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Jealous Hater’s Book Club: Apolonia, chapter one

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And so, it begins. I haven’t even posted a single recap, and already I’ve got people coming out of the woodwork to tell me what a big, giant mean person I am. Last night, I made the mistake of checking my email while I was drunk (which is a state I’ve only been in precisely once in the past three years. I only had a glass and a half of champagne last night). Author Abbi Glines dropped  by my Apolonia read-along post to stick up for Jamie and her book, which was a labor of love and should be protected from the harsh criticism I had yet to dole out.

Then she got on twitter and subtweeted about it, I got bitchy then blocked her, because I had dentist appointment this morning and I didn’t want go in with a bunch of cavities from saccharine-dripping “BE NICE” scoldings.

Since we’re starting off strong with a public spat, it might be a good time to make a FAQ for everybody that’s going to come here in defense of McGuire or the book.

Yes, I actually do have to criticize another author’s work to get people to read my blog. Well, some people, anyway. There are a lot of readers who come here for a lot of reasons. But a great, great many of them found this place when I took apart 50 Shades of Grey. So, yes. Recaps are a huge part of this blog’s popularity. So, it’s not an insult to say, “You have to do this to get people to read your blog.” It’s my job description. If WebMD stopped telling you that you have cholera of the butt crack, you’d stop going there.

But even though people found me through “tearing down” someone else’s work, many of them stay for mine.

How would I feel if someone did snarky recaps of my work? I’d be pissed off if they tried it and they weren’t at least as funny as I am.

Books are not babies, and nobody cares how hard you worked on them. I’ve written lots of books that I’ve worked super hard on, and they don’t sell well or get great reviews, for whatever reason. That doesn’t mean I get to tell everyone to stop talking about the bad parts of them. The only person who cares about how hard I worked on them is me. No one cares about the work that goes into something, they care about the quality. If you took your car to a mechanic and they were like, “Hey, here’s the car back, I worked really hard on it, that’ll be $1200 bucks,” and your drive shaft sheered off and pole-vaulted your car into a ditch a mile down the road, are you going to go tell people, “Yeah, you should totally go to Dan, he’s a great mechanic, he works really hard?”

Authors say all the time, “I worked really hard on this, so I’m excited to share this with you, hope you like it,”or “I worked really hard on this, but its failure disappointed me,” but it’s bullshit to say, “I worked really hard on this, so you can’t criticize it.”

Spite may have driven me to return to book recapping, but I’m still doing it honestly. My recaps are harsh, because I’m harsh when I’m reading a book. And it’s easier to be harsh when you just plain don’t like someone. It would have been easy to go, “Fuck it, everyone wants me to recap Beautiful Disaster? Fine.” And it would have been easy to tear that book to pieces, because so many people have told me, “Oh, it’s got so much abuse in it, it’s worst than 50 Shades of Grey,” etc. But I picked this book because I didn’t know anything about it and didn’t have any pre-formed opinions about the content.

The reason my recaps of 50 Shades of Grey were so harsh was that the books promoted misogyny, abuse, rape culture, and unsafe BDSM practices. It was plagiarized and poorly written. As long as this book doesn’t do any of that, then all this will be is a recounting of my honest thoughts when I’m reading the book–like talking back at the TV when you’re alone.

And who knows? Maybe I’ll really like this book. It seems a tad premature to be making judgements about mean I’m being to this book; as I write this, I haven’t even begun writing the first recap yet.

My recaps made at least a few more sales for E.L. James. Maybe not in any measurable sense that would be missed when compared to the amount of mountain of sales that were pouring in already, but they’re there. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me that they bought the entire 50 Shades of Grey series specifically because of my recaps. They’d never intended to read the books until my recaps.

So, slow your roll, Sunshine Sisterhood, put your “BE NICE” pitchforks aside, and shut your hablaholes.

haters

So, let’s get started with chapter one of Apolonia, by Jamie McGuire.

I hope that wasn’t too harsh already.

Since a lot of you have said you learned writing tips from my 50SoG recaps, I thought that this time, when I address an issue or a bit that I think could be strengthened, I’ll just mark it out. I’ve noticed that McGuire and I make a lot of the same grammatical mistakes, so hopefully this will be a learning experience for me, too.

They’d killed me, but I survived. While lying on the hotel floor, my long black hair saturated with blood, I’d thought my life was over, except it wasn’t.

Okay, so right off the bat we’re seeing a good start. The heroine isn’t dead at the beginning of the book. Score.

Writing Tip: Look at the paragraph. The first sentence and the end of the second sentence say the same thing. Without the first sentence, the paragraph would be stronger. The first sentence switches tense. The second sentence is run-on and could have been split at  [I make a ton of run-ons in my work. These are hard.]

We get some background on how the main character had woken up in a hospital with her whole family and her best friend dead. So, it sounds like they were murdered. But then:

Their sacrifice had begun first, and so their murders had been more thorough.

you-had-my-curiousity

Okay, were her parents in a cult? Or was it one of these situations?:

Always make sure your house isn't on any kind of famous murders tour.
Always make sure your house isn’t on any kind of famous murders tour.

When it was time for mine, our killers had been too drunk and too high to be careful–at least, that was what police report had said.

Okay. It sounds like some murderers were sacrificing them. Got it.

So, five months after the murders, main character has gone to college, and is a freshman at Kempton Institute of Technology, where, courtesy of a DORM ROOM MIRROR…

Standing in front of my dorm room mirror, naked, I racked back my too-long black bangs. Most girls gained a freshman fifteen. I’d been steadily losing weight for two years.

rachel-come-on

Why, why, why do we keep having these heroines who find that the best diet is emotional upheaval? In 50 Shades of Grey, Ana gets too stressed out to eat. In New Moon, one of Bella’s depression symptoms is that she doesn’t eat and becomes romantically (in context) pale and wan. And I know I’ve read more than one book this year wherein the heroine was so damaged that she was painfully slender, and therefore accidentally hot. I think the reason we’re seeing so much of this is because of the “You don’t know you’re beautiful/that’s what makes you beautiful” cultural meme that is more popular now than ever. A heroine can’t look at her body and say, “I’m thin,” not without sounding too vain for boys to find her unintentionally beautiful. Because we tie a woman’s worth her appearance, and men are interested in finding women who don’t know their value, so that they can treat them as though they’re worth nothing. But heroines like this up the ante; they don’t know they’re beautiful, and their beauty is the result of horrible trauma.

It’s very gothic. But also, very troubling.

Main character begins cutting her hair:

The scissors cut away all but four or five inches on top. I ran my fingers over what was left. It felt so good. The sides and a bit of the back were shaved, and the hair left on top nearly grazed my jawline. It was appalling. It was liberating.

I loved it.

shock me

I think we’re all fully aware that serious trauma can cause drastic changes in behavior and appearance. I just hope that were I killed in some kind of human sacrifice scenario, that my daughter would find a way to express her sorrow that isn’t just stereotypical freshman year of college rebellion.

The reason she cut her hair, though, is because she’s haunted by the memory of having blood in it. So, fair enough. But she’s also got a nose ring, hoodie, gray skinny jeans and a Kurt Cobain t-shirt, so… some of that is teen rebellion. She even mentions:

[…]had she been alive, my mother would have died all over again at the sight.

We also learn on this page that people don’t notice her around campus.

Class one of week one of my junior year at KIT was Geobiology and Astrobiology with renowned astrobiologist, Dr. A. Byron Zorba.

zoidberg
Not anymore!

Now, wait a second. Just a few pages ago she was worried about gaining the freshman fifteen, and she said:

Five months after losing Sydney and my parents, I’d left for the quaint college town of Helena, Indiana, four states away. I’d gone from murder victim to a freshman at Kempton Institute of Technology.

Can you see why I was confused here?

No matter which year of college she’s in, she’s a research assistant to Dr. Zoidberg, who was a long-time friend of her father’s. Main Character had also looked up to him during her childhood.

The daughter of two idealistic scientists, I not only didn’t fit in with other children, but I also had no interest in conformity.

This seems someone at odds with her comment about her mother dropping dead from shock at short hair.

When most children were pretending to be firemen or superheroes, I was working toward the Nobel Prize in my cardboard lab. Barbies and boys bored me, and I was sure I bored them.

Eye-Roll-gif-6Dr. Zoidberg took Main Character under his wing in the aftermath of her family’s death, and made sure she used her inheritance to go to college. He also gave her the paid internship so that she could make some money, since her parents didn’t leave her much.

She also says that Dr. Zoidberg filled out her college application for her. I wish he would share it, because I’m dying to know Main Character’s name.

Dr. Zoidberg has recently been on an Antarctic expedition, and he’s brought home a rock. Main Character’s job is recording data about the rock.

I don’t know much about science, but that sounds kind of vague.

She goes to her seat in class and runs into Benji Reynolds, a guy who is apparently persistent in his quest for Main Character’s attention.

I had hoped the new do would scare him away. He was clearly a mama’s boy and far too attractive and happy to appeal to me.

Yeah, I only like ugly, pissed-off guys, too.

You know what would have been a good place to tell us Main Character’s name? When Benji walked up to her. He could have said, “Hi, Main Character,” instead of just “hey!” the way he did.

Good thing another student, Stephanie Becker, is sitting nearby. She addresses Benji by name, so surely she’ll do the same for Main Character:

“Hi, Benji,” Stephanie Becker lilted from her seat. She was short but had stunning curves, and she twirled a piece of her long blonde hair while staring at him with the most ridiculous look on her face. Her head was tilted and her eyes clouded over when Benji looked for the source of his spoken name.

Oh. Well, that wasn’t very helpful of you, Stephanie Becker.

Benji is friendly and quick to return his attention to Main Character.

Even if he did have a strong jawline and a sweet disposition, I still couldn’t see him as anything but…well, Benji.

“This girl is attractive. I am not attractive. This attractive boy likes me most.”

Maybe that’s me being harsh, but how else do you spin this? It, like heroines who don’t know they’re beautiful (that’s what makes them beautiful) is another YA/NA trope that we see too much of. A girl who doesn’t think much of herself, but who is thought highly of by an attractive boy.

Benji sat next to me, and I glared at him.

“It’s okay if I sit here, right?” he asked.

“No.”

He laughed. His teeth were too straight, and his posture was too perfect. “You’re so funny. Your hair is…wow” he said, trying to find the best inoffensive adjective.

Hey, Benji? I have to tell you something.

Benji. Benji…

I have to tell you something. Benji.

BENJI I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!

so hot

Writing Tip: It’s difficult to tell if Benji knows that Main Character is joking, or if he just thinks she’s joking. This is an important distinction to make.

 

This hot guy wears white oxford shirts, but buttons them at the wrist. He tells Main Character she could shave her whole head, and she would still be beautiful.

Any other girl at Kempton would have jumped at the chance to date him. It wasn’t that he was unattractive–quite the opposite.

No shit?

Main Character just isn’t into this guy. Which is fine. But why do we have to hear about how hot he is, if she doesn’t like him in that way? If you answered, “Because an attractive guy liking her instead of other girls increases her value as a person,” then you get a cookie. But the cookie is poisoned with the tears of every woman who came before.

Dr. Zoidberg notices that she’s in the room:

“Rory! I almost didn’t recognize you! I sent you an email! Did you get it?”

RORY! Her name is Rory. Jesus, how hard was that. Thank you, Dr. Zoidberg.

hooray, I'm useful!

There’s a physical description of Dr. Zorba, but I’m not going to tell you what it is because I insist you imagine Dr. Zoidberg for the rest of these recaps forever. It makes this a Futurama AU fic in which Zoidberg inhabits a world where someone loves him.

[poor Zoidberg]

Rory opens the email, and it’s a ton of data he’s gotten about the rock. She agrees that she’ll talk to Dr. Zoidberg about it later.

The disappointment in his eyes was evident, but it was a rock. Granted, its material hadn’t been recorded on Earth, ever, so that meant it had come from somewhere in the universe. An alien rock. If we still thought the world was flat or if we weren’t aware of the surrounding universe, I could understand Dr. Z’s excitement, but as it was, it was… boring.

Your teacher went to Antarctica, brought back a 27 lb. chunk of mineral that has never been found on earth before, and it’s boring? What the fuck does science have to do to impress you?

Space rock? Girl who survived being used as a human sacrifice? As I may have said before,

you-had-my-curiousity

You know, I think the last book I read in which the main character had less interest in the plot than I did was The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. So, this has potential.

Rory hears Dr. Zoidberg tell someone named Cyrus to see him after class to discuss him becoming a research assistant. And Rory gets super jealous.

I looked in the same direction as Dr. Z to a pair of dark topaz eyes surrounded by olive skin. The male gender wasn’t something I was preoccupied with, so the twinge I felt in my stomach took me by surprise. It didn’t matter. I already hated him.

I don’t want to jump to any preposterous conclusions here, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the other leg of a love triangle has arrived.

He seemed forced–his movements, his expressions–as if he were trying too hard to blend in.

I’m calling this one, too. This guy is going to turn out to be an alien.

Rory thinks some hateful thoughts about Cyrus, then class starts and Dr. Zoidberg goes over the syllabus. Benji invites Rory to go running with him, even though she doesn’t run. She should just really start. Ugh, those people who insist that other people start running, just because they like it? They’re the fucking worst. I know this, because I do that.

We learn that Cyrus has a slight British accent, and that he’s Egyptian, after he asks a question and Dr. Zoidberg asks him where he’s from. And then Dr. Z is like, “‘We’ll have much to talk about,'” and it’s like… um. Just because he’s Egyptian? You realize he doesn’t know the aliens who built the pyramids, right?

Turns out, Cyrus is the guy in class who asks a million questions, but Rory is like, you know, at least these are good questions, and class gets out twenty minutes early. Cyrus goes to talk to Dr. Z, and Rory busts into the conversation and gets all combative when Dr. Z says that Cyrus just came back from Mali:

“Oh?” I said with cold eyes. “You have family there?”

“No,” Cyrus said flatly.

He didn’t offer further explanation, so I stared at him until he became uncomfortable and looked away. That was my very favorite thing to do to everyone.

AnnoyedHermione

Come on, Rory. Give me something to work with here. I want to like you. You’re not a sixteen year old, you’re in college. The anti-social thing is really played out by junior year of college.

Dr. Zoidberg introduces Cyrus to Rory as “third member of our team,” and Rory goes:

“Are you replacing me?” I asked, my heart pounding. My assistant job was connected to my scholarship. If Cyrus stole it from me, I could be in real danger of losing that money. It was too late to find a student position that wasn’t already taken.

Yeah, but you just told us all about how Dr. Z has taken you under his wing and how he’s an old family friend and everything. Do you really think he’s going to leave you out in the cold here? Plus, he said, “third member of our team.” I feel like if you’re going to be a scientist, you should probably have been able to do that math.

Rory tells Dr. Z that they don’t need another research assistant, because she’s there over holidays and on weekends, anyway, but that’s precisely why Dr. Z has brought Cyrus on. He wants her to have more free time, and not be in the lab every hour of every day.

But Rory still doesn’t feel right about all this. It’s not like Dr. Z to just randomly take on students he doesn’t know as his lab assistants. And something about Cyrus just still seems off to her. It’s because he’s an alien, of course. We know that, but she doesn’t. I think for the moment, she’s just afraid that he’s going to somehow manipulate her out of her job. But it’s not real clear.

Hey, does it mention him being an alien in the blurb? I didn’t read the blurb, and I’m not going to be cause I want to forge ahead not knowing anything. But tell me if it says anything about him being an alien.

Anyway, then Rory notices it’s raining outside:

I loved fall up until the night I died. Now, it just seemed ominous.

Writing Tip: The first sentence describes actions that have been completed in the past. She loved fall, then she died, she doesn’t like fall. So it should be in past perfect: I’d loved fall up until the night I’d died. I haven’t read anything else by McGuire. Does she write her other books in present tense? Because I normally write in past tense, and when I’m writing in first person present, I find myself accidentally switching to past tense.

In any case, Rory ends the chapter still concerned that she’s going to lose her assistant position:

Cyrus could take his thought-provoking, eloquently worded questions and shove them up his ass.

Well. Tell us how you really feel.

I hope that in chapter two, we see a lot more about the space rock and the murder cult, less about Rory’s misanthropic routine.

 

117 Comments

  1. errantendeavour
    errantendeavour

    HOW DID YOU KNOW ABOUT MY CHOLERA OF THE BUTT CRACK???

    How. Did. You. Know.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  2. Lani
    Lani

    Benji is a dog’s name, not a person’s name. Ugh.

    Plus, when *I* stopped eating more than once or twice a week, I gained 50 pounds instead of turning into a pale, emaciated waif who attracted all the hottest guys around. I guess my horrible trauma wasn’t horrible or traumatic enough.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Lieke
      Lieke

      Yeah, this ’emotional upheaval has caused me to lose weight, which sounds quite possibly like it could be unhealthy, but it’s not: I’m hot!’ thing is super annoying. I wish the sucky writers of the world would realise that this is neither realistic nor interesting to read.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
    • Victoria
      Victoria

      I had a fling with a nineteen-year-old named Benji when I was twenty-six.

      I have made many poor decisions in life, and that was one of them.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
    • the-great-dragon
      the-great-dragon

      That’s actually more typical. When your body goes into starvation mode like that, it stores everything as fat, which is why you can be anorexic and overweight (which is more likely to happen. The anorexia = thin idea needs to go, frankly.) It always bugs me when books make characters loose excessive weight when they’re not eating. (Plus, it’s a super dangerous attitude to encourage.)

      October 20, 2014
      |Reply
    • Wow! I went through a really rough breakup many moons ago and couldn’t eat anything. I drank a lot of apple cider, but no solid food for two weeks straight. I dropped 25 pounds. It was kind of awesome and sucky all at once. lol

      October 22, 2014
      |Reply
  3. I’m pulling up a chair and grabbing the popcorn. And remember, all that sugary “be nice” stuff ferments into wonderful snarky rum.

    And I love your point about hard work (I’d link to an excellent Oglaf comic about it but it’s NSFW site). Hard work is a wonderful thing – but it’s no guarantee the end result will not be drek. Loving drek. drek made from blood, sweat and tears and yet, still drek.

    I also want a protagonist who deals with emotional upheaval with cake. Everyone I know deals with upheaval with cake (or just looks for excuses to make me bake, I guess). Emotional trauma round here is measured in tiers on the chocolate fudge cake.

    Also, why do all these cake hating girls ALWAYS have a friend who is OF COURSE more attractive than them who inevitably has CURVES – am I the only one hearing the sneaky little dig there? Especially when everyone inevitably prefers them to the super-attractive curvy girl

    Hate at first sight? WE HAVE LOVE INTEREST and tropes. so many tropes.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Jemmy
      Jemmy

      Icecream, I deal with emotional upheaval with icecream.

      Oddly enough, I don’t put on weight from it, if it is strong grief. Although I’d rather have not learned that.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
  4. Anna
    Anna

    im so excited you started another recap! This book is starting off strong (or, rather, abysmally). Does anyone else get a vague racist-y/xenophobic vibe from the main character being hostile to the Egyptian guy and worried that he’s going to steal her job?

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Jemmy
      Jemmy

      I figured he was Egyptian to add something exotic, didn’t strike me as racist. Maybe see how it progresses. Came across more as a ‘threatened by anyone” deal and I was surprised it wasn’t another woman for her to feel inadequate around.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
      • Laina
        Laina

        Ugh, implying people should be called “exotic” is so gross, though. And is, actually, at least a microagression of racism.

        October 9, 2014
        |Reply
        • Xebi
          Xebi

          I just saw him as he was described. Like, literally a pair of eyes surrounded by skin. Ew.

          October 10, 2014
          |Reply
    • Lia
      Lia

      Yeah I got the same vague vibe. I think it is because of the Mali dialoge, when she asked if he has family over there. I think it plays into the whole Africa as a country perception many people have besides the fact, that it is a whole continent, with many different cultures. Would she ask a British guy, who told her he spent his holiday in Russia, if he has family over there? Or would she assume, that it was just a vacation?

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
  5. Came for the snark. Staying for the Zoidberg.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Shaitarn
      Shaitarn

      I want that printed on a T-shirt.

      August 1, 2015
      |Reply
  6. Akri
    Akri

    Rory is lucky Dr. Zoidberg is an astrobiologist and not a geologist, because otherwise she’d be at serious risk of taking a rock hammer to the skull for being bored by the Space Rock.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  7. Ilex
    Ilex

    Why, why, why do we keep having these heroines who find that the best diet is emotional upheaval?

    Great question, because while I do know some people stop eating after emotional trauma, I think it’s way more common to dive into a comfort-eating pattern instead. On top of which, stress hormones tend to make people fat, not skinny.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • I managed to do both. When I left my ex I lost a crapload of weight due to not eating (cue people saying how I looked “really good” when I felt awful), and now that the stress has plateaued to a consistently elevated level I have put it back on and more. My vices are cake, chocolate, and eclairs.

      October 10, 2014
      |Reply
  8. Maril
    Maril

    How is someone who grew up dreaming of a Nobel Prize bored by a never before seen rock from space?! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA THE SCIENTIFIC TREASURES THAT SUCKER COULD HOLD?! DO YOU?! Where did it come from? How old is it? Does it contain alien bacteria or fossil fragments of alien bacteria? How does Earth bacteria interact with it? Are there any unknown metals, minerals or gases in it? If so, DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS THAT WOULD RESULT IN?! HOW ARE YOU NOT EXCITED ABOUT THIS?! Just about every field of science would be interested in a rock that big for various reasons! That could be a career defining discovery! And you’re sitting there like ‘oh it’s just a rock’?! You are a disgrace to your chosen profession!

    …I am a nerd.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Ilex
      Ilex

      Seriously. How can Rory be bored by this? What’s she even majoring in, that she gets to be an assistant to Dr. Zoidberg on this project that she finds so “BORING”?

      Plus, if this rock is some kind of element or material that’s never been seen on Earth and is from somewhere else in the Universe (outside the Solar System? Or what?), then how is Rory even getting to play with it, and some majorly important international team of scientists? Nothing about this feels like actual science to me.

      October 8, 2014
      |Reply
      • Ilex
        Ilex

        I mean, and not some international team of renowned scientists? Yeah, let’s leave out the most important word. 🙂

        October 8, 2014
        |Reply
      • Maril
        Maril

        Right? I would think this would be in the hands of some mega corporation hoping to find a new metal or material they could then synthesize to make better electronics, or with NASA seeing if they can use it for better radiation shielding on space crafts. A rock that size would likely be cut into fragments and sent all around the world to a variety of different scientists in all different disciplines and studied from every different angle and could easily be HUGELY important. I don’t at all understand how she can think it’s boring. You’re totally right that it’s obvious right from the get go that this author did the absolute bare minimum of research… That makes me sad because alien romances could totally be fantastic if done right. Add cult murders and you get into Lovecraftian territory. So much potential and my inner geek would just not at all allow me to enjoy it 🙁

        October 8, 2014
        |Reply
        • Abbott
          Abbott

          No way, guys! Rory has got this sh*t! She’s going to solve the alien rock mystery with The Power of Love! Or something.

          October 8, 2014
          |Reply
          • Maril
            Maril

            Of course, how did I ever forget. Love is always the answer to everything in life, even ‘where do space rocks come from’. How silly of me! Cyrus will heal her wounds and together their love will complete the research paper and solve the worlds energy crisis with their discoveries! *Sigh* Why is that kind of thing a trope?

            October 9, 2014
      • Anon
        Anon

        Undergrads could potentially take part in important research, but not without the supervision of grad students and post-docs. I call shenanigans and say that Zoidberg is probably a pretty sketchy scientist if he only has two undergrads working in his lab.

        October 10, 2014
        |Reply
    • tejas
      tejas

      Fine arts girl here was going “HOW CAN YOU CALL A SPACE ROCK BORING YOU BLINKIN’ MORON!” (Only I wasn’t thinking “blinkin'”, but I’m trying to be nice.)

      Rory seems to be shaping up to be TSTL. Hate TSTL characters.

      My own personal junior in college would eat Rory for lunch, just in general. Granted, she’s never been a sacrificial offering or anything, so maybe that has something to do with it, but she wouldn’t give a rat’s a** about any of this. *SHE’D* be all over that blinkin’ SPACE ROCK! FROM SPACE! AND IT’S A ROCK! And she’d film it.

      She also deals with trauma with cake (as someone else has said so very well). Well, ice cream, mostly, but cake works too. Maybe Rory’s the alien. Are aliens allergic to carbs?

      She can also stay in the same tense all day long if need be. Maybe it’s her superpower.

      Can’t wait for the next installment.

      October 8, 2014
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      • Jemmy
        Jemmy

        What’s TSTL stand for?

        October 9, 2014
        |Reply
        • Ilex
          Ilex

          @ Jemmy: TSTL = Too Stupid To Live.

          October 9, 2014
          |Reply
    • Cherry
      Cherry

      I am a nerd with you, apparently, because I was thinking something similar.

      October 8, 2014
      |Reply
    • Ethyl
      Ethyl

      Yeah I’m a geologist and she is awful. Astrobiology/geobiology are pretty high-level classes; someone at that point in a geosciences major would absolutely not be referring to ANYthing as “just a rock.” Geology is a specialized and difficult enough field that it’s pretty much only for people who love it, not people who are meh about it. It’s not, I dunno, a bunch of frat boys getting business degrees (Benji).

      Also I don’t know if maybe our heroine has just a tiny head but four inches of hair on the top of my head would not be grazing my jawline.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
      • Kayla
        Kayla

        I busted out my tape measure, and while I do have a legitimately tiny head, four inches of hair coming from the crown of my head would be some sort of terrible bowl-cut-gone-wrong. It would have to be at least eight inches to come anywhere near my chin/jawline.

        October 9, 2014
        |Reply
      • BeeBean
        BeeBean

        Her head is actually the size of a softball, was that not included in her self-description?

        October 9, 2014
        |Reply
      • Maril
        Maril

        I’ve taken at least one class in almost every science discipline out there (I spend a lot of time taking online courses for fun on top of all the classes I took in high school and university) including astrobiology, and man, if you are not enthused as hell about all of it it would be so painful to get through… You’re totally right that it’s not like taking Biology 101 to get a science credit for a teaching degree, this requires you to be engaged to ‘get’ it. No one trying to get a business degree would add ‘astrobiology’ to their course load unless they were planning to work at SpaceX. And even then they’d probably just take lower level science classes to get a basic understanding rather than something that would require a lot of time and energy that they need to put towards their business courses. There’s almost no job on the planet outside the sciences that is going to give a shit that you took astrobiology/geobiology so it doesn’t help AT ALL.
        You want a course that counts as a science credit but will actually help you in business, take an introductory chemistry or engineering or psychology class. Psychology is the most helpful in business (and fascinating to anyone that’s interested in people) but if you want to look awesome on a resume for a pharmaceutical company or a manufacturer then those classes would actually come in handy.
        Maybe Benji believes that Mars One and SpaceX will actually succeed at getting humans to Mars in the near future so he’s trying to ‘think outside the box’ and be prepared for the future scifi always promised us.

        October 9, 2014
        |Reply
    • eselle28
      eselle28

      Yeah, that’s where I’d be putting this book back on the store shelf. I don’t care one bit that it’s obvious who the love interest is and that he’s an alien, but I can’t stand protagonists whose behavior doesn’t match their described traits.

      If it’s important the character be an ambitious science geek who has to be told to leave the lab, she should be ecstatic she gets to work on a team studying something so important as a college freshman! And, if for some reason it’s more vital to the plot that she hate everything about Cyrus and his space rock, it would make a lot more sense to go darker and portray her as someone who doesn’t have strong academic interests at the moment and who’s at college because she’s running on autopilot. That second choice requires cashing in some Empowered Female Character points, but I’d rather read about a consistent but aimless character than one who’s made of nothing but misanthropy and some theoretical personality traits.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
    • Stephanie
      Stephanie

      For real, WTF?? A rock specimen not of earthy origin, and she’s just kind of like “meh, I’ll look at it if I have time later”. She has aspirations of winning a Nobel Prize with that attitude? I bet Dr Z is super glad he took this little Debbie Downer under his wing.

      October 30, 2014
      |Reply
    • AberrantSquirrel
      AberrantSquirrel

      THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I was thinking this the whole time I read that scene. To add on to what this ^^^^^^^ lurvely person was saying: they specify unknown ‘material’ that this rock is supposedly made of. I don’t know about natural scientists (Hint, hint. I’m a math bitch. I have no idea what goes on over in empirical land.) but to me, that insinuates multiple unknown elements were involved in the making of that rock. DOES THIS AUTHOR KNOW WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME SOMEONE DISCOVERED AN ELEMENT LET ALONE MULTIPLE AT ONCE? I actually can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure is was a big fucking deal, like Nobel level big deal, is what happened. So to someone who has been dreaming of a Nobel her whole life, to reiterate because I’m so good English, this is a HUGE FUCKING DEAL. Honestly, to anyone in STEM (for the reasons stated above), this is a big deal. A discovery like this is something most scientists don’t even dare to dream about. Like Maril said, this is a career making discovery. Like he’d probably be mentioned in pretty much every book talking about geology or astrophysics or any number of disciplines from that point on. Even if nothing organic was discovered, he’d probably even be mentioned in an Astrobiology book, ‘look as this dude, isn’t he neat? He made this wicked cool discovery, it’s not related to biology at all and he never made an real contribution to astrobiology but isn’t that a fucking cool anyway?’ So this Dr. Z should be a wee bit more excited.

      And really, the chances of any undergrad having her level of involvement with something like this is highly unlikely. Her job is washing glass ware, sorting diamonds, whatever menial labor undergrad biologists do. Maybe, if she was lucky, she’d get to look at it. From a distance.

      And hey. I understand that going through the stuff she went through can change a person. But if it changed her that much, the author should have made note of it. To conclude I will pay homage to the great Malcolm Reynolds. I don’t think this book was burdened by an over abundance of schooling.

      December 5, 2014
      |Reply
  9. Ann
    Ann

    I am just thrilled to read your recaps of this Futurama/ X-Files crossover fic. But why is the girl from The Ring in college now, and narrating the story?

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  10. No mention of aliens in the blurb. There is other stuff I dearly wish I could tell you, but I will resist because spoilers in my comment section have ruined my life. (Slight exaggeration.)

    Chapter one might be too early to judge an entire book, but hey author? It’s probably also too early to dump all this information in graceless ways.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  11. Bubbles
    Bubbles

    All I know is that 1, I love you Jenny! And 2, I’m calling in to work tomorrow with cholera of the buttcrack.

    Ok, now to go read the recap instead of doing algebra. Because FUCK ALGEBRA!

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  12. Laina
    Laina

    Okay, is it just me or does she sound like a really annoying 15 year old??? *twitches*

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  13. pghbekka
    pghbekka

    Please don’t give any physical description of Dr. Zoidberg at any later time, because I can picture and hear Dr. Zoidberg in this story and I am very fond of his character and he is the only thing maintaining my interest in this story. Also, please don’t criticize my run on sentence because I worked really hard on it.

    As far as your sentences go, I really like this one: “I don’t want to jump to any preposterous conclusions here, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the other leg of a love triangle has arrived.” Because limb and leg…it works on so many levels.

    Also, you can tell when MC Rory says she isn’t preoccupied with the male gender, she is telling the truth, because if she was, that twinge would be lower. Hey-o!

    I eagerly await the next chapter of Dr. Zoidberg and the Mysterious Rock.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  14. pghbekka
    pghbekka

    Please don’t give any physical description of Dr. Zoidberg at any later time, because I can picture and hear Dr. Zoidberg in this story and I am very fond of his character and he is the only thing maintaining my interest in this story. Also, please don’t criticize my run on sentence because I worked really hard on it.

    As far as your sentences go, I really like this one: “I don’t want to jump to any preposterous conclusions here, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the other leg of a love triangle has arrived.” Because limb and leg…it works on so many levels.

    Also, you can tell when MC Rory says she isn’t preoccupied with the male gender, she is telling the truth, because if she was, that twinge would be lower. Hey-o!

    I eagerly await the next chapter of Dr. Zoidberg and the Mysterious Rock.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  15. I was so confused by the hair. She’s cutting it herself with scissors, but then the sides are shaved? How? And it grazes her chin, but she cut off SEVENTEEN inches? But it was only mid-back? HOW TALL ARE YOU?

    Also, I’m peeved that I bought my own copy – just like it told me to in the front matter, because sharing books is bad *eyeroll* – but I have someone else’s highlights in it. I don’t want to be distracted by what other people highlight. This isn’t a library book where I expect that shit.

    Aside from that, and a few weirdly awkward sentences that I think should have been caught on a first edit, I’m intrigued. The writing isn’t awful – I wouldn’t delete it.

    Question: I’ve never read NA before. All that stuff you caught in the recap – that’s all par for the course? Why bother, then? All these heroines sound boring. I mean, I write awful people being awful to each other, because it’s fun for me, but I hope they’re not boring!

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  16. Oooh I’m so excited for another recap!

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  17. Barbara
    Barbara

    I’m just saying, Rory sounds just like Kristen Stewart.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Laina
      Laina

      Especially since KStew just cut her hair short!! Ha!

      (And looks adorable with it short, mind you.)

      October 8, 2014
      |Reply
  18. Sounds like Dr. Zoidberg deserves a can of sardines. Lots of sardines.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  19. That “Hooray, I’m useful!” was the best use of a screenshot ever.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  20. Liz
    Liz

    I’m not reading the actual book because my “to read” pile is too big already (otherwise I would), but just from the recaps I got confused by the whole freshman/junior thing too. This sentence bothered me more though:

    “Granted, its material hadn’t been recorded on Earth, ever, so that meant it had come from somewhere in the universe.”

    Pretty sure Earth is in the universe…so the first part of that sentence doesn’t make any sense; for all you know it could have come from ANOTHER universe. Just add an “else” after the “somewhere” and I’ll be satisfied. Sorry if this was a copy error and not in the original book.

    I certainly don’t think you said anything offensive or mean-spirited. I’m pretty sure I’ve said worse about books/movies/shows that I ADORE than you’ve said so far (For instance, I maintain that the musical CATS has no reason to exist, but I am SO HAPPY that it does).

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Ethyl
      Ethyl

      That part bugged me, too, because really we have a pretty decent idea of what the universe outside of earth is made of. Direct observation, indirect observations of things like spectral analysis, and our knowledge of what is possible based on the physics of our universe constrains things pretty well.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
      • Ethyl
        Ethyl

        Also, and not to get too needlessly geology pedantic, but “its material hadn’t been recorded on Earth” makes zero sense scientifically. That’s just not how scientists would talk. She would say something like “its mineral structure” or “it’s chemical composition,” or “its crystalline structure.” Lazy bad writing is even more annoying when it’s about something I know things about, argh.

        October 9, 2014
        |Reply
  21. Em
    Em

    Hooray! More recaps!

    I do find the grammar/writing tips useful, since I know I make plenty myself.

    My first two thoughts ( that probably shows that I watch too many movies) were:
    “Well, she really shouldn’t have been friends with Sydney, because we all know how that ends…” (Scream)

    “Her description makes it sound like she looks like Lisbeth Salander” (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Lia
      Lia

      I had the same Lisbeth Salander/ girl with the dragon tattoo thought.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
  22. Nanani
    Nanani

    Benji is totally a doge.
    “Wow, such hair”

    That is all.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Amanda6
      Amanda6

      Oh god, I ugly laughed!

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
  23. Candy Apple
    Candy Apple

    His name is “Cyrus,” but he’s from Egypt?? Why not just name him “Osiris” and be done with it?

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • shadowmaster13
      shadowmaster13

      To be fair, the people at babynamewizard.com say that Cyrus and Osiris are names that are becoming more popular, so it could be only accidentally on the nose.

      Or it could be exactly what it looks like.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
    • Afflixi
      Afflixi

      Yeah, I actually thought the same thing but my head just screamed “Ramses”

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
      • Andolini
        Andolini

        Actually, calling him Ramses would have been closer to reality than calling him Cyrus.
        My fiance is Egyptian and in his group of expats – two Ramses, not one Cyrus. He’s coptic orthodoxe, so I would assume a Greek name like Cyrus would be easier to find in his circle, since coptic is somewhat influenced by Greek.
        He does know five Cyrils (in coptic Kyrillos’) and a couple of Karras’,

        October 9, 2014
        |Reply
  24. Suzy
    Suzy

    So…she was in a hotel room when she died? I worked in an hotel and I admit lots of weird shot happened that we never knew about. But I feel confident that human sacrifice would not have gone unnoticed.

    Also, by the name I was really hoping this would be some weird Prince fanfic. I’m really sad that dream had to die.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  25. Lara
    Lara

    It does not say that he’s an alien. I think you’ve totally called it. And I would just like to say that I came for your 50 Shades recaps, but I stay because of your writing. You are hilarious. And an excellent writer. For example, you had such a good tip for the beginning of the book. It would be so much tighter if she took out that first sentence. I never would have noticed that. People should hire you to rip their book apart first, so they can rewrite. Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents. Cuz I don’t think you’re a hater.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  26. Amber
    Amber

    Oh my god. How do you manage? I’ve only read the handful of paragraphs you quoted and I already loathe the main character to an intolerable degree.

    I mean, I get that nearly being sacrificed by a cult along with your loved ones probably fucks you up, but… she’s less “fucked up” than your run of the mill “wangsty teenager.” I knew kids like her in high school. Hell, I briefly was one. I went through a short time period where I dyed my hair dark purple and wrote poetry with overuse of the word “abyss”.

    Though that was when I was 13, not in university.

    Oh, and for the record, I came for the Fifty Shades recaps and stayed for your sense of humour and enjoyable writing. You could never recap a thing and i’d still be lurking around. Though I would miss the recaps, they make me laugh.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  27. SS
    SS

    I hate to jump on the book-ripping train so quickly, but I have a feeling that I’m not going to get along with the heroine.

    She has what appears to be a pretty fantastic mentor who put her college application together for her (seriously, how lazy are you? Undergrad college applications are a piece of cake), got her a scholarship, got her a job, and lets her do science with mysterious space rocks. I already want to whack her on the head with a stick for being so ungrateful. I would kill to have a mentor who is that amazing, but she acts put upon whenever he–gasp–asks her to check her email.

    Then, ugh, an attractive guy gives her a polite (and as far as I can tell) non-creepy compliment, but she acts like he just pissed in her cornflakes.

    And then, worst of all, poor Cyrus has the misfortune of breathing in the same room as her and she immediately hates him.

    I don’t get why these kinds of characters are so popular. Having a complete lack of intellectual curiosity doesn’t make you cool, it makes you boring. I’m hoping this is the story of her emotional recovery and her rediscovery of her interest in the world, but I’m not holding my breath.

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
    • Ilex
      Ilex

      I don’t get why these kinds of characters are so popular. Having a complete lack of intellectual curiosity doesn’t make you cool, it makes you boring.

      Hear, hear!

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
  28. Emily
    Emily

    “a pair of dark topaz eyes surrounded by olive skin”

    Badly-constructed phrase aside, to me Cyrus will now and forever be the last human.

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
    • Lieke
      Lieke

      The odd phrasing reminded me of how we ended up with that hilarious picture of Christian Grey as a tie with eyes. And now Cyrus is a piece of skin with eyes. Yep, head canon accepted!

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
      • Xebi
        Xebi

        Yeah, I had that. I actually mentioned it further up before I got to your comments.

        October 10, 2014
        |Reply
    • Brian
      Brian

      Moisturize me!

      January 13, 2015
      |Reply
  29. Ugghhh!!! I cannot stand characters like Rory. They suck the joy out of everything. I think the really frustrating thing is the set up, her family was murdered and she nearly died so she has good reason to be depressed and distant but that isn’t how she comes across. Instead she takes an immediate disliking to someone who hasn’t said more than a few words to her, shows no appreciation for what her mentor has done for her, and a SPACE ROCK doesn’t grab her curiosity at all.

    If I was writing this character and I wanted her to be angsty and withdrawn I’d write her inner monologue to be more about not wanting to interact with new people because there is too much possibility to be hurt, that Doctor Z is the only one who still has her trust for everything he’s done for her, and she just wants to lose herself in her work and studies to keep her mind off her pain and loss.

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
  30. Gray
    Gray

    Because I haven’t been online much, I was surprised and super happy to see that we’re on for a new RECAP! YAY!

    I have no idea what this book is about, but I trust you to lead me through the maze of loopy plotlines, robotic dialogues, and annoyingly unrealistic characters. I’m still deciding whether or not to get myself a copy of the book. I’m giving it a few more chapters before I make the call.

    Thanks Jenny bird, you are my hero. 😉

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
  31. Flo
    Flo

    “Jealous Haters Book Club”- I definitely think that should be our official name, love it. Also love the mechanic metaphor.

    Not sure I’m going to get in to this book, the next chapter had better improve. I see we have a bit of blond hating going on already.

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
  32. Jo
    Jo

    I haven’t read the book, but your recap makes it sound a lot like “Twilight 6.0: SPACE ROCKS!” downright to the uninteresting MC and contrive love triangle.

    Also, I’ve found out that a lot of authors go with the super useless “olive skin” when they don’t know how to describe skin colors and are trying not to sound racist. It’s a pet peeve, but I think that just convinced me not to buy the book.

    You know what would have been interesting? If the author actually went the whole mile developing Rory’s emotional trauma and have her having full-on panic attacks everytime someone’s hand comes anywhere near her hair, hence her decision to cut it. You said it perfectly: the way she describes it makes it sound like a rebellious act from a angsty teenager instead of the actions of a disturbed individual overwhelmed by an awful memory.

    Anyway, loving the recaps! I hope the book gets worse just because that would mean you get unleash the full potential of your snark.

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
  33. Squeaky
    Squeaky

    Oh, dear. I just read the author’s own description of the story. The “oh dear”is because it sounds like something I’d really enjoy, were it not for the writing which, frankly, reads like my first ever attempt at NaNoWriMo. Whilst I’m proud of my hard work and achievement, and really enjoyed writing and reading it at the time, all I get when I think of it now is “oh, god – it could have been so much *better*!”. It disappoints me that someone with (presumably) access to a professional editor, hopefully beta readers and crit partners – not to mention a fair whack of previous experience – seems not much further along in her craft. Yet she gets published. How?

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
    • Tez Miller
      Tez Miller

      Kindle Edition published by “Jamie McGuire LLC”. Paperback published by CreateSpace (Amazon’s self-publishing print edition arm).

      This is how she gets published – self-publishing. Had this novel been picked up by someone else, maybe it would’ve been edited into something more acceptable. Alas…

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
  34. Courtney
    Courtney

    I saw the top of that Empire Records gif as I was scrolling down to read so I jumped ahead several paragraphs to see how you used it. I had to backtrack.

    Ditto with the Futurama gifs. HOORAY YOU!

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
  35. anon
    anon

    Man, this sounds like exactly no college class I’ve ever taken. People know each others’ names? And talk to each other? And invite them to go running when they aren’t friends?

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
    • That happened at my college but it was a tiny liberal arts school in Vermont with just a few hundred students. Bigger universities are obviously much different and I get the impression this college is a big one since they have astrobiology researchers on the faculty.

      October 10, 2014
      |Reply
  36. Lindsay
    Lindsay

    I am already SO excited for Dr. Zoidberg.

    Also — “You realize he doesn’t know the aliens who built the pyramids, right?” — Or does he? o.O O.o

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
  37. Jilliterate
    Jilliterate

    Dayum. That’s some advanced-level humblebrag.

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
    • Jilliterate
      Jilliterate

      Let’s try that again.

      “Most girls gained a freshman fifteen. I’d been steadily losing weight for two years.”

      That’s some advanced-level humblebrag!

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
      • Lieke
        Lieke

        Some recalibration is in order whenever I encounter this ‘losing weight’ cliche these days. Previously, authors meant that the characters was ill/unhappy/in some sort of emotional crisis. Now it sort of skips that step and goes straight (and unsubtly) to ‘Nothing wrong with me: I am skinny and therefore beautiful.’ It’s such an annoying trope.

        October 10, 2014
        |Reply
  38. Trudy
    Trudy

    I don’t think you are a hater, just a person who tells it like it is. And I love your recaps. (Saves me from having to read the drivel myself – much more entertaining to read your version!) But I would be interested to read a recap at some point of a book you think gets it right – it would be just as helpful to have pointed out what the author did right, as it is to hear what this one did wrong. Can’t wait for the next installment!

    October 10, 2014
    |Reply
  39. Jeanne
    Jeanne

    I’m in for this one. This sounds promising in a train wreck kind of way.

    October 10, 2014
    |Reply
  40. M
    M

    I downloaded the free Kindle sample which included the first two and a half chapters (more than I read of 50 Shades). Without spoiling anything, I just want to say I’m eagerly awaiting the extreme rage to come.

    Holy hell.

    October 10, 2014
    |Reply
  41. Alexandra
    Alexandra

    Jenny I am so glad these are back!! And it looks like we’re in for a real ride with this one…

    1) Ugh, the “she doesn’t know she’s beautiful but some man totally sees it!!” trope is the worst. It seems so innocent on its face. Yeah, you should have a partner who really likes you, and sees all sorts of beautiful things in you even if you don’t always see them yourself. But it never ends there… There’s always got to be some other chick, too. One who likes herself, or God forbid even thinks she’s hot and openly flirts with men with no shame, and she’s always there to remind us what bitch-whores we are if we dare get self worth from somewhere internal even if the men around us don’t approve of it.

    2) Why is the “describe a character by having them look in the mirror” thing soooo common? It seems like at this point it would be something editors and authors actively tried to avoid, but that must not be happening since I see it in like every other book I read at least.

    Glad to see more of these!

    October 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • M
      M

      When I was in elementary school, we used to have authors come in and read chapters of their books to us and then do a Q&A about writing. I told one author I was working on a book, but that I was having trouble finding a natural place to describe my main character physically because the story was in first person. I’m sure you can guess her response: “Oh, I just have the character look at herself in the mirror and describe herself at some point in the first chapter.”

      I actually asked if she had any other ideas because I didn’t like that one (my character was in elementary school like me — oh, who are we kidding? My character was a super awesome version of me, which is forgiveable in elementary school — so it wouldn’t make sense for my character to stare at herself in the mirror and describe herself since that wasn’t something I would ever do), but she had no other ideas.

      Elementary school was a loooong time ago for me, so this particular strategy has been around for a while. Maybe that author (I can’t remember who it was, but I do recall not liking her book) did a big tour and had more influence on this generation of writers than we know.

      October 11, 2014
      |Reply
  42. Kat
    Kat

    “Her head was tilted and her eyes clouded over when Benji looked for the source of his spoken name”.
    This. Seriously. I have never spoken to a single person in my whole life who’s eyes SUDDENLY CLOUDED OVER. What does that even look like? I’m assuming that they also suddenly ‘unclouded’ when she stopped looking at him. Am picturing Storm from X-Men every time I read that over. I would be just a tad freaked out if I saw this happen in front of me. Makes me wonder what authors picture when they throw things out there like that.

    October 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Jeanne
      Jeanne

      I don’t even know that they picture anything….they are just borrowing phrases from their favorite books. That’s why they all sound so cliche.

      October 11, 2014
      |Reply
  43. noisyninja
    noisyninja

    ::gingerly steps around all the puddles of Mary Sue::

    October 11, 2014
    |Reply
  44. Moira
    Moira

    As one that found you because of your 50 Shades recaps, I really do love them. I learn a lot about writing and it has been very helpful in explaining why I dislike certain books. I think a world where only positive comments are allowed would be painfully absurd. How else would we improve? We don’t say, “The chef is daring in his decision to undercook the chicken, allowing us to explore new textures not commonly experienced.” We say “It’s fucking raw, are you trying to kill someone??!??”

    October 11, 2014
    |Reply
  45. I finally got to reading the first chapter. If you ask me I’m not seeing the science fiction part yet. I mean, just because the main characters likes science and studies alien rocks which is something scientists do for some time now (at least since rocks were brought from the moon), it doesn’t mean the book is sci-fi. Also, you usually expect the action to be set in the future. And the technology that appears until now is already old. I mean, who checks their emails on their laptops anymore? We have smartphones and smartwatches that notifies us when we got a new email or Facebook message.

    I also don’t get why Rory isn’t enthusiastic about the rock. Especially if she comes from a family of scientists and wants to win a Nobel prize or whatever. She should be super excited and always investigating that rocking, writing her observation and compiling them in a paper. That’s how you become a scientist by continuously studying and writing and publishing papers, usually in a narrow field. And it doesn’t start when you’re a freshman in college. That’s ridiculous. It would have been more believable if she was pursuing a doctoral degree.

    I kind of hate Rory already. Not a good sign.

    October 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Sorcha
      Sorcha

      I hate to have to tell you, but I am one of those very few who check their email via laptop because -*gasp* – I don’t have a smartphone. My phone is pretty old. Still works. I keep it because I like it.

      October 13, 2014
      |Reply
      • Yeah, I know that not all people have smartphones. I recently switched to a smartphone a few day ago. Still, I could use my old phone to check my email. But smartphones, no smartphones, that wasn’t my issue really. Rather the lack of sci-fi elements bothered me.

        October 13, 2014
        |Reply
        • Sorcha
          Sorcha

          No, I mean my phone is fifteen years old. There is no email on this thing.

          And lack of sci-fi always bothers me, but especially here. One, she’s bored by something anyone in my circle of friends would give (someone else’s) right arm to participate in the study of; and two, using a SPACE ROCK as a plot device to introduce a fatal attraction between characters (at least I hope it’s fatal). It’s like having the hot chocolate cup of sci fi dashed from your lips before you get to take a sip and spilled uselessly on the floor by a bratty younger sister.

          October 13, 2014
          |Reply
          • Lieke
            Lieke

            Yeah, I have an ancient phone too and zero desire to get another one. Can’t take pictures. Doesn’t have internet. I love it.

            October 13, 2014
        • Laina
          Laina

          I win.

          I don’t have a cell phone. I barely even use my landline. NO PHONES 4 LYFE.

          October 13, 2014
          |Reply
          • Ilex
            Ilex

            I don’t have a cell phone, either.

            Sadly, with all pay phones disappearing, I suppose I’ll have to get a mobile one of these days. But I’m putting it off for as long as I can.

            October 14, 2014
      • JennyTrout
        JennyTrout

        I have to check my email via laptop, because my email hates my smartphone anyway. *shakes fist at the sky*

        October 13, 2014
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  46. TayciBear
    TayciBear

    At first she says that Cyrus is average and then she says hes handsome. Which is it?

    October 11, 2014
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  47. TayciBear
    TayciBear

    Uh oh. Slut shaming is coming.

    October 11, 2014
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  48. Layla
    Layla

    ‘If you answered, “Because an attractive guy liking her instead of other girls increases her value as a person,” then you get a cookie. But the cookie is poisoned with the tears of every woman who came before.’

    PERFECTLY PUT.

    Also, I haven’t read this and know nothing about it either…but yeah, it’s probably aliens. Aliens are hot right now. Mermaids/Angels tried to replace vampires but no one cared as much. But I’ve read two YA books with alien love interests recently. So yep.

    October 12, 2014
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  49. Lavender
    Lavender

    Just once, couldn’t we please have a young heroine who isn’t a dumbass flake or a raging bitch (or both)? Is that too much to ask for?

    I know she went through trauma, but does Rory have to be so scathingly disdainful of everybody? Bella Swan vibes off this girl already. What a great start.

    October 12, 2014
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  50. Chris Borgars-Smith
    Chris Borgars-Smith

    I’d say “I had loved fall up until the night I died” – the past perfect is usually reserved for actions which were complete before some other past action, which would then be in the preterite. I mean everything she does is complete in the past, and it’s not like it’s all written in past perfect!

    October 14, 2014
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  51. peasant007
    peasant007

    “But she’s also got a nose ring, hoodie, gray skinny jeans and a Kurt Cobain t-shirt, so… some of that is teen rebellion.”

    I’m sure some of it was teen spirit, too.

    *insert that dog meme where the dog’s face is all like, “Hey? Hey? See what I did there?”*

    October 14, 2014
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  52. the-great-dragon
    the-great-dragon

    I really, really, really want to like this book, because it has all the ingredients for awesomeness, but my lord, just these few excerpts have me shuffling away uncomfortably.

    The writing style isn’t my cup of tea (it feels very clumsy) but mostly I’m not ready for how the heroine’s backstory/trauma is going to be used to make her seem more *complex* than I think she’ll turn out being. Her almost-murder sounds like amazing fodder for character exploration and depth, but she just comes across as a middle school goth-wannabe. “The day I died”…you didn’t die, that’s kind of the point? Right? Unless she’s a ghost or zombie.

    Like, I should be horrified that she almost got murdered, but she just comes across as a terrible person and I’m really not rooting for her at all.

    October 20, 2014
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  53. Those excerpts make me not want to read this book. Her writing style (which seems to be the writing style du jour) grates. I’m having a really tough time lately finding books that I can stand reading, even if the plot is generally interesting.

    October 22, 2014
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  54. Wahl
    Wahl

    Great recap!
    I’m adding poorly researched to the criticisms of this book. I work down on the ice, and while there are a ton of groups that work with ice cores, there is only one US group that collects meteors, and it’s a national program that isn’t affiliated with a single institution. Once they’ve collected the meteors for the year, those rocks get shipped back to AZ to be catalogued and researched. Other institutions can petition for samples, but nobody’s getting a chunck that big, particularly if it is a previously undiscovered material. So the idea that Dr. Solid erg would come down to the ice and independently just pick up this rock is laughable. And rant over…

    November 21, 2014
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  55. Megan
    Megan

    Does anyone know what color “topaz” refers to? I thought black. Someone else said orange. Those are Halloween colors, not eye colors, so I googled it:

    “Color and varieties[edit] Pure topaz is colorless and transparent but is usually tinted by impurities; typical topaz is wine, yellow, pale gray, reddish-orange, or blue brown. It can also be made white, pale green, blue, gold, pink (rare), reddish-yellow or opaque to transparent/translucent.”

    What color are his eyes?

    December 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • Probably blue, would be my guess. Blue topaz is the December birthstone and I think the most well-known of the topaz colors.

      December 5, 2014
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      • Anna
        Anna

        I actually assumed she meant a light brown…I’m pretty sure Edward Cullen’s eyes were described as Topaz at one point (and his funky color changin’ eyes were always in the brown spectrum). Plus, Cy’s supposed to be Egyptian; it would make more sense that the author would make his eyes some variation of brown.

        December 5, 2014
        |Reply
    • Laina
      Laina

      Gems are kinda weird like that. Impurities can make them a lot of colours. Like sapphires aren’t always blue and stuff like that. I’d say either either a blueish colour, or the gold colour. It is very imprecise though!

      December 5, 2014
      |Reply
  56. 'ro
    'ro

    Topaz is generally orange (or some kind of golden-ish, orangey-brown)…at least that’s what’s mostly all over the first page of google images.

    It’s the November birthstone…

    December 18, 2014
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  57. Loki: Okay, so let me get this straight. Rory is supposed to be some kind of scientific person, but she doesn’t show interest in a meteorite? One that could be worth Thousands of dollars? A meteorite that could contain a new element? She could call it Roryite and be even more sparkly speshul!

    And then some like crazy scientist guy could show up and be like I want that meteorite and you could actually create a plot in the story!

    Sigyn: one thing that bothers me is that she’s passing your cellphone as some crunchy alternative girl when she really just sounds like every Mary Sue ever, “oh I don’t conform to anything but I don’t want to go to anything look how special I am!” That’s kind of annoying, actually. And it’s a trope that I see over and over and over. It just screams Mary Sue to me and that makes me want to shoot her with mistletoe arrows from a crossbow also made of mistletoe.

    its material hadn’t been recorded on Earth, ever, so that meant it had come from somewhere in the universe. 
    ^ implying that Earth is not somewhere in the universe

    Sigyn: ‘The male gender wasn’t something I was preoccupied with”
    She sounds so fucking pretentious.

    Loki: “topaz eyes surrounded by olive skin”, I hate those types of description, because, you can’t just recognize them as a person and not a collection of their body parts. You can’t say, there is a short man talking to the professor. No, it has to be topaz skin surrounded by olive eyes, or something. It just makes me imagine that there is some disembodied skin and a pair of eyes floating in the air.

    “Oh?” I said with cold eyes. “You have family there?”

    “No,” Cyrus said flatly.

    He didn’t offer further explanation, so I stared at him until he became uncomfortable and looked away.

    ^ Sigyn: I don’t really blame him for not engaging in the conversation. She’s being really rude.

    That was my very favorite thing to do to everyone.
    ^ Sigyn: wow, you are such a little bitch!

    “Are you replacing me?” I asked, my heart pounding. 
    ^ Sigyn: yes because that’s what third member of our team means.
    Loki: Stupid. Very stupid. Sometimes I’m not really very attentive about things, but I’m never that inattentive.
    Sigyn: … it sounds less like she’s being inattentive and more like she’s just being jealous and combative for no reason.

     If Cyrus stole it from me, I could be in real danger of losing that money. It was too late to find a student position that wasn’t already taken.
    ^ Loki: get real, lady. That’s CLEARLY not what’s going to happen and I really doubt that this is for character development because this is just annoying.

    Sigyn: I’m getting pretty damn tired of Rory’s misanthropic routine, “oh I’m so sparkly special, I’m just too good for everyone else.” I already wrote a character like that. Her name is Agnes. She’s supposed to be unlikeable. What the hell is this girl’s excuse?

    April 29, 2015
    |Reply
  58. Sten
    Sten

    I just want to point out that I did lose a Freshman 15 when I went to college. It was a combination of starting weight training, eating slightly better, massive genetic predisposition, and being too lazy to make myself food more often. But people weren’t falling over themselves about how hot I was. They were really concerned about my health.

    I also recently went through a really traumatic experience and I did drop back down almost to my college weight. So while I agree that this is a wildly overused trope, I can’t say it’s unrealistic.

    September 25, 2015
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