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Almost Fabulous

Almost Fabulous by Michelle Radford
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Fiona Blount lives by one rule: Remain anonymous and nothing bad can happen to you. But these days, Fiona can't avoid the spotlight. Because crazy things just happen around her, and suddenly everyone's looking her way—including her London school's resident mean girl and Fiona's supersecret crush. As if growing up isn't already confusing, dealing with the fact that she now has the power of mind control is enough to push any fourteen-year-old girl over the edge! Could this newly discovered talent have anything to do with possibly locating her long-lost father? And will she be able to stop tripping her archenemy with her mind?

Fiona might be a little clueless and a lot confused, but she's totally entertaining and way more than almost fabulous!

HarperCollins; June 2009
256 pages; ISBN 9780061861918
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Title: Almost Fabulous
Author: Michelle Radford

Chapter One

Just like every morning, I scan the newspapers online, which is no more depressing than usual as they're always full of either global warming, or murders, or natural disasters, or drug barons and gangland wars, and then I switch to the financial reports to cheer myself up because these are the parts I like best.

And if I find something that really interests me, like this one about Funktech, an American company that makes really cool electronic stuff, I print out the information so that I can either add it to my information dossier or research it later.

I know. I'm not your usual fourteen-year-old.

But today I don't put this particular article away for later, I read it right now because I'm getting a little prickle at the back of my neck. Just a little tingly kind of feeling. And as I read that Funktech has recently expanded into Britain, in fact into London, the tingly feeling gets even stronger. Like I should check out Funktech's website immediately.

I get these little tingly kind of feelings from time to time—call it female intuition or something. Like when Mr. Fenton, our math teacher, went on the school ski trip—I just had that tingly feeling that he might break his leg on the nursery slope if he went, and he did. Which was a total disaster because we had to have Mr. Sharpe for math the whole of the term and he made us study boring stuff like geometry, which we'd already covered, instead of interesting stuff like quadratic equations.

Or like sometimes I get that tingly feeling that I might bump into Mean Melissa Stevens, Her Royal Hotness and Local Menace, if I take my usual route to school on a certain day because that would be another total disaster. So I leave home earlier and walk the long way instead. Or when I'm actually at school and Melissa is around, and I'm wishing for her not to notice me. I mean, when I keep a low profile (most of the time), the low-level fear and the tingle seem to go hand in hand.

But that tingly feeling can also be a good thing.

Like when I'm checking the financial pages, that tingly feeling might mean that I've found a great company to invest in, which is quite unusual for someone of fourteen, I suppose. Investing, I mean, not the intuition thing. Although some people might think that the intuition thing is a bit odd as well. Which is why I haven't told anyone about it.

So I follow my instincts and load Funktech's URL, but then, when I click on the About Us page, the tingly feeling becomes a huge prickle.

The CEO is called William Brown, which is my dad's name.

Not that I have ever actually met my dad.

Mum lost him, oh, about twelve hours after my conception.

When I say "lost him," I don't mean he's dead, I mean lost him in a losing-someone-and-not-being-able-to-find-them-ever-again kind of way.

Yes, that sounds a bit careless, but it really wasn't Mum's fault. See, she met him at this huge annual music festival (which is held in a field at a place called Glastonbury), and it was Love At First Sight. And because it was a music festival and there was a lot of emotion running high, Mum and my father got a bit carried away (which is how I came to exist).

Unfortunately at the end of the festival there was a huge riot (leading to 235 arrests and fifty thousand pounds' worth of damage), and Mum and William Brown got separated in The Chaos That Ensued.

Mum couldn't find him again afterward because they hadn't gotten as far as swapping addresses—so wrapped up in the music and so much in love were they. They did, however, swap names, which is a relief, because it's important for a girl to have her father's name on her birth certificate.

I don't think Mum's ever gotten over her William Brown, though, because sometimes, when she thinks I'm not paying attention, she sighs and looks sad as she takes out the old photo one of her friends took of them at the festival. It's a bit fuzzy and you can't really see him that clearly. But you can see that he's tall, and gangly, and handsome, and has long dark hair. You can see his eyes, too, and they look kind and twinkly. Mum says that I have his eyes. Which is nice, because I don't take after him at all in the tall, handsome department. I don't take after Mum in the beautiful department, either.

Perhaps I'll add this William Brown to my William Brown file, which currently has 463 people in it, winnowed down from the 17.9 million pages you get on Google when you search "William Brown." (Why does my dad have to have such a common name?!) I've never done anything with the file because none of the William Browns seem as if they could be our William Brown—it's just comforting to keep ruling out the wrong ones. My years of William Brown research have proven that the chances of this William Brown being my William Brown are totally improbable. Nevertheless there is a Meet Our CEO page on the Funktech website, so I might as well go ahead and "meet" him. And when I do go ahead and Meet Our CEO, there is a photo of him, and the huge prickle becomes a loud, deafening roar like so much radio static buzzing in my ears.

The first thing I notice is that his hair is dark brown. But not long, so if he is my William Brown then he has obviously had a haircut. That's to be expected in fifteen years.

The second thing I notice are his kind, brown, twinkly eyes.

The third thing I notice really freaks me out.

As I watch, the photo on my screen solidifies into a 3-D image, which gives me a shock, but I haven't seen the real party trick yet.