India lives in a large, luxurious house with a mum she can't stand and a dad she adores, though he hasn't had much time for her recently. She seeks solace in her journal, which she keeps in sincere imitation of her heroine, Anne Frank.
Treasure lives on the local council estate with her loving and capable grandmother. She is devoted to her nan but lives in fear of having to go back to live with her mother and violent stepfather.
A chance meeting sparks a great friendship between the girls. And when Treasure has to run away to avoid her stepfather, India comes up with a hiding place inspired by her favorite writer. India hasn't got a real secret annexe like Anne Frank—but she has got a hidden attic....
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Jacqueline Wilson is a hugely successful children’s author and has won a number of prestigious awards, including the British Children’s Book of the Year and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. In 2002 Jacqueline received an OBE for services to literacy in schools. She was the highest-borrowed author in British libraries in the last decade.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
This is the start of my whole new life. I am never going home. I don't ever want to see Mum again. Or Bethany or Kyle or grizzly little Gary. And I especially don't ever, ever, ever want to see Terry.
This notebook used to be the Official Terry Torture Manual. I invented a brand-new torture for him every day. It was a lot of fun. But then sneaky Bethany found the notebook under my pillow and showed it to him. He turned the pages very slowly, taking in all my carefully coloured diagrams of torture machines. I'd spent hours on the Terrible Tooth Tweaker and the Excrutiating Ear Enlarger and the Beastly Big Bum-Basher.
Terry looked at them. He nodded. He drew in his breath. Then he ripped the pages out and tore them up into tiny pieces. It was obvious he wanted to tear me into tiny pieces too.
Mum tried to turn it into a joke and pretended it was just my warped sense of humour.
'That kid of yours is warped all right,' said Terry. He stood up and unbuckled the heavy leather belt round his jeans. 'She needs teaching a lesson once and for all.'
Mum tried to laugh him out of it, acting like he was just kidding. She said he didn't really mean it. He was just trying to scare me. We were all scared. When he raised the belt Mum yelled at me to run for it. I didn't run fast enough. He got me on the side of my head and broke my glasses and cut me all down my forehead.
Mum cried. Bethany cried because it was all her fault. Kyle cried too though he likes to make out he's so tough. Gary cried, but that's nothing new. I didn't cry. I stood there with blood trickling down into my eyes and I clenched my fists and stared straight at Terry. He looked a bit fuzzy without my specs but he's got these really cold green eyes that you can't miss. I focused on them. Staring him out. He was the one who broke first. He looked away, ducking his head like he was ashamed.
He went straight out down the pub even though Nan and Loretta and her little Britney and Willie and Patsy were coming round for tea. It was all laid out on the living-room table: ham sandwiches and sausage rolls and leftover chocolate log and mince pies and fruit cake, though Kyle and I had nicked most of the icing. Bethany's off sweet stuff at the moment because she thinks she's fat. Well she is. I annoy her no end because I eat heaps and stay thin as a pin. Mum says it's my nervous energy.
No wonder I get nervous living with Terry.
But I don't live with him any more, hurray, hurray, hurray! He did me a huge favour hitting me with his belt. Nan took one look at me and went white.
'My God, Treasure, what have they done to you?'
I just shrugged. I'm not a tell-tale like some people. Bethany and Kyle and Mum held their breath. Even little Gary stopped grizzling.
My nan's not daft.
'Terry did it, didn't he?' she said.
Her voice was very quiet in the hushed room. She looked round, her eyes flashing.
'Where is he?'
'He's out, Mum. But it wasn't really Terry's fault. It was an accident.'
'Accident my bottom,' said Nan.
Well, she said something ruder and more alliterative. We have learnt about alliteration at school. I am Top Girl. Which isn't hard because heaps of our kids have got problems. Our school has got a bad name. But I won't have to go to it any more. I shall go to a school near my nan's. I am living with her now.
I can't believe it! Oh, I love my nan sooooo much. She got it all sorted. She made me stand under the light in the living room and gently pushed back my sticky fringe and peeled off the plasters Mum had stuck on. Nan swore again when she saw the size of the cut.
'Go and get your coat, Treasure,' she said quietly.
'What are you on about, Mum?' said my mum.
'We're off,' said Nan. She nodded at the rest of the family. 'Come on. We'll have tea back at our place, once we've taken Treasure up the hospital.'
'Hospital?' Mum whispered.
'She needs stitches, Tammy. How did he do it? Did he knife her?'
'No, no, it was an accident, his belt-'
'His belt,' said Nan. She hugged me tight. 'Right. Bethany, you get yourself upstairs with a big carrier bag and get Treasure's clothes packed. She's staying with me from now on.'
We all stared at Nan.
'Jump to it, Bethany!' Nan commanded.
'Yes, Nan,' said Bethany, jumping. She's not her nan but she does as Nan tells her. We all do.
'You can't, Mum,' said my mum, starting to cry.
I thought she meant I couldn't stay with Nan. I nearly cried then, because I didn't want Mum to feel I was walking out on her. She needed me. She's useless at keeping Bethany and Kyle under control and she doesn't always get up for Gary in the night. And then there's Terry. He hits her too.
I decided maybe I should stay.
But it turned out she didn't mean that at all.
'You can't take Treasure up the hospital, Mum. They'll want to know how it happened,' my mum sobbed. 'And then they'll get on to the Social - maybe even the police. They'll come down on Terry like a ton of bricks.'
Nan held me even tighter. She could feel me quivering.
'So it's Terry we've got to think of, is it? Our Treasure can get scarred for life but never mind her, let's all worry about Terry?'
Kyle was looking puzzled because he doesn't get sarcasm. Gary was wailing now, his nose running down into his mouth. Mum looked awful too, her mascara smudged and her face so white it made the pink rouge along her cheekbones look like clown make-up.
'It's just a nasty nick,' Mum pleaded. 'Take Treasure for a little holiday, it's maybe all for the best - but don't cause trouble, Mum, I beg you.'
'Call yourself a mother!' said Nan. She bent down, scooped Gary out of his baby chair, checked his nappy and grimaced. 'Here, try and take care of this one at least.' She thrust Gary at Mum and yelled up the stairs to Bethany.
Bethany came running with a carrier bag spilling clothes. Nan snatched it from her and gave my shoulder a squeeze.
'Right, pet, we'll be off.'
Mum was so busy crying she didn't say goodbye to me. Kyle just gawped. But Bethany suddenly put her arms round me and gave me a big hug, even though we've hated each other ever since we've been stepsisters.
'I'm sorry, Treasure,' she said.
She must have been truly sorry because when I unpacked the carrier bag back at Nan's I found she'd put in her own black designer T-shirt, the one with the little grey squirrel on the front. She'd got it as one of her Christmas presents from Terry and she'd gone berserk on Boxing Day when she'd found me secretly trying it on. It fitted perfectly even though I'm nearly two years older, because she's big and I'm a little titch. She had told me to whip it off quick or she'd tell her dad - but now she'd given it to me.
I'm wearing it now with my black jeans and my crocodile boots. I look seriously cool. OK, the boots are last year's and so they scrunch up my toes a bit but I don't care.
'We women have to suffer to look stylish,' says Nan when she kicks her high heels off and rubs her own sore feet.
My nan is young for a grandma and very, very glamorous. She wouldn't be seen dead in the usual granny gear. My nan wears tight, lacy vesty things and short skirts that show off her legs. She looks especially glam when she teaches her line-dancing class. She has all these little matching outfits. I like the white one best: white waistcoat with rhinestones, short white skirt and white leather cowboy boots with spurs.
'Can I go to your line-dancing class sometime, Nan?' I asked her.
'Of course you can, darling. I reckon you'll pick it up in no time. Patsy goes, don't you, pet?'
Patsy grinned at me. 'Yes, it'll be great, Treasure.'
Patsy is being so kind to me. She's so, so different from Bethany. Patsy doesn't even seem to mind that she has to share her bedroom with me. It's not much bigger than a cupboard so it isn't easy. She's only got a single bed so Nan fixed me up with cushions and a spare duvet on the floor. It seemed all right to start with but in the middle of the night the cushions kept sliding sideways.
Patsy heard me rootling around, trying to reorganize my bedding. 'Here, Treasure, come in my bed,' she whispered.
'There isn't room. It's OK, I'm fine,' I whispered back.
'No, you're not. Come on, it'll be fun.' She paused and then giggled. 'Do as your auntie says, Treasure!'
I giggled too. Patsy is only seven but she is my actual auntie. She's Nan's youngest child. My mum is the oldest. Though she acts like she's never grown up, Nan always says.
Patsy is Nan's favourite. She calls her 'my little surprise'. She's Pete's child and Nan is nuts about him. I can't remember him properly but I think he's big and bear-like. Patsy is little and fluffy, like a baby bunny. She's got lovely, long fair hair. She wears it in a ponytail or a topknot with a cute little set of butterfly slides at either side. The only funny thing about Patsy is that she walks with her feet pointing out like a penguin, but that's because she does a lot of ballet. She does tap too and acrobatics. Nan's thinking of sending her to a special stage school soon as she has the talent and the looks to make it really big.
You'd think Patsy would be a horrid little show-off but she's not a bit. I've always liked her lots though we haven't met up much as I've lived all over the place with my mum and then, when Mum settled down with Terry, she and Nan kept falling out. But I like all Nan's family and I love Patsy second-best to Nan.
I squeezed into her bed and we cuddled up like spoons. Patsy felt so little and springy compared with Bethany. (We weren't usually on cuddling terms at all but if Terry and my mum were having a fight in the middle of the night it got so scary that Bethany and I would huddle together, the duvet over our heads to block out the noise.)
Patsy's hair tickled my face but I didn't mind. I reached out and stroked it gently. I'm trying to grow my own hair but it goes all wispy. If I tilt my head back and hunch up I can kid myself I've got shoulder-length hair, but it's not really. Patsy is so lucky having lovely long hair. Patsy is so lucky, full stop.
Still, I've got lucky now. This is my new life and I'm happy, happy, happy. I look a big weird still because I had to have ten stitches and they're still sticking out of my forehead. Nan hasn't dared wash my hair yet so my fringe is all stuck together. I shall have a big scar but I don't care. It will make me look TOUGH.
I didn't tell on Terry up at the hospital. I couldn't do it to Mum. I said me and my brother and sister were messing around playing a stupid cowboy game and I got lassoed.
Nan backed me up.
'Though why we should protect that pig I don't know,' she muttered, lighting up a ciggie. 'Still, I'm not having anyone call me a grass.'
She got told that the hospital has a strictly no-smoking policy so she stamped on it. She looked like she wanted to grind Terry under her high heel too.
'Your mum's the one needs her head looking at,' said Nan, as we trailed out the hospital, my forehead all puckered up with black thread. 'Why doesn't she leave him?'
I shrugged. It baffles me too. 'Still, I've left him now, haven't I, Nan?' I said.
'You bet, Treasure. You were such a good brave girl up the hospital. I'm proud of you.'
'And I can really, truly stay with you, Nan? I'll do lots of housework and keep an eye on Patsy and I could help Loretta with little Britney, I'm good with babies-'
'Bless you, pet,' said Nan. 'You don't have to earn your keep. You're family.'
'And I can stay in your family for good, Nan? Promise?'
'Yes, I promise, Treasure,' said Nan.
That's the best bit. You can rely on my nan. She never, ever breaks her promises.
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Descrizione libro Random House Childre; New Ed Edition, 2003. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0440865085