Authors: Anne-Marie Conway
About this book
Why has Sam's sister fallen out with their mum? Will Dad ever reveal his secret from the past? How can Sam get her family back on track? And, most importantly, will she hold it all together on the night of Star Makers' fab new musical?
A sun-shiny story about the thrills and spills at the Star Makers Drama Club â a special place where everyone has their moment to shine.
For everyone at Full Circle â my inspiration for the Star Makers series. Miss you loads! x
My favourite book ever when I was a little girl was
Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr. Seuss. Not because I like weird food or anything, but because of the opening lines:
I am Sam. Sam I am.
I bet I thought Dr. Seuss had written it just for me! My big sister Crystal used to read it to me over and over until I knew every word by heart. We would cuddle up together on my bed, with my beautiful kitten Bella, and I'd join in with all the rhymes. And then, when I learned to read by myself, I would read it out loud to Mum or Dad or Aunty Mags â or anyone else who was willing to listen. Crystal says I used to wear this silly red hat just like Sam in the book and whenever she read it to me I would always shout out the words, “
I am Sam! Sam I am!
” as if I was the most important person in the world.
I actually found my old copy of
Green Eggs and Ham
today, stuffed at the back of my bookshelf. I was sure I'd given it away years ago, to a school jumble sale or something, but there it was squashed between my Oxford dictionary and one of my Jacqueline Wilson books.
I took it down off the shelf and wiped away the dust. I'd read it so many times the pages were almost furry; all soft and curled up at the edges. Tucked inside the front cover was a photo. It was of me, Crystal
Bella â all sitting on my bed â reading
Green Eggs and Ham.
I stared and stared at the photo. I'm wearing my little red hat just like Crystal said and I've got this look of total happiness on my face. Crystal's got her arm round me and she's laughing into the camera, her eyes sparkly and bright.
Crystal by name and Crystal by nature,
Dad always used to say. She must've been about eight in the photo, but she already looks so grown-up for her age.
I rushed downstairs to show Mum. I don't know why but I just wanted her to see how happy we were. I burst into the living room shouting, “
I am Sam! Sam I am!
” like I was three again. Mum glanced up from her ironing and gave me a tight smile.
“Hey, look what I found,” I said, holding the photo up to show her. “It's me in my silly red hat, remember?”
“What do you think you're doing, Sam?” She snatched the photo out of my hand and slapped it face down on the ironing board. “I thought you said you were sorting your things out for school. Term starts next week and I want you to be properly organized.”
“I know, I was, but then I came across my old
Green Eggs and Ham
book and this photo was stuck inside and it just got me thinking about Crystal andâ¦” I trailed off.
Mum hates it when I talk about Crystal. She left home four months ago, the day after her eighteenth birthday, and ever since then I only have to mention her name and Mum goes off on one.
“This is all part of your problem,” she grumbled, waving the iron about in the air. “I send you upstairs to do one simple job and two seconds later you've got caught up doing something completely different. That's what your teachers keep saying, isn't it? That you can't concentrate.”
“No they don't.” I picked up the photo and started backing out of the door. “Who actually said that anyway? Who said I can't concentrate?”
Mum set the iron down, sighing heavily. “Look, the point is, Sam, you're going into Year Eight and you're a clever girl. It's time to knuckle down and show us what you're capable of, isn't it, Dave?” She looked over at my dad. He was sitting across the room with Bella on his lap, reading the paper and humming the same tune over and over. He's been funny since Crystal left as well. It's like he's there but not there. I could probably dance around the room wearing a black bin liner, with a bucket on my head, and he still wouldn't look up.
Mum strode over to him and pulled the paper down. “Dave! Are you even listening to me? I was just sayingâ¦”
I took the opportunity to slip out of the room. When Mum gets in a mood like that she could easily go on all night. We used to get on okay most of the time, but not any more.
Next morning at breakfast Mum picked straight up where she'd left off. I hadn't even poured my cereal before she started going on about my grades and my homework and my A-tti-tude. That's her favourite word at the moment, “Attitude” â and according to Mum, mine's all wrong!
It's ever since Crystal left. Ever since she
turned down a place at one of the top universities in the country and moved in with her low-life boyfriend â
Mum's words by the way, not mine! Just because Crystal didn't want to follow the path Mum had carved out for her, Mum had decided to turn all her attention on me.
“I know you think I'm going on, Sam,” she said, handing me a glass of juice, “but I just want you to make something of yourself, that's all. Anyway, I've got a big delivery at work, so I'm going up to get ready. As soon as you've eaten, I want you to finish sorting out your school stuff.”
I sat there nibbling on a slice of toast. I don't know exactly what Mum thinks I'm going to do when I leave school. It's not like I'm going to be a brain surgeon or some sort of physics professor. The truth is, the only thing I've
wanted to do is to be on the stage â but as far as Mum's concerned, acting is just a
and not something you do as a Proper Job. I was still sitting there thinking about my glittering future as a
when there was a knock on the back door and Aunty Mags burst in.
“Hello, gorgeous,” she said, throwing her bag down and giving me a big kiss. “Any chance of a cuppa?”
Aunty Mags is Dad's sister and we're really close. She only lives two streets away and she's always popping in to see me. I flicked the switch on the kettle and took down a mug. “My mum's in a mood,” I said. “She wants me to be the next prime minister or something.”
Aunty Mags smiled. “She's just worried about you, Sam. You know what she's like. Where's your dad?”
“He's already left for work. That's all he does these days â work work work! Hey, you couldn't have a word with Mum, could you? Get her to ease up on me and tell her how serious I am about wanting to be an actressâ¦” I clasped my hands together under my chin. “Please, Aunty Mags. For me. She's just in her room getting ready.”
“Well, I'll try,” she said slowly, popping a slice of bread in the toaster. “But she won't thank me for interfering.”
I love my Aunty Mags so much. She's only a few years younger than Dad but she's always up for a laugh. Even when things go wrong she still manages to see the funny side. She poured another cup of tea for Mum, plonked everything on a tray and disappeared upstairs.
I waited for a few minutes and then followed her up. I didn't really expect it to do any good, but I was so sick of Mum nagging me all the time. I could just about hear Aunty Mags's voice through the door. She was telling Mum that it was time to give me a bit more freedom and let me make my own mistakes. That she couldn't live my life for me. I leaned in even closer, dying to hear what Mum would say to that â but just then my phone began to ring. It was my best friend, Ellie, back from her holiday in France.
“Come straight over!” she squealed down the phone. “I've got
much to tell you!”
“What? What's going on? Tell me now!”
“No, I can't! Just get over here!”
I popped my head round the door to ask Mum if I could go, and her and Aunty Mags both stopped talking in that really obvious way â like when you know you've interrupted some big secret.
“Can I go round to Ellie's?” I said. “She's just got back from holiday. I'll sort out my school stuff when I get back, promise.”
Mum opened her mouth to say something and then closed it again. “Don't be too long,” was all she managed. I backed out of the room before she could change her mind. The second the door closed behind me they started talking again and the last thing I heard as I trailed downstairs was Aunty Mags saying, “Of course Crystal's still upset, Rosy. What do you expect? I know you didn't mean it, but you can't expect Crystal to understand thatâ¦”
It was such a relief to get round to Ellie's. She'd been away for three weeks and I'd missed her like mad. She flung the door open and we threw our arms round each other as if we'd been separated for years.
“My holiday was a-
” she cried. “It was boiling hot and the hotel had the best pool ever, and you'll never guess whatâ¦ There was a disco and this boy asked me to dance and we ended up dancing all night andâ¦” She stopped to breathe and then she hugged me again and whispered something in my ear, but I couldn't understand a word.
“What?” I said, laughing.
“He asked me out!” Her face turned crimson. “
the weirdest thing is he lives right near here. It's like the most unbelievable coincidence but he's practically my neighbour.” The doorbell rang behind us and I jumped.
“Who's that? It's not him, is it?”
“Don't be daft. It's Phoebe and Polly,” she said, ducking under my arm to let them in.
Phoebe and Polly came spilling through the door, laughing about something.
“Ellie's got a boyfriend!” I announced, before Ellie could tell them. “She met him on holiday and he asked her out at the hotel disco.”
He's not my
and don't start telling everyone!”
“No way,” breathed Phoebe. “What's his name?”