Publication Date: August 1st 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
“New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Lloyd Layton will know I exist. He once said three whole words to me, so this is obviously progress. If I don’t get a proper conversation out of him soon, then I’ll take my top off and streak through the cafeteria, because nobody could fail to notice these boobs.
2. I will not get expelled for streaking through the cafeteria.”
Those are the words that begin her mission.
Chessie is fourteen, not pretty enough, and very much in love. Lloyd Layton is hot, popular, and unaware of Chessie’s existence.
Her goal is clear: to get Lloyd to love her as much as she loves him, and she has exactly one year to do it.
As Chessie’s obsession with Lloyd reaches boiling point and she starts to spin a web of lies that spiral out of control, Lloyd turns out to be not quite the prince she thought he was. Can Chessie avoid the gathering storm before things go too far?
Not Pretty Enough is a contemporary young adult comedy suitable for ages thirteen and over.
Book two in the series will be released early 2014.
Sometimes I think I must be the unluckiest person in Wales, and other times I think that fate must be on my side for once to make up for all the other stuff. Like now, for instance. We’re in maths with our teacher, Mr Griffiths. We don’t have assigned seating as such, but you choose your seat on the first day of class and it’s assumed you will sit there for the rest of the year. I usually sit halfway down the back row, next to Ewan. This is a very desirable seat, being next to Ewan, because he’s so good at maths and I’m so rubbish at it. He explains what I don’t understand and don’t want to look stupid by asking the teacher to explain it again. The problem today is that I was kept behind in geography, and when I rush into maths class, I’m late and flustered. Leigh has obviously assumed I’m not coming and taken my seat next to Ewan. It’s like she thinks sitting next to him will make him fancy her as much as she fancies him.
So now, I’m squished on the end of the row by myself. But here is the part where fate cuts me a break. Miracle of miracles, I’m not the last into the lesson. Lloyd is. And his seat is taken too.
“Where should I sit, sir?” he asks, out of breath from running to make it on time.
“Go and grab a chair and squeeze in on the end there next to Francesca,” Mr Griffiths points at me, grinning like he has just said something hilarious.
“Chessie,” I mutter under my breath. I hate anyone using my proper name.
Holy crap. What am I going to do? Lloyd Layton is going to sit next to me. Next to me. I have no idea what to do. Do I attempt to chat to him without slobbering? Do I act all cool and aloof and pretend that I am not nearly peeing myself with excitement and breaking out in a cold sweat simultaneously?
As Lloyd dumps his bag on the floor next to mine (Our bags are touching! It’s a sign! Or maybe I’m delirious.) He doesn’t acknowledge me at all as he waves to his mates on the other side of the room. I decide to be cool and aloof and not the bumbling idiot I normally am. At least I’m sitting down so I can’t trip over my own feet or walk into anything. I’ll look all relaxed and intellectual, and Lloyd will be impressed that I understand maths so well. Maybe he’ll even ask me for help with a question. Me. I wonder if I should attempt to start a conversation with him, I could say something like “bloody teacher kept you behind too, huh?” but Mr Griffiths has already started twittering on about something to do with algebra, and I don’t really understand a word of it, and that will never do for looking cool in front of Lloyd. So I pull out my new pink fluffy pen and try to look productive. I’m really glad I bought this pen at the weekend, it’s bound to impress Lloyd. It’s very cute, and it makes my writing look super neat.
Mr Griffiths mentions a page number, so we all open our textbooks and start reading the page. It’s gobbledegook. I don’t understand a word. I can’t put my hand up and ask Mr Griffiths to come and explain it to me with Lloyd sitting right there. I’m supposed to be good at this. I’m supposed to know this stuff. So I just start writing. I am writing gibberish. I have no idea what the hell sequential algebra is or why anybody would want to learn about it, but I want Lloyd to be impressed by my mathematic ability, so I just write a load of numbers in my book. I figure it doesn’t really matter what I write, as long as it looks like I’m working to Lloyd, I can tear the pages out at breaktime and get Ewan to explain it to me then.
Then a funny thing happens. I hear the words, “Sir, I don’t get this,” come from the seat next to me. This is very strange because it sounds like Lloyd’s Welsh accent, but Lloyd is some kind of genius and always gets maths stuff. I risk a glance towards him, and sure enough, he has his hand in the air and is beckoning for Mr Griffiths to come over. Wow, I think. Lloyd doesn’t get this, and I look like I do. He must be so impressed.
But Mr Griffiths is a bit busy. He is bending over Cole’s work, shaking his head and muttering. He looks at Lloyd distractedly. Then he looks at me. Then he says a terrible, terrible thing.
“Ask Francesca to explain it to you, she knows what she’s doing.”
Oh, crap. Why can’t we be doing something easy?
I immediately go to put my hand up to object, but Mr Griffiths has gone back to Cole’s work, and Lloyd is looking at me expectantly.
Okay, deep breath. All I have to say is one simple sentence. All I have to say is, ‘actually, I don’t really understand it myself,’ and all will be well. The teacher will come over and explain it to both of us, and Lloyd will ask me what I’ve been writing in my book for the past twenty minutes, and I might have to admit that it mainly involves CC loves LL doodled in various fancy handwriting with my new pen. So instead I say, “Sure, I’ll explain it to you.”
He nods and smiles at me, and I wonder how the hell I’m going to get out of this one.
I close my own book and glance nervously around the class. Everybody has their heads down, concentrating on their work, except for Leigh. She is resting her head in her hand and staring longingly at Ewan, who is working obliviously. It’s pathetic. It’s obvious to the whole class that she’s yearning for him. God, I hope it’s not that obvious that I like Lloyd. I mean, Leigh is practically drooling on the desk over Ewan. At least I don’t drool on the desk. Not very often, anyway.
“Well,” I say, leaning over to look at Lloyd’s book and turning a page, just as he goes to move the book closer to me. Our hands brush together and I pull back startled by the intensity. Our hands brushed! And there was electricity! This is meant to be!
“So,” I say, wondering what to do next. “This is algebra…” This is ridiculous. He knows what bloody algebra is. I rest my pen against my top lip and try to look intelligent and seductive at the same time. Lloyd still has an expectant look on his face. Except, I’ve obviously rested the pen too high up my lip, and it’s tickling my nose. Really tickling now, and…
“Atchooooo!” I yell, a sneeze catching me by surprise. Oh my god. I’m aware that every person in the classroom is staring at me.
“I’m sorry,” I say, holding up my hand. “I just…” Oh no. “Atchooooo!” I sneeze again. “Atchoooooo!” I grip my nose firmly between my thumb and my finger. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that is the best way to stop sneezing. Or is that hiccups? Either way, it doesn’t work. It just makes me want to sneeze more. “Atchooooo!” I yell again. Oh God, this is so embarrassing. Why do I have to have a sneezing fit on the one day I am sitting by Lloyd Layton? It’s highly unlikely that I will ever be lucky enough to sit by Lloyd Layton again; I get my one big chance to impress him, and what do I do? I sneeze.
Oh God. Now my nose is running. I’m still gripping it with one hand, and frantically feeling around in my bag for a tissue with the other.
“Atchooooooooooooooo!” It comes again, and this time something so horrible happens that it’s like being in slow motion. A huge lump of snot, my snot, straight out of my nose, flies out of my nostrils, and goes zooming up into the air, turns around, and like a giant pancake, starts plummeting back down to earth, to land smack bang in the middle of Lloyd’s textbook.
Oh. My. God.
“Ugh!” Lloyd yells and pushes his chair back so fast that he nearly falls off it.
Oh my god. What do I do? What do I do? My face has gone so red I must resemble a lobster, and when my hand finally closes around a tissue in my bag, I have no idea what to do but lean over and wipe the snot from Lloyd’s book, and deposit the offending tissue back into my bag. I’m so embarrassed I could die. And to make things so much better, Mr Griffiths is laughing like he’s never seen anything funnier in his life.
Jaimie is a 27-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, drinking tea and watching horror movies. She hates spiders and cheese & onion crisps.
She has been writing for years, but has never before plucked up the courage to tell people. She writes mostly chick-lit and young adult. Kismetology is her first novel and there are plenty more on the way!