It Sounded Better in My Head - Nina Kenwood

About the Book

When her parents announce their impending separation, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day-in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed and nothing is quite making sense.

Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further. It Sounded Better in My Head is a tender, funny and joyful novel about longing, confusion, feeling left out and finding out what really matters-from an exciting new voice in Australian YA writing.

For Dan

Contents

Cover Page

About the Book

Title Page

1 There Is No One to Blame Here

2 My Face and Other Problems

3 Something Obscene on a Park Bench

4 Patrick Swayze and Other People’s Bathrooms

5 Never Have I Ever

6 A House Full of Gryffindors

7 Ten Minutes of Fun

8 Sun and Sand and Girls in Bikinis

9 Auld Lang Syne

10 Humiliating Things

11 An Incomplete List

12 A Favour to Ask

13 A Night in Feelings Town

14 Fifty-two Minutes

15 A Day at the Beach

16 Two Strikes

17 What Have You Done?

18 Confessions

19 Everything I Ever Wanted

20 A Great Love Story

21 Moving-day Blues

22 The Dating Scene

23 Unsent

24 Five Stages

25 Are You Having Fun Yet?

26 The Truth or Something Like It

27 The First Time

28 Not the Result We Were Hoping For

29 Shiny Happy Party People

30 Meltdown

31 Show Me Your Wounds

32 A Likeable Face

33 Bert and Ernie

34 A New Plan

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Copyright Page

1

There Is No One to Blame Here

It’s Christmas Day, we’ve just finished playing our annual post-lunch game of Scrabble (bonus points if you play a word with a Christmas theme) and Dad says we need to talk. He’s using his Bad News voice, and I figure he’s either going to give me another lecture about getting my driver’s licence or tell me he’s reactivated his Twitter account.

‘Natalie, this is really hard to tell you, but we’re, uh, we’re separating,’ he says.

‘Who is?’

‘Your mother and I.’

‘Separating.’ The word feels strange and heavy in my mouth.

‘Breaking up,’ Dad says, because he can never resist hammering a point home once he’s made it.

Mum walks into the room then, eating an apple. She vowed fruit would be her only dessert at Christmas this year because she wants to lose two kilos before January, which makes more sense now I know she is prepping for single life.

‘You’re breaking up?’ My tone is friendly, giving them the space to say ‘just kidding!’ in case it’s an elaborate prank, even though we are not a household that is open to pranks of any kind, most especially unfunny, emotionally scarring ones like this.

Mum looks startled at my question, and spends a long time chewing every last bit of her mouthful of apple before speaking.

No, they’re not breaking up, present tense, verb. They have Broken Up. Past tense, Capital Letters. This isn’t new information. I mean, it’s new to me, but they’ve known for ages. Ten months, to be exact.

‘What do you mean ten months?’ I slam my laptop shut for emphasis. I would like to pretend I was doing something profound in the moments before this life-altering conversation, but in truth I was watching a video of a cat getting scared at the sight of itself in a mirror.

Mum is rattled. This wasn’t her plan, to tell me right now, like this, she says. Well, of course it wasn’t her plan. It’s Christmas.

‘Remember at the start of the year, when your father went overseas?’