Humour may be Wendy Harmer’s tool, but the truths of travelling through teenage angst shine more brightly with a smile on your face.
I Made Lattes for a Love God is perfect reading for anyone in your life who is almost a teenager or maybe just wants to read a story that sounds a little like their life and lets them laugh at it, ever so gently.
You can read Meredith Jaffe’s full review of I Made Lattes For a Love God HERE.
My name is Elly Pickering and I have a secret. It’s a secret that’s incredible, and I mean that in the true sense of the word. It’s really, absolutely unbelievable. It simply can’t be right.
I have to keep this secret for the entire weekend. That means there’s still forty-eight hours of brain-busting, bum-clenching, teeth-grinding silence to go!
Had I known just how huuuuge the secret was that I would be sworn to keep, I would never have pestered my mother to tell me. I blame her for blabbing. Why did she?
She must know by now that my willpower is non-existent. She must know that for the past fifteen years of my life I have:
★ Always eaten all my Easter eggs in one go before breakfast.
★ Always turned to the last page of every book I’ve ever read to find out the ending.
★ Always stuck my finger into the icing of every cake I’ve ever seen.
Why ask ME to keep a secret? It’s like putting a vampire in charge of the blood bank . . .
Right there, that’s part of the secret. See, I’m practically giving it away already.
If you were sitting opposite me right now, you would see my face go as red as a tomato, my entire body start to twitch uncontrollably and you would say: ‘Hmmm, Eleanor. Is there something you’re not telling me?’
And seconds later, I would spill my guts.
Then I would swear you to secrecy too, but a few minutes later you would cave in and put the entire thing up on FacePlace.
Then the whole world would see it and go utterly mental.
Then my mum would see I can’t be trusted, go off her brain and murder me.
Then my entire summer holiday would be ruined, because I’d be dead.
SO, I googled ‘keeping secrets’ and came up with this advice:
1. Tell the secret over and over to yourself until it becomes just ordinary and hardly worth telling. OK, here goes.
Jake Blake is coming to Oldcastle. Jake Blake is coming to Oldcastle. Jake Blake is coming to Oldcastle. Jake Blake is… AAARGH!
It’s no good. The more I say it, the more I want to climb up on the roof here at Buckingham Palace, let off fireworks and blast myself out of a cannon shouting it to the world. It’s still the most juicy secret I have ever been trusted with. And why me? Everyone knows I can’t be trusted!
2. Tell the secret to a pet. They can’t talk. They just listen.
SO, now I have Camilla the cat sitting on the bed here in my bedroom (AKA The Dungeon). I look into her hairy face and those inscrutable marble eyes and tell her that Jake Blake is coming to Oldcastle.
Yes, THE Jake Blake. J-A-K-E-B-L-A-K-E. Here in Oldcastle. The same Jake Blake, movie star heart-throb, who is, at this
very moment, plastered all over my bedroom wall – his long lashes fringing piercing blue eyes that follow me around the room, his sleek black hair flopping over his forehead, his lips curved in a smile that’s as mysterious as the Mona Lisa’s.
He’s beautiful. And I’d tell him that if I ever got to meet him.
AND NOW I DO GET TO MEET HIM.
In fact, I’ll probably be hanging out with him for most of the summer!
Do you believe me, Mrs Duchess Cat?
ACK! Camilla looks utterly bored and has just started groom- ing her paws. This is pointless.
3. Write the secret down in a notebook or journal.
I’m not sure this will work either, but it’s worth a try. I find something to write on and grip my pen until my hand almost seizes up like a witchy claw.
There I go again.
Still, I have to do something, anything to stop me picking up my mobile phone or going on FacePlace. So I write.
Dear bit of random paper: Here’s the secret. My mother, Libby Pickering, runs her own company called ‘Regal Events’. She’s been doing weddings, parties, the odd corporate thingo and I’ve been helping whenever I need to earn a few $$ to pay off my hideously mounting debts. I’ve been inscribing invitations, folding paper napkins and doing some waitressing stuff now and then.
It’s all been pretty low-rent as far as I’ve ever seen, even though my mother keeps telling everyone she meets that the company has some ‘new, important clients’ and will soon be doing ‘big things’. (This has always been a tad cringe- worthy.)
Well, last night, a ‘big thing’ ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
Mum was on the phone after dinner (it was just her and me and a plate of spag bol), and when she hung up she was so excited she started bouncing around the kitchen like the possum that got trapped inside on Christmas Eve.
She didn’t want to tell me what the call was about, but I knew she was busting to tell someone, so of course I hassled her till she told me.
Mum said the call was from Hollywood. YES! The REAL Hollywood, U S of A.
It came from Festive Films. They want Regal Events to handle the publicity for a new big-budget movie that’s being made here in Oldcastle over the summer!
I know, weird. How did my mum’s tiny little business get involved in a Hollywood movie?
Apparently Festive Films had some big publicity company here in Britannia all ready to go, then someone got fired, sick or (to be honest, I did fade a bit here), anyway, the deal fell through and they decided to hire a local company instead.
They looked up Regal Events, Ms Libby Pickering, her 5-star rating (which, to be honest, came mostly from some fake names I made up – ahem) and, there you go!
Now, here’s the even more amazing bit. The new movie is MONSTER CLASS 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s being made HERE because in the US, it’s the middle of winter and they come ‘Down Under’ to make films.
They needed an ‘ordinary’ high school to film in and they chose, of all places, my very own school, Oldcastle High!
Well, who could argue that Oldcastle High is ordinary. In fact, Oldcastle High is smack in the middle of Ordinaryville in the Republic of Really Tedious on the planet Yawn.
A bit of info if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen Monster Class 1 & 2.
The films are these kooky musicals about a boy named Joey Willis (played by JB) who goes to Hometown High – your typical all-American high school. Except that on Halloween and nights of the full moon, Joey’s whole class turns into a rollcall of the undead – vampires, zombies, witches and ghouls – and Joey transforms into a werewolf. They all sing and dance and stuff.
(It all sounds a bit Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’, circa 1982 – a whole fourteen years before I was born – but, trust me, the movies are funny and brilliant!)
Unfortunately for Joey, both his love interests get killed off. In the first movie his girlfriend turns into a vampire and dies a disgusting vomiting death after she accidentally eats some garlic pizza in the school canteen. (The ‘stinking rose’ being indigestible to vampires, of course.)
In the second one, his girlfriend is a zombie and her brain gets fried when someone short-circuits her curling wand. (If you want to kill zombies, you have to attack their brains, naturally.)
In this movie Joey Willis comes to Back Beach High as an exchange student – that will explain why everyone has an Australian accent.
Wonder how they’ll kill his girlfriend off in this one? (She gets bitten by a ghostly red-back spider?)
When Monster Class 2 was on at the Majestic Movieplex here in Oldcastle last year, I went with Bianca Ponsford and we both dressed up.
I was a vampire and Bianca went as a witch. (She was perfect for the role and hardly had to do anything to her ghastly green chlorine hair!) Everyone danced in the aisles and pelted each other with popcorn and scorched almonds.
The thing is that the movie topped the box office and now Jake Blake is a MASSIVE star. He’s totally gorgeous (even with fangs and fur all over his face). He’s an amazing singer and dancer and well . . . he’s just impossibly cute.
I like the way he messes with his hair when he’s being interviewed. His dazzling smile. The way he winks. How good he looks in leather jackets. It’s adorable when he bites his lip and . . . Sigh!
He also just starred in a movie with Johnny Depp – a drama – so he’s a really good actor. He’ll get an Academy Award one day. You’ll see.
What else can I say? Jake’s my celebrity crush. Which means that I love him. Totally. Not that I’m in love with him – I’m in love with my surfie boy, Will – but it’s nice sometimes to daydream about what I’d say if I met Jake.
AND NOW I AM GOING TO MEET HIM . . . ERGH!
‘You want a doughnut, El?’ My older sister, Tilly, sticks her head around the door of The
Dungeon. I wave away the greasy bag she’s brought back from the farmers’ market in Victoria Square. She’s been down there this morning doing the shopping with Mum.
And of course, I’m wondering if she knows. I scan her body for telltale signs of nervous breakdown. Nothing.
Tilly isn’t like me. She’s an expert at keeping secrets.
My mother might jump around like a trapped possum. I might find a branch and screech like a cockatoo at sunrise. But Tilly’s a bandicoot. Nocturnal. Silent. Secretive.
In Grandpa Pickering’s backyard on the edge of Britannia Park, there’s a family (tribe? mob? herd?) of bandicoots. They’re out after dark, so you rarely see them, but every morning you can see where they’ve been digging in the dirt. There are all these little holes all over the lawn where they’ve been working feverishly through the night unearthing tasty grubby treats.
If you’ve ever encountered a bandicoot (I saw one once, by torchlight), you’ll know they have adorable all-seeing eyes; fine- membraned, lacy ears that hear everything; and delicate, but powerful, claws.
That’s my sister, Tilly Pickering.
She plonks herself on the end of my bed, right on top of my feet. OW! When I tell her to get off, she shuffles up a bit, then grabs my pink stuffed pig, punches it in the face and chucks it at the wall.
Why does she always do that?
She turns and half-smiles at me from behind her long chocolate-brown hair.
‘I know you know,’ she says. ‘When the news is in the Bugle on Monday, the whole place will go ballistic!’
PHEW! Now I have someone to share with. In an instant I am a cockatoo – flying to the top of a tree and screeching and flapping like a maniac. I’m not saying much that makes sense, just random squawks of happiness.
Tilly lies back against my pillows and listens, then flicks her long lashes and gazes at my posters of Jake. I’ve seen that dreamy look in her eyes before, but it’s usually when she’s talking about her boyfriend, Eddie.
‘Jake is soooo gorgeous,’ she says. ‘How old is he, anyway?’
Too young for you, I tell her. He’s only seventeen and his birthday isn’t until March 13. (Tilly would know all this if she really loved him as much as I do.)
‘He’s not too young for me. Only six months younger. There are plenty of men who go out with older women in Hollywood, like Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore,’ she says.
Yeah, and look what happened to them! I point out that there was a fifteen-year age difference between Demi and Ashton. Since Tilly’s just turned eighteen, that would mean she’d be going out with a three-year-old. She’d be watching her date splashing in his paddling pool on their romantic hook-up.
‘Oooh! Do I detect someone’s a teensy bit possessive of Jake?’ Tilly pokes me in the ribs with a skinny finger.
That would be very stupid, seeing that there are about one million girls on the planet who are mad about him.
‘Exactly, so take a number, little sister, and stand right behind me,’ says Tilly. ‘Mum says we’ll get to meet him. Imagine if he asked me on a date!’
Now all this is a bit weird. What about her boyfriend, Eddie? He plays football for the Sovereigns and he’s famous around Britannia. Eddie and Tilly are the closest this town’s got to a Power Couple. (More like an AAA battery couple. Heh!)
‘Sometimes it sucks so badly having a footballer boyfriend,’ says Tilly as she traces her pout with lip balm. ‘I’m hardly going to see Eddie all summer because he’s going away. And when he’s playing I hardly see him all winter. When I do he’s usually bruised all over like an avocado and only wants to lie on the couch and play video games.’
Uh Oh. Big Trouble. Little Buckingham Street. Please don’t let them break up! When Tilly’s heart is broken she staggers around the house mooing like a sick cow while the rest of us hide. She’s horrible to live with. There’s still a big dent in her bedroom door from where she kicked it last time.
‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to date someone like Jake Blake?’ asks Tilly.
Hah! I don’t suppose it’s worth mentioning that he lives in Los Angeles, which, last time I looked, is a universe away. Would Tilly like me to show her where LA is on Google Maps?
‘But you think I’m pretty enough to get a guy like him, don’t you, El?’
I make sure I answer this one straight away!
Of course she’s pretty enough. More than that, she’s beauti- ful. With her long, straight, shiny hair, radiant green eyes, pale skin and gorgeous figure she’s one of the best-looking girls in the whole city of Britannia.
‘So, why shouldn’t I try to go out with him then?’ she asks me.
Because he’s mine, I want to yell at her. But, really, how sad and deluded is that?
So I say nothing.
Poor Jake Blake. He’s probably packing his bags right now, completely unaware of what will happen when all the love- starved females of Oldcastle find out he’s coming.
It’ll be a Monster Class, alright!
There will be so many girls waiting to sink their fangs into him, he’ll wish he really was one of the undead.
Extracted from I Made Lattes For a Love God by Wendy Harmer.
Published by Allen & Unwin.
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