashy red BMW came squealing around the corner and into our spot. I slammed on the brakes, and my tires screeched in protest.

Without missing a beat, Chelsea Andrews emerged from the offending vehicle and started walking toward the school with her signature runway model walk. She didn’t even bother to glance back at us.

“Holy cow! We almost slammed into her!” Jill yelled. “You should have just gunned it and ran straight into her precious little car. What a brat!”

I realized I was holding my breath, so I let it out and tried to relax my white-knuckled fingers from their death grip on the steering wheel.

Jill rolled down the window and yelled at Chelsea, “Watch where you’re going next time, road hog!” But Chelsea had already disappeared through the front doors.

We found another parking space in the second-to-last row of the lot while Jill continued her tirade on the many faults of Chelsea Andrews. Secretly, I knew Jill was going off on Chelsea because deep down, she was jealous of her. I think every girl in school was jealous of her, and for good reason.

Chelsea had everything. She always wore the latest styles, which were frequently copied by her little swarm of friends. She was on the drill team, she was completely gorgeous (I mean like Barbie-doll gorgeous), and she always had a string of boys after her. To top it all off, Chelsea’s family lived in a huge house on the hill, and she was known for throwing incredibly fun pool parties—which Jill and I had yet to be invited to.

Two weeks ago, she’d had a huge party for her sixteenth birthday, and her parents had surprised her with that brand-new BMW.

As Jill and I got out of the car, I looked at my own ’89 Honda Civic hatchback and felt for the hundredth time that it wasn’t fair. My dad worked in an office by Chelsea’s dad, and I knew he made as much money—if not more—than Mr. Andrews, and yet they had a huge mansion and she got a brand-new car while I lived in a regular house and drove a lump of scrap metal.

I knew I should be grateful to have a car at all, but to add insult to injury, Dad had given me the car on the condition that I get a job and pay for the insurance myself. The only thing worse would have been riding the bus, so I had reluctantly agreed.

Jill snapped her fingers in front of my face. “Anybody home? Come on, I don’t want to be late.”

I pulled myself out of my personal pity party and picked up the pace beside her. As we were hurrying toward the school, she started unbuttoning her shirt.

“Um, what are you doing?” I asked in alarm.

“Don’t worry; I’m not about to streak or anything,” she said with a laugh. Underneath her shirt (or rather, my shirt), she was wearing a tight yellow tank top with a big purple flower and rhinestones on it.

“I don’t remember seeing that shirt before,” I said, trying to keep the surprise out of my voice.

Jill looked a little embarrassed. “Well, Nick and I went to the mall last night, and he saw this and told me it would look good on me. . . . And besides, this way I can get some sun on my skin before prom. You can borrow it whenever you want,” she added in a hurry.

“Thanks,” I said halfheartedly. She knew I would never borrow it. My mom was the Young Women’s president in our ward, and she practically had the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet memorized. Sleeveless shirts were a no-no in our house . . . but it did look cute on Jill.

Maybe if I hid it under my clothes like Jill did . . . hmm.

Just then the bell rang.

“Oh, great, now I won’t have time to meet Nick.” Jill’s lips pulled into a pout as we ran through the entrance doors.

Chapter One

Eliza! Honey, please hurry down for breakfast. I don’t want you to be late for school again!” This was the second warning from Mom,...

Chapter Two

A few hours later, I walked out of my math class feeling like my head was going to explode. I did relatively well in all my classes—except...
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A treasure!

by  Joyce  -   reviewed on  August 08, 2013

Reading this book is a great way to help young women through their sometimes difficult teenage years. It is a good reminder of the Young Women Values and how important the values will be to them throughout their lives. It's fun, and sometimes makes you laugh and cry. I highly recommend this book to any tween or teen young woman.

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Good, clean LDS book

by  Stephanie  -   reviewed on  July 21, 2013

Good, clean LDS book about virtues and standing for what is right and righteous. Young Women will enjoy this book as it addresses temptations and worldly conduct and what they can do to strengthen themselves.

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Recommended for Young Women

by  Heather  -   reviewed on  April 25, 2012

I met author Holly J Black at the Deseret Book Flagship store a couple of weeks ago and right away was impressed without even having read her book. Now having read it, I can say Invaluable is perfect for Young Women in our generation who are fighting to stay true to their values. Eliza Moore, the main heroine is a sophomore in High School who is going through the transitions many her age do- a strained relationship with her sister, balancing work and a job, figuring out just who she is and getting attention from older boys... but not the one she is hoping for. Mysterious notes start showing up in her locker from a secret admirer during the day, and at night Eliza is being visited by her grandmother in her dreams. Life is all about to change. Taking the reader through time to meet influential women in history, Invaluable teaches us that there is more to life than texting, gossip, crushes and trying to get to the top of the class the wrong way. Eliza learns to choose a better destiny than the one she is carving out by every day choices, and a long the way an unexpected surprise lands her right where she longs to be. I loved Invaluable! The plot was a little slow in some places but it progresses the characters well as they mature over the course of the school year. It's a book I would gladly pass on and wholeheartedly recommend to tweens and teens, as well as adult women. Content: Clean. Mention of the dangers of underage drinking and the consequences of teenage sexuality.

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Brilliant

by  Monica  -   reviewed on  February 18, 2012

I loved the presentation of the Young Women Values. It reminded me of a value walk activity where the examples of others protray the values in action. I think this book is great because it brings today's situations and challenges into prospective and how it fits together with living the gospel and values.

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Great book by a talented new author!

by  Dana  -   reviewed on  December 19, 2011

My teenage daughter absolutely loved this book. She said it made her want to be a better person! Just what a mom wants to hear!

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Inspiring!

by  kera  -   reviewed on  January 02, 2012

I am a mother of 5 and this book took my back to my young women days. I loved it. It has humor, it's easy to read, it has romance, it made me cry a few times, but best of all it taught Values! The main character is amazing and it's hard not to love her. I felt good when reading it, and that is hard to come by these days. =) I hope to read more from Holly J. Wood!

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Incredible

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  May 19, 2012

I really enjoyed this book! It was very inspiring and has helped me strive to become a better person. Thank you Holly J. Wood for writing this. :)

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