Coco Astoni (2017-present)
When Coco first appeared, arriving at the family home in the city with mother Maggie, she had just been suspended from school for cyber-bullying. She protested that she had only joined in with something other girls had started and was upset that Maggie hadn’t stuck up for her. Her father Ben put an end to things by dropping her phone into the garbage disposal. She found herself dragged along on what was supposed to be a trip to see her grandmother. She was unenthusiastic when they stopped in Summer Bay, although was instantly taken with VJ when she saw him on the beach. When the car broke down and they had to spend the night there, her sister Ziggy dragged her out to Salt and then got arrested for stealing a wallet.
When Ben’s attempt to make a quick exit from Summer Bay saw him damage a water tank and have to stay in town to repair it, Coco was the one least enthusiastic about staying with him, probably because she’d been hoping to get computer access at her grandmother’s. Maggie took her and Ziggy on John and Marilyn’s bus tour but she felt car sick, which contributed to the tour being cut short. When Ziggy tried to run away to the city and Ben and Maggie went to look for her, Alf introduced Coco to Raffy. Despite an awkward start when Raffy queried her confrontational behaviour online, Coco soon warmed to the younger girl and confided that the girl she had posted a comment about, Sophia, bullied her and she could only stand up to her online. Having made a rare friend in person rather than virtually, Coco now voted in favour of staying in town for the school holidays.
She was initially horrified when Ben and Maggie announced they were going to buy the farm house and move to Summer Bay permanently but quickly came round to the idea. She found herself asked to keep an eye on Ziggy when she started spending time with Brody, who was a drug addict. When she ran into VJ again, Raffy convinced her to pretend to be her French tutor so he would think she was older. She ended up getting a date with him but was unable to tell him the truth when he told her about Billie’s recent death. Going for a drink in Salt, she found herself struggling to avoid drinking alcohol and hiding from Ben, until Leah turned up and revealed her true age. Although VJ let her down gently, she felt humiliated. VJ later came round to see her and they shared a pizza but when Ben came home and found him there he threw him out of the house. VJ suggested she find some friends her own age but she found herself targetted by bully Jennifer Dutton, who had had a run-in with Maggie, ending up with litter in her locker, and isolated while Raffy was focused on Mason being in hospital. Raffy pigged out with her to cheer her up.
Coco was upset to see VJ getting on with Ziggy and embarassed herself by accusing him of dating her. Jennifer’s taunts stopped her enjoying Raffy’s attempts to cheer her up and she ended up binge-eating and throwing up. Jennifer made fun of her for healthy eating and she got into a fight with her which saw them both suspended. She confided in Ben and Maggie about being bullied but threw up again after Ziggy made fun of her. She wanted to go exercising after breakfast but Maggie insisted on taking her to the Diner. VJ offered her a surfing lesson and she seemed a natural although she was embarrassed about stripping down to swimmers in front of him; he assured her she looked fine. Despite encourging Raffy to move up into Year 10 with her, she hardly saw her on her first day since her bulimia caused her to spend most of her time in the toilet and VJ later overheard her throwing up. He and Roo questioned her but she dismissed it as food poisoning and Jennifer, realising what was going on, said she’d felt ill after eating at Salt as well. Jennifer told her she’d cover for her if she helped her get together with VJ so Coco arranged for VJ to help Jennifer with her homework while snubbing Raffy to spend time with her.
She reluctantly asked Jennifer to join her in a surfing lesson with VJ, then fainted from lack of food. VJ refused to let her go in the water so she went for a run and fainted again, falling down some steps. She was found by Robbo, who took her to hospital, where she played ignorant despite being told she had an electrolyte imbalance. Raffy visited her to rebuild their friendship while VJ assured her he’d rather spend time with her than Jennifer. She was mortified when Ben and Maggie asked her if she was sleeping with VJ and VJ found out. Despite admitting to Maggie that she liked him, she decided against going to Olivia’s launch party with him. With things tense at home because of Ziggy’s involvement with Brody, she followed VJ’s advice and tried to organise a pepperpot session to get everyone to air her feelings but Ziggy refused to take part. Coco used increasingly transparent excuses to hang around VJ but he told her he only saw her as a friend. She claimed she was fine with it, then went home and threw up again.
After an incident with Raffy brought back memories of when Maggie was attacked by vandals at her old school, Coco was bothered by the uncharacteristic concern Ziggy was showing and forced her to admit that she was one of the vandals and it was her then-boyfriend Pete who attacked Maggie. Ziggy told Coco to stay quiet rather than cause more trouble in the family. Coco promptly made herself sick again but was caught by Leah. She eventually admitted what she was doing but refused to go to hospital or tell her parents. However, after helping to build a gazebo at the farm, she collapsed fitting. She refused to let Tori tell her parents the reason but Leah told them instead. Coco told Ziggy she had put more pressure on her by making her keep her secret and she wasn’t going to do it anymore. When she returned from hospital, she quickly worked out that Ziggy had run away although Ziggy quickly returned and confessed.
Coco was bemused when Ryder Jackson flirted with her and got Ben to read him the riot act when he phoned the house. She was the only family member pleased to see her grandmother Diana when she turned up. Despite the others telling her to keep quiet about their problems, she blurted them all out to Diana as she was about to leave, prompting her to decide to stay another week. She acted as bridesmaid when her parents had an unofficial vow renewal on the beach. When it was arranged for her to spend the evening watching movies with Ryder and Raffy, she panicked about finding something nice to wear but Ben managed to calm her down. However, when she got there Raffy told her that she liked Ryder. Coco denied doing the same but after seeing them cuddling up she nearly binged again. She told Raffy about her bulimia and admitted she did like Ryder, prompting Raffy to back off from him, and enlisted her help in organising a glow day to celebrate being girls. She was puzzled by Ryder’s erratic behaviour at the event but despite snide comments from Jennifer she gave a speech admitting to her bulimia and partnered with Raffy in the obstacle course. She was the only one remotely pleased when Diana announced she was moving to Summer Bay. However, Ziggy begged her to put a stop to it and Coco eventually offered to go and stay with Diana for a month in return for Ziggy giving her her iPad and doing her chores.
When Coco returned, she seemed more confident and Ben and Maggie learned she had been arrested and cautioned after chaining herself to a tree during a protest against a development. She explained she had met some grandchildren of Diana’s friends and been pleased to care about something other than what people thought of her. She seemed eager to keep the momentum going, harassing Alf about overfishing. Ben and Maggie pointed out that Alf had no control over it and she should pick battles she could win, so instead she began complaining to Irene about the lack of recycling at the Diner. She organised a protest with Raffy and Ryder and managed to convince Irene to stop using disposable cutlery and plastic straws, coming up with a budget for eco-friendly alternatives. She initially dismissed Ziggy’s claim that Ryder liked her until he turned up at the house with flowers made from recycled paper. She later danced with him at the Salt re-opening party.
She and Ben found Maggie collapsed and rushed her to hospital where they were told she needed a biopsy. She helped Ryder look for a job when he was trying to avoid going back to school but was unhappy with him when he caused trouble in Maggie’s class. However, she was charmed when he took over the school’s PA and played music to cheer her up. She and Ziggy guessed Maggie had cancer after a family day on the beach. Raffy and Ryder took her out while Maggie received her scan results but she and the rest of the family accompanied her to her first chemotherapy. While helping clear out the Diner flat, Raffy shared her memories of having to accept her mum was dying of cancer. Although Ben ordered them away, Maggie told Ziggy and Coco they needed to be honest. She helped organise a birthday breakfast for Maggie and, on learning Ryder was worried she was going off him, kissed him. They arranged to go on a proper date and she sought fashion advice from Ziggy. Nevertheless, she worried during dinner at Salt that he wanted to have sex with her but he assured her he wasn’t any more experienced than she was.
She began sitting with Ryder at school instead of Raffy while also trying to keep an eye on Maggie. Eventually, she realised she was being a bad friend and invited Raffy to play basketball with them. She helped organise a surprise party for Ziggy’s birthday and was disappointed that she was too young to be a donor when Maggie needed a stem cell transplant. She ignored warnings that she was falling behind on assignments and began skipping school. Maggie suggested she go to a camp for the children of cancer sufferers and Ben, Ziggy and Ryder talked her into it. She returned from the camp more relaxed but kept quiet from everyone but Raffy that she had befriended one of the boys, Jeremy, who she kept messaging. When Maggie began losing her hair, Coco pushed the idea of her shaving it off, saying other children said their parents found it empowering. She also sent Ryder away when he came to ask what was going on. Maggie eventually agreed to the idea.
She continued to message Jeremy, pretending to Ryder that he was a counsellor. When Ryder asked her to confide in him instead, she broke up with him. She then found Maggie collapsed at home and called an ambulance. After Maggie had recovered from a chest infection, Coco and Ziggy spent a night alone together at the house supporting each other before Ziggy found some letters Maggie had written them all in case she died. Coco decided not to read hers but keep it in case, and was cheered up by Ryder, Raffy and Ty surprising her at Salt for some friend time. She helped Ziggy propose to Brody with a banner outside the surf club.
With Ryder, she helped Raffy and Ty spend time together in secret. She was named as Ziggy’s bridesmaid for the wedding. She acted as Ryder’s confidante when Ty kissed him, keeping it from Raffy. She organised a sedate hen party for Ziggy, although she worried that she’d let her down by failing to make it memorable, before carrying out her bridesmaid duties at the wedding and dancing with Ben at the reception.
Coco witnessed Maggie collapsde and learnt from Ben that she had stopped cancer treatment. She contacted Ziggy and together they convinced Maggie to have more chemotherapy. When Diana turned up, Coco helped her find a medical trial in Europe that could help Maggie but went off the idea when Tori advised against it and was buoyed by the news a donor had been found for Maggie. She joined Raffy and Ryder in supporting Ty when he came out to the school, refusing to go back without him, and they organised a birthday party for him where she and Ryder got back together. Preparing for their first date, she admitted to Ziggy that she was considering taking things further but when she raised the matter Ryder suggested they wait. They were soon making plans anyway but all Ryder’s attempts were foiled by Alf. She invited him over when the house was going to be empty but after awkwardly fumbling their way through the foreplay they realised they weren’t ready.
It was discovered that her grades had dropped so she and Raffy were given extra tutoring by Maggie. Coco threw herself into it at the expense of her relationship with Ryder, ignoring his texts and standing him up despite Ben and Maggie telling her to take a break. Raffy angrily told her she didn’t deserve him, detailing the trouble Ryder had gone to in preparing a date for them. However, Ryder said it was his fault for not telling her his plans so she accused Raffy of causing trouble and ended their friendship. Ben and Maggie spoke to her about it and Coco pretended to make up with Raffy before privately telling her that she was only doing it so as not to stress Maggie and they weren’t going to be friends when other people were around. After a few days of the treatment, Ryder admitted that he had told Raffy he was upset at Coco standing him up. Coco made up with Raffy but was cold towards Ryder, although they quickly made up. Despite this, things remained awkward between them and they decided they were better off as friends.
Realising Ryder was feeling neglected, Coco and Raffy tried to involve him in their plans and he challenged them to spend the night with him at an old River Boys hideout. They went along but were somewhat bored by the experience. Next morning, Raffy suggested they crawl out through an old escape tunnel but managed to bring it down on herself. Although she was unable to reach her, Coco insisted on staying next to the tunnel to keep her company until she was rescued. With this and Maggie waiting for test results, Coco started panicking about her exams but Ben accompanied her to the school to keep her company and she ended up doing well. She was the one that found Ryder after he ran away when Raffy was hospitalised from complications with the earlier injury.
She was bewildered to find Ben and Maggie brainstorming increasingly crazy ideas for what to do now she’d been given the all clear. Maggie decided she wanted to cure cancer and Coco gave her information ob becoming a doctor only to find she was more interested in fundraising, so helped her train up for charity events with a power walk. She convinced Maggie to accept others’ help by reading the letter Maggie had written her during her cancer battle. When Brody leaked Raffy’s epilepsy diagnosis online, Coco convinced her to take power back by talking about it herself.
She supported Raffy on her first day back at school although it ended in Raffy attacking bully Abbi Simmonds. She bought Irene, Marilyn and Maggie t-shirts as cancer survivors for the fundraiser and convinced Ryder to invite Raffy. She managed to upset Raffy when she acted scared at her jumping at her but they soon smoothed it over. She helped Raffy with her schoolwork, resulting in Raffy being upset when Coco was offered a place at a science camp. Coco offered to stay behind but Raffy told her to go. She was confused when, on her return, Ryder ushered her out of the house without talking to her, but found out why when she walked in on Raffy and Ryder kissing. She was worried about being left out but after talking to Maggie and Ryder, she accepted the couple but asked them not to be too coupley around her.
She was left feeling bored at returning to life in Summer Bay so Ben suggested she learn to drive over the summer. Ryder offered to do it with her and they both got their P plates.