EW's first look at what Rachel, Finn, and more of your favorite high schoolers were doing before joining New Directions

By EW Staff
Updated July 16, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Before our favorite characters sang their first note, there was plenty of drama at McKinley High. For a peek at what New Directions’ brightest stars were doing before you started tuning in, pick up the young-adult novel Glee: The Beginning, on sale Aug. 3. Below, some choice snippets.

”I’d like to sign off this morning by awarding Rachel Berry’s Gold Star of the Week — a very special award given each week to a person who has done something outstanding to improve life at McKinley High.” She’d thought of this last night, and it seemed to be an appropriate way to give back to the school. ”This week I’d like to award the gold star to” — she paused for effect — ”myself, for taking over morning announcements and bringing them back to life.” Maybe it was a little much to give herself the first gold star, but she was doing the school a big service. And what was wrong with giving herself a little pat on the back when no one else was?

[Finn] caught sight of a girl in a greenish blue dress. Was that Rachel Berry? She had the sides of her long dark hair pulled back in one of those twist things that girls did, and she looked really pretty. He felt the urge to walk over to her and say something…. He wasn’t sure why he cared, but he felt like there was something more to Rachel than what everyone else saw.
”Hello?” Quinn tapped him on the arm. “Are you coming?”
”Yeah,” he said. Rachel had disappeared into the crowd, and he felt a kind of funny feeling in his chest, like he’d just missed out on something.

As she slipped into her white satin pajamas, she couldn’t help wondering what it would feel like to slow dance with Puck’s warm, strong hands on her hips. She lifted her thick down comforter and climbed into bed, letting herself imagine going to the dance with Puck. People would be shocked to see Quinn with a guy who had a reputation like Puck’s. Even if nothing happened between them, the rumors would fly. Quinn would never be the pure golden girl again. But her face felt hot just thinking about him in a suit. Just as she was about to drift off, her phone buzzed. She lifted up her silk sleeping mask and stared. Look outside, the text message said. It was from Puck’s number.

Puck was leaning against the wall of the janitor’s closet in the dark, waiting for Quinn. He flipped open his phone to check the time. A tiny part of him worried she wouldn’t come. What if she’d just said she would come to get him to leave her alone, and now she was sitting in her stupid English class, giggling with Santana and Brittany, probably laughing about how Puck was such a fake for pretending to be such a player when he was getting all soft on a girl like Quinn. Here he was, waiting for her in a dark janitor’s closet he’d only discovered because he and his buddies had locked some freshman loser in there once. Puck’s face burned.

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