Another week, another installment of “Lani Sarem shows her entire ass.” In her now infamous Facebook thread, she added further proof of her racism to the mix, asking to send a friend request to a writer who insisted The Hate U Give was only defended by readers because it contains hatred of white people (Thanks to Cheryl Z for bringing attention to that in the comments). It’s only a matter of time before Sarem openly attributes her failures to reverse racism.
Some people have noticed that Sarem has copy/pasted the same question in several different Facebook writing groups. It’s pretty clear that she’s not doing it just to drum up vocal support; nearly every time she tells her sob story about nobody listening to her and everyone being against her, some indie author with a bug up their ass about how persecuted they’ve been by the “gatekeepers” swears they’ll buy a copy of her book. Her new marketing plan is at least less convoluted than the original one.
And away we go.
Zanielle tells us that we’ve time jumped to a few weeks later. So now she’s been in Vegas for what? A few months? And we’ve still not yet gotten to any sort of magical plot. Instead, we go to McMullan’s with her and the cast and crew.
I was still figuring out the whole “Mac and Jackson” situation, which each of them seemed to dance around while I hung out with the other.
Again, this is “a few weeks later.” And we already know that she’s been spending significant time with both them. So, how long, exactly, does it take? And how is Levi not doing exactly the thing the evil bitch who broke Mac’s heart did? Is the only difference that they’re not boning?
That said, I could tell they were both starting to get antsy and I knew that sooner rather than later they would want some kind of answers.
I feel like we should make a betting pool over when this is going to actually happen. My bet is on “not in this book.”
The whole situation was something that we didn’t really display at work, although it was obvious that a few people from work had an idea (I knew Tad knew something), but we had kept it away from most people at work and I liked it that way. Overall, keeping it to ourselves kept our work environment drama free. At work, Mac and Jackson were just colleagues to me, and they both seemed fine together at work as well.
Wait, are you talking about work? Work, like your job where you work? I feel like you could have made it clearer that you’re talking about stuff that happens at work. Maybe you should have been more specific that this was about work and mentioned work more in that paragraph about the stuff happening at work.
Also, just so you’re aware, Ziplock, there’s no “we” in that sentence. Jackson and Mac are talking about it constantly, and you were the subject of an entire conversation at work. Basically, you keep it away from work and they just run their mouths like gossipy cartoon animals in a Disney movie. Zephyr wonders if all this non-fighting over her will ruin Jackson and Mac’s friendship, but she once again states that she still doesn’t know how to handle the situation because she’s so torn between the two of them.
Jackson and I agreed on almost anything that came up and everything seemed easy with him. If I had written on a piece of paper all the things I wanted in a guy, well, he would have fit it to a T, except my ideal guy would also have powers.”
That errant quotation mark was present in the text, that’s not my ham fingers clogging things up.
All of this would be far more compelling evidence in Jackson’s favor if we’d ever seen any meaningful interaction between the two of them. All we ever hear about, though, is that they talked off-screen and oh, by the way, his eyes seem to sparkle. So…Jackson is clearly mahgjikkahhhl, right? That’s going to be the big twist or something?
I had learned from my mom that it’s easier when you are both magick–it’s actually deeply frowned upon or somone like me to end up with a mortal.
Another thing that’s “deeply frowned upon” is introducing brand new conflict and pretending it’s been there the whole time. Were we all just collectively in the bathroom during the other scenes where Zune was hemming and hawing over these dudes because of this highly problematic “breed with your own kind” edict? Is that why we missed it? Is that why something that should be a pretty major part of the romantic conflic hasn’t been brought up until now?
It’s practically a law for us to not be with our own kind. My mom instantly became an outcast for having me with a mortal. She never cared, though, because had always been a rebel, and I guess I didn’t really care either.
If it’s “practically a law for us to not be with our own kind,” that means you’re expected to not be with your own kind. What you meant was, “It’s practically a law for us to be with our own kind,” but you don’t know how words work. And I’m still unsure what Sarem means by use of the word “mortal.” The opposite of “mortal” is not “magjikhal,” it’s “immortal.” So, just like with Apolonia, we’re reading a book where the heroine may or may not be incapable of dying. As I stated numerous times during those recaps, you cannot create a sense of danger for an immortal character by threatening them with mortal consequences, so you need to be real fucking clear in your character building as to whether or not they’re a fucking immortal.
I guess the issue is when you “mix” you don’t know if your chilldren will be mortal or “gifted.”
Again, not the opposite of “mortal.”
Since I could do magic, mom’s “excommunication” was lifted and eventually people in our world forgot and stopped caring.
Tip: If you want to write about a secretive underground world full of majikkk and prohibition against mixing the races, maybe you should mention that any of it exists before you get halfway through your book.
The worry is that if too many of us pair up with mortals, and have mortal children, then we will stop existing. I cared about this on some level but that kind of problem was something I could fret about later.
No! It really isn’t! It’s something you should have been fretting about this whole time! Then there would have been actual conflict in your love story when now there is none!
Mac, was also a mortal and we clearly had our differences–but so much passion had sparked between us.
You might have wanted to find a way to work that into the narrative somehow. Obviously, the conversations about Aimee Mann and the long scenes of looking at each other while not trying to look at each other are the number one priority, but maybe somewhere you could have squeezed in a little more “passion” if you’re going to describe it as, you know. “Much.”
I have always hated making tough decisions, but usually the tarot was far more helpful than it had been so far, considering that it hadn’t given me a clear-cut winner no matter how I asked it.
First of all, asking the same question over and over again is probably not going to result in greater clarity. Especially not greater clarity than the extremely specific spread we saw earlier in the book. At this point, you’re just waiting to turn over a card that’s all text saying, “PICK THIS GUY.”
My mom’s favorite band from the 1960s was the Monkees–who also had their own TV show, which she also loved.
“You know what Peter Tork says of decisions,” she would tell me. “To allow the unknown to occur, and to occur requires clarity. For where there is clarity, there is no choice. And where there is choice, there is misery.”
Peter Tork doesn’t say that. The Indian dude in the sauna in Head says that.
In other words, he probably had to decide between two girls.
No, that is definitely not the context. It’s one thing to use dated pop culture references in your YA book. It’s another entirely to use dated pop culture references, get them wrong, and have no idea what the context is. Peter Tork (and the rest of The Monkees) are in Head, but it’s not an extension of the show. It’s existential counter-culture satire lampooning the very idea of The Monkees. It has nothing to do with a love triangle.
I laughed at the thought of “WWPTD–What would Peter Tork Do?”
He’d probably understand how capitalization works in acronyms, but whatever.
So, after a paragraph about Zanilla Lice changing her clothes and deciding whether or not to ride to the bar with Jackson, she decides to take her bike.
I wasn’t sure how it would look for us to show up at the same time, but Jackson actually didn’t seem to care who knew about whatever was going on between us and the little cool he did play, was only because he knew it was what I wanted.
And yet you just told us that all three of you were keeping it secret. But this wouldn’t be the first time you changed your story in the actual middle of the story.
Jackson goes off to talk to his band, and there’s a moment of romantically charged eye contact between Lay Z and Mac.
I wanted to go over and talk to him but figured I would stay away for a bit, though I noticed he was looking my way–a lot.
I mean, if she had just gone over and said hello to him, a guy couldn’t come up to her and start hitting on her, setting up the big almost-fight in this chapter:
He was obviously hitting on me, even though I was not even remotely interested–not just because I already had one too many prospects, but also because I am not the “get picked up at a bar” kind of girl.
Not Like Other Girls™
He was funny and it was kind of fun to have him fawning all over me and, honestly, it was better talking to him than standing by myself awkwardly.
Or, you could have gone to talk to Mac. Like an adult in a relationship with another adult.
I think that’s a huge problem with this book. None of the adults act like adults. If I were in this situation, I would think to myself, “Don’t avoid him, because people might think you’re difficult to work with and it would be better if they just suspected something was going on.” And for their parts, my coworkers might not immediately assume I want to fuck everybody I see.
Of course, Mac sees Livia talking to the guy and gets upset. He comes over and:
“Mac.” He introduced himself with a quick smile and a firm handshake.
The guy shook Mac’s hand, but cocked his head to the side and gave him a brazen look.
Brazen? Is he trying to pick up Mac?
Dude asks if Mac is Zippy’s boyfriend.
Mac looked at me for a second as if to ask me what he should say. I stayed silent. He was gonna have to figure this one out on his own.
This is exactly what’s wrong with the whole thing. You’re in a relationship together. Even though it’s casual, you need to talk about how it works.
Mac admits he’s just a coworker, then puts himself between Zani and the guy–whose name is Justin–and says she should come do shots with the rest of the group.
I normally would have wanted to be stubborn in a situation like that and would have said no just to spite him. This time there was something his face, though, and the look in his eye said I shouldn’t be stubborn. I did give him a look that said I wasn’t thrilled before answering him, “Oh. Um, sure. Shots. Cool.” I nodded.
I’m actually with Zanta Laus on this one. Mac doesn’t want to define their relationship, but he comes charging over and doesn’t want her to talk to this guy? That’s not how it works, champ.
This is also one of the very few places in this book where someone’s characterization is consistent with what the author is telling us it is; Mac is behaving this way due to the jealousy we’ve already seen him display.
So, obviously, this can’t be a thing where Zoella just goes off and she and Mac talk about how he can’t rush in and stop her from talking to people. That would be a productive conversation that might further their romantic tension. Instead:
I had started to walk away when Justin grabbed my arm and started to pul me back roughly. Mack instantly grabbed Justin’s arm and forced him to let it go. It would have been obvious to anyone who cared to look that Justin had been drinking a little too much.
“Owww! You jerk face! What’s your problem, man?”
I’m sorry, did this chick write a bar fight sparked by the words…
you jerk face?
Because the interaction had gotten loud, some of the crew had walked closer to us. Half looked like they wanted to see what was going on, and half were ready to jump in if they neeed to. At the same time, a couple of guys who seemed to be Justin’s friends had walked over to back him up.
“Besides you? Nothing,” Mac said sourly.
This is going to be the most devastating confrontation the fourth grade has ever seen.
“I’m not the problem. You are,” Justin said as he swayed a little and glared deep into Mac’s eyes.
Why does Mac have more sexual tension with this dude than with Zephora?
Of course, Lade is quick to tell us that she’s not into being fought over. If only there were someone around who was magjikhal who could do something to make the fight–caused or exacerbated by her own sexy powers of sexiness–not happen! Alas, Zod’s mahgjicks only work if the author remembers them.
“Zade said goodbye. I suggest you do the same,” Mac warned.
“What are you going to do about it?” Justin said belligerently.
Justin asked belligerently, but whatever. My biggest issue here is that neither of these guys is actually going to throw a punch or anything. They just keep standing around having every pre-fist fight verbal interaction ever portrayed in any book, film, and television show for all time.
Larva tries to pull Mac away from the impending fight that will never arrive, but she’s powerless, having only all of her boundless powers. So, Tad has to intervene on her behalf.
Which means now there are three dudes involved in this fight.
“Look, man,” Tad said, “I think you have had a little too much to drink, and I am sure that in this state you are positive that you can bend steel, but let me assure you that the sober vesion of you would think differently. And while I’m sure your friends are very tough, there are about twenty or so guys in here that work for this guy.” He gestured toward Mac, then continued, “He’s our boss and we like him–and we will make sure you never touch him. So, how about you re-think what you’re about to do?”
Sorry, now there are twenty-three dudes involved in this fight.
Chris, one of the show’s electrician’s, went straight up to the front to show there really were several of them.
Chris is either showing that there are several electricians or he’s showing them several unnamed things that belong to the show’s electrician. The first interpretation, however, requires you to ignore the misplaced possessive apostrophe.
Justin’s friends tell him to back off and leave:
“I know that I don’t want to get into a fight for you over a girl who’s obviously interested in someone else. Let’s go. Now.” Justin’s friend nodded towards Mac when he said the part about me being interested in someone else.
Which is fucking hilarious because literally, nothing about this situation suggested that Livonia was more interested in Mac. From an outsider’s perspective, she was flirting with Justin and then Mac came up and aggressively tried to move her away from the situation. At no point in the interaction did it seem like she was more into Mac than Justin, even in her own head, where she was annoyed with him.
So, the friends take Justin away and of course, at the last minute he turns and lunges for Mac, who steps aside.
I just stood there wide-eyed and watched as Justin crashed into a metal beam that spanned from floor to ceiling in the main part of the bar. Mac had just happened to be standing in front of the beam so it worked out in Mac’s favor when he sidestepped his would-be attacker. It was pretty impressive how hard Justin hit the metal pole, head on, like a freight train that hit the side of a mountain. His head and body went flying backwards–hard–as he crashed then hit the ground.
Hoo boy, there’s a lot here. Let’s start with the heretofore unmentioned metal support in the interior of the bar that has never been described definitively. Is it a beam, or a pole? A pole is round. A beam is rectangular or h-shaped. Now, someone is going to come in here and be like, “As an architect, I can confirm that sometimes poles are square,” or something, but I’m sticking to my guns on this from an authorial standpoint. If someone says “beam” a reader thinks squarish. If someone says “pole” a reader thinks roundish. They are different shades of the same concept and this author has used a touch too much Phthalo Beam on her happy little canvas.
All right, next on the list is the freight train hitting the side of a mountain. This…does not happen, Lani. A freight train’s route is very, very much planned in advance. If a freight train hits a mountain, it is because Wile E. Coyote has painted a fake tunnel on the side of it and quickly redirected the track, and even then it is incredibly unlikely that the collision will occur, owing to the notoriously poor quality of Acme products. I think what you were thinking of was a plane hitting a mountain or a freight train hitting something else.
As for Justin’s head and body flying backward…why not just, “he flew backwards,” as that sentence doesn’t imply that his head and body are moving independently from each other anyway?
Moving on to “flying backwards–hard”, it’s not the flying that’s hard. It’s the collision, either with the pole or with the ground.
You know who would have caught this stuff?
You know what Sarem obviously lied about?
Having three of them.
We all stood there for a few moments, basically wondering if he had knocked himself out. He finally opened his eyes and slowly sat up. Mac could be very cocky when he wanted to be and leaned down towards Justin before he urged, “Friend, I think you should leave now.”
Every male character in this book is “cocky,” Lazarus. It’s the only way your author knows how to portray men.
I thought about the big knot he was going to have on his head the next day.
(That excerpted line is just a bookmark for something coming up. Keep it in your back pocket).
“Well, that would have been fun,” Tad said sarcastically. “Okay, kids, back to what you were doing. Turns out there will be no fight at recess after all.” He laughed.
Him laughing doesn’t actually make it funny.
It was silent for a couple more moments before everyone began to resume their conversations and the laughter picked back up. Mac and I just kind of stood there looking at each other for what felt like hours but was in reality was only about ten seconds or so.
That’s a super accurate description of reading this book. It feels like hours but is in reality is only about ten seconds or so.
He looked like he was trying to read me, and how I was reacting to what happened. I stood there for a moment looking back at him with a blank stare, mainly considering the knot Justin would have on his head in the morning, before walking away to where a couple of the girls had returned to talking.
Why does Justin’s head injury merit two separate mentions? Also, this is the part of the scene where Zenobia Lome should tell Mac that she doesn’t appreciate what he just did and he needs to get his shit together and decide what they’re going to be or something. But, as I have mentioned previously if they talk to each other, the flimsy soap bubble of “tension” pops.
Mac hung back with Tad and I purposely stayed within earshot so I could still hear what they were saying over the bar noise. The girls were talking about a new store in the Forum Shops that they all were “super into,” but that’s all I could tell you about their discussion, because I had completely tuned them out so I could hear Mac and Tad’s conversation.
Translation: “I’m rude.”
“That guy looked crazy and was pretty big. The only reason he didn’t crush you was because he was too drunk. Are you and Zade even actually dating?” Though one of the other girls could have heard if they weren’t so engulfed in their conversation about the mall, I was pretty sure I was the only one who actually overheard their conversation and I perked my ears to hear Mac’s response.
Leaving aside the fact that Lassie here is a literal Collie with perking ears and all, just let that sentence about the girls not overhearing wash over you in a glorious tidal wave of self-centered misogyny. How dare those shallow bitches talk about things that interest them rather than eavesdrop on Zapp Lannigan’s relationship drama! Ugh. Women be shoppin’, am I right?
Meanwhile, Tad cuts Mac’s bullshit excuses right the fuck off with the only words of sense anyone has ever spoken in this entire book so far:
“[…]If you’re not serious enough to say you’re dating, then Zade can talk to whomever she wants. We’re not fifteen. That’s high school bullshit.”
Never in the history of any book I’ve ever read has a character so clearly screamed that he has become self-aware of the absurdity of the narrative he’s trapped in.
I had never really seen Tad mad like that. I wondered why he was taking Mac’s actions so personally–more personally than I was, even.
Because he knows now that he’s operating within a reality that bears no resemblance to the world he should know and his soul is screaming.
Jackson goes over to talk to Mac, as well, because no chapter would be complete without Sarem reminding us that two boys are fighting over her avatar. For understandable reasons, the last person Mac wants to talk to is Jackson, but it happens.
“I’m sure Zade appreciated you defending her honor,” Jackson interrupted, it was obvious Jackson wanted to say whatever it was he had to say and didn’t care if Mac wanted to hear him or not.
It’s obvious that Sarem wants to use run-on sentences and doesn’t care if a period is required instead of a comma or not.
Jackson ignored Mac’s statement and continued to talk, “I just think that Zade’s a big girl and she can handle herself.”
You know who should be saying this to Mac? Larth Zader. This is a conversation that we should be seeing between the two of them to build up literally any conflict at all that doesn’t hinge on Ziffy’s indecisiveness.
I wasn’t sure why Jackson had made such a huge point to come and say what he had to Mac, and was not sure what he had accomplished. Must have had something to do with me and the fact I was basically seeing both of them, but I didn’t get what Jackson gained out of saying that to him.
Are you fucking serious? Are we really trying to make some sort of dramatic intrigue out of the fact that the heroine can’t tell if a conversation about her had something to do with her? Is that really the level of ham-fisted terrible writing that we’ve reached? And the book is only half finished, so there’s no way we won’t sink lower, but I cannot fathom how we ever could. I have read some incredibly thick heroines before who miss the point time and again for the convenience of the loose narrative but HOLY SHIT. She just shot past Anastasiabella Rose Steele-Grey-Swann on the oblivious scale.
Aside from the girls I was standing with, I no longer had conversations to listen to.
And listening to the “girls” is clearly out of the question.
Instead of paying attention to the girls I had zoned out in my own thoughts about everything an still wasn’t paying any mind to them or the conversation.
This is the second time Sarem has made it a point to tell the reader that her avatar is intentionally ignoring the women around her. I’m sorry, I know you’re supposed to separate the art from the artist, but this is so clearly the author’s insistence that she, herself, personally, would never, not in a million years, ever want to have any casual, positive interaction with another woman. This is absolutely Lani Sarem’s statement that she does not like women and she is the only woman who isn’t a silly, vapid bitch.
Also, Kindle search says that the word “conversation” is only used 64 times in the entire book, but that’s impossible as it was used at least four hundred times in this scene alone.
The women–I’m sorry, the girls because this is middle school–notice that Luella ZeVille isn’t paying attention.
“Oh! Sorry, I must have zoned out. What was it?”
“What’s your favorite clothing store?” she asked slowly and purposely, putting emphasis on the word store.
You needed to put emphasis on looking up the word “purposefully,” because that’s what you meant.
I pursed my lips together as I tried to think of any store, but I just wasn’t good at this girl-bonding thing.
There have been two scenes in which Zed Leppelin has gone to the mall for extensive shopping sprees. But she can’t remember names of stores and she doesn’t really get the whole talking about shopping thing. Which is all that women–sorry, girls–ever do.
She pulls a name out of her ass by remembering that she’s wearing a Betsey Johnson dress.
“I love her, but she doesn’t have stores anymore, you can only buy her stuff online now, which I hate cause I like to try things on first,” Nora, a tall, skinny blonde who was a dancer in the show said very passionately, as if we were talking about world peace or something.
This entire book has been solely about how many guys want to date Labia, how colorful her hair is, how everyone thinks she’s pretty, how girls are always jealous, and again two shopping scenes, but talking about a pretty common thing to talk about somehow makes the other women boring and horrible and nothing at all like her, who has interests and pursuits so far above basically anything feminine at all.
The weirdest part about this scene is that we’ve been explicitly told that woman should not like Zarbra. Yet here are some women making an effort to be kind to her and she’s like, “Ugh, they’re so beneath me.” Why doesn’t she suspect they might have magic? Why isn’t she relieved and grateful that they’re not attacking her at the lemonade stand?
In the mall.
Where she always fucking is.
I needed to get out of the bar and clear my head; I really needed to figure out who and what I wanted.
Yet your author had an entire chapter to do that and chose instead to make men fight over you, give you a chance to express her hatred of women, and not further either the magical plot or the relationship in any meaningful way.
Making excuses of an oncoming migraine, I excused myself from the girls’ conversation so that I could leave before I started banging my head against the table.
Jesus Christ, Lani Sarem. Me fucking too.