You said we could write anything we wanted.
The first thing that came into our minds.
Blue fish red fish green fish …
Clementine Darcy dreams that she is drowning. While all her friends seem to be floating effortlessly through life – pretty, poised and popular – Clementine, fuddled and flailing. Clem’s two best friends have left her behind – they are obsessed with boys and clothes and celebrities. They want Clem to be like them. They want a thin, polished friend. And so Clem must run laps with them every day after school. They say it’s for her own good. Clem just wishes they’d learn to like her the way she is.
Clem dreams of being a famous writer. Famous writers don’t need to worry about what they look like – they’re loved for their words.
At home, things for Clementine aren’t much better. Her brother, Fergus, won’t leave his room, and Clem doesn’t know what to do. She just wants him to come out so her family could be whole again.
Clem feels very alone. Her big sister, Sophie, is busy being a university student, her mum is always at work, and her best friends don’t want to hear about the bad stuff. Clem just needs someone to talk to.
Then, Clementine’s philosophy teacher, Mr Hiller, sets the class a strange assignment. For the first part of term, there will be no lessons or studying. Instead, they will write. Sometimes there will be topics, but mostly they will just write whatever comes into their heads.
Blue fish red fish green fish.
At first, Clementine isn’t too impressed about this weird project. Especially since it seems like the geeky Frederick Paul (her arch writing rival), is finding it really easy. Clem reckons he’s going to write the next War and Peace, while she scribbles in the margins of her exercise book. Slowly, however, Clementine begins to enjoy the task. It’s nice to have someone to confide in.
And, as things with her friends and Fergus go from bad to worse, and as she is confronted by a whole new set of problems in the form of the unwanted advances of the most popular boy in school, writing to Ms Hiller becomes Clementine’s therapy.
That is, until Frederick Paul – and his crazy Steampunk Society friends – show Clementine that there is another kind of life for her, one where she can be her true self and where people will like her just as she is.
Things for Clementine are looking up.
But Fergus still won’t leave his room.