You’d think this would be the chapter where they watch a Bond movie, but alas, it is the chapter where my “inspired by” hackles first raise.
Let’s get into the recap and I’ll expand upon that.
At the beginning of chapter eight, Grace is back in her room, sleepless, just waiting for Macy to wake up so Grace can tell her what went on in the night.
The nausea hits me as I’m tiptoeing across the room, and I barely make it back to my bed with a soft groan.
Macy must have heard me because she tells me, “I promise the altitude sickness won’t last forever.”
“It’s not just the altitude sickness. It’s everything.”
“I bet,” is all she says, and the silence stretches between us. I’m pretty sure it’s because she’s giving me the space to sort through my thoughts and decide if I want to share any.
Can you imagine this exchange in Beautiful Disaster or A Court of Thorns and Roses? It would be like, I’m pretty sure it’s because she doesn’t care and all she cares about is pink stuff that makes me sick to my stomach because I’m not like other girls and also Macy is a whore and I’m perfect and a virgin.
Honestly, I can’t tell if the reason I’m enjoying this book more than the others is that it meets a bonkers low bar compared to other titles? Or is it genuinely this enjoyable?
“It’s just… Alaska’s like a foreign planet, you know? Like everything about this place is so different than home that it’s hard to get used to it.” Normally I don’t dump my stuff on people I don’t know really well—it’s easier to just keep everything inside—but Macy is the closest friend I have here. And there’s a part of me that feels like I’ll explode if I don’t talk to someone.
Macy tells Grace to give it more than twelve hours, let the altitude sickness clear up, and see if she can’t adapt to a new routine. The place is weird to Macy at times, and she’s live there her entire life. Then Grace lets it slip that she’s been up in the night.
“I know it’s a pretty big school, but do you know two guys named Marc and Quinn?” I ask.
“That depends. Does one of them have a septum piercing?”
This suggests there may be four guys named Marc and Quinn who hang out in groups of two but only one of those groups has a pierced Marc or Quinn (I can’t remember who had the piercing, I’m just getting old, okay?)
Macy starts to relate a funny anecdote about them when she realizes that Grace doesn’t find them quite as hilarious as Macy does.
“Maybe they were just fooling around, but…I’m pretty sure they tried to kill me tonight. Or at least scare me to death.”
“They tried to what?” she squawks, nearly dropping the bottle of water she had gotten out of the fridge for me. “Tell me what happened right now. And don’t leave anything out.”
Again, look at this totally normal reaction. Instead of following the paranormal YA handbook, Macy is concerned. She doesn’t just brush it off like, boys will be boys, lol they must like you, or yeah, they’re dicks but they’re dreamy dicks. This means Grace can tell Macy all about what happened–with one caveat. She leaves Jaxon out of the story.
Plus, I’d sort of silently agreed to keep something about the interaction a secret, although admittedly now, back in my room, I wonder if I’d imagined that silent exchange or not.
Grace explains how she escaped:
“Someone heard the fight and came to investigate. Once the boys realized there was a witness, they chilled out pretty quickly.”
“I bet they did, the jerks. The last thing they’d want is to be reported to my dad. But they should have thought of that before they put their hands on you. I swear, I’m going to murder them myself.”
I hate to keep comparing this to all the substandard YA tropes out there but can we take a moment to appreciate that Macy believes Grace without hesitation and revises her opinion of the two boys she earlier described as being “good guys” and “funny” based on how they treated Grace. Like, is this really happening?
“What were they thinking? They don’t even know you, so why do this?” She gets up, starts pacing. “You totally could have gotten hypothermia if they’d left you outside for too long, let alone what could have happened if they’d kept you out there more than ten minutes. You seriously could have died. Which makes no sense. They’re always a little wild, super high energy. But I’ve never seen them be malicious before.”
I don’t think a life-long Alaskan would immediately think, “you’d die in ten minutes” when it’s ten degrees, but those complaints are from the last chapter.
“The whole thing doesn’t make sense. I’m beginning to think they were high or something, because there’s no other explanation as to why they would have been outside in only jeans and T-shirts. I mean, how did they avoid getting hypothermia?”
“I don’t know,” Macy says. But she looks uncomfortable, like maybe she knows for a fact that they do drugs.
Or that they’re vampires or werewolves or ghosts or whatever.
Macy says her dad will take care of it, but Grace is kind of like, ehhhh don’t really want to be a tattle-tale on day two of being here. Then she thinks, hey, what if they bullied someone else like that?
Macy makes a random mention of a party they’re going to and how Grace is going to need make-up for that, and we get a little hint of Not Like Other Girls™ on the wind:
I’m not sure what amuses me more, the way Macy just casually drops in the fact that she expects me to attend a party with her today or the fact that she actually expects me to wear makeup to it, when mascara and a couple of tubes of lip gloss are pretty much all I own.
Considering she had a full face of makeup on yesterday when she was riding a snowmobile through the Alaskan wilderness, I can only imagine what her party look will be.
Hang on, now. Put that away, Grace. Don’t ruin this good thing we’ve got going.
Surprise bomb number two:
“It’s a welcome to Katmere Academy party—for you.”
“What?” I sit up so fast that my head starts to throb all over again. “A welcome party? For me? Are you serious?”
“Well, to be fair, the school hosts a kind of high tea one afternoon a month to promote student unity. We just decided to make today’s tea a little more festive in your honor.”
Who is “we” here? I assume it’s Uncle Doesn’t-Understand-Teens.
Macy promises Grace that not all the students at the school are jerk-offs.
“But I can cancel if you want. Tell everybody that your altitude sickness is too bad. Which, at the rate you’re going, might not even be a lie.”
I feel like every time I excerpt something from this book, it’s to marvel in how not fucking awful it is. Which is a nice change of pace, but probably not all that interesting to read. But you know what? Not every book we do here is gonna be an infuriating gem.
Grace says that unless she’s actively vomiting, she’ll go to the high tea.
I’ve got to face these prep school kids en masse sooner or later. Might as well get it over with today when they’re all under adult supervision and presumably on their best behavior. So much less chance of me being tossed into the snow or out a window that way… I shiver. Too soon for that joke.
My issue with “OMG HYPOTHERMIA” rears its ugly head again. Tossed into the snow or out a window. Both sound bad, right? But one is objectively worse and more dangerous compared to the other. So why was “tossed out a window” not the danger Grace was put in, in the first place?
I just want some raised stakes to balance out what I’m not wholly optimistic won’t become some kind of weird damsel-falls-for-abusive-anti-hero dynamic.
I’ve been hurt too many times before.
Macy keeps pushing water on Grace, warning her:
“[…] Altitude sickness requires lots and lots of hydration. I mean, if you don’t want to get pulmonary or cerebral edema, which, you know, could kill you almost as fast as hypothermia.”
Look at Macy, with the vague and kinda wrong but still pretty right medical advice! But it leads me back to the nits I’ve been picking about the location (and probability) of this school. The HAPE and HACE advice sounds like it’s based on climbing experience; those are conditions that generally happen above 8,000 feet, HACE usually doesn’t set in below 12,000 feet, and base camp to climb the largest peak in the Denali range is at 7,200 feet. I know we’ve been told that the school is built “halfway around the mountain” (which, if we’re talking about the main peak would make the school around thirty miles long) but Denali is a range, and no mountain so far has been specified. It would stretch the limit of my disbelief for the sake of the story to think that there was a thirty-mile long school built 8,000 feet above sea level and there’s no online trace of its existence. I also stretches the limit of my disbelief that any boarding school, no matter the size, would have been built 12,000 feet above sea level. The builders would have to be world-class athletes in top condition to survive working on it.
Believe me. I would much rather bitch about these things in a book than scream to the rooftops about abusive male main characters, though, so I can’t even criticize this too harshly.
It just, idk. It seems like something that, were I editing the book, this would stick out to me.
There’s another mention of Macy’s mysterious boyfriend:
“Has anyone ever told you you’re a lot tougher than you look?”
“My boyfriend. But I think he secretly likes it.”
We haven’t gotten a name for the boyfriend yet. This seems odd, considering Macy overshared everything else. What’s up with the boyfriend?
Grace asks Macy if there’s any chance of Netflix on this mountain, and then.
So, let me preface this by reminding yous all about Liz Pelletier’s other YA triumph, written by the cunt who doesn’t get named here because she’s already gotten enough publicity and mileage out of me back at the start of her patchworked, borrowed “career.” A little thing called the “Lux” series which, when not trying to ram itself beat-by-beat into Twilight‘s dickhole, is 90% ripped off from Roswell, a book and television series that was literally used in the social media promotion of those copycat trash scam books.
No, I’m not kidding, the Entangled twitter account at one time hosted a watch-along hashtag for Roswell, which is about the ballsiest move ever. Especially since the pathetic cheating wannabe scam artist who wrote the books has said more than once that Pelletier specifically asked for something that was like Roswell.
Keeping in mind the fact that Pelletier has previously encouraged writers to rip-off other writers and media franchises, imagine the Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster-level stomach plunge I had when I read THIS:
“Point taken. How about Legacies? My best friend, Heather, and I just started watching it last week.”
Macy’s eyes go huge. “Legacies?”
“Yeah. It’s this really cool show about a bunch of teenage vampires, witches, and werewolves all living together at a boarding school. […]”
I looked up Legacies because I’m not familiar.
Legacies is about:
- A girl named Hope
- Who, after the death of her parents
- Is sent to live at a boarding school for supernatural creatures (Salvatore Academy)
- Which is run by a human man
- Whose teen daughters attend the school
Oh no. No, no, no, no. Don’t do this to me, Crave. Don’t do this to me.
As much as I hate, loathe, and despise the CW’s bastardization of my all-time favorite YA series, I will need to check out a few episodes of Legacies just to see wtf is going on with this shit.
Legacies began airing in 2018. Crave was released in 2020. And lest anyone think, wow, what a coincidence, the author probably has never seen the show, Liz Pelletier has probably never seen the show, that’s only two years and not enough time to copy someone, please remember that when I wrote a novel for this publisher, every single edit I had to do on the manuscript was given like a seventy-two-hour return window to meet production deadlines. And at one point, they released a book with the exact same plot as one of Bronwyn Green’s books just two weeks after it was released–and the copycat title was only announced a month previous to release when Bronwyn had been promoing her story months before. Could be a coincidence but… Bronwyn’s novella had been a part of the anthology I was in that fell apart after Anne Rice went Anne Ricing all over the place, a boxed set that Pelletier definitely knew about because she addressed it directly with my agent, who was, idk, supposed to spank me.
Again, could be a coincidence, but when it looks like a vulture and acts like a vulture in so, so many other situations? Why give the bird the benefit of the doubt when it tucks into another animal’s kill once again?
Back to Crave, in the hopes that I’ll watch Legacies and these similarities will be superficial.
HOW THE FUCK IS GRACE WATCHING A TV SHOW THAT’S LITERALLY ABOUT THE EXACT SITUATION SHE IS IN RIGHT NOW AND SHE’S STILL NOT MAKING THE CONNECTION ABOUT VAMPIRES AND SHIT LIKE THAT?!
COME ON, GRACE.
GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, GRACE.
We start the show back at the first episode so Macy can catch up. And as we watch the main character’s foster brother become a werewolf, I can’t help thinking about what Marc and Quinn said about the moon. I mean, I know it’s just that they needed the brightness of the moon to illuminate the dark wilderness around here.
Of course I know that.
Still, after going two rounds with Jaxon—both of which ended with him warning me off—it’s hard not to wonder exactly what I’ve gotten myself into here.
Okay, Grace. You’re getting closer. You’re kinda getting there.
But I’m just saying.
OPEN. YOUR. EYES. GRACE.
Now, I guess I’m off to watch some Legacies, teeth gritted the entire time, braced for fucking impact.