I am delighted to be involved in the #Blogtour for this wonderful comedy Friendship Never Ends and my thanks to Sam Eades and Orion Publishing for arranging the tour.
About the book:
A big-hearted comedy about friendship, the 90s and the greatest girl band in the world
Three independent women – and one man who lives for drama – haven’t spoken to their best friend in 20 years, after an epic talent show disaster tore them apart during the height of Spice-mania.
Self-appointed gang leader Carmen then decided to go it alone – Geri style. But now, in 2018, the school reunion is fast approaching. Friendship Never Ends tells the story of Carmen’s plan to win back her former besties – Jemma, Ellie, Laura and Benny – ahead of the big night. But has Carmen really changed? And can their friendship ever really go back to how it was?
Below I have an extract from the book:
There were three minutes and twenty-eight seconds left of Geography. I wasn’t taking my eye off that loud, ticking clock. C’mon, second hand, I urged it: quicker!
Seriously though, Almondbury High school was a boring place to be at the best of times – not that there were any best of times, believe me – but on a roasting-hot July afternoon, where the smell of BO from the gross sweaty boys was enough to make a pig gag, it was pure torture. Apparently they had time to spray gallons of Lynx body spray on themselves before school, which didn’t mask their stench one bit, but couldn’t find two seconds for a spritz of actual deodorant. Baboons…
Just when I thought I might not be able to survive the last two minutes of boredom, the door flung open and Mel stood there, panting. ‘Guys, you’ve got to come and look at this!’
Oh wow. Was something actually happening? That’d be a first in Huddersfield: officially the world’s most boring town where literally nothing happens. No scandals. No shootings. Nothing fun.
‘Excuse me, Melanie,’ said Miss Franklin, the substitute teacher, better known as ‘Gail’, because she looks the spit of Gail Platt from Corrie. (To be fair, she doesn’t exactly help herself. She has the ex-act same hair as the real Gail…) ‘We are still in session! You cannot interrupt like that!’
Mel just laughed at Gail, like the rest of us did. It was actually kind of cute whenever Gail acted like she had any control over us.
Looking around, one of the Bad Lads had drawn a picture on the whiteboard of her with hairy armpits, with a sign next to it saying: Gail the Gorilla.
‘C’mon, guys,’ Mel continued, blanket-blanking Gail.
The Bad Lads called themselves that, which also made them MPs – Mortifying People – didn’t need telling twice, and started getting up to see what was going down. But Mel just looked at them like they were dumb (which they were).
‘Erm, not you lot! The girls.’ She waved us all over. ‘Come on, Carmen. Everyone, you gotta see this – now!’
Something just for the girls? Had Mr Rodgers, the mega fit IT teacher, dropped his kecks on the school field so we could fiiiiiiiiinally see Rodger’s todger?
‘Girls, you cannot leave until I’ve dismissed you!’ Gail was having kittens now. Honestly though, no one paid her any mind.
‘Come on, Ellie.’ She did as I said, mostly.
Crap… I realised as we were walking out: I’d almost forgotten about Laura! It was easily done… She was our quietest member, by, like, miles.
‘Oh! You coming, Laura?’
She smiled at me, looking well relieved I’d actually remembered her (just about, anyway…), just as the bell screeched through the rooms.
‘Erm, no, I’d better wait until Miss Franklin says we can…’ She’d gone all blotchy at the thought. ‘Sorry, Carmen.’
No big surprise. Laura was legit the biggest goody-two-shoes you could, like, ever meet, so the thought of disobeying a teacher…
‘What…ever… You hang around here on your own with Gail then…’
‘My name is NOT Gail,’ Gail snapped at me, looking even more breakdown-y than usual as all us girls – except Laura – started walking out, one by one. ‘Stop. Stop, I say!’
I mean, really, why did she even bother? Sucker for punishment or what?
The fresh air was more than welcome after spending hours in those ridiculously stuffy classrooms.
‘What d’ya think she wants us to see, Car?’ Ellie asked, totally breathless, struggling to keep up with us even though we were walking, like, literally less than a mile an hour.
Out of nowhere, Benny – the fifth and only boy member of The Huddies – sprang up like a Jack-in-the-box in the middle of us all.
‘What’s all of this, m’lud?’
He’d obvs seen everyone swarming, rushed over to join in. Really, Benny was one of the girls. Not that we ever mentioned the G word around him. That chat was way off-limits. Went without saying.
‘Dunno.’ I took my tie off, now we were leaving the prison grounds. ‘Mel just said we all have to come and look at something ASAP.’
By now dozens of girls – and Benny – were rounded up, waiting outside Mel’s caravan. Yes, her caravan… Kept on her parents’ driveway, the rumour was they made her live in it, on her tod, so they could spend all day getting high in the house on crack – or whatever – uninterrupted. Wouldn’t surprise me AT ALL if it was true.
‘Come in, amigos!’ Mel flung the door open.
Inside, a battered old TV was blaring. She’d brought us here to watch the telly?
‘Just watch.’ She looked confident, ignoring my evils.
And so we did, and quickly saw that a girl band was on the screen. They were running through a hotel, pushing past security guards, throwing stacks of paper in the air, kissing random guys, dancing together, singing a well-catchy song about what a guy has to do to be their lover. I was into it, straight away. They were all dressed so differently, with crazy but also totally wicked clothes, and they looked like they were having a proper blast. For once, we were all silent. Just watching.
The clip finished playing and there was a proper buzz in the air.
‘What…are they?’ I finally asked.
Mel stood up, smugly, clearly loving every minute of being the centre of attention. ‘They are the Spice Girls. This is their first song, “Wannabe”.’
Everyone started cheering. ‘Play it again, Mel!’
‘Don’t worry, ladies, it’ll come on again soon,’ she told us. ‘The Box have been playing it pretty much on a loop. Let’s wait for it, yeah? I’ll go get some Tizer from Mum and Dad’s…I mean, erm, my house.’
And off she went.
Ten minutes was all it took for The Box – the best music channel by far – to play the vid again. This time, we saw the name of the band at the beginning flash up, just as Mel had said. The Spice Girls – Wannabe. We were all buzzing. It felt like something massive was happening, and we were all totally feeling it.
Again, we watched the video in full, even more obsessively the second time. Benny was basically inches from the screen at this point, so the girls were trying to edge him out for blocking it. Ellie was already singing along – out of tune, might I add – to the chorus.
‘What are you all doing?’
We turned around. The Bad Lads had crashed the party, and were hovering outside. Lee, Darryl Kenny (swoon!) and Big Willy – don’t ask – were a blur of shave-striped brows, Adidas Sambas and enough Lynx Africa body spray to cover the whole of Africa.
‘Get lost, you lot…’ I said, rolling my eyes, turning back to the super-sexy creatures on the screen.
‘Ah, c’mon, don’t be like that, Carmen.’ Darryl was easily the least bad of the Bad Lads. In fact, truth be told, I had a major crush on him. ‘What you watching?’
Still, I wasn’t one to mince my words, even with a fit boy, so I turned back to them again, this time more annoyed. ‘I said: GET LOST.’ Then I smiled at the other girls, who were all totally backing me up, even though they were saying nothing. ‘This isn’t for you.’
You can follow the tour and check out the reviews from these wonderful bloggers: