Authors: Anna Carey
‘Our new Book of the Week is
The Real Rebecca
by Anna Carey, a great new voice and definite Princess of Teen.’
Books for Keeps
‘I laughed and squirmed my way through
The Real Rebecca
, the sparkling and spookily accurate diary of a Dublin teenager. It’s stonkingly good and I haven’t laughed so much since reading Louise Rennison. Teenage girls … will love Rebecca to bits!’
Sarah Webb, author of the
Ask Amy Green
‘This book is fantastic! Rebecca is sweet, funny and down-to-earth, and I adored her friends, her quirky parents, her changeable but ultimately loving older sister and the swoonworthy Paperboy.’
‘What is it like inside the mind of a teenage girl? It’s a strange, confused and frustrated place, as Anna Carey’s first novel
The Real Rebecca
makes clear … A laugh-out-loud story of a fourteen-year-old girl, Rebecca Rafferty.’
‘The story rattles along at a glorious rate − with plenty of witty asides. Rebecca herself is a thoroughly likeable heroine − angsty and mixed-up but warm-hearted and feisty.’
‘Carey’s teen voice is spot-on.’
âA gorgeous book! â¦ So funny, sweet, bright. I loved it.'
âAmusing from the first page â¦ better than Adrian Mole! Highly recommended.'
âThe teen voice is spot on â¦ Carey captures the excitement, camaraderie and tensions brilliantly.'
Books for Keeps
âJohn Kowalski is an inspired creation.'
âSure to be a favourite with fans of authors such as Sarah Webb and Judi Curtin.'
Children's Books Ireland's Recommended Reads 2012
‘A charming, uplifting story.’
‘Carey hits the mark in terms of finding an authentic teenage voice.’
‘The pages in Carey’s novel in which her young lesbian character announces her coming out to her friends and in which they give their reactions are superbly written: tone is everything, and it could not be better handled than it is here.’
‘A bright and breezy read.’
The Sunday Business Post
‘A hilarious new book, perfect for the summer. Cleverly written, witty and smart.’
‘Rebecca Rafferty … is something of a
Books for Keeps
favourite … Honest, real, touching, a terrific piece of writing.’
Books for Keeps
To my nephews Arlo, Eli and Stanley, in the hope that you will make each other laugh as much as your mothers and aunts did (though maybe you could fight a bit more quietly than we did, just for your parents’ sake)
Thanks to Clare Kelly, Susan Houlden, my ever-patient editor, and everyone at The O’Brien Press; Helen Carr for all her support and encouragement; Chris Judge for being the best cover artist I could ever have hoped for (and for putting an excellent pug on the cover of this book); the extended Freyne and Carey families; my husband, Patrick Freyne, who kept me going through what was an unusually stressful writing process (including the death of our cranky, yet much-loved, cat Ju Ju); and most of all to everyone who has read and enjoyed the first three Rebecca books. This one wouldn’t exist without you.
There are only forty-eight hours left before I go back to school, and I’m going to have to spend at least two of them with a baby who hates me. Well, I think it hates me. Every time I go anywhere near it, it turns bright red and starts roaring, and then it gets sick. Usually on me. It belongs to my lovely godmother, Daisy, and how such a nice, cheerful woman and her nice, cheerful husband managed to produce such an angry baby is a mystery to me. Mum says I’m being ridiculous and there’s no way a six-month-old baby could hate anyone, but I’m pretty sure it can.
‘It’s a small baby!’ said Mum. ‘They all spend a lot of their time turning red and roaring. It’s just what they do. It’s nothing personal!’
‘Well, it doesn’t seem to do it when you pick it up,’ I said, and Mum couldn’t really argue with that because it’s true. So in typical style, she just ignored my clever comeback.
‘Whether it – I mean she – hates you or not, you’re still coming to Daisy’s this afternoon,’ she said.
So that’s that. I will have to spend two (or more, depending on the traffic) of my precious final hours of freedom being
sicked on and roared at. It’s so unfair. And what makes it even worse is the fact that Rachel isn’t coming because it’s Tom-the-Perfect-Boyfriend’s birthday, so she’s going to some ridiculous birthday dinner in his house with all his family and then into town with a gang of their friends.
I told Mum that Rachel would be back from Daisy’s house in plenty of time to go to Saint Tom’s big party so there was no real reason why she couldn’t go, but Rachel insisted that she had to ‘get Tom’s present ready’. Which was, as I pointed out, a terrible excuse because we all know what her present for him is; it’s a cool t-shirt she bought on the internet and a book he’s wanted to read for ages. How long can that take to ‘get ready’? All she has to do is wrap it! And that’ll only take about two minutes. It’s not as if it’s some giant weirdly shaped thing like a bike or a drum kit. But Rachel never has to do anything she doesn’t want to do. Unlike me.
Oh, I can’t believe we have to go back to school on Monday. Well, I can believe it, but I don’t like it. It’s not only that the weather’s been gorgeous (unlike last year), which makes the thought of having to sit indoors all day wearing that hideous uniform even more awful, but this summer has been so much fun. We’ve done so many cool things that going back to boring old geography and German and homework seems even worse.
We were all discussing this yesterday when I met up with Cass, Alice and Liz in town.
‘I don’t want summer to be over!’ said Cass. ‘This summer was way better than last year.’
‘It really was,’ I said. ‘Lots more happened for a start. I mean, first of all I got my hair cut into a fringe. I know that turned out to be a mistake, but it was quite a dramatic way to start off the holidays.’
‘It was a bold move,’ said Liz. ‘I wish I’d got to see it in its full glory.’
‘It did look really good for a day or so before it went all weird and fluffy,’ said Cass. ‘It really suited her.’
‘And then you told me you were gay,’ I said to Cass. ‘Actually, I should probably have put that before the fringe thing – it’s a bit more important.’
‘Just a bit,’ said Cass.
‘And then we went on the summer rock camp and learned loads of useful stuff about being in a band,’ said Alice. ‘It was quite a practical summer when you think about it. And we wrote lots of new songs for Hey Dollface.’
This is all true. We have definitely expanded our band’s repertoire. And we made lots of cool new friends there too. So that was all good.
‘Of course, we did have to put up with Charlie and his gang,’ said Cass.
I shuddered as I remembered those awful, obnoxious boys.
‘But people stood up to them in the end,’ said Alice.
‘And even Karen turned out to have a good side,’ I said. ‘Which was a very pleasant surprise considering she’s basically our enemy.’
‘Well, that was sort of pleasant,’ said Cass. ‘I mean, obviously it was a good thing that she did something decent, and I do really appreciate it, but it did make me feel a bit weird. We’re just used to her being annoying, so it was hard to know what to do when she actually did something really nice.’
‘This is true,’ I said. ‘I wonder will she still be as annoying when we go back on Monday? Or will she have had a complete change of heart and decide that she loves us all?’
‘I don’t think that’s very likely,’ said Alice.
I’m pretty sure she’s right. But anyway, the whole camp was generally brilliant, and I wish it could have lasted all summer.
‘You know, I thought nothing good would ever happen again after the camp ended,’ I said, stretching back in my seat. ‘Everything felt really flat. It was like when the school musical ended, only even worse because we just did the musical for a few evenings a week, and the summer camp was all day, every
day, so it was basically our entire life for a whole month. But actually the last month of the holidays has been pretty good.’
And it really has. We’ve stayed in touch with our camp friends online and have met up with them a few times (well, most of them – no one has seen the mysterious Small Paula since the camp ended). And even though I was sort of worried that I would be abandoned to my lonely single devices now both Cass and Alice were going out with people, that didn’t happen.
‘Much as I want to see Richard,’ said Alice, a few days after the summer camp ended, ‘I need to see you two as well. I can’t survive on Richard alone.’ Then she looked worried. ‘That doesn’t sound like I’m being mean about either you or him, does it?’
I assured her it didn’t. It makes sense. Even in the brief time when I was properly going out with Paperboy, I still wanted to hang out with Cass and Alice too.
Of course, there were still a few times this summer when I’d have liked to have done stuff with them, but they were off with their beloveds doing … well, whatever people do when they’re going out with someone. It’s been so long since I was going out with anyone that I’ve forgotten what it’s like. Actually, the last person I went out with was John Kowalski, and
I spent most of that time listening to him go on about what a genius he was. I don’t think most relationships are like that (at least I hope not. I can’t imagine Liz or Richard boasting about how great they are for hours on end. Or Cass or Alice, for that matter).
But anyway, on the days when Cass and Alice were off on their own with Liz and Richard, I just read or wrote stuff or hung out with Jane and some of the other people from the camp. There were only a couple of days when I felt like I didn’t really have anything to do or anyone to do it with, but when I mentioned to my mum that I was bored, she just laughed and reminded me that this used to happen last year, before Cass or Alice were going out with anyone, so I suppose being a little bit bored sometimes is just part of summer. And at least I get on really well with Liz and Richard and we can hang out together. Imagine if Cass and Alice were going out with people I didn’t actually like.
Oh God, Mum is calling me to come and visit my baby enemy now. I’d rather have nothing to do than be roared at for hours on end.
The baby still hates me. Not only did it get sick on me, it actually headbutted me! I hope my nose isn’t broken. It feels okay now, but you never know. Even Mum had to admit the headbutting was quite dramatic, though she claimed that the baby didn’t really mean to headbutt me, and that I just leaned over it when it was lifting its head up and it butted me by accident. But I think it knew exactly what it was doing. Mum is sure that my nose isn’t broken, but I just hope I don’t develop some terrible nose problems because if I do it will all be that baby’s fault.
It was nice to see Daisy, though. She gave me a book called
I Capture the Castle
, which she says she read when she was my age and which she thinks I will like. I need something entertaining to distract me from the horror of going back to school in just a few hours (well, about thirty-five hours now. But I’m going to spend at least fourteen of them sleeping, so it’s not that many really).
By the way, as I thought, Rachel was just lazing around on the couch when we got back. So much for her ‘ooh, I have loads of things to do for Tom!’ nonsense. And I just know it only took her a few minutes to wrap his present. She did
use very nice wrapping paper and a lovely ribbon, but, to be honest, that’s the least she could do because when it was her birthday he got her a bottle of fancy Chanel perfume that smells gorgeous. It must have cost a fortune; it looked so posh in its little box. Anyway, I can’t believe she got out of a visit to the dreadful baby just for wrapping a t-shirt and a book, even if the paper was fancy and she wrapped it all up with a posh checked ribbon. She gets away with murder.
Last day of the holidays! I met up with Cass and Alice in town to toast the best summer ever and to drown our sorrows (in hot chocolate for me and Cass and peppermint tea for Alice) about going back to school.
‘The very worst thing about going into third year,’ said Cass, ‘is that you just know all the teachers are going to spend the entire year reminding us it’s our Junior Cert year. As if we didn’t know already.’
‘Well, we are going to have to put our heads down a bit this year,’ said Alice, looking a bit worried.
‘But we all know this,’ Cass pointed out. ‘So Mrs Harrington
reminding us about it every five minutes, in every English class, is hardly going to help.’
Ugh, it certainly won’t.
‘Sometimes it feels as if we’ve got nothing to look forward to but exams and exams and more exams for years and years,’ I said.
‘I know,’ said Cass. ‘I mean, we’ve got the Junior Cert, and then maybe transition year won’t have exams, but after that we’ll have fifth-year summer tests, and then the Leaving, and then we’ll hopefully have college for three or four years, depending on what we do and where we go. That’s six more years of exams at the very least!’
‘And then what if you did a Master’s?’ said Alice. ‘That’d be more exams, wouldn’t it?’
‘My dad did a PhD,’ I said. ‘He didn’t finish college until he was, like, twenty-five.’
We all looked at each other gloomily. Actually, now I think about it, technically Dad never left college because after he got his PhD he stayed there forever working as a lecturer. And I don’t think you actually have to do exams if you do a PhD. But still, you have to keep doing school-ish sort of work for years on end, which doesn’t sound like fun to me.
Anyway, then Alice suggested ordering a slice of cake and
sharing it between us, so we did, and that made us cheer up a bit. We couldn’t afford to get a slice each after our beverages – hot chocolate is surprisingly expensive. I wish I actually liked coffee, or even tea. It seems a bit babyish only getting hot chocolates when we go to cafés. Coffee is so much more grown up, and I actually do like the smell of it. But I’ve tried drinking it a good few times and I just don’t like it.
But you never know, I might still grow into it. Mum once told me that she didn’t even like tea until she was in college, and now she drinks about seven cups of it a day. And Daisy said she didn’t like coffee until she was about twenty-two and now she can’t function without it. Although now I think about it, maybe being totally addicted to a hot drink isn’t such a good thing either.