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Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals, Chapter 6 The Moon or “Total Drama High School”

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The Handbook For Mortals publicity melt-down train seems to have finally derailed, sliding sideways into the station where it shall rest until the next big convention. Which means we can jump into the recap with both feet!

Trains have feet, right? VICTORY, MY METAPHOR WORKED!

For what I think is the first time in this entire book, something set up at the end of the previous chapter actually happens in the next one:

A few days later, I joined the cast and crew on one of the camping trips Mac had mentioned.

I don’t know how to handle this, guys. I wasn’t expecting to actually see the camping trip. Anything that takes characters out of their element is always a good time, and really provides the chance to showcase some growth and… No. No, I can’t even do that sarcastically.

I should have probably put my tent up right when we got there, but instead went swimming and messed about till it was after dark. I’d been trying to put up my tent for nearly forty-five minutes in the blackness of night, and I was getting frustrated. I knew I could have asked someone for help, but it had gone on too long. My pride wouldn’t allow it.

Every once in a while, I’ll read a book with a Strong Female Character™ and I’ll think to myself, “Could I survive as a Strong Female Character™ myself?” The answer is almost always no, absolutely not. Because I need help doing so many things, and Strong Female Characters™ never need any help. I’m not even blaming Sarem for using this trope because she’s an amateur writer and it’s a mistake we all make when we’re starting out writing independent women. It’s like we have to show them as being unwilling to ask for or accept help, lest someone call them a damsel in distress, no matter how stupid it makes them look to the reader.

“Need a hand?” A friendly voice came from the dark behind me. I jumped.

“Riley! Oh God, you scared me.” I clutched my chest. “No, thanks. I’ve got it.” I grinned at him.

See? In a beginner’s mind (and in the minds of some readers), if Zade had accepted his help, she would no longer be Strong, because Strong Female Characters™ never have any human limitations. This isn’t an issue with the book so much as an issue with that SFC trope itself.

Riley walks off and Zani copy-pastes her longing for stars:

I’d begun to get used to being in Las Vegas, where it’s actually hard to see the stars because of the bright lights that are everywhere. Apparently, moonilght and large glittery casino lights drown out all but the brightest stars.

Thank you for reminding us that you can’t see the stars on the Las Vegas strip, because I forgot all about that from two chapters ago when you described it in almost the exact same way.

I think no matter how old I get I will always be amazed how stars take my breath away. It reminds me of a quote I’ve always loved: “[A] star is a huge flaming ball of gas…[T]hat is not what a star is, but only what it is made of.” What we are made of and what we are, are not there same.

It’s her favorite quote, but she doesn’t bother to give the source. PS. It’s an often quoted line from C.S. Lewis’s The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader that she’s sliced up. One of the things Lani Sarem has been accused of doing during book signings is writing favorite quotes of hers as inscriptions without crediting the source, so it looks like she’s the one who said them. If you quote something or someone, you need to source that in the text, or at the very least make a footnote.* But it’s so much easier to just say, “It reminds me of a C. S. Lewis quote I’ve always loved.”

*The only place I don’t think this is necessary is in the case of quotes that have become common colloquialisms or whose source is uncertain. I mean, does anyone really know who said “Pobody’s nerfect” for the first time?

Anyway, after setting up the strong, independent woman trope, Sarem throws this curveball:

At that exact moment, I wished I had a guy. If I had been dating someone, anyone, then he would have also been sleeping in the tent with me–and therefore helping me put it together. Not that I couldn’t do it by myself, but I liked the idea of having someone to do things with. Things like this and other things.

Things like this, and other things, such as…other things. You know. Those. Whatever they are. I honestly can’t figure out if that’s supposed to be a nudge-nudge, wink-wink or if it’s just masterful prose in the vein of E.L. James’s “…or something.”

I was fiercely independent but that doesn’t mean I always want to do things alone.

Except write a book, because clearly, you were the only person who saw this thing before it was published. You freaking switched tenses in the middle of a sentence. But what really bothers me is the idea that independent women don’t need anyone’s help, ever. Or that they just don’t get lonely.

Even though she doesn’t like to use magic for mundane tasks, things are going about as well for her as they did for the fairies in Sleeping Beauty when they tried to throw that disaster of a birthday party for Princess Aurora. So, Zanzi does what they ultimately did, and puts the tent up using magic. Then she goes to the campfire for the romantic drama.

When I reached the campire I noticed Jackson and Zeb sitting next to each other talking. They were sitting close enough to the fire that the warm glow reflected off of Jackson’s face making him look almost angelic. For a split second, though, the glow off Zeb’s face somehow made him look just a tad…evil.

A sledgehammer

Because the foreshadowing here is so subtle, “evil” looking Zeb gets up and goes off in a huff, barely acknowledging Zade. She sits next to Jackson (and ZOMG THE SIDES OF THEIR THIGHS TOUCH) and asks him why Zeb doesn’t like her. Jackson tells her it’s not that Zeb dislikes her, just that he takes a while to warm up to people. They have a little conversation about the tent and whether she’s an outdoorsy girl, then Jackson asks Zales where she’s from.

My mind danced to a place where the weather was far more humid, every restaurant served sweet tea and more fried things that you could shake a stick at, biscuits and gravy were a breakfast staple, and people talked with a slow drawl.

I’ve heard so many “Pure Michigan” ads that I read that entire paragraph in Tim Allen’s voice. This sounds like copy written for a tourism bureau, but the TV spot would have “I Wish I Was In Dixieland” playing in the background and end with a shot of a pretty blonde plantation tour guide in full southern belle regalia.

I could have gone on and on about the things I did miss and the things that existed that caused me to leave–though I couldn’t tell him a lot of it, either.

Then I guess you really can’t go on and on, can you? She gives him an evasive answer, and he says:

“Copy that.” I’d learned that that was an expression a lot of the crew said a lot in place of “okay.” It’s radio lingo that had made its way into regular conversation.

I feel like the narrator of this book thinks every reader has been living in total isolation, never having any contact with the outside world aside from the little slot in the door that opens so food can be slid into their windowless cell, and therefore need even the most obvious of things explained to them.

Zade says she misses her mom.

We hadn’t really talked since I had left. I knew she didn’t like that I was in Vegas–and I was sure she didn’t really want to hear any stories about the show that she wasn’t happy I was out here working for, so I didn’t have much to say.

There is so much wrong with this whole, “Mom said I couldn’t try out for the show, but I’m trying out for the show” thing that’s going on. We guessed pretty early that Charles Spellman is Zandar’s father, but why has she never thought to herself, “Huh, it’s weird that my mom specifically forbade me from trying out for this random Las Vegas magic act to the point of using real magic to keep me from leaving.” Does she know that Spellman is her father? If so, why is that being kept from the reader, if we’re in Zardi’s head? And why would she be afraid to tell Spellman how the trick was done if he’s her dad? The only thing really mysterious about why her mother wouldn’t want her to try out for the show is how on Earth Zade never wondered why her mother had such a very specific objection to her daughter going into showbiz.

All of that could have been cleared up at any point it’s been mentioned by simply saying, “Ever since I’d started talking about my dream to be in Charles Spellman’s magic act, my mother had discouraged me. It seemed odd that she would worry about that show, specifically. Maybe she just didn’t want to see me disappointed if it never happened.” Or something like that. As an editor, that would have been my suggested fix, by the way: “You need to work in a plausible reason for her mother to discourage her or else people are going to see your twist coming from a mile away.” Actually, any editor would have left that note.

At that moment, I noticed Mac getting up from where he had been sitting nearby and saunt off to lean on a tree away from the glow of the fire–and from the rest of us crowded around it. He looked a little upset as he crossed on the other side of the fire and walked away. I couldn’t help but wonder why.

How can iZarley be this dense and not drown in a light rain?

He stayed close enough to where he could see us and therefore we could see him, which was also curious.

It’s not that curious. If you can see someone, they generally can see you, unless you’re looking through binoculars or a gun scope or hugely pregnant and hiding behind a tiny potted plant to videotape Fabio nine years ago.

Lando thinks about going over to Mac, but then Tad does, so she just keeps talking to Jackson. Until Tad leaves Mac alone and one of Jackson’s friends conveniently hijacks the conversation. Then she takes off for Mac.

Mac had on a slightly puffy jacket with the collar turned up, and he looked rather “Abercrombie and Fitch” leaned up against the tree.

Marty McFly with his puffy red vest on.

I realized this was also the first time I had seen him out of his work attire: his standard black Dickies and black button down, his “show blacks” or his occasional Carhartts if he was doing something more mechanical that day.

I realized this was also the second time you described what show blacks are.

Instead, he was wearing fitted Levi jeans with the bottoms of the legs slightly rolled up and a long-sleeve red, blue, and yellow patterned linen plaid shirt.

I say again:

Marty McFly with his puffy red vest on.

She noticed earlier in the day that he was wearing a t-shirt underneath all that:

In the south those types of white undershirts are often called “wife beaters.” It’s a horrible name for anything really but especially a shirt. Though, in every movie I’ve ever seen the redneck wife beater wears one, and without a doubt you call it that and people instantly know what kind of shirt you are speaking about.

Okay, maybe this book did see at least one editor. Or her writer friend I’ve never heard of gave her a note because this reads exactly like an in-text justification for something someone suggested. It probably went something like, “I don’t think people call them wife beaters anymore. Maybe you could just call it a sleeveless undershirt?” And then, because Sarem is a first-time author, she likely argued, “But that’s what it’s called in every single movie. If you call it that, people will instantly know what I’m talking about,” and then just couldn’t let it go.

She goes on to describe not just the outfit he’s wearing now–right down to how he’s laced his boots–but how he’d been wearing everything before.

He looked somewhat like a hipster, but a hipster could actually hunt and do other manly things most hipsters don’t know how to do.

I don’t even know how to approach that sentence. Like, what angle do I focus on? I guess I’ll go with “you don’t have to kill to be a man.” But there is so much toxic masculinity described in that sentence I’m exhausted just imagining trying to analyze it.

They open their exchange by calling each other “Magi Girl” and “Superman,” and he’s like, are you glad you came along, and she’s like, are you glad I came along because she can’t tell if going off and brooding while she’s talking to another guy is a sign he likes her. I mean, she doesn’t acknowledge that he went off to brood because she was talking to Jackson, but it’s not like any of this is subtle. Mac tells her she’s not the worst person to work with:

“Nope. There are worse ones for sure…and here come some now.” He pointed at Sofia and another performer, Mel, who were walking toward the tree Mac and I had been posted up on.

Mel? Which Mel? Is it Mel 1 or Mel 2? Mel B or Mel C?

Mac takes off as Sofia and one of the Mels approaches.

He winked at me when he turned around, which surprised me, and I was still caught up in that feeling of surprise when Sofia reached me and put her arm around me. Me, who was probably Sofia’s closest friend, flanked me on the other side. I had no idea why they had cornered me, but Sofia’s grip on my shoulder told me she wasn’t going to let go of me easily.

I can see how Sarem and Nicholas thought this book was a YA. Even though the characters are adults, they behave like cliche high schoolers in a poorly-conceived straight-to-Netflix teen drama. Sofia tells Lanzo that she’s “wasting her time.”

I had no idea what she was even referring to as far as what I might be “wasting my time” about, not to mention the strange new behavior from Sofia who had, so far, ignored or snubbed me when we were at the theater. Maybe she was trying to be nicer since I had saved her life. Somehow I doubted that, considering she still hadn’t even thanked me–or even apologized for being mean and pushing me away when I was in the middle of saving her life.

Again, this never happened. This wasn’t a thing that happened. It was a thing Sarem conveniently added to make Sofia seem terrible but was too lazy to go back and write.

“Not dating performers is a rule of his. I’m sure you’ve heard about them by now. The man lives by his rules. Don’t take it personally.” While Mel spoke, heer head shook from side to side. It made me wonder if she had anything inside of it, or if it just kind of bobbled around with empty space.

The thing is, Mel isn’t really saying anything stupid here. She’s saying something that’s true. And while she and Sofia are the de facto bitches in this misogynistic mess, she’s not saying anything particularly mean, either.

I was already on the defensive from the second they walked up, and I realized I had been fidgeting somewhat as I stood there. “I’m not trying to date Mac, or anyone else for that matter. I’m just trying to get along with everyone.”

“Sure,” said Mel, “if that’s what you tell yourself to sleep at night. You can’t fool us though. You’re totally into him.”

I remember hearing this stuff as a teenager trapped in a culture which pits girls against each other and tells them that the most important thing in the world is getting and keeping a boy’s attention. It’s too bad that not everyone gets what they need to move out of that mindset. And then they write a book about it.

I’m not sure why they thought that they were so above me, or why if they never were able to have him that meant I couldn’t either.

They have to think that way so that you can be triumphant when you and Mac end up together. What’s the point of falling in love if the relationship doesn’t come with a side of petty victory?

“Well, as we say in the South, bless your heart . . . and . . . uhh . . . thanks for the advice, or whatever you’re calling it, but we are just friends. If I was after him, as you’ve stated, then I promise you I would have better luck than either of you.” After the words came out of my mouth I was actually surprised that I had been so bold to both of them. I was proud of myself though.

You were proud of yourself for engaging in the competition you wanted no part of?

I stood and stared back at them waiting for their response. Zade: one; stupid girls: zero.

And this, right here, is the crux of the problem. If Sarem hadn’t confirmed that this was written as wish-fulfillment fantasy because she couldn’t get acting roles or modeling jobs, the use of “stupid girls” would have outed her, anyway. This is a grown woman thinking of her professional colleagues in terms only a miffed middle-schooler would use.

“You actually think you’re hotter than either one of us?” Mel licked her lips and narrowed her eyes as she crossed her arms and tilted her head. I contemplated my options for a moment to make sure my answer was truly a good answer–not just something spiteful.

That’s right. Zani is going to be mature and not spiteful, putting an end to this confrontation in the most adult way possible…

“Physically?” I replied. “No, not a chance. You’re both far more beautiful than I am, if we’re talking about the outside. But have you ever bothered to see what you look like on the inside? There’s a song called ‘Ugly Girl’ that I swear is about both of you. I’ll play it for you sometime.”

…by calling them ugly and turning this into a songfic. At least she didn’t print the lyrics out this time.

Lade’s comeback smacks of the author’s personal catharsis. This is what she wished she could have said to all the girls she has built up in her mind as being mean, petty, and vapid by virtue of their success where she found none. I mean, I don’t like to tell everyone “this is what the author thinks,” but since she’s come right out and said she wrote this book because this is exactly how she thinks, I assume it’s safe to interpret it this way.

Sometimes I wished I could be the star in my own movie so at moments like that the song I was thinking of (in this case by the band 100 Monkeys) could start playing.

A gif of Gordon Ramsey on Kitchen Nightmares saying "seriously?" and whipping his glasses off.
This is exactly what I did when I read this line.

You know what you should do, Zade? You should write a book with a self-insert who looks exactly like you, then make it a #1 NYT bestseller through any means necessary so it becomes a movie. Then, you can use the screenplay you already wrote to make the movie, with yourself as the star. And be sure to base one of the love interests on a guy in the band whose music you referenced in the book, so he can be in the movie and his songs can be on the soundtrack. I’m sure that you’re clever enough to pull all that off without a hitch.

With that parting shot, Zarni leaves, and we get one of those triple goddess symbols that indicates an italics-fueled POV nightmare is headed directly toward us and we are powerless to stop it.

Mel asked, “Why do you care anyway, Sof? So he wouldn’t go out with you. He’s a tech. He’s the king of the techs, I guess, but only tried to sleep with him, ’cause I’ll sleep with anyone that’s cute.”

What’s interesting is that this spirit of sexual liberation is supposed to make us dislike Mel, when “I don’t care about your drama, I’m just here to fuck,” is far more refreshing and likable than, “Girls who want to sleep with guys are bitches by default.”

Also, note that Mel calls her “Sof”, in keeping with the three-letter nickname rule that was going on earlier. So, if “Sof” is her nickname, why do all the male characters call her “Sofie”? Is this intentional and meant to subliminally assure us that no man is truly attracted to or cares about her?

“I don’t like her, and if they start dating she’ll end up more privieged than she already is,” Sofia replied, resentful of being upstaged in the theater she had claimed as her own. She was bitter and angry and it showed even in the falling darkness.

Even outside of Zade’s POV, the characters are thinking of themselves from Zade’s POV. I’m still not understanding why Sofia would be threatened by Zade dating the technical director when Sofia is dating the actual star whose name is on the theater itself. Yes, Charles cut her “main illusion,” but “I’m dating the star, so I’m queen bee and you better fall in line,” would still be a much more believable way for Sofia to behave than, “I’m going to sabotage your romantic prospects and possibly endanger my own power by cheating on my mega-rich and super famous boyfriend who is also my boss.”

Even Mel agrees, asking Sofia why she would “want to give up the red carpet for stage blacks,” and for the first time in the whole book, “stage blacks” isn’t followed up with a painstakingly detailed description of what black clothing tech crews wear.

Mel had lost all interest in the whole thing and really wanted to go back to flirting with the newly single performer, Parker, who she had her eye on this week.

Again, Mel’s sexual promiscuity is meant to make the reader dislike her, but her unwillingness to engage in Sofia’s drama subverts that intent. Unless you’re the kind of person who’s really into hating women for having sexual agency, which I assume applies to the readers to whom this book appeals.

Jackson has apparently been standing there listening to the entire exchange this whole time, so he walks up to defend Zard. Because of course, he does.

“If it matters, I don’t agree with her. I think she’s much hotter on the outside, as well as the inside.” Jackson tipped his beer bottle at them and walked away.

Note that the satisfactory defense of Zid is blatant objectification and a reassurance to the reader that he finds the self-insert character hot. Mel and Sofia are obviously outraged at this, and the chapter ends.

124 Comments

  1. Doedee
    Doedee

    Wow. This book sucks.

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
  2. RodeoBob
    RodeoBob

    Can I rant a little about the tent thing?

    Not putting up your tent first thing when you camp is like, rookie mistake #1 of camping. The folks who put their tent up at night also have a pretty decent overlap with “people who don’t help with cooking unless asked and given specific instructions” and “people who don’t help with cleaning or fire building”.

    Not being able to put up a tent is something else, because pretty much every tent made in the last 20-30 years is idiot-proof. It’s folding tent-poles with color coded rings and flaps. The only way you’d have trouble putting up a tent is if it’s a brand-new tent that you’ve never put up before, and you’re trying to do it in the dark without a flashlight to see the instructions. Or, as I said before, if you’re trying to severely test how idiot-proof it actually is.

    Now, if Zandar had said “I struggled to put up my tent; it was a Korean-war era army surplus canvas beast that had been in the family for a generation at least”, OK, then that’s something. (those tents can be tricky to put up, even in daylight) Or if Zamboni the Magnificent had said “I’d never actually camped before”, then maybe, but that takes us back to the whole “I have no skill or experience, but I refuse to ask for help because I’m a STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN ™!” problem.

    But then she Bibbidy-Bobbidy-Boo’s up the tent, and I’m impressed at how much less likable she is as a character as a result. This isn’t “Magic is a forbidden art with tremendous power at a terrible cost” this is “Oh, life is hard for normies. Good thing I can always use magic to avoid learning new skills or having to work hard!”

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • Alyssa
      Alyssa

      Maybe I’m stereotyping, but I just don’t understand how Zani can be from a small rural town in Tennessee, and not have been camping enough times to know this kind of stuff. I’m from a suburb in the Midwest and am not particularly “woodsy”, but I’ve been camping enough to know all this. I’d understand if she was a city-kid, but I feel someone with her background would know how to camp because everyone I know from rural areas do a ton of outdoor activities all the time.

      Shouldn’t she know to put your tent up right away? Why was she such a dick to go swimming and mess around instead of helping to set up camp? Like you said, tents are idiot-proof, so why is she struggling so hard? I get it’s dark, but did she not bring flashlights? And even though tents are idiot proof, they’re SOOOOOOO much easier to put up with multiple people, so why would she be embarrassed to ask for help? This book sucks!

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        “And even though tents are idiot proof, they’re SOOOOOOO much easier to put up with multiple people, so why would she be embarrassed to ask for help?”

        And this is a company trip, sort of. I wonder if the goal is team-building? In which case, they should be pretty mad at Zade, and they should insist that she accept help and give some help in return. It’s the same problem with her illusion. Her obstinance forces her to seem suspicious, snobby, and stand-offish, yet no one calls her out on this, or if they do, nothing comes of it. 😛

        October 13, 2017
        |Reply
      • Athena
        Athena

        Ok, small disclosure here. I am from a small, rural town in Tennessee, and the last time I went camping, actual tent and fire camping, I was about eight and the tent was already up when I arrived. I was not an “outdoorsy” kid. To this day, the most I like is a mildly warm day and a gentle stroll. I had to have my cousins touch the bugs in my bug collection for school. So, I can totally buy she doesn’t know one end of the tent from the other. What I can’t buy is the idea that when she gets there, she sees everyone else either putting up their tents or already having them up and doesn’t think, “That’s a good idea!” If nothing else, she should have tried to emulate the others so as to not appear a total newbie to camping. And yeah, she should at the very least have asked if there was anything she could help with before wasting all the daylight swimming.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          What I can’t buy is the idea that when she gets there, she sees everyone else either putting up their tents or already having them up and doesn’t think, “That’s a good idea!” If nothing else, she should have tried to emulate the others so as to not appear a total newbie to camping. And yeah, she should at the very least have asked if there was anything she could help with before wasting all the daylight swimming.

          But then Zade wouldn’t be a beautiful unique snowflake, who refuses to give or receive help unless she gains some glory in the process! And she wouldn’t be able to keep to herself during group events, except when people are ready to praise her or be her satellite love interest! And she wouldn’t be able to show how strong and independent she is by ignoring anyone else’s justifiable opinion of her! Golly gosh, who would read about that?

          I think either LS has never gone camping, or she’s always relied on other people to do the work. In general, she doesn’t comprehend realistic group dynamics… or how long she was probably doing nothing. Because unless it’s several months later, she arrived in July. If it was only a few weeks at the most, the sun shouldn’t set until around 8 PM. (I had to double-check and it was actually kind of irksome to realize that.)

          Maybe they didn’t get their super early, but even if they arrived around 2 or 3 PM, that’s 5 or 6 hours of time with possibly very little internet, so unless she was also hiking or went scuba diving after all and didn’t tell us, that’s a really long time to waste without ever speaking to anyone who could’ve sincerely asked if she got her tent up yet. It’s possible no one noticed, but since it was her first time joining them, I think at least someone, plausibly Mac if he genuinely has his eye on her and constantly thinks about safety as his job description, could’ve dropped by to mention it. I mean, Riley asked her point blank and Zade refused, so it makes sense that someone could’ve warned her. In fact, it sounds like they did.

          But I think the bigger issue is what RodeoBob pointed out, Zade is probably self-absorbed and not the sort of person to be helpful or even try to be. She literally uses the magic so someone else can do the work, without anyone else noticing this fact. I say as much because it didn’t seem like she put any effort into it; more like a video game cheat code. That’s why her use of magic and her self-indulgence is so irritating. It could’ve developed her character, but since Zade can’t ever truly be wrong (she only pays lip service to her faults) or caught being thoughtless, then she needs the magick to allow her to do things that would otherwise make her look bad or get her into trouble. It’s her entire modus operandi regarding magick.

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
          • Athena
            Athena

            I definitely think Lani didn’t consider how anything in this book works, but specifically for this chapter, yes. Either Zade squandered hours upon hours goofing off (Was anyone else swimming? This gets even weirder if they weren’t.), or they arrived just an hour or two before dark. That doesn’t seem likely since they’re making the most of their days off.

            “But I think the bigger issue is what RodeoBob pointed out, Zade is probably self-absorbed and not the sort of person to be helpful or even try to be.”

            Zade smacks of “Only Child Syndrome” in the worst ways. She wants all the attention, but only on her terms when she wants it. Groups are tiring when they’re not focused on her. It would also explain her lack of understanding in social situations, especially coupled with the whole people wouldn’t let their kids play with her angle.

            I’m seriously starting to believe it wasn’t the witkchy-ness that caused that, but Zade being a spoiled brat as a child.

            October 16, 2017
          • Andrea Cranford
            Andrea Cranford

            Yeah, you can tell how self-centered the character is. Zanadu hated it when discount Abby from NCIS talked about herself. How dare she be focused on her own life! Not when the hot, but not supermodel hot Ziti is standing there in her matching underwear set.

            October 16, 2017
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      My friend taught me to put up my dome tent after dark, so I’d know how to do it if I got to the site late. Every time I complained, she said, “Have some more sake’.”
      Result: I can’t put it up in daylight or sober.

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        “Result: I can’t put it up in daylight or sober.”

        But you have a great story to go with your reasons! Zade was just boringly lame. XD

        October 13, 2017
        |Reply
    • Cavalish
      Cavalish

      This was beautiful. “Zamboni” is beautiful.
      You are beautiful.

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      Exactly, like there are pop-up camping tents that take like a second or two to set up, and SPOILER ALERT they are not THAT pricey esp if Zani is working in a Big Vegas show…

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
    • Khristle
      Khristle

      The worst fucking part about this is that they make instant pop up tents now. The last time I had to go tent and fire camping, I had a one-man job that literally popped up as soon as you took it out of the bag.

      Getting that thing put away was a bitch and a half, but that’s a different matter altogether. The point is Zanzabar was going by herself, she could have run to WalMart and picked up something that takes four seconds to put up.

      October 15, 2017
      |Reply
    • mydogspa
      mydogspa

      Oh, and side note about “idiot-proof” tents. Remember another favorite quote that I like to use a lot: “It’s impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.”

      October 16, 2017
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        That would explain having to use handwaving magick, when simple instructions, good lighting, and logic couldn’t prevail. Too much simple-minded ingenuity!

        October 16, 2017
        |Reply
  3. Fer
    Fer

    Witch is funny about this mess is that not matter how hard Lani tries to be the star, the spotlight goes always to someone else. Since the mother and her town to the women witch we should see as bitches, everything that has nothing to do directly with her is far more interesting. Why Mac is bitter is more curious than he falling for Sarem. Why Sofia choose Mac rather than she bother Zade. Jackson is a ghost of her crush for Rathbone so he really doesn`t matter, and we could go on.

    The element that really ruins the story and why probably she didn`t listen any of the 3 editors is Zade. But because this is her time to win, we should love and pay attention to her.

    I`m not saying that without Zani the book would be better, she should know how to properly write to do that, but it would be more interesting a story about any other of the characters .

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I`m not saying that without Zani the book would be better, she should know how to properly write to do that, but it would be more interesting a story about any other of the characters .

      Yeah, the book would definitely be better if Zade wasn’t a PoV character (or if she could share the limelight properly, anyway.) Getting rid of a writer’s protagonist worship requires a healthy dose of self-awareness and the acceptance of criticism. Until she cares more, this entire franchise is screwed, but it still has the potential to get better.

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
      • Xebi
        Xebi

        This is exactly why, when I wrote a self-insert character, i made her a peripheral character and never put her centre stage. Got my catharsis without ruining the story.

        October 14, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Yes! Self-inserts aren’t inherently bad. It depends on what you do with them and how they affect the story. 🙂

          October 14, 2017
          |Reply
          • Jane Eyre
            Jane Eyre

            I usually put mine in fanfics as sort of “help” characters, they’re not “just tagging along” and having bits of dialogue, they are useful like they know something more maybe, but they are there more like support, someone who is on the sidelines. The researcher or healer or someone whois there to offer a hug to overly angsty characters. If I wrote my own book it would be thrid person and more like Lord of the Rings, there would be multiply POVs. Tho that might be because I love High Fantasy and HF usually has povs and shifts around places and people.

            October 15, 2017
  4. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    I like that you’re giving Zida the Sofie/Sofia treatment by fudging her name throughout. We all know there was no actual meaning behind the Sofie/Sofia name changes. Sarem just couldn’t be bothered to get her name right.

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
  5. Julie
    Julie

    I mean…I can, and have, put up a tent by myself- more than once even! But if help is available, I’m sure not gonna turn it down, because it just makes the whole thing easier.

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
  6. I think “it’s a horrible name for anything but especially a shirt” is one of my favorite lines in the book. Like, I agree that it’s a shitty name for anything, but why “especially a shirt?”

    Also, Mel is my favorite character because she’s forthright, unashamed of her sexuality, and is possibly the only character who thinks about anything other than Zade. It’s amazing how likeable she comes across even when she’s being framed as this massive sidekick bitch, just because her life doesn’t revolve around Zade. She even says that she’s only going along with bullying Zade because Sofia asked her to, as opposed to caring about Zade personally.

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      I felt exactly the same way about “especially a shirt.” I read it three times and still didn’t get it.

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      She’s…too sexy for her shirt

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
  7. Rebecca
    Rebecca

    My very first thought: “why doesn’t she just ** the te…oh.”

    My second thought, as someone who went through a sex/boy-crazy phase in their early-20s and who is now in their mid-/late-30s: “Someone needs to tranq the author/character and strap them to a chair until they stop being randy as a buck in rut, so that the focus of the story is the story, not the lust. Not that there’s anything wrong with lust qua lust, but this is just baaaaaad.”

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • Rebecca
      Rebecca

      Whoops, I must have accidentally included code. That was supposed to be asterisk, open carat, asterisk, MAGICK asterisk, close carat, asterisk. So as to show sparkles and sarcasm.

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
      • A. Noyd
        A. Noyd

        ^ ←this is a caret, which should be safe to use for sarcasm sparkles. What you used were carets that have gotten drunk and fallen down: the less than (<) and great than (>) signs. They tell the commenting software that you’re adding some kind of tag (like <i> and </i> for italics). And if what’s between the < and > isn’t an actual tag, then it just gets eaten.

        So how did I get < and > to show up in my comment? Magick!

        October 13, 2017
        |Reply
        • Rebecca
          Rebecca

          *^*AHA*^*

          Thank you. *grin*

          October 14, 2017
          |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      *’^`* ✨ Magick ✨ *’^`*

      It’s less about the lust and more about a forced conflict involving said lust. I don’t think most people would mind if the story was honest about what it is, or what it was trying to do. It’s kind of sad how empty all of the emotions in this novel are, except for some unintentional hints of reality and common sense occasionally seeping into the narration. Like Mel, for instance…

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
      • Rebecca
        Rebecca

        Yes, this exactly.

        October 14, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Also, I just realized, one of the reasons the tent spell falls flat isn’t because she took the easy way out. It’s underwhelming because it just doesn’t matter how she got the tent up. Nothing changes if we remove the magick and suggest that Zade spent an hour in the dark, the farthest from the campfire and lanterns, doing it manually without any help. LS tries to use this for character building, but it actually says nothing about Zade or any of her coworkers. Zade thinks about it at length and she talks about it with Jackson, but it’s like her admiration of the stars. It’s all surface level stuff that builds up to nothing.

          What does she like about the stars in the night sky? How does it truly affect her? I can’t even remember if she mentioned being able to see them clearly at home and if it made her miss the boondocks a little bit. Why does she care about being so independent and aloof from the crew who want to help her? Supposedly it’s always because of her secret magick semi-mortal witchk side, but that never truly impacts her life or how she feels about anything, even when she says it does. I think that’s why LS has trouble getting better roles; she rarely examines why people feel the way that they do, only how they express it. 🙁

          October 14, 2017
          |Reply
  8. Xebi
    Xebi

    “Not dating performers is a rule of his.”

    Whose? Spellman’s? As in the guy who is himself dating the very performer speaking these words?

    Hmm okay.

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • It’s Mac’s personal rule. His reasoning makes no sense. Basically, one time he got a crush on a performer and then she slept with him. He thought it meant they were in a relationship, but she was a dirty slutwhore and didn’t return his affections. She soon quit the show, and so now Mac thinks that all performers are whores who do tricks for money (or cocaine).

      Very few character motivations hold up to scrutiny.

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
      • RodeoBob
        RodeoBob

        Yeesh. If Mac had a personal rule of “I am in charge of safety, so I don’t date with performers because it might distract me from my job”, I could buy that. You’re watching the girl, not looking at the rigging or the platform. If his personal rule was “I am responsible for enforcing rules, and I won’t date anyone that I have to keep in line”, again, that’s reasonable. It’s bad for the show if you cut your girlfriend slack about rules and regulations but no one else; hell, it’s bad for the show if people even *wonder* if you’re giving someone special treatment because your’e dating them.

        But dirty slutwhore? Ugh.

        October 13, 2017
        |Reply
        • It’s super offensive because later there’s a situation where the roles are essentially reversed: a woman sleeps with a man, then she gets all attached, and literally becomes homicidal. Like, how do you write that and not notice the misogyny? It’s especially funny because if you go to her twitter page right now it’s nearly all feministy female empowerment type stuff that she’s reblogged. And while I commend her for, you know, paying lip service to feminism or something, it’s just baffling to me when people aren’t able to notice when they’ve written something that directly contradicts the values they espouse.

          I know plenty of feminists deal with internalized misogyny (hell, I have a hard time with it occasionally), and I don’t think that it’s necessarily a reason to condemn someone. If it weren’t for the whole gaming the system and refusing to acknowledge wrongdoing, I wouldn’t have any problem with Sarem personally. But Handbook for Mortals, even when you disregard metatextual statements from Sarem about how all the other girls would take the good roles, is horribly misogynistic.

          I could go on about this for a long time (and I have), but I’m going to stop my rant here. I’ll save other rants for other chapters.

          October 13, 2017
          |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        She soon quit the show, and so now Mac thinks that all performers are whores who do tricks for money (or cocaine).

        Mac is such an irrational skeptic. If he came up with excuses like RodeoBob did, it’d be easier to take him seriously. But he gets burned once and blames all performers. How does he feel about performers from other lines of work? Would he date a woman from Cirque de Soleil?

        Or maybe Charles burned Mac too, and Zeb made him forget.

        October 14, 2017
        |Reply
      • Xebi
        Xebi

        Thanks for clearing that up and also: ugh.

        October 14, 2017
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Oh god… Haha, for a second I thought you were asking if Mac was refusing to date Charles Spellman, and I was nodding my head. “Yup, Charles is an ass. No one should date that guy. Hell, no one should date Mac either, really.”

      Then I realized my mistake. But then I thought about something else: Mac’s rule only applies to performers. Does that mean Lily is on the table? Or a female tech, if they have any? Why are only performers inherently coldhearted? That would only make sense if we consider Clara and Charles. Possibly Sofia, but I think she’s upset because she’s dating a guy who doesn’t love her one bit. She might be as casual as Mel, but a brief fling is a little different from being someone’s girlfriend, and judging from her introduction and later revelations, Charles has probably cheated on Sofia, too. Clara might’ve slept with Charles before she left, for all we know.

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
      • I feel like if it was Charles that Clara slept with, it would have come out in this book, as it would be relevant to his insecurities regarding Charles. SPOILERS

        But as of book 2 it’s less important to his relationship with Zade, as he’s bros 4 lyf with Charles and has zero reason to continue seeing Charles as a threat (as far as he knows). So realistically, that should have come out already.

        But Lani Sarem is a shit writer, so who knows?

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Also Spoilers!!!

          That’s a good point. Especially when Charles started discussing his life with Mac, who might’ve previously considered leaving the crew over Clara if he considered his boss more at fault than his girlfriend. Plus, not every cheater is gonna cheat together, but it’d make so much more sense for Mac and Sofia to view Zade as an even worse Clara 2.0 in that case.

          I guess that’s why LS didn’t consider that option. It makes Charles directly responsible for Mac’s unhappiness, and it would reduce his loyalty at the beginning, while Sofia could justifiably tell Zade off by flinging Clara into her face, once it becomes apparent that Zade is feeling out a relationship with both guys. Zade could defend herself by pointing out the differences, but this is wish-fulfillment anyway, so she’s supposed to be as far removed from the Clara prototype as possible, which is why Zade is 0% at fault when Mac throws a hissy fit before her big new act. And of course, none of the women mean anything to Charles, so they’re irrelevant, other than Betty and Sofia. It would’ve been an interesting way to tie everything together, especially if Jackson didn’t exist (hahaha what am I saying? He never existed.) 😀

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
  9. AJ
    AJ

    I had no problem reading this with all of the hilarious combinations/new spellings of Lani/Zade you switch to throughout, yet when I read this book I can’t keep track of all the damn characters with 3-letter names. Gawd.

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • Rebecca
      Rebecca

      It’s because Jenny is better at context clues than Laaaaaaani.

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
  10. I feel Zanie missed out on a really good “pitch a tent” joke. What a loss.

    Also I think Mel is Scary Spice. Just a feeling. I don’t see Sporty as the “sleep with anything cute” type.

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • It would be so horrible for Lani to write a WoC and have her sole characterization be “I’ll sleep with anyone if they’re hot enough.” But I wouldn’t put it past her.

      I bet in the next book, there will be WoC character (because representation!).

      If she’s Asian/South-Asian, she’ll be a horribly orientalist character who’s super spiritual and speaks only in koans. Bonus points if she does some kind of martial art.

      If she’s black/latina, she’ll be grossly sexualized and her body will be focused on at length. She’ll either be a Noble Savage or an outright romantic rival.

      If she’s Native American, she’ll literally talk to animals and plants, and probably moves with silent grace. She will also provide Zade with spiritual guidance, and probably say something about how white people genocided her people so that Lani Sarem can show us how woke she is. Not that it’s bad to point out the gross injustices committed by white people against PoC, but it will be shoehorned in. Or maybe even it will be mentioned in a way that implies Zade is special for not being racist?

      I mean, we already know that Lani Sarem has written what appears to be an awful representation of a trans/genderqueer person, and that her book is rife with misogyny, so I’m personally both excited and terrified to see how messy book 2 can be.

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Yeah, I’m curious to see what subtle new horrors Book 2 could introduce, just so LS can tell her critics that she listened to them. Maybe she’ll turn Lamborghini Girl into a Rroma woman from Bosnia or Croatia. 😀

        Also, that reminds me… Do we even know what Mel looks like? I remember red hair and turquoise nail polish, but that’s it. Also, I could be wrong about the hair color, but I’d be surprised if I was.

        October 14, 2017
        |Reply
        • I’m pretty sure she got zero physical description besides “hot”, but if she’s Scary Spice, then she’s a WoC.

          October 14, 2017
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Huh! I guess I assumed she was a redhead, just so we could have all the hair colors. She could still dye it.

            Although, if she is a Woman of Color, is it better or worse that we don’t know that? Because Mel could count as grossly sexualized and loosely as a romantic rival, but we never really get a description. Oh, wait!

            I know why I assumed all this. It’s from Jenny’s look at the Heirophant chapter when Zade and Mac have their first fight. I had to dig this up because this book is so gross. It’s kind of frightening to think that I dreamed up something that specific.

            One petite, pixie-like girl who I knew was in the case, though I didn’t know her name, was standing the nearest to me. She ahd really bright red hair that was short and framed her face. I glanced her way and she immediately looked down at her arm and pretended to scratch it over and over with her bright-colored nails that were a beautiful shade of teal. She continued to stare at her arm as if there was something wrong with her perfectly tan skin.

            I just kind of assumed it was Mel, even though Jenny says this girl isn’t named in the chapter. She has all that description, so why not? And bright red sounds more like a cute dye bottle color, although it could be a particularly vivid orange. It’s up in the air when it’s hair, but since LS does get kind of particular about the visuals and since most natural redheads don’t tan very well, I’m beginning to think it’s not her natural color. Although, this is hardly the first time LS has failed at research and redheads with tans are very popular in anime. Possibly also in comics. Most certainly in any manga.

            Even though it makes some things worse, I choose to believe this is Mel. She’s a black magician who’s comfortable with her sexuality, and she doesn’t give a damn about Zade or the drama. And she tried to date Mac, but he didn’t reject her because she’s black. He rejected her because he’s an irrational, overly emotional skeptic who thinks he’s super logical all the time, which is why he made this rule about not dating performers. This would also mean that Zade does see Mel as beautiful, and she only thinks Mel’s a bitch because she thinks all women are dumb petty bitches. So, she focuses on misogyny, more than racism, but I guess that’s something, considering Zade is supposedly Southern and lived in a small Antebellum house for all of her life.

            God, that’s so much nuance for everyone and way more credit than LS deserves.

            October 14, 2017
          • Dove
            Dove

            Quick note: I don’t know what “in the case” means, so I kind of assumed the word was actually cast? Please tell me if that’s incorrect! Although, in hindsight, not knowing Mel’s name, or applying it to her when she’s first introduced, is just another example of Zade erasing black people from existence, so it is racist after all if I’m actually correct, instead of creating fanon. But that’s also why I wouldn’t put this past Zade, even though I’m also 100% certain it’s a random cameo or an anime trope come to life. I really want Mel to have a description and I’m loving this one: a short WoC with bright red hair and teal nail polish. Why not? I’m also giving her a short afro in my mind.

            October 14, 2017
          • My speculation about Mel being Scary Spice (and therefore a WoC) was mostly a joke, but then I got sidetracked into thinking about all the awful ways LS could handle race in future novels. But I’m pretty sure Mel is white (because literally the only PoC

            I think that the redheaded girl might be Mel? I have no idea why she got so much attention, and Mel is never described (aside from being “hot”) so maybe she is the redhead.

            October 14, 2017
      • Amy
        Amy

        Oh, don’t forget Lani like manga as well, so I put more of my money on the following of stereotypes.

        Asian/South-Asian: they’ll be overly cutesy, wearing cat ears and having dumb accents. I also bet their speech will also be riddled with Japanese phrases. “Arigato, Zade-chan!”

        Black/Latina: They’ll be the “ghetto” character, either as the sassy black woman, the “Mammy” character, or as someone who knows rap, speaks in jive and has a shady past with gang members.

        Native American: They’ll only be known as ‘the native american’ with no specific tribe to speak of, or Zade will reveal she’s actually 1/8th Cherokee, and she’ll use her special heritage to speak to animals and give herself a ‘spirit animal’ companion.

        October 14, 2017
        |Reply
  11. Mimi
    Mimi

    I’ve been group camping before at summer camp, appropriately enough. Usually it is someone’s job to check on the fellow travelers and make sure they’re ok. I’m surprised no one on the crew swung by before dark to make sure the new girl had it together. Lil, maybe? The organizer of the trip? Apparently no one gives a shit about how she’s doing until Jackson finds her after dark.

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
  12. Megan M.
    Megan M.

    Oh my god, this. is. so. bad.

    “Sometimes I wished I could be the star in my own movie so at moments like that the song I was thinking of (in this case by the band 100 Monkeys) could start playing.” I fucking LOST it right here!

    Also, so she just comes right out and says she uses magic now? Did I miss where she explained that, or does she literally admit she’s a witch for the first time doing a throwaway “put up my tent” spell?

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      It’s only implied, as with the magic act, and no mention of witchk in site. I don’t think anything really gets explained until the last third of the book; literally a few chapters before the end. It’s pretty bad.

      October 15, 2017
      |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      of course, she HAD to name drop the 100 Monkeys because of Jason Rathbone 😛 as if she hadn’t hammered it in enough with Jackson, she not only has a character in a band who is named after him. She also wants his songs to play…

      October 15, 2017
      |Reply
      • Wait until you learn Jackson’s band’s name. And see who is in it. It was truly one of the most baffling things I’ve ever read.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Jane Eyre
          Jane Eyre

          Oh, I know. I’ve read your recaps. This book often seems like Zani wrote it on meth.

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
  13. Also, ‘stupid’ is considered an ableist insult these days. So you can add ableism to racism and misogyny and all Lani’s other lovely faults.

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      How is stupid ableist? I’m probably ignorant, but I thought that was the most generic insult, that didn’t target anyone in particular. Unless they’re linking low IQ to certain degenerative conditions or under-educated people in poverty?

      I don’t want to give up stupid though. To me, it’s like a butthole… everyone has it and sometimes it’s gross or annoying.

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
      • KC
        KC

        Really, nearly any negative adjective is going to be ableist (“retarded” being the most obvious example, but things like lame, dumb, moronic, weak… they all fit the bill). I try to avoid using phrases that are obviously discriminatory, but I think it’s very difficult to completely avoid all language that has something racist, sexist, or ableist deep down in its history.

        Even seemingly benign words like “wimp” and phrases like “peanut gallery” have gross origins, while the term “niggardly” is not at all racist despite how it sounds. I think it is impossible to know whether most words are problematic unless you actually study etymology. English is such a bizarre language!

        October 23, 2017
        |Reply
  14. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    Hey, maybe Sarem will get someone to back her movie after all. I hear Harvey Weinstein is available.
    (Surprised she hasn’t already latched on that scandal as a Hail-Mary-last-chance to get more publicity.)

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      My friend, while we’re having fun making fun of the book, please don’t throw sexual harrassment and rape jokes towards Lani. Weinstein is an awful human being and I do not wish that on any person, not even in jest.

      October 13, 2017
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        She’s already established a willingness to slut-shame anyone her self-insert suspects of being sexually active (Sofa and Mel C/B)–still another middle school trait–so I think the possibility that her blame-the-victim mentality extends to extremes is fair game for ridicule.
        Nevertheless, I will refrain rather than trigger anyone. We had a teacher in jr. High who used to invite girls to stay after school and read “Lolita” with him, and although

        a) we didn’t go, and
        b) we made fun of him and wrote warnings on the bathroom wall,

        I well remember the sheer rage I felt at knowing that since his favored targets were girls with disciplinary records for smoking or cutting class, it wasn’t worth reporting it back then. We’d have got in trouble, but he wouldn’t.

        And now I’m wondering if anyone DID go, outside the small circle of friends I trusted. Ergh.

        October 14, 2017
        |Reply
        • Not related to the book but that is ALL sorts of creepy. Lolita? Ugh.

          I remember in Junior High there was a teacher that we were told would drop pencils near any girl wearing a low cut top and ask them to pick it up. I never saw him do it but I did notice the girls with larger chests were always teacher’s pets.

          Creepy dudes abound in this world.

          October 14, 2017
          |Reply
  15. small jar of fireflies
    small jar of fireflies

    “I’d left the small town for the big city just a couple of months ago. I was able to get my dream job as a stage magician right away, thanks to a little touch of actual magic. I was starting to get to know the crew and performers. The way I rocketed in surprised the boss’ girlfriend, who’d been building her career the slow way. She acted strange around me, and our different personalities didn’t help. Still, I was welcome on group outings, and the others were starting to help me out when things got awkward.”

    The relevant information from the previous chapters, summarized and smoothed, ready to be dropped in after the story starts. Assuming it starts within the next few months, timeline-wise.

    October 13, 2017
    |Reply
  16. shel
    shel

    Okay, haven’t finished the recap yet, but can I just say- her “reminds me of my favorite quote” that a star is a big ball of gas… I totally expected her to be quoting Pumba from the Lion King… I think I would have liked her better for it.

    October 14, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, it would’ve given her quotes more relevance, IMHO. Most of them are literary, and it feels like they’re only chosen because it makes Zade look quirky, smart, and distinguished. Quoting Pumba would’ve been amusing and character building because it would’ve subverted our expectations of Zade while fitting in nicely with her personality. I could easily see her singing Hakuna Matata, without much irony, and it would be interesting if she also enjoyed the stage play.

      But also, I believe it’s a less dated reference that a lot of people would actually get.

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Can you imagine how it could’ve gone?

        Lani looked wistful and said, “The circumsatnces of one’s birth is irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”
        “That’s beautiful,” Mac said. “Where’s it from?”
        “Mewtwo, the Pokemon movie.”
        Mac snorted, then gave a full laugh as Zade grinned at him, her eyes sparkling in the dark.
        Still smiling, Mac said, “It’s still a good quote though.”

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Yeeeesss! Gah… So many options for humor were missed.

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
  17. Breen
    Breen

    Why did Mel lick her lips and narrow her eyes? Is she dealing with dehydration? Did she need some water and some eye drops?

    Was she high? Did she need some water, snack food and eye drops?

    I’m worried about Mel!

    October 14, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Mel probably has to get high, just to deal with all this boring Zade BS. She should remember water and sunglasses in the desert, though. Safety first! And yeah, snacks for the munchies.

      Maybe Zeb is the crew’s weed supplier?

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
  18. Perlite
    Perlite

    “The man lives by his rules” Except Mac apparently gave up on making sure Sophia won’t almost die again, claiming she’ll just whine and refuse to put on the safety harness. “I don’t like her, and if they start dating she’ll end up more privileged than she already is.” This seems less Sophia being catty and more like she’s already aware of Zade and Spellman’s relationship and is understandably annoyed about being pushed out by this immature upstart.

    “If it matters, I don’t agree with her. I think she’s much hotter on the outside, as well as the inside.” claps Good job on Lani on writing this totally natural (and not at ALL rooted in bitterness) defense of the author avatar by her hot, celebrity friend stand-in.
    (Also, is it bad I forgot who the heck Zeb was?)

    October 14, 2017
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      I’m forgetting who ALL of them are.

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      To be fair, since Sophia is also from Weapon X, maybe they’re just giving her the same treatment that Zade is getting, but Zade is more special, so she’s trying to downplay this? Maybe Mac thinks all of the performers are actually mutants and he’s just so done with them trying to hide that fact, while putting his job at risk? It’d make the most sense out of anything!

      (Also, is it bad I forgot who the heck Zeb was?)

      Sadly, it’s not. LS tries to build Zeb up in the beginning as a foil/antagonist, but nothing really happens between them for several chapters. It turns out Zeb is a surprisingly concerned and comforting guy (he even catches her when she faints, and she likens him to Jackson in a positive way), but Zade keeps making references to him disliking her, so there’s this weird disconnect because the filler chapters ignore their relationship almost entirely. That’s the only thing that actually makes Zeb memorable. It’s a lot like Mel and Lily, only it’s even more annoying because there were hints that he mattered in some previous incarnation of the plot.

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
      • Jane Eyre
        Jane Eyre

        It’s another attempt to make her character connect with self-esteem lacking girls, one of self-esteem issues is thinking everyone who is a bit aloof does it bc they hate you.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          I didn’t even think about that, but you’re right! And it’s kind of sad since Zeb is this middle-aged guy who has no reason to give a shit about Zade, except for the fact that she’s kind of honing in on his turf while doing the same to Sofia. I’m assuming that’s the most generic reason for why he was a bit cold during the rehearsal. Plus Zeb probably knew it was just a formality if Charles had already heard all of his complaints (he told Mac it was inevitable, so stop fighting it.) That meant Zade was literally wasting Zeb’s time, which was his only outright complaint during that chapter, as far as I recall. Later on, I don’t think he says anything outright mean to Zade, he simply avoids her somewhat, but then he tries to warn her about something really important, which she drops the ball on because Sarem refuses to let them be anything but cryptic about her sacred demi-mortal witchk secret.

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
  19. MydogsPA
    MydogsPA

    “. . . .And 99% of the constipated people couldn’t give a shit” is a quote from my grandfather who liked to say it all the time.

    Looks like Sadie/Zandahar never learned what makes a story an actual, you know, story, namely an antagonist with a clearly opposing & conflicting character arc to the protagonist. To be effective the antagonist has to be more drawn out and researched than the protagonist to be a credible . . .

    Oh, wait. Spitting into the wind here. Never mind. . . .

    October 14, 2017
    |Reply
    • Tez Miller
      Tez Miller

      Awesome quote from your grandfather! 🙂

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
      • MydogsPA
        MydogsPA

        It seemsed apropos to this discussion . . . .

        October 14, 2017
        |Reply
  20. RodeoBob
    RodeoBob

    Has there even been any explanation of how magic -er, “magick” is supposed to work in this book? Like, has Lani or her Mary Sue talked about what it is or how it works or anything like that?

    I mean, in Tolkien, using magic was rare, because there were not that many people who could do it, and so using it made you kinda noticeable to others. Lots of magic things could only really be used by the strong-willed, but it also exposed them to risks like corruption or having your brain twisted up. So it makes sense that Gandalf wasn’t tossing around fireballs and flying into Mordor.

    On the other hand, in Harry Potter, magic was something that you could use all the time, if you learned how. Harry using magic to start a campfire would be no big deal, after we know he’s learned how to use a fire spell and not blow himself up or set the whole place on fire.

    In Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series (no eyerolling here, I known it’s got problems a-plenty!) magic has an addictive aspect to beginners, so there’s a social taboo against using it to clean your room or do your laundry that more or less sticks around. (until another faction says ‘use magic for everything so you learn faster’…)

    Zelda using magic for her stage performance is one thing, like “OK, so we now magic can be used for Looney-Tunes-esque transportation”, but how does it work for putting up tents? Does it work like a pair of ghostly hands that just sort of holds the tent up in place of poles? Does it let Zumba read other camper’s minds and learn how to put up the tent? Does the magic just sit down, read the instructions, and do the work our protagonist is too lazy to do?

    I don’t mind things like “magic” (or “mutant powers” or “nanotechnology”) in my fiction, but there really need to be rules to set up expectations for what it does. Otherwise, it just becomes authorial hand-waving.

    October 14, 2017
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      She also missed a chance to build tension. Did Sofa and Mel catch her using magicK? They’re giving her strange looks. Do they know her terrible secret? Then Zaphod could be all relieved that they’re just dissing her again for being a dlut or a prude or both, because middle school.

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Yeah, and I’m frankly uncertain how Zade managed to do the spell without anyone catching on. She’d have to be really far from any light source and possibly on the other side of a hill or a vehicle. Open desert/beach area doesn’t lend itself to complete privacy, even in the dark.

        October 14, 2017
        |Reply
    • MydogsPA
      MydogsPA

      Piffle. “Magick” is used when the writer wants something to happen and she hasn’t figured out how to make the character do it.

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I don’t mind things like “magic” (or “mutant powers” or “nanotechnology”) in my fiction, but there really need to be rules to set up expectations for what it does. Otherwise, it just becomes authorial hand-waving.

      Stolen from the Blandbook for Chortles blog:
      I looked around one more time to make sure I wasn’t in sight of anyone. I rubbed my hands together and thought hard about the tent rising and assembling itself. I waved my hands in elliptical motions, replaying that image in my mind. In a few seconds, my tent had risen by itself and was sitting securely on its own.

      Think pleasant thoughts! Think pleasant thoughts!

      It’s a lame placeholder, which could’ve been developed into more, but wasn’t because we can’t have something interesting happen while Zade is still conscious. Your suggestions had more thought put into them. I suspect LS has never touched a tent in her life and didn’t bother researching it, or she knew describing it could be boring, but she never thought enough about the details to figure out how to make it more interesting. I’m pretty positive that’s how she handled everything except for the two magick acts.

      October 14, 2017
      |Reply
      • MydogsPA
        MydogsPA

        Yup, I think we’re saying the same thing . . .

        October 14, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          True! I was emphasizing the entertainment value over the practicality. LS comes up with plenty of methods, some of them unintentional, but she rarely considers how she can get the reader invested in her solution. That’s the problem with most of the book. 🙂

          October 14, 2017
          |Reply
      • small jar of fireflies
        small jar of fireflies

        This could easily become Comedy Magic, too. How many times have you pictured something very clearly, and then tried to draw it? All the details that are so clear in the head just fly away when it’s time to actually put them down — the act of trying to focus on one part of a mental image, then zoom back to a larger picture that’s exactly the same as it was, is excruciatingly difficult. You could indeed have a magic system where everyone sits and meditates carefully for days before making their vision a reality.

        Because if you just wing it, you could easily end up with an ideal tent magically floating above the treetops because your image was of a tent, but your mental image didn’t include anything around it. Or have a tent that you tried to get into, but discovered that you’d put it over uneven ground when you fell through the floor. Or you could find that you’d accidentally incorporated someone else’s tent into your vision, because your ideal tent was large. Or you’d pictured the wrong tent, and it tore itself apart trying to go up. Or you might casually do the minimum of picturing a tent, spend the whole night in a tent wondering why the floor was so strange, and come outside to find your friends staring at your upside-down tent.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          And considering her use of “slapstick” violence/injuries, that’s another glaringly missed opportunity, but Sarem doesn’t have a very good grasp on humor overall, so it’s probably for the best. For all we know, the tent set-up was actually meant as a joke and she was simply too lazy to develop it further. Then again, that might be giving her too much credit, since all of her subtlety is accidental.

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Amen (or “Blessed be”)! One of my favorite recurring themes in Harry Potter is Ron’s trouble with his malfunctioning wand.

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
      • RodeoBob
        RodeoBob

        I rubbed my hands together and thought hard about the tent rising and assembling itself… replaying that image in my mind.

        Really? Really?! So Z-funk had a mental picture of a tent “rising and being assembled”, after she… failed to figure out how to raise and assemble the tent on her own?

        I guess we can add “bootstrapping” to the list of concepts the author doesn’t understand.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense. I think LS was trying to imply that it was too dark and that Zade was for some inexplicable reason so far on the outskirts, away from everyone else and their lights, that it was giving her trouble. However, she could’ve given herself night vision, or if she was actually as out of sight as she’d have to be to not get caught with the wishy-washy wish option, then she could’ve created some extra magical hands, as someone else suggested. That whole bit needed to be expanded on and given some relevance.

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
      • I pointed this out on Blandbook, but I would like to take this opportunity to point out that her magic is literal handwaving.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Yup! If LS did have a ghost writer at any point, who was given very little direction with the whole thing, it could be a tongue-in-cheek jab at Zade… but that’s more credit than LS deserves.

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
        • RodeoBob
          RodeoBob

          I’ll admit it, that made me laugh out loud.

          October 16, 2017
          |Reply
      • Athena
        Athena

        “I waved my hands in elliptical motions…”

        What are these? Because I’m seeing an elliptical machine, so the outside observer does it look like she’s kung-fu fighting the tent into submission?

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Wax on! Wax off!

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
          • Athena
            Athena

            Mr. Miagi could totally turn putting up a tent into some cool move to kick a**!

            October 16, 2017
  21. Amy
    Amy

    This chapter reminds me of a quote I used back when I was a teenager,

    “You laugh because I’m different. I laugh because you’re all the same.”

    Cringey, right? But c’mon, I was a teenager, a kid. Usually my insults nowadays are of the “go f**k yourself” variety.

    But let’s face it, that quote is exactly what you expect Zade to say, right? Because nobody here talks like adults in their late twenties. Seriously, does anybody curse???? Lots of YA novels have cursing, let Zade curse!

    So I just looked up the ‘ugly girl’ song, and the only thing I seem to find is the ‘Barbie Girl’ parody written by Weird Al. Unless there’s another song Zade was referencing to, the fact she brought up a freakin’ Weird Al parody song to insult these grown women is just obnoxious. I would’ve laughed in Zade’s face had she said this to me.

    Even more, why the heck do these women care if Zade is dating anyone? My beef with Zade wouldn’t be her potential boyfriends, it would be the fact I worked my butt off to get to where I am, and suddenly this child from nowhere-ville USA suddenly gets the spotlight without trying?
    Even more, these women aren’t intimidating. Unless they plan to punch Zade in the face, their middle-school insults aren’t going to do a darn thing. You can tell these women aren’t the villain, they’re not going to pose any type of threat, so it makes this scene so pointless other to show off how “cool” Zade is.

    Lani has read manga before! In a lot of ballerina mangas, competing ballerinas would put shards of glass in their rivals pointe shoes to ruin their feet. C’mon Lani, make me angry at these women. Really show me how dark and twisted this book can be. But no… instead I get, “Sometimes I wished I could be the star in my own movie so at moments like that the song I was thinking of (in this case by the band 100 Monkeys) could start playing.”

    October 14, 2017
    |Reply
    • Fer
      Fer

      Is not that they care is more Zani trying to show how she is right and everybody else wrong, when she IS the real bitch, and that`s why she add that nowhere POV because otherwise the scene would look like 2 drunk women trying to (the horror) hang out with her for no other reason that have fun. Even go with the Mac thing a little childish isn`t wrong, they may be curious. The agressive one is her all the time, first in her head, and while you can be distant with people who you are not close, why be so harash to them?

      Because sarem hates women, especially those who have what she wants, and is way more easy blame the whole world rather than accept our mistakes … when you`re a teen and that`s the mental age of zany.

      October 15, 2017
      |Reply
    • Perlite
      Perlite

      Honestly, Lani’s gonna need a bit more than flirtatious, vaguely catty, and liking sex to get us to hate these popular girls, I mean, Las Vegas show stars. Seriously, not every interaction with other women has to play out like some high school drama.

      As for the “Ugly Girl” song, I’ll bet good money it’s another 100 Monkeys song. And if it is, it’ll probably be about a girl who is pretty but actually ugly on the inside, because as we’ve seen, subtlety is this author’s forte. I would’ve had a little more interest in Zade if she just went out and started playing that song while staring at them. At least she would’ve done something more interesting than make petty, middle-school insults.

      October 15, 2017
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        I would’ve had a little more interest in Zade if she just went out and started playing that song while staring at them. At least she would’ve done something more interesting than make petty, middle-school insults.

        This is the worst part about LS’s laziness! Jackson was right there the whole time and he could’ve brought his guitar, which Zade could’ve easily borrowed for her slam-down rhetoric. She was happy to borrow it when she played that appropriate song for Mac, right after Sofia was rushed to the hospital, yet Jackson is ignored during this whole petty exchange. He’s so shoe-horned in that the author doesn’t even use his inclusion to her advantage. For reasons that Lani Not-Sarem has stated on her blog, it would seem that some of Jackson’s parts were originally written for Charles. LS literally swapped their names in this chapter, while adding in a few more random romance cliches for Jackson. Also, his jab at the end has more bite for Sofia, if it’s actually Charles, but if he never stuck up for Zade in the screenplay version of the camping scene, then it was just a random inclusion to give us a reminder that Jackson exists. It’s infuriatingly lazy writing.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
    • River
      River

      Here you go. The lyrics for the song Zeeslutshamer was thinking about when she delivered her witty, scathing slam. Read them at your own peril.

      100 MONKEYS
      Ugly Girl
      1,2, 3,4
      She was young
      But she liked to act younger than she was
      She was dumb
      But she liked to act more dumb than she was
      For such a young, dumb impetious thing
      Says if she goes then she’ll go smilling
      And of course, she’ll leave a beautiful corpse

      The problem with you, the problem with this world (x3)
      It’s an ugly world and you’re, you’re an ugly girl

      Hey

      Give it, give it

      She wants to be Grace Kelly
      But she has no grace
      She’s always falling down on her pretty painted face
      Well men call her pretty
      Because she’s pretty funny
      She’s always after the millionaire’s money
      But she don’t care for anyone else but herself
      She don’t care for anyone else but herself

      The problem with you, the problem with this world
      It’s and ugly world and you’re an ugly girl (x2)
      The problem with you’s the problem with this world(x3)
      It’s an ugly world and you’re, you’re an ugly girl
      FUNKY!
      She’s the highbrow girl in the low cut top
      A society girl, she don’t know how to stop
      Well men call her pretty
      Because she is pretty fun
      She always makes sure to leave the top buttons undone
      You’re falling cuz you
      Are falling cuz you
      You’re falling cuz you
      You’re falling yes you
      Are falling cuz you
      Are falling yes you
      You’re falling (x3)
      She’s an ugly girl (x8)
      She’s a highbrow girl in a low cut top
      A society girl, she don’t know how to stop
      1, 2, 3, 4
      3, 4

      October 15, 2017
      |Reply
      • GS
        GS

        So wait… did Zadi just implicitly threaten to murder Mel and Sofia? Or am I reading this wrong? Because “beautiful corpse” is awfully specific.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Nah, that’s Mac’s schtick.

          It wouldn’t surprise me. Zade can get kinda violent, more so than Mac actually shows, but it won’t matter because of Looney Tunes physics!

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        so i just listened to it… and ive come to the conclusion im not a fan of 100 monkeys. not my thing.

        so she’s an ugly girl because she’s fun to be with and likes sex? that’s what the majority of the lyrics focus on. she’s an ugly girl cause she’s a slut.

        im saying this now. next book it’ll be revealed Zade is a virgin and will be considered “pure” because of it.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
      • Dorth Vader
        Dorth Vader

        Thanks for posting that, because all I could think of was the P!nk song St*pid Girls. Which would also be something I could see Xanadu thinking of except that P!nk is probably too mainstream.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
      • Wow, that makes the misogyny in this scene even worse.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
      • Andrea Cranford
        Andrea Cranford

        The worst, most tone-deaf part of this song!fic is that the lyrics could easily apply to Zani.
        1. Acts younger than she is (A 35-year-old wanting to play a 25-year-old in a book that’s supposed to be for teens.)
        2. Tried to play “dumb” when her little scam came to light.
        3. Only cares about money (she didn’t write this book for the “art.” She wanted the fame and the money.)
        4. Doesn’t care for anyone but herself (‘It’s not my fault Angie Thomas is black!’)
        IDK how “highbrow” she is, but if this song is about a shallow person who does whatever it takes to get ahead, then….

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Maybe that’s why she didn’t show the lyrics this time? There’s no telling how self-aware LS is since she’s a liar and a cheat. Or else Jackson Rathbone refused to let her publish them, haha.

          As for highbrow, I wouldn’t be surprised if Zade thinks that she is. Most of her quotes are literary and probably chosen for a sense of prestige. The closest she got to anything more pop culture was Dr. Seuss and even then I think someone pointed out that it wasn’t actually by him. Not to mention, she lived in a very nice house and she keeps mentioning relatively pricey brand names, whenever she uses any. Considering she had a car before she arrived in Las Vegas, her motorcycle as a status symbol at best, so even if it isn’t intellectual, it’s definitely for snobbery and general wish fulfillment.

          October 15, 2017
          |Reply
      • That is just horrible!

        October 17, 2017
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I found the song, it’s explicitly said to be by the 100 Monkeys. Link to lyrics are here, plus the site has a youtube of it in the bottom right corner. It’s kinda meh; reminds me of the Room in a weird way (it’s not that crazy, but that’s what I thought of.) Overall, not bad, but I’ve heard better. I prefer Girls by Marina & the Diamonds. It’s a song that’s similar, also applicable, except I prefer how it sounds and it’s somehow more feminist. lol

      I hadn’t actually been aware of that Weird Al parody. I love him, but after seeing a preview of those lyrics, I might pass on that one.

      Even more, why the heck do these women care if Zade is dating anyone? My beef with Zade wouldn’t be her potential boyfriends, it would be the fact I worked my butt off to get to where I am, and suddenly this child from nowhere-ville USA suddenly gets the spotlight without trying?

      I agree, but for Sofia to call Zade out on her oligarchy bullshit would require Zade to be in the wrong and we can’t have that!

      Even more, these women aren’t intimidating. Unless they plan to punch Zade in the face, their middle-school insults aren’t going to do a darn thing. You can tell these women aren’t the villain, they’re not going to pose any type of threat, so it makes this scene so pointless other to show off how “cool” Zade is.

      They’re also warning Zade that Mac is a douche bag. Well, if they’d mentioned Clara Faust, they would’ve, but since they didn’t really explain why Mac has such terrible logic, it didn’t work out. The funniest part is that later on Zade befriends Sofia, just so Zade can be the bigger person, but it falls flat because Zade is the only reason that they were at odds in the first place. (Stole some of her timeslot, stole her man, and almost got her killed plausibly.)

      October 15, 2017
      |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      It makes absolutely no sense for Sofia to not be pissed to hell and back at Charles for dumping her act for Zade’s. Now her not acting on it because she knows which side her bread is buttered on does make sense, so she takes it out on Zade instead. What we could have gotten from the POV shift is Sofia acknowledging Charles is really the one she’s pissed at.

      I just thought of this angle. If Sofia’s heard about Zade saying something bad was going to happen before the accident, then is the one to save her, and now she’s getting chummy with the guy who is in charge of safety, she might be fearing for her life. It wouldn’t be hard to jump to the conclusion that Zade made the accident happen to be a hero and save whoever fell off. And who’s to say she won’t do it again if she feels she isn’t getting enough attention? She has no proof though, and Charles is useless, so her only course of action at the moment is keeping Zade and Mac apart so Mac doesn’t get sidetracked and not notice Zade doing something.

      If this makes no sense, I plead sleep deprivation.

      October 16, 2017
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Now her not acting on it because she knows which side her bread is buttered on does make sense, so she takes it out on Zade instead.

        Oh god, Sofia is actually Hera and Charles is Zeus. lol

        What we could have gotten from the POV shift is Sofia acknowledging Charles is really the one she’s pissed at.

        Definitely. I think it’s telling that we never see Sofia’s POV again because focusing on her at all would’ve made her super sympathetic to the reader, especially given the so-called twist at the end. At least she only gets shoved to the side, instead of written out in a nasty way. I think she was just the ritual sacrifice for Zade’s career, to get back at the girls who stole all the good parts, but Sarem had some empathy for Sofia after the fall since Zade became the one who actually cheated and stole all the good parts (and more or less took Charles out of her life.)

        If this makes no sense, I plead sleep deprivation.

        No, that made perfect sense! I always thought Sarem was an idiot for writing the accident so suspiciously. Mac had good reason to be skeptical, but he shouldn’t have brushed Zade off without becoming worried about the obvious implications. I’m sure it was just the lazy ass writer tipping her hand while orchestrating the scenario, but from Sofia’s perspective, it definitely looks like Zade is setting her up and using her to get attention and admiration, and she doesn’t have anyone to turn to because Zade has evil magick to mask her nefarious crimes. Sofia’s only real option is to leave, which hopefully she does in Book 2.

        October 16, 2017
        |Reply
        • Athena
          Athena

          Well, boinking Charlie aside, she does have an act good enough to get her in the show. I don’t think Charlie’s the type to put a bad act in just for sex. So she could probably easily get in another theater. And a personal headcanon of mine is she gets a record deal the night of the big act, so she honestly couldn’t care less that Charlie disappeared into the boonies and is now marrying an old ex. She’s moving on to bigger and better.

          But, seeing as how Sofia is the avatar for every mean girl Lani’s ever wanted to one up, she’ll probably stick around. Her trying to move on after Charlie will be seen as desperate and slutty, and I bet you someone will call her some version of “sloppy seconds”. Not Zade of course, she’s too much the bigger person for that, but someone will allude it and Zade will probably not defend Sofia at all when it happens. And this will all be written as Sofia’s due because she was mean to Zade that one time.

          October 16, 2017
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Well, boinking Charlie aside, she does have an act good enough to get her in the show. I don’t think Charlie’s the type to put a bad act in just for sex. So she could probably easily get in another theater. And a personal headcanon of mine is she gets a record deal the night of the big act, so she honestly couldn’t care less that Charlie disappeared into the boonies and is now marrying an old ex. She’s moving on to bigger and better.

            I like your way of thinking. Sofia would definitely have to be talented to get signed on, especially if Charles has a lot of turnaround on the dating scene before Zade arrives. Sofia probably never considered their relationship as anything too terribly serious, I imagine she has realistic expectations, but I’m sure even in those circumstances dating a known cheater/serial dater is taxing. And if Zade noticed her singing ability, then that means Sofia is definitely multi-talented. I second your headcanon about that record deal, and I’d be willing to bet she started looking around for better options as soon as she saw the writing on the wall, which would’ve been after she left the hospital, if not shortly after the camping trip. None of the tech took her complaints seriously and Zade was an absolute primadonna. Maybe Sofia was already looking for a change and Zade just pushed her initiative through the roof.

            But, seeing as how Sofia is the avatar for every mean girl Lani’s ever wanted to one up, she’ll probably stick around.

            Ironically, I doubt that. Sarem wants to be lazy, and it’s so much easier if Sofia disappears without a trace; keeping her around would take effort unless Sofia simply became background noise, without another mention of her ever dating Charles. LS might actually do the record deal or something similar, or completely forget all about her, that way Zade can win at magick and boyfriends forever.

            Her trying to move on after Charlie will be seen as desperate and slutty, and I bet you someone will call her some version of “sloppy seconds”. Not Zade of course, she’s too much the bigger person for that, but someone will allude it and Zade will probably not defend Sofia at all when it happens. And this will all be written as Sofia’s due because she was mean to Zade that one time.

            Ewww, I hope not. That just sounds so gross. Poor Sofia. She just wanted the red carpet when she was offered it. No one was at fault for that, and the only reason sex was probably bad is because Charles didn’t love her and he’s basically a pick-up artist.

            October 16, 2017
  22. I just love the way she doesn’t source her ‘favourite quotes’, even when it’s easy and convenient to do so, but will shoe-horn in any reference to her favourite music, even if the ‘plot’ has to screech to a halt to do so.

    Wait, no, love is the wrong word. Loathe. That’s it. I loathe the way she does that.

    October 15, 2017
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Maybe they didn’t have Google in Hooterville.

      October 15, 2017
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      How many times has she mentioned 100 monkeys so far? This is twice in a single chapter. I wonder if lani will actually get the rights to play their music.

      even more, i think i read somewhere (it’s been a while, so im unable to find the source) that the real Jackson Rathborn is not happy he’s been forced into this fanfiction. Does anybody remember reading something like that or did i misinterpret something?

      October 15, 2017
      |Reply
      • He retweeted something by another band LS managed called Blues Traveler saying that she was delusional.

        October 15, 2017
        |Reply
  23. Dove
    Dove

    After my reply to the song discussion up above, I realized a lot of songs by Marina & the Diamonds (love that band) could be applied as a rebuttal to Zade and her Ugly Girls song.

    Primadonna Girl>/a>
    Numb
    Are You Satisfied?
    How to Be a Heartbreaker

    Primadonna Girl is the most toe-tapping and perfect to my mind, but Numb always leaves me wistful by the end. It feels so beautiful and operatic, I guess. Also, for the Numb rebuttal to be perfect, Sofia and Mel would have to notice how Zade gawks at the night sky.

    Incidentally, Sarem loves music about as much as she loves quotes, and while multiple repetitions are bad for most other forms of communication, it’s counterintuitively great for songs according to Vox. Something about that is inherently seen as musical. Alas, she never does a fade out, which will be apparent when Jenny gets to that preview chapter for Book 2. (And regardless, Sarem still fails because a novel isn’t a poem or a song, and everything she does is due to lazy editing.)

    October 15, 2017
    |Reply
  24. Miimers
    Miimers

    “But have you ever bothered to see what you look like on the inside? There’s a song called ‘Ugly Girl’ that I swear is about both of you.”

    Worst. Comeback. Ever.

    October 17, 2017
    |Reply
  25. CI-B
    CI-B

    I’m going to pull something rolling my eyes at this drivel! It’s all so, SO bad. Bless you for slogging through it for our entertainment, Jenny.

    October 20, 2017
    |Reply
  26. Cody Cromarty
    Cody Cromarty

    The italics are even more maddening with those POV shifts because sometimes Lani messes up and forgets to italicize the first few words of it. I think her method of italicizing was “Highlight section, Ctrl+I” and she didn’t check to see if she had highlighted the entire passage.

    I think the POV shifts are because she admitted in interviews that the book started as a screenplay, which she then turned into a book as part of her Rube Goldberg plot to become a movie star. The italicized sections are likely scenes that took place away from Zade that she couldn’t bear to throw out because she was writing a first person novel.

    November 2, 2017
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