Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today is my stop on the Zooloo’s blog tour for What Happened To Coco, a young adult thriller. I’ve got an exclusive extract to share, which I will grab your intrests!
When a girl disappears, long-buried secrets resurface…
Coco is missing. Her room’s a mess, and her phone is left behind in her dorm at Lainsbury Hall School.
Ella, Coco’s childhood best friend, is desperate for her to return, although she knows that if she ever sees Coco again, there’ll be a lot of explaining to do.
Bea knows that her new group of friends attracts drama, and she thinks she has the last shred of common sense between them all. Only, if that was true, she would leave Genevieve, her toxic ex, well alone.
Conrad is confident that Coco will return safe and well. Only, the way his secrets are unravelling, he’s worried he won’t be when this is all over.
Harrison and Coco are the perfect couple. Everyone knows that. But looks can be misleading. Even the smartest boy in school can make a terrible mistake.
In order to navigate the web of secrets and lies that Coco leaves behind, her circle of friends needs to unravel a few of their own.
But the question remains: What happened to Coco?
The next day, the four of them met on the chilly lawn in front of the girls dorm and wandered into the great hall together, which was full when they arrived.
The whole school was summoned to an assembly held by Mrs Hardy, but this meeting had an ominous feeling unlike the routine ones they attended every week. For one, the police stood at the back of the hall were conspicuous in their uniforms, drawing concerned eyes from innocent year sevens and stoner sixth formers. It was a serious occasion, everyone could feel it, and it stirred a sort of warped intensity to the atmosphere, where the groups of children all around the hall were exchanging wide eyed, excitable mutterings, only feeling the magnitude of the situation in a disconnected, hollow way.
As Bea, Conrad, Ella, and Harrison made their way down the aisle, to the sixth form seats at the front of the hall, a gentle whisper from the huddles of fellow students washed over them. It was a wave, starting as a ripple, rising to a significant crash.
“People are so bloody tactless. Are they enjoying this?” Conrad seethed, his face red with fury as he slid along the pew. He always loved to be the centre of attention, but this sombre celebrity status they all found themselves holding was not sitting well. It was ironic that, at a time when all four of them would rather stay out of the limelight and worry in peace, they were thrust so unfortunately into the school’s public eye.
“They probably think she’s going to turn up in a day or two, which she will.” Bea urged. She wished her voice didn’t sound quite so hopeful. She wasn’t reassuring anyone.
Mrs Hardy took to the podium and began explaining the situation, when Coco had left, and mentioning that the police had started sharing her photo online, and that it would help if everyone shared the photo, although Bea doubted that Hardy had any real idea about such things as an Instagram story or a retweet.
“And I urge you all, if you have any information regarding the night before last, if you saw or heard anything around B Block that could remotely assist in us finding Coco safe and well, please let a member of staff know. It is vital that we have as much information as we can. I thank you all for your cooperation during this difficult time.”
As they shuffled out of the hall, Bea noted the concerned looks on the faces of the teachers, stood at the back, waiting for the students to leave before they could attend a crisis meeting with the police. Hardy herself looked greyer than ever and even the usually easy-going Hunter looked positively ashen, even ill, talking intently with officer Hobbs. Miss Jenkins was stood next to him, her eyes enormous, sunken into dark circles. Mr Graham, the history teacher, even looked close to tears. It was unnerving to see them all so concerned, when she and her friends were just trying to keep their heads clear, and barely succeeding at that. If the adults, the authority figures were panicked, she was doomed.
Hunter made his way over to the group as they were about to leave for breakfast.
“Guys, I hope to God that Coco’s okay. You know you guys are my favourites. It’s going to be weird as hell tomorrow if she isn’t there.” He looked between them all, his eyes flitting fast between them. “Do you have any idea where she might have gone? Because, I mean, she must have just run off somewhere, right, after an experience to blog about?”
“We’re pretty worried. She didn’t tell us anything, we have no clue where she might be,” Ella said.
“Well, she’s always been spontaneous. Let’s just hope she comes back with an exciting adventure, right?”
They all mumbled nondescript acknowledgements of his positivity, the fear on their faces obvious.
“She’ll be fine guys, obviously. Try not to panic. Focus on chemistry or physics, or whatever boring subjects you have when you’re not larking about in my class.”
Bea offered a small smile as she muttered her thanks, but she could tell he was putting it on. He was doing that adult thing where they pretend everything is okay for the sake of the children, but he was barely an adult himself. Sure, he was twenty-eight, but in reality, he had the mental age of around nineteen. Hunter was no more responsible than they were, although he made a valiant effort at comforting them.
VB Furlong is a trainee lawyer and writer of young adult novels living in Berkshire, UK. She wrote her first “novel” at ten years old and has not stopped writing since then. As a teenager, VB Furlong wrote for her local paper and an online magazine whilst devouring any book she could find, and in writing for an older teen demographic hopes to instil the same love of books as she had, and still has to this day.
Through her writing she aims to explore many of the issues she faced herself growing up, in the hopes that others facing the same issues feel some solidarity. Her friendships are a huge part of her life and consequently is a major theme in her writing, exploring the way in which we interact with each other, especially in difficult times.
Originally from Mumbles, Swansea, VB Furlong enjoys the sun and the sea, and walking her three dogs across the cliffs. These walks have offered her inspiration for many pieces of writing, including What Happened to Coco.
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Thank you to Zoe for all her hard work as always. Let me know what you think in the comments below!