EXCERPT: Tyra Banks' Debut Novel, 'Modelland'

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Tyra Banks' 'Modelland'

More flashes filled the sky. More Scouts appeared. The candidates walked hungrily. Dozens of fights broke out, and at least six girls lay on the marble ground, nursing their wounds. As Tookie made her way up the trunk of the car, a strange vibrating sensation tickled her feet. Bzzz.

What was that?

"One minute left!" Mayor Rump called. Hundreds of people began to count down. Fifty-nine, fifty-eight . . .

Bzzz. Bzzz. Tookie looked down and gasped. A strip of the diamond-encrusted roof of the car had transformed into a thick layer of brilliant fabric. As she watched, even more of the roof disappeared and reappeared as cloth. The fabric looked as if it were being spontaneously woven by a giant loom. "Whoa," she whispered.

Mrs. De La Crème noticed the fabric too. She kneeled down to within an inch of the strange material and then bounced back up. "It's a Scout!" She jumped off the roof. "Myrracle, it's a Scout!"

Brian was right behind her. He shook Myrracle by the shoulders. "It's a Scout, doofus!"

"Where?" Myrracle halted midpose.

"On the roof of the car!"

Myrracle pushed past girls in her way and scuttled over to the vehicle.

Thousands of crowd members were now counting down the seconds.

Forty-five, forty-four . . .

Another row of fabric emerged. Then another, then another. Myrracle shrieked. "A Scout, Creamy! A Scout!" Mr. De La Crème grabbed Myrracle from the square and pulled her toward the car. "Everything we've strived for. It's all coming true, baby!"

Thirty-nine, thirty-eight . . .

Tons of girls ran for the gaudy car, clamoring for the attention of the soon-to-appear Scout. Tookie surveyed the crowd, noticing how many people were watching the De La Crème family on the roof. Jealous girls, rabid mothers . . . even Theophilus was in the back of the crowd, looking amused. But strangely, he wasn't staring at Myrracle, as most of the mob was. His eyes were locked on Tookie. Her stomach flipped over.

"Tookie!" Mrs. De La Crème grabbed Tookie's ankle. "Get down from the hood! Myrracle needs her space! This is her moment!"

"Uh . . ." Tookie stared at the ground. The area around the car teemed with so many girls now, she was kind of trapped. Furthermore, Myrracle wasn't able to climb atop the roof to greet the Scout properly. This is Myrracle's moment, Tookie thought. She had to help her.

"Come on, Myrracle!" Tookie called. She reached out her hand for Myrracle to grab. It took all of Tookie's strength to pull Myrracle and her twenty- pound dress onto the hood. Once she was up, Myrracle pushed Tookie out of the way, nearly knocking her to the ground.

"I'm here!" Myrracle cried. She stood in the center of the hood, hands in the air, her chin thrust high. "Da- tahhhh!" "Tookie, for the love of God, get off the roof !" Mrs. De La Crème screeched. "Give Myrracle room!"

But Tookie didn't want to move. She wanted to see this happen to Myrracle firsthand. The roof had finished its diamond- to fabric transformation. There was a slight pause, and Tookie felt the world around her go silent. And then the whole roof began to tremble.

Suddenly, the fabric split violently in the very center, knocking Myrracle off the roof. She fell to the ground almost as if in slow motion.

"Nooooooo!" Mrs. De La Crème wailed. Tookie's father pushed Brian out of the way to catch his daughter. Tiers of tulle billowed into his face. Myrracle's legs kicked into the air.

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