Helena Nicholls – ex world-famous pop star and prime-time DJ – wakes up in hospital to find her looks, her career and her personal life in tatters. She has been let down by her boyfriend, and the one person she loved most in the world – her best friend since the age of five – is dead. She feels that she belongs nowhere, and her sense of identity, fragile at the best of times, is in pieces.
So Helena turns to the one thing that has always got her through, the one thing that has real resonance: music. And she begins to concoct The Plan. Using the request format that made her radio show so popular, where listeners rang in with detailed stories about why certain songs were so meaningful for them, she sets out the story of her own life, chapter by chapter, track by track.
Thinking about the songs that represent important chapters in her own life, Helena begins to come to terms with her past. But the present is more of a problem as, while in hospital, she has re-met an old friend to whom she is still hugely attracted. Her strict adherence to The Plan, however, means that time is not on her side. If she is to have a future at all, she must work out what it really means To Be Someone.
With its wry, appealing narrative voice, and its insider’s take on the world of pop music, To Be Someone is a stunningly mature first novel which swings with wide smoothness between past and present, child and adulthood, joy and tragedy, love, loss and the meaning of true friendship.