Authors: Hilary Freeman
Praise for Camden Town Tales
‘Camden comes to life on the page in this engaging and fun story of friendship and celebrities . . . with characters so realistic you feel you might bump into them at
Camden Town tube!’
Praise for Hilary Freeman
‘A great read.’
Simon Lederman, Presenter,
BBC Radio London
‘The perfect choice for teenage girls (and their mums). Warm and witty, compelling and insightful.’
‘The characters are believable and the narrative is pacy . . . a good read.’
‘A really good read . . . funny, yet realistic.’
To my gorgeous cousin,
First published in Great Britain in 2012
by Piccadilly Press Ltd,
5 Castle Road, London NW1 8PR
Text copyright © Hilary Freeman, 2012
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.
The right of Hilary Freeman to be identified as Author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN: 978 1 84812 131 7 (paperback)
ISBN: 978 1 84812 203 1 (ebook)
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd,
Croydon, CR0 4YY
Cover design by Simon Davis
Cover illustrations by Susan Hellard
Camden Town is one of the most colourful places in the world, with a unique mix of styles and cultures. Come here and you’ll see emos and cyberpunks, rockabillies, mods
and indie kids . . . the list goes on and on. It truly is a place where you can dress outlandishly, and nobody blinks an eye.
But when you’re a teenager, even in Camden, it can be difficult to accept the way you look, especially if you don’t have conventionally ‘beautiful’ features or a model
figure. When I was younger I hated my big nose and frizzy hair and longed for straight, glossy locks and petite features, like the girls I considered to be pretty (and the ones I thought the boys
liked). It took me many years – and lots of experiments with hair products – to learn how to make the best of my looks and, finally, to accept myself.
Stuck on Me
, Sky faces similar thoughts, but is helped by her best friends Rosie and Vix. I hope that you’ll enjoy the ride and, if you’re not entirely happy with the way
you look, that reading this book will also help you to like yourself a little more too.
e’re at the Dublin Castle on Camden Parkway, a venue where every band you’ve ever heard of
– and loads you haven’t – has played. It’s absolutely heaving. You can hardly hear the music over the chatter and the clinking of beer glasses. Nobody has asked our ages
yet. If we keep our heads down, don’t try to buy drinks and blend into the crowd, nobody will take any notice of us. People always say that I look older than fourteen; Rosie too. Even Vix can
get away with it when she dresses up and puts on eyeliner, like tonight. We’re not planning to stay too long, anyway. Just a quick look around, to see if he’s there, and then out again.
If he is . . . well, I haven’t even imagined what will happen then.
We push past the bar towards the back, where the bands perform. There’s a group of old-timers on stage, guys in their fifties who look like they’ve been gigging for years.
They’re playing some vintage blues music, which I recognise from Mum’s CDs. I quite like it, although I’d never admit that to her.
I take Rosie’s and Vix’s arms and steer them through the crowd, so that we can get a better view of the stage. I look from left to right, checking each musician off my list:
pony-tailed singer and guitarist – not him; black bassist – not him; bald, lanky drummer – not him.
Then I see the harmonica player and my knees buckle.
‘Oh my God. Oh my God,’ I whisper, aware that nobody can hear me. I feel sick, my legs are like jelly. I cling on to my friends’ arms for support.
Vix grasps my hand and squeezes my fingers tight. ‘What, Sky?’ she asks, concerned. ‘What is it? Are you OK?’
I realise I’m shaking. ‘The guy with the harmonica,’ I shout into her ear, my voice thin and squeaky. ‘Look. Over there.’
He’s standing to the side of the stage, wearing baggy, faded jeans and a shirt that could do with ironing, the buttons straining at his belly. His hair is thinner than I remember but
still dark and wavy, although there are traces of grey in his chin stubble. He looks tired, ill and bloated, and it makes me feel sad, even though I swore I’d never care about him
‘Are you sure?’ mouths Rosie.
‘It’s him,’ I stutter. ‘We’ve found him. Look at his profile, when he turns. It’s exactly the same as mine, isn’t it?’
‘Really? Wow!’ Rosie starts to walk forward to get a better view, but I drag her back, into the darkness. I don’t want him to notice me. Not yet.
I have no doubt that it’s him. Looking at his face is like looking at an older, more weathered, male version of me.
I guess it’s true what they say. If you want to find something – or someone – all you have to do is follow your nose . . .
o, do you like my new dress?’ asks Rosie, striding and twirling around her bedroom as if she’s on
the catwalk at London Fashion Week, while Vix and I gaze up at her from her bed. ‘Very retro-chic, don’t you think?’