Authors: Cathy Hopkins
First published in Great Britain in 2012 by Simon and Schuster UK Ltd
A CBS COMPANY
Copyright © 2012 Cathy Hopkins
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention. No reproduction without permission. All rights reserved.
The right of Cathy Hopkins to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents
Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
222 Gray’s Inn Road,
London WC1X 8HB
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
PB ISBN: 978-1-84738-760-8
E-BOOK ISBN: 978-1-84738-995-4
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY
‘It’s time for some serious study,’ said Mrs Moran, my English teacher, before she dismissed class for Easter. ‘You all have to get your heads down this
‘No late nights,’ Dad said when I got home from school. ‘If you’re to get good grades in your GCSEs, you have to focus.’
‘Time-manage your studying,’ said Aunt Maddie when she dropped by as we were having supper. It was macaroni cheese, one of my faves. ‘Break it down into do-able chunks. Oh, and
we need to have a long talk soon about the subjects you want to do for A-level.’
‘You need fish oils,’ Gran said, when she called later the same evening. ‘They’re good for the brain.’
What planet are they all on? Planet B-4-Boring, that’s what. I’m so not looking forward to the holidays. Not that I don’t take my schoolwork seriously, I do, but I take having
fun seriously too.
‘Study, study, study. What subjects are you going to do in Sixth Form? What do you think you might like to do when you leave school?’ I said to my mate Pia, when she came to sleep
over. ‘That’s all I hear lately. And
? Doesn’t anyone realise it’s spring? The daffodils are out. The skies are clear. Birds are singing. The nights are
getting longer and I, Jess Hall, have a boyfriend!’
I do too. A proper one. My first, even though I’m fifteen. I’ve not had a lot of luck with boys up until now. But all that’s changed. It’s finally happened. He’s
not someone I have a crush on from afar who hardly notices me. Or someone who likes me but won’t commit and messes with my head (like Tom Robertson – he’s so last term). No.
I’m having a
. Dates, texts, holding hands, listening to music curled up on the sofa, snog sessions . . . something I have to say he’s very good at. And it all feels
absolutely blooming lovely.
His name is JJ Lewis. We’re JJ and Jess. Jess and JJ.
Pia got into her blue-and-white striped nightie, sat on the end of my bed and began to apply apple-scented body lotion to her legs. ‘My mum’s just the same,’ she said.
‘Nag, nag, nag. Like, I don’t
what I want to do when I leave school. I keep changing my mind.’
‘Me too! Art? English? I have no idea,’ I said as I got into my nightie, which is like Pia’s, only pink and white. We got them in the sale at Westfield shopping mall after
‘It’s not as if we want to be strippers, for goodness’ sake,’ said Pia. ‘Now that really
give them something to talk about!’ She got up and began
to shimmy around my bedroom.
I laughed and looked at my reflection in the mirror. A tall, slim girl with shoulder-length chestnut-coloured hair and big blue eyes looked back. ‘Hey, you. What do you want to be?’
I asked myself. ‘Come on, girl. Make up your mind!’
Pia came to stand next to me. At five foot three, she only just comes up to my shoulder but I never think of her as small. She’s a curvy cherub with a big,
‘Look at us. Here we are in Year Eleven, both fifteen,’ she said as she slicked back her short, dark hair, ‘and I wonder who we’ll be in five years – or even ten.
What will we look like then, I wonder? Will we be lawyers? Doctors? Dancers? Teachers?’
‘Mates,’ I said. ‘We can be sure of that much.’
Pia nodded. ‘For life.’ She knelt down on the floor and got into the sleeping bag I’d laid out for her earlier on top of the roll-out mattress beside my bed.
‘I was thinking I might like to work in a cats and dogs rescue home,’ I said as I looked over at my cat, Dave, who had settled himself for the night as he always did – a mass
of black-and-white fur at the foot of my bed.
Pia shook her head. ‘You wouldn’t last a week, Jess – you’d get too upset. People take their pets to those places when the animals get ill or old. You’d bring them
all home with you and have to hide them in your wardrobe. Probably doesn’t pay much, either. So it depends on whether you want to be rich.’
‘I want to do something that pays well, course I do. Who doesn’t? But I don’t know
. In the meantime, all anyone goes on about is studying, subject choices and
‘I’ve tried telling Mum that life has to be all about balance but she’s a workaholic, just like your dad.’
‘They ought to get married,’ I said.
‘Yeah, right. They’d kill each other. I don’t know which of them is the bigger control-freak.’
Pia and I live next door to each other in the staff area at Number 1, Porchester Park. My dad’s the general manager and Pia’s mum runs the spa and there’s a mews house on site
for each of our families that comes with the job. They’re pretty ordinary houses with small box rooms, built for the staff who have to be there twenty-four seven to cater for the every need
of the people who live in the main apartment block. Lots of the residents have their own private live-in staff too: chefs, chauffeurs, minders, masseurs, housekeepers, PAs and so on but
there’s also a fleet of staff that comes with the place to provide whatever else they might want – be it a limo, the latest designer dresses brought in for a bit of home-shopping, or a
cheese-and-tomato sandwich at midnight. Porchester Park is the most luxurious, prestigious address in London and its residents are the super rich and the international elite – A-list actors,
businessmen, some royals, celebs or just plain old billionaires. Dad’s job is to keep things running smoothly and ensure that what a resident wants, a resident gets.
I sat on my bed and began to apply my aloe vera moisturiser. ‘Let’s forget about school for a bit. For this evening, anyway. Let’s talk about more important stuff. Like, what
do you think is the secret of a good relationship? Do you think opposites attract and that’s the best combination? Or do you think you need to share your views on everything? Or can that get
boring? And how do you keep a boy interested in you after the first few dates?’ I needed to know all this stuff, being a relationship newbie. I wanted it to work with me and JJ.
Pia snuggled down into her sleeping bag. I love these late night chats with her when it’s just girlie time and we can talk about anything and everything, from boys, friends and school to
what we want to do with our lives, our fave beauty products (lately we’re taking moisturising
seriously) to deep stuff like whether there’s a God or not. Pia’s more of
a boy expert than I am. She’s had three relationships so far and is now dating the lovely, handsome Henry, who also lives in the staff area. His dad looks after the underground car park and
the fleets of limos and cars that belong to the richies.
Pia considered my question. ‘A bit of both, I think,’ she said. ‘Like, if you’re total opposites, you might end up arguing all the time, but if you’re very similar,
then it can be a bit blah and dull like cottage cheese and you won’t learn anything. No fire, spice or challenge. With Henry, we both like a laugh and are chilled about most things, but
he’s a total music and movie geek, which I’m not. But he gets me into loads of stuff I wouldn’t have thought of listening to or going to see, and I end up loving it.’
I felt like I was on a huge learning curve now that JJ and I were dating. Up until now, my love life had consisted of a few flirtations that had come to nothing and trying to find a boy I liked
who wasn’t into messing around and just seeing how many girls he could get off with (like Tom). ‘I want to make it last with JJ and I think I can learn a lot from him,’ I said,
‘and him from me, because our worlds are totally different . . . but I hope that won’t cause problems.’
‘Why should it?’
‘Duh. He’s the son of one of the most famous actors on the planet and I’m Jess Nobody.’ JJ is Jefferson Lewis’s son and he lives in one of the apartments at
Porchester Park. He travels by limo, while I go by tube, bus and foot. He holidays in far-off exotic locations, staying in private villas or five-star hotels. I’m lucky if I get a weekend
away in Bournemouth with Dad’s younger brother and his family, where I have to sleep on a pull-out sofabed in the study. JJ’s home-schooled, while I go to the local state. He dresses in
top designers like Ralph Lauren, Armani and Tommy Hilfiger, while I can barely afford Topshop in the sale. Basically, his family is loaded, and my dad can only just about manage to pay for items on
my brother Charlie’s and my school list, never mind extras. So, basically, although we live within a few metres of each other, we’re worlds apart.
‘You’re not Jess Nobody. You shouldn’t talk yourself down like that. And anyway, the fact that he picked you when he could have gone out with someone from his world means he
, not what your family do or how much your dad earns.’
‘I guess, though I do feel bad when he wants to go somewhere and I can’t afford it. But we do agree on loads of stuff, like we’ve both said that we don’t want to play
games in our relationship. It’s so nice not to think that I have to act cool or keep my feelings to myself.’
‘Early days,’ said Pia. ‘Sometimes you do. I don’t think boys like it if you go on about having PMT or how insecure you’re feeling about your looks or something
– which is why I don’t think you should call yourself Jess Nobody. If you really think that, he’ll pick up on it. Boys like confidence.’
‘Yeah, but I don’t want to put on an act.’
‘No, I know, I just think you should be yourself right from the beginning. Some girls put on an act when they first start going out with a boy, pretending to always be in a good mood, or
always finding his rubbish jokes funny, basically doing whatever he wants to do and going wherever he wants to go, like they’re some kind of perfect girl. Then weeks down the line, they
can’t keep it up and the boy can’t make out why they’ve changed.’