Once again, the chapter title has absolutely zero to do with the chapter’s content. No mention of vampires, biting, nobody tells anybody off, there’s no reason for this to be the chapter title. That’s really starting to get on my nerves.
I know it’s been a minute since we did a recap of this (mea culpa) so to jump back in, Grace has met a girl named Lia and they’re in her room now. At the end of chapter twelve, Lia had just told Grace that everyone at the school is lying about “everything” and it’s the big hook that gets you to turn the page. When you do, you get this:
I have no idea how to respond to that. I mean, what am I supposed to say? What am I supposed to think?
“Don’t look so scandalized,” she tells me after a few seconds of awkward silence. “I’m just teasing, Grace.”
Look, I think we all can agree that this is far from the worst thing we’ve ever read together. But these hooks are lazy. They’re asking the reader to accept that something really high stakes is about to happen in order to keep them reading, only to have the rug pulled out from under them immediately. Oh, you thought something cool was about to happen? Some of your questions were going to be answered? SIKE. And it wouldn’t be this annoying if it didn’t keep happening.
Grace chooses to laugh along with the joke, though.
Still, it doesn’t feel right. Maybe because of how serious she looked when she told me that she lies about everything. Or maybe because I can’t help wondering if that was the truth and these are just lies… Either way, there’s not much else for me to do but shrug and say, “I figured you were just messing with me.”
I like the way Grace is rationalizing this huge red flag away because it’s something I do all the time. It’s the whole “if someone tells you who they are, believe them,” mindset that has completely skipped past me. Someone can make a super shady first impression and I’ll still mak twenty-six excuses as to why the problem is me and they’re probably very cool and harmless.
It has never served me well, and I’m pretty sure that’s going to be the case with Grace here.
Lia and Grace talk about the language Lia had been speaking and I run into a little “whut?” moment:
“Akkadian. It’s the language that evolved from ancient Sumerian.”
I’m not sure this is correct. It gave me a brain screech, and I had to go look it up because that didn’t sound right. It sounds like Lia has confused languages occurring in the same region with similar features and alphabets as one continuous development line. Or, she’s confusing Akkadian with Aramaic, the latter having evolved from the former. It just seems like it’s more appropriate to say that Akkadian eventually replaced Sumerian in most respects. Any linguists around?
It’s a good thing she’s still doing research, is all I’m saying.
Grace’s phone interrupts them.
Sure enough, my home screen is a series of texts from my cousin, each one a little more frantic than the one before it.
Grace texts back that she’s fine and in Lia’s room, then tells Lia, hey, I gotta go, my cousin is looking for me.
“At least stay a couple more minutes, finish your drink.” She looks half amused, half disappointed as she continues. “You don’t want your cousin to think she can boss you around.”
Whoop, there’s another red flag! Don’t let Macy boss you around, Grace. Let me boss you around. Lia even says that Grace is “right” about Macy being “the hysterical type,” which is a thing that Grace never said nor implied.
In case we were wondering who the inevitable “mean girl” would be in this book. But it sounds like she’s actually mean and not just, you know. Mean for zero reasons.
Macy comes to Lia’s room and something stuck out at me that I’m pretty sure the author wants us to keep in mind:
“Don’t worry about washing the cup,” she says, taking it from my hands. “Just go show Macy that you’re not crying your eyes out. And that I didn’t murder you.”
Hmmm. First of all, why would Macy assume that her living cousin has been murdered but prequel, why doesn’t Lia want the cup washed? I watch way too many crime documentaries, thanks. You don’t leave DNA with the cops, you take the water bottle with you when you leave the station, friend. RED FLAG.
In fairness to Lia, Macy is fairly rattled when she shows up at Lia’s door. Like, out of proportion freaked out. Grace is all, what do you think was going to happen to me during the middle of a party, and Macy is super cagey. Lia says that Macy was probably concerned that Grace would have gone outside in her skimpy dress.
“Yes, exactly!” Macy looks like she’s seized on the excuse. “I didn’t want you to freeze to death before your first full day in Alaska is over.” It’s a strange answer, especially considering she knows what almost happened to me last night and that I was terrified of being thrown outside for just that reason.
It’s also strange because you’re not a toddler who would wander away in a diaper in an ice storm or something. You’re nearly an adult, and you’ve got two people here assuming you wouldn’t realize that it’s cold outside in Alaska.
Lia tells Grace to come by again, and they’ll do mani-pedis and facials, and Macy is like… wait, what?
Lia rolls her eyes. “Obviously, you’re invited, too.” And then she closes the door in our faces.
Which…let’s be honest, seems weird, considering how friendly she’s been all night. Then again, the second Macy showed up, everything about Lia got a lot sharper. Maybe her abrupt good night has more to do with my cousin than it does with me.
While I feel like this chapter is super rushed, I appreciate how Wolff is showing us Lia’s obvious dislike for Macy before telling us that she doesn’t like Macy. And I like how it’s not over-the-top, calling Macy a bitch or something. Just coldness.
Meanwhile, Macy is stunned that Grace made friends with Lia that fast.
She doesn’t sound jealous, just confused. Like it’s the strangest thing in the world for Lia and me to have something in common.
Yes! Again, very good hint-dropping here. And the writing in this chapter is so much better than in the library chapter. I feel like I’m getting whiplash here. I’m still thrown by the idea that Grace is such an obsessive lover of books and obscure languages, and it never came up until chapter twelve, though. That’s gonna stick with me a while.
Grace says that Lia seems nice, and Macy is quick to correct that notion.
“‘Nice’ isn’t the adjective I would normally use to describe her,” Macy answers as we start down the hall. “She’s the most popular girl in school and normally takes great pains to remind people of that. Although lately, she’s been really reclusive.”
Hmm. Is this gonna become a Quinn Fabray/Rachel Berry thing? Like, Lia is gonna think that because she’s the most popular girl and Jaxxon is the most popular boy, they belong together and then this turns into that Taylor Swift song? I would be so disappointed at the wasted potential.
Grace just says that Lia losing her boyfriend is probably the reason she’s stand-offish, and Macy is shocked that Lia told Grace about it. The entire school was affected by the guy dying and oh my god his name is Hudson. Finn Hudson. That was the name of the kid on Glee.
The prophecy is unfolding.
And Hudson apparently died after he graduated. THE PROPHECY.
Macy asks Grace if she’s hungry and UH-OH:
I start to say yes—I haven’t eaten since the bowl of Frosted Flakes Macy poured me this morning from her stash—but the altitude sickness must be back, because the mention of food has my stomach rumbling, and not in a good way. “You know, I think I’m just going to go to bed. I’m not feeling so great.”
I bet she’s been poisoned. Poisoned or dosed with something. Or like, it’s a magic potion and Lia didn’t want her to wash the cup so she could control Grace or something.
We make it to our room, and Macy unlocks the door with a flourish. Just in time, too, because my stomach revolts about two seconds after I walk in the door. I barely make it to the bathroom before I throw up a noxious combination of tea and Dr Pepper.
Looks like Alaska really is trying to kill me after all.
LIA! I THINK LIA IS TRYING TO KILL YOU!
But it still doesn’t explain the chapter title.