Ugh, it is too hot.
I know it is July and supposed to be sunny but it said on the news that the temperature in England is hotter than Greece, which I can totally believe. Rolo spends all his time lying flat on the floor, panting like he has just conquered Everest, the twins seem to be in training for THE GREAT BRITISH GRUMP OFF and apparently the roads might melt if it goes on much longer, which is not going to help with anything. How will the ice cream van get down our street with much-needed supplies if the tarmac is streaming like molten lava?
“It’s because of climate change,” Shenice told us as we dragged our sweaty, overheated selves home from school one blistering Tuesday afternoon near the end of term.
“Climate change?” Molly asked, fanning her face with a wilting copy of the Year Seven newsletter. “Is that like the French exchange programme but with weather instead of students?”
Shenice shook her head. “No, it means the world is getting hotter and we have no one to blame but ourselves. Thanks to Man’s selfish actions, the planet is heating up and basically we’re all doomed unless we take positive action to stop it now.”
Eek. I glanced sideways at Molly – this wasn’t what we usually talked about on the way home from school. Normally, we argue about who is the hottest member of THE DROIDS or whether Mr Peterson’s lessons could get any duller, but ever since Shenice’s mum went on a big demonstration march in London last month, she’s been all about the environmental friendliness and a tiny bit is rubbing off on Shenice.
I can’t see how men could be causing the entire earth to overheat, though, no matter how selfish they are – although now I come to think of it, some of Liam’s farts are pretty toxic. I know older brothers are supposed to be gross but he is off the charts disgusting so I can totally see how he might contribute to the end of life as we know it. My little brother, Joshua, is less to blame – even the hardest eco-warrior wouldn’t blame an eight-month-old baby for the pollution his bottom emits. And then it dawned on me that Shenice meant MAN as a species, not men as individuals, and everything made a lot more sense.
“What kind of action?” Molly asked.
“Walking instead of driving, buying locally sourced food, washing clothes at a lower temperature,” Shenice replied, ticking the items off on her fingers. “But our biggest challenge is climate-change deniers. Did you know that there are actually idiots who refuse to believe there’s a problem?”
I thought about that. No one who’d smelled one of Liam’s eye-watering efforts could deny that he had a problem.
“Huh,” Molly said. “We should invite them to spend a day at St Jude’s. Is it just me or is it hotter there than anywhere else?”
I have to admit I felt a tiny bit guilty then. St Jude’s DOES feel hotter than the sun at the moment but that’s mostly because all three of us are wearing trousers in a heatwave. Ever since I started a petition to allow girls to wear trousers to school and the school governors changed the rules to say we can, I have felt like I cannot ever be TROUSERLESS. And Molly and Shenice are being brilliant BFFs and supporting me, in spite of some serious perspiration problems. Leading a revolution is much sweatier than I expected.
“At least it’s nearly the end of term,” I said. “Just think, no more Mr Peterson for six whole weeks.”
It’s not that I don’t like maths but Mr Peterson is to fun what my dad is to coolness: a vacuum. Although at least Mr Peterson doesn’t dress up as Elvis Presley in his spare time like Dad. Honestly, it’s like he is on a mission to win Most Embarrassing Parent EVER. He’s even talking about taking his tufty black wig and sparkly white onesie on holiday with us to Happy Sands this year. I am going to live with Aunt Jane and Uncle Ian if he does.
“No more Mrs Pitt-Rivers,” Shenice said, shivering in spite of the heat.
Mrs Pitt-Rivers is our super-strict Deputy Headteacher – seriously, she makes Miss Trunchbull look relaxed. I don’t mind her so much since she was almost nice to me a few months ago but Shenice is terrified of her.
“No more Nathan Crossfield,” Molly pointed out, with a sideways look at me. “Unless there’s something you’re not telling us?”
My cheeks were already warm but they suddenly became fiery hot. Nathan Crossfield is the most popular boy in Year Seven – he’s the football team’s star striker, a favourite with the teachers and the closest thing St Jude’s Secondary has to a celebrity. He’s also my favourite person to share a sundae with and I might have an eensy-weensy crush on him. Oh, and I once threw up on his feet, but we NEVER talk about that.
“I don’t know what you mean,” I said, trying to make like Queen Elsa and think frosty thoughts. “Nathan who?”
“Oh, purlease,” Molly said, rolling her eyes. “Are you seeing him over the summer holidays or not?”
“How can she?” Shenice asked. “The summer course at Eton Dorney Dance and Drama Academy starts as soon as school finishes and she’s going to Happy Sands for a week. She won’t have time.”
I do have a teensy little CONFESSION to make here: I’m not sure I’ll even be going to EDDDA. I know we all agreed to sign up for it but that was before Mum saw the cost. She sighed so hard that our neighbours must have thought we’d been struck by some kind of extremely localized mini-hurricane. And then I’d heard her arguing with Dad about it after I’d gone to bed. Mum said we didn’t have the money, not on top of our trip to Cornwall, and Dad said it was about time I got in touch with my inner Elvis, which made me suddenly feel a LOT less keen. But Molly and Shenice are SUPER-EXCITED about it and it’s giving me serious FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. I am really hoping acting will be my BIG TALENT. I read somewhere that the best actors are called THESPIANS and it seems to me that it will be a lot harder to win an Oscar if I never get the chance to THESP. But short of winning the lottery, I can’t see how I’m going to get to EDDDA.
Obviously, I hadn’t quite worked up the courage to give my BFFs the bad news – I’d been pinning my hopes on a last-minute miracle. What makes it worse is that Nathan won’t be around either – he told me last week that his dad is working in Australia for the whole of the summer break and Nathan has to go too. Six weeks without a visit to the Shake Shack. Forty-two days without a SUGAR RUSH MOUNTAIN. 1,008 long hours without the cutest smile outside of THE DROIDS.
I hadn’t told Molly and Shenice that either because I was secretly hoping I’d wake up and find the whole conversation had been a bad dream. But the time had come to face facts: my summer was about to become a FRIEND-FREE ZONE.
“Oh,” Molly said, when I told them about Nathan now. “That sucks.”
Shenice nodded in sympathy. “It does. But EDDDA is going to be so much fun!”
“Yeah,” I said, making a wish and hoping my fairy godmother was paying attention. “Well, I’ve got some not-so-brilliant news about that too...”
By the time we reached the end of my road, I’d managed to drag them down to my level and none of us could find a silver lining. I said a gloomy goodbye before trudging to my front door. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have such a good time THESPING that they forget who I am by the time September rolls around. If only I had something to look forward to instead of a week up close and personal with my family.
If only fairy godmothers were real.
Mum looked hot and harassed when I walked into the living room.
“Cassidy, Rolo ate another pair of your knickers this morning,” she said, blowing her fringe off her sticky-looking forehead as she wrestled with a wriggling Ethel. “You’re going to have to start putting them into your washing basket instead of leaving them on the floor.”
Rolo looked up at the mention of his name and wagged his tail in case it was followed by a “Good boy!”
I don’t know what’s worse – his obsession with my underwear or having to discuss it with my mother.
She doesn’t seem to get that Rolo only eats clean, freshly washed pants. He likes his food peppered with Persil so it doesn’t matter how untidy my room is. Even so, the situation is reaching RED ALERT: I am running out of underwear. Any minute now it is going to trigger another of Mum’s “We-Are-Not-Made-of-Money” lectures. I KNOW we don’t have much money – you only have to look in the cupboards and see the woefully low levels of chocolate and other essentials – but I can’t help it if Rolo noses out my knickers with all the instincts of a police sniffer dog, can I? He finds them wherever I put them – NOWHERE is safe.
Something thudded against my foot. I looked down to see Joshua half-wedged under the table, his chunky little legs waggling like flippers. Ever since the twins started crawling, Mum’s had her work cut out keeping them out of mischief. It’s like they’re eight-month-old criminal masterminds – one of them creates a distraction and the other commits the heist. Joshua’s crime of choice is stealing the biscuits from Rolo’s bowl. Actually, it is no wonder Rolo is eating my KNICKERS – he’s probably starving most of the time.
“I spoke to Miss Skelly, the principal of the drama academy today, about course fees,” Mum said as I rescued Joshua and swung him into my arms. He had a Cheerio stuck to his forehead, making him look like an extra from MONSTERS, INC.
“Okay,” I said, fending off his determined effort to thrust his fingers up my nostrils. This was it – make or break time for my summer, and quite possibly my entire future. “And?”
Mum took a deep breath. My heart sank. It couldn’t be good news, not when her face looked like a gloomy black cloud. “Apparently, they have a bursary for students who can’t afford the full fee. We had a chat about our family circumstances and it seems we qualify. They want a reference from St Jude’s so I gave them Mr Bearman’s name.”
“Oh,” I said, and my last hope vanished like a snowflake on a barbecue. Of all the teachers at St Jude’s, Mr Bearman is my favourite, but I can’t help thinking I’ve been a bit of a disappointment to him so far. First there was the time when the school thought I was a genius and I turned out not to be, and second there was the whole mess with the school magazine, where EVERYONE thought I was a gossip queen when I totally wasn’t. So although Mr Bearman is really nice (for a teacher), I don’t think he’s likely to recommend me for a drama school bursary. Not when he thinks I am a DISASTER ON LEGS.
Mum jiggled Ethel around on one hip. “I’m sorry we can’t pay for all of it like Molly and Shenice’s parents.
It’s just that money’s a bit—”
“Tight at the moment,” I finished for her, trying hard not to picture a summer where the highlight of the holidays was a treasure hunt around Happy Sands with their mascot, Captain Pigeon. “Yeah, I know.”
“Well, don’t lose hope,” Mum said, sniffing at Ethel’s bottom. “Sorry, Rolo, I thought that smell was you. Back in a minute.”
She disappeared upstairs, carrying my stinky little sister with her. I sat down with Joshua and looked into his big, round eyes. “Peekaboo,” I said glumly.
“Bah!” he said, before letting rip with the loudest burp I have ever heard in my life. I swear the windows rattled a bit. Looking ridiculously pleased with himself, he gurgled happily and threw up, covering my shirt with half-digested dog biscuits.
“MUM!” I bellowed, turning Joshua around in case he did it again. “YOUR SON IS THE MOST DISGUSTING CREATURE KNOWN TO HUMANITY!”
“Which one?” she shouted back.
I hesitated because even though Liam has never been sick on me, there are a hundred tiny ways he is worse than Joshua and Joshua is only a baby so can’t be held totally responsible for his actions. “Both!” I yelled.
And then Rolo obviously decided he was going to get in on the DISGUSTINGNESS action because he started trying to lick the baby sick/biscuit combo off my shirt.
What’s that old show-business saying – never work with children or animals? SIGN ME UP NOW.
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Front row seats for the hottest ticket in town... starring Cassidy Bond!
Singing! Dancing! Acting! You name it, I'll do it... or at least try, as I've got just four weeks at Dance and Drama Academy to perfect a show-stopping performance!
I love rehearsing with my super-talented BFFs and I hope I can sparkle in the spotlight. But with my wobbly warbling, two left feet and stage fright, I might be a dramatic disaster...
Get to know Cassidy in this Fun Kids Radio clip by author Tamsyn Murray:
“Perfect reading for any youngster suffering from big-school nerves. ”
Lancashire Evening Post
“Witty, fresh and heart-warming.”
Multi-talented Tamsyn Murray writes for all ages, including her gorgeous Tanglewood Animal Park series for readers aged 7+, her hilarious Completely Cassidy series for 9+, and the stunning YA standalone, Instructions for a Second-Hand Heart, which was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association YA Romantic Novel of the Year, and won the Leeds Book Award in the 11-14 category. Tamsyn's other special talents include performing onstage, and being able to lick her own elbow.
Visit www.tamsynmurray.co.uk/ to find out more.
Read the following reviews or write one of your own.
“completly cassidy drama queen”
“The Completely Cassidy series is an absolute delight: with bonkers family descriptions and dynamics a la Georgia Nicholson, and the terrific combination of genuine warmth and hysterical writing, I found myself laughing out loud constantly.”
Fab Book Reviews
“For fans of Wimpy Kid, Cathy Cassidy and books of that ilk, this is a story that readers will enjoy very much... a great tale for the pre-teen market.”
Newcastle Evening Chronicle
“Tamsyn Murray’s Completely Cassidy books are tuned to the defining things about being a pre-teen girl... Cassidy will cringe, and do a bit of growing up too, and each are described with the lightest of touches. Completely Cassidy, totally enjoyable!”
“With its sprinkling of quirky but recognisable top ten lists, doodles, letters and emails, and lots of laugh-out-loud moments and excruciating escapades, there is plenty here to make Cassidy an irresistible heroine.”
Lancashire Evening Post
“Sweet, fun and completely adorable. I can’t wait to read more of the Completely Cassidy series!”
So Many Books, So Little Time
“Tamsyn Murray writes with flair, imagination and, one would imagine, with a big smile on her face as Cassidy’s laughter-filled life spring into glorious action. Perfect reading for any youngster suffering from big-school nerves.”
Lancashire Evening Post
“There are rumours of Deputy Heads twerking... fall outs between friends, new sibling arrivals and first crushes – the perfect ingredients for 8+ years readers wanting a witty, fresh and heart-warming story.”
“Girls from 9+ will enjoy this and will be looking out for a sequel.”
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