Tag Archives: Karen McCombie

The lost diary of Sami Star

We don’t always know what others want, and sometimes not even what we ourselves need. And parents want what they believe might be best; not what would be best.

Karen McCombie, The lost diary of Sami Star

Hannah wants peace and quiet at home, and isn’t getting it, because her parents ‘know best’ regarding her older sister and her future. Her friends seem to have lost interest in what Hannah needs. Then, one day she finds a diary in the park, and reading it – to see if she can find out whose it is – she discovers someone really interesting. Someone cool, but also sad.

A bit of detective work sends Hannah and her sister Victoria to a spot where maybe she’ll find Sami Star. We all need each other, and that’s something the girls discover.

Great little story by Karen McCombie about friendship and learning what’s important in life. And that goes for parents too.

Advertisements

The Mystery of Me

Karen McCombie, The Mystery of Me

We don’t always know who we are. And re-inventing ourselves can sometimes seem quite attractive, even if experience has taught me it’s virtually impossible. Although I keep trying.

Ketty in Karen McCombie’s The Mystery of Me has forgotten a lot after her serious accident. It takes time for her body to heal, and longer still for her mind to catch up.

She returns to school and feels tired and confused, but gets good help from Otis, whom she didn’t really know before.

I thought this was going to be your average school relationship story, albeit in a dyslexia-friendly format. I really didn’t see where it was going, and that made it so much more satisfying.

Rennison rules

I kept thinking it was Tuesday. And of course by the time I got home it was. Three hours at Watford tends to have that effect on train travel. But I was back in time to send Daughter to school.

Arrival of the two Cathys

If you are like me and don’t know Godalming, I can tell you it’s very pretty, and so wealthy (I imagine) that the shops mainly sells things you don’t need. The Book People “live” in Godalming, and they were the ones behind the Queen of Teen award, which ended with a coronation and a great pink party in a marquee on the lawn. I was promised peacocks, but didn’t see them. Flamingos would have suited the pink theme better.

Sarra Manning

I have never seen three pink limousines all at once before. Plus a white one. The authors were driven round with a fan each in the limos, before being decanted onto the red carpet (why not pink?) by the marquee, in front of eager photographers. In the case of Sarra Manning and Grace Dent the drive lasted for hours, but at least they got to know their fans very, very well. Jacqueline Wilson said her neighbours got something to look at when her pink limo came to pick her up. Not an everyday occurrence, then. Someone, I forget who, said she was willing to pay not to go in a limo again. Ah well.

Grace Dent

The marquee was a little pink. The carpet inside was totally pink, and so uneven that we didn’t need pink champagne to stumble every now and then. The food was pink, and very lovely. Even the portaloos were posh, if not exactly pink. It could have been a wedding, except there weren’t enough men there. It was all organised by Susie from the Book People, and she can do a party for me anytime.

Grace's shoes

The invited girls queued to chat to the authors, who signed books and leaflets like mad. The tables were groaning under free books, and once the fans cottoned on to this, they disappeared very fast. The books. Not the fans. There were also party bags at the end, filled with even more goodies and books. If that doesn’t encourage reading, I don’t know what will.

Jacqueline Wilson tells stories

As this was a crowning of a queen, there were tiaras. And those bands that royals wear on posh occasions. Pink, naturally. The chosen girl for each author was invited onto the stage to put a tiara on the head of her favourite, and they all made a brief speech about why they like them so much. I was very impressed with how well the girls spoke. It must be the quality of the writers that produces such great fans.

Karen McCombie

I have not read all of them. I dipped into a few books on the way, and quite enjoyed Meg Cabot’s Princess Mia. Meg, by the way, was the only one not there, as she had some books to sign in South Africa. Had a brief look at Karen McCombie’s book, which I just happened to find on a shelf at home. As for Louise Rennison, she got to sign the strangest book of the day for me. She had to ask, but it was Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging in Swedish. I saw fit to use it for language lessons a few years ago. I remember the kissing lesson. Trying not to muscle in too much on the younger fans, I also added a few names to my quest for signatures in my anthology collections. Their stories, not mine. So, doing well on that front.

Joanna Nadin

We all agreed that to have real, live authors makes a difference between today’s readers and the Enid Blyton generation. All the writers present felt honoured to share the pink chairs with their sister authors. Karen wanted her eight-year-old self to see her now, which would have been interesting if possible. Karen, as she is now, is very pretty, and the Scottish accent is a real bonus. Joanna Nadin’s fan was particularly wonderful, and she alone could tempt me to read Joanna’s books.

Lisa Clark

Lisa Clark’s hair is fantastic. It might not influence her writing, but looks great. Jacqueline Wilson was tanned from a recent holiday, and looked very well. And, she wore pink, a dreamy muted kind of pink. Cathy Cassidy had left her favourite green clothes, and was also pink for the day. Cathy Hopkins said she didn’t have anything pink, but the scarf did the trick, and Cathy looks so fantastic these days. Must be an author thing. We didn’t see so much of Sarra and Grace, as they arrived very late, after their enforced limo ride round most of Britain (I’m making it up), but check out Grace’s shoes! Louise is a born entertainer, and was really funny. Fiona Dunbar

Sophie MacKenzie

Two more authors in the shape of Fiona Dunbar and Sophie MacKenzie, who were ladies with a mission. They were the ones who had the envelope with the name of the soon-to-be Queen of Teen. It was nearly the Oscars, and as some of you may have gathered, the new Queen is Louise Rennison. She gave up her tiara for the much grander crown, and then had to learn to walk around without it falling off. The throne really suited her, and she was pretty good at cutting the ceremonial cake, as well.

Louise Rennison

With all the books gone, the cakes eaten and photos taken, we all trooped off home. Or tried to. Godalming was harder to leave than you’d think. The witch forced herself on a very kind librarian from York with two girls, and shared a taxi. The taxi driver was friendly, but I can’t say the same for his controller. They’re weird in Surrey. Some of them, I mean. The traffic jam had to be seen to be believed, and according to the driver he had never seen it before. Must have been us, then.

Lovely day, whether it was Monday or Tuesday, or both.

Queen of Teen

A number of very popular writers have been holding their collective breaths for some time now, and crossing fingers and things, in the hope that she will be the one to become Queen of Teen at the end of September. They have each egged their fans on to vote for them, so we’ll have to see who’s been more persuasive than her colleagues. If I’ve got this right, I believe that a group of fans who nominated their favourite author, will be invited to come and meet her, and hopefully see her crowned.

Will it be Jacqueline Wilson or Meg Cabot? Maybe one of the Cathys; Cassidy or Hopkins? Louise Rennison or Karen McCombie perhaps? Or pink lady Lisa Clark, or Grace Dent, Sarra Manning or Joanna Nadin?

I haven’t voted, I must admit. I want to remain as neutral as possible, though I understand Daughter had a go.