Jealous Hater’s Book Club: Apolonia, Chapter Eight

Dear Diary,

It has been some months now since I began this journey, slogging through the quicksand of Apolonia. I was assured there would be science fiction in this novel, but I fear those rumors were untrue. I am now stranded in the barren wasteland of chapter eight, with nary an alien in sight. It is too late for me, Dear Diary, but I hope one day that this journal may be found, and my struggle will not have been in vain.

Warn them, Dear Diary. Warn them, and remember me…

Chapter eight opens in class:

Benji was sitting next to me in Dr. Z’s class, but all I could do was focus on  Cy–every time he raised his hand or spoke, his green plaid flannel shirt, his staple khaki cargo pants, and how fast he wrote down whatever he thought was important.

Let’s talk about the Benji/Cyrus back-and-forth. I’m reading Twilight right now, as I mentioned in some other post. I blame that series for the landslide of love triangles in fiction aimed at young adults, even though Bella never, to my interpretation, seemed romantically interested in Jacob at all. She did a shitty thing in Twilight by flirting with him just for information about the Cullens, but I don’t remember there being any kind of strong dynamic in which she was actually torn between the two guys. I’m convinced fans of the series put that there, until it became this “Team Edward”/”Team Jacob” thing that was sort of official without actually being canon. I’m still shocked that there are people who thought it might turn out with Edward and Bella not together. So, here we are in this book, with an undoubtedly Twilight-mandated love triangle that has exactly the same amount of romantic non-tension that Twilight had. Though we’re told again and again that Rory has feelings for Benji, they never feel authentic because in the next chapter or scene she’s annoyed with him or just plain ignoring him. With Cy we’re beaten over the head with this supposed attraction she has for him, but their interactions are almost entirely hostile while she obsesses over him from afar (another Twilight influence that popped up in a lot of books and persists in fiction written for young adults since).

This dynamic could work, but for it to work we need to see some forward momentum. Every time Bella and Edward interact, their rapport  changes, on a path from awkward and angry to friendly and then eventually to romantic. Her relationship with Jacob begins as friendship, then turns awkward and angry when he tries to force it to be romantic. All we have here is a character who starts off awkward and angry and resists all attempts the plot makes to develop her or her relationship with either guy. And that really sinks the book because so far, the love triangle is the plot.

It’s a rare day that I use Twilight as a benchmark for excellence in fiction (despite the fact that I like it).

Benji reached for my hand, turned it over, and wrote LUNCH? in black Sharpie on my palm.

Rude!

Oh, and reminder, I use the underlines to indicate italics in the text. There are no underlines in the formatting of the book.

Benji is super agitated about the intense hugging the night before, because he’s starting to make some mental conclusions that worry him:

“[...]It’s that…well, I’ve known you for almost two years, and I didn’t know you had taken a self-defense class. does that have to do with whatever happened to–”

“Benji?”

“Yeah?”

“Seriously. Don’t.”

Why haven’t any of the other students leaned over and shushed them by now? They’re always having these long ass conversations in class. I see this a lot in high school and college-set books. It’s always in science class–Buffy is another example of this–which makes a lot of sense because it’s a class with independent, cooperative study. But it doesn’t really work when the science class is a lecture and the room would therefore be quiet.

Benji asks Rory if she’s going home for break, which she’s obviously not, because she doesn’t have a home:

 When Dr. Z dismissed the class, I realized I hadn’t taken a single note. The first half, I’d spent staring at the back of Cy’s infuriatingly beautiful head, and the second, I’d tried not to think about the memory Benji unknowingly pulled to the surface.

She watches as Cy packs up his stuff and leaves, and Rory thinks:

Part of me wanted to stop him and ask about the frightened look in Kevin’s eyes the night before. I hadn’t seen that kind of raw fear since the night my parents and Sydney–the night I refused to think about. I wanted to know what Cy had said to Kevin that was so frightening.

Okay, here’s an interesting contradiction. Rory is so sensitive to any sign of danger that she’s accidentally hurting people, but when she sees Cy scare Kevin as much as the murderers scared her family the night they died, she’s even more infatuated with him. We need a space for this sort of thing on the New Adult bingo board.

Benji mentions how weird it is that he never see Cy outside of class:

“He disappears after he leaves here. One day, I followed him, but he turned a corner and… poof.”

A corner of my mouth turned up. “I’m a little jealous that I’m not the only one you stalk.”

LOL STALKING IS SO HILARIOUS.

nicki minaj eye roll

Rory tells Benji that she’s seen Cy outside of class before:

“Like a… like a date?”

“No, like he’s Dr. Z’s research assistant.”

“I thought you were?”

“We both are.”

“Oh. I thought he was temporary. You’re still working together every night?”

Wait, it’s only Thanksgiving break. How temporary did Benji think this was? It’s only been a semester.

Benji asks if the reason Rory’s not going home for Thanksgiving is that she wants to spend time with Cy. Well, no, he asks:

“Even over break? Is that why you’re not going home?”

Which could be interpreted as, “Are you not going home because you’re working,” but we all know what the fuck Benji means. Rory tells him that she doesn’t have a home to go to, and she doesn’t want to talk about it. They go to Gigi’s, where all the waitresses think Rory and Benji are dating, despite Rory’s many protests to the contrary. Rory senses that he’s got something on his mind, so she kicks him under the table. Like you do when you’re a fucking adult. Benji says he wants to tell her something, but in a way she hasn’t heard before, and Rory asks if it’s because of Cy.

“Because of a lot of things, Rory. I…wanted to wait. I wanted to have this conversation on your terms, especially after what happened with Ellie, I didn’t want to risk running you off again. But if I wait, with you and Cyrus spending so much time together–”

“Benji, don’t.”

“Don’t tell me don’t. You’ve stopped me from telling you how I feel about you once a week since we’ve met. I know there are things I don’t know about your past. Maybe I don’t need to know them. Maybe one day you’ll tell me, and I’ll wish I didn’t know. Either way, my feelings for you won’t change. I don’t need to know your past to know that I have feelings for the person you are now.”

This scene, it is a mess.

First of all, if Benji wasn’t textbook creepy Nice Guy already… he’s been trying to confess his feelings to her once a week since they met? What the hell? Remember, they met before the beginning of this book, and they weren’t terribly close when it started. Also, she’s trying to keep him from making this declaration, but he’s going to, whether or not she wants to hear it? It’s called boundaries, Benji. She doesn’t have to humor you if you’re making her uncomfortable.

At the same time, Rory is aware of Benji’s feelings and won’t set clear boundaries, swinging from “I don’t like you like that,” to “hold me, I’m so vulnerable and also jealous that you know other girls.” That’s not really fair of Rory. It doesn’t make her responsible for Benji’s lack of respect for her boundaries, but she’s been moving the goal posts a lot. She got so out of control jealous over Ellie that she wouldn’t talk to him for weeks, but she doesn’t want him to have romantic interest in her. In other words, she wants Benji’s friendship and free meals, but she doesn’t want to share anything personal with him and god forbid he ever look at another girl.

These two either deserve each other or need to run in opposite directions. They’re probably the most selfish main characters I’ve ever read in a romance storyline.

Rory orders a quesadilla, then Benji orders the same thing and she’s like, oh, he’s sucking up until the waitress points out that it’s what he usually orders.

How did I not notice that after coming here so often with him?

selfish-thinking-about-yourself-gif

 

After Rory thinks about how selfish she is, Benji goes right back to being horrible:

“How do you feel about me? Think I’ll ever make it back out of the friend zone alive?”

Gosh, you didn’t want to be in the “friend zone” Benji? Because when the book started you were like, “I just want to be your friend.” I hope you get hit by a snow plow.

I stared at the pedestrians and traffic passing by. Benji was obnoxiously happy and irritating, and in the beginning, I didn’t think he was my type at all, but I suddenly feard that if I didn’t say something in the realm of him having a chance, I might lose him.

I feel like I shouldn’t have to point this out, but she’s feeling this way because he’s manipulating her.

His friendship was comforting even if I wanted to kick his ass half the time, and as long as I was being truthful, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure he was just a friend.

Regardless of his feelings or mine, I was very possibly on my way toward committing a federal crime.

Oh, right. There’s that space rock thing hanging around in the background of this “science fiction” novel.

But that’s not the only impediment to a relationship:

Benji obviously came from very respectable stock, and I was every mother’s nightmare.

You’re certainly mine, Rory.

And then there was the small matter of a traumatic life event and my immortality. That was a lot for something new and iffy to push through.

wtf-gif

Excuse me? EXCUSE ME? Since when is Rory FUCKING IMMORTAL? WHY WAS THIS NOT EXPLICITLY MENTIONED EARLIER IN THE STORY? WHY HAVE WE NOT HAD ANY OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THIS UNTIL RIGHT NOW? WHY HAS SHE NOT EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT IT?

I can’t even with this. This is either another case of the author not realizing that there are certain words/phrases you have to be careful with  in paranormal type books and it’s just an accident, but why would Rory phrase it that way? Or she literally meant that she’d been killed and survived in the first lines of the book. This is so confusing, it makes my head hurt.

I’ll assume since being immortal would actually be interesting and we’re only just now hearing about it, she actually is immortal and it’s part of the better plot that’s happening when we’re not privy to events.

Writing Tip: IF YOUR MAIN CHARACTER WHOSE POV WE ARE CURRENTLY IN IS FUCKING IMMORTAL YOU NEED TO BRING THAT UP BEFORE CHAPTER EIGHT OF YOUR NOVEL.

“What if I said not right now and maybe not ever?” As soon as I said the words, I felt my heart knocking against my chest in a panic. He’s going to walk away. He’s going to leave me, and I need him.

Maybe he would walk away, Rory. Maybe he would walk away to protect himself emotionally. And maybe that would be okay, because it would be a healthy boundary for both of you.

Which is exactly why it won’t happen.

“Would you stop being my friend?”

“Never,” he said without hesitation. “Is that your answer?”

“Maybe. Can I think about it?”

“Absolutely. I’m not ready to give up on you yet anyway.”

Translation: Don’t worry, Rory. I’ll wear you down.

Rory suggests that they go to a party together that night, and he’s like, uh, what’s up with wanting to go to parties all of a sudden, and I realize that Rory must have Tess-from-After disease: she compulsively goes to parties she doesn’t want to go to.

He had a point. I didn’t know what was up with my sudden urge to socialize, either, but what I did know was that I was getting very sick of the endless cycle of class, dorm, and lab, and The Gym wasn’t cutting it.

I can venture a guess as to why she wants to go to the party. Because whoever edited this for content probably said, “We’ve been spending a lot of time at class, dorm, lab, etc. and it’s slowing the story down.” And this was the answer. “I don’t want to go to parties… but I am compelled to.”

After the break, Rory is just finishing up in the lab. She invites Cy to come to the party with her:

Cy’s face blanched. “But we have so much work to do. You can’t. We don’t have time for parties.”

“We always have time for parties.”

“But you don’t go to parties.”

Listen, Cy, I don’t know what book you’re in, but you’re asking a lot if you’re looking for consistency in characterization.

Rory, who is afraid she’s going to be fired from Dr. Z’s lab and that’s why she needs to work so hard and also who knows that the CIA is breathing down their necks and therefore time is of the essence now abandons the increasingly flimsy sci-fi plot to go to a party with one half of her love triangle. The party is at Theta Tau, where all the people who don’t have anywhere to go on break are drowning their sorrows. Benji says:

“Well, I’m hoping to get drunk so you’ll try to take advantage of me later.”

“Not going to happen.”

“A man can dream, can’t he?” he said, smiling and walking backward a few steps before turning for the kitchen.

She was just threatened with sexual assault by a known rapist at a party. You know this, because you defended her. You also know that she is extremely traumatized by something in her past. So why would you make that joke?

I laughed once. Benji and I had known each other for a little over two years, and I had known almost the whole time that he had a thing for me, but this— whatever it was— still felt new and maybe a little exciting.

pile of flip flops

Pictured: Rory’s feelings toward Benji.

And then, there was Cy. It was definitely possible to have feelings for two people, but I couldn’t have more than a friendship with both of them. Do I want to be with both of them?

No. Because in the section preceding this one you said you might not want to be with Benji ever.

What I felt for him was different from what I felt for Cy. I wasn’t even sure if having feelings for Cy was even accurate. What I felt was drawn to him. I needed him, but I wasn’t sure why. There was just something in my gut telling me that he’d entered my life for a reason.

It’s the author. She needed a love triangle. That’s why he entered your life.

Benji gets two more beers and Rory is like, guess I’m driving, and Benji is like, nah, I’ll just have these. So, Benji is going to slam three beers and get in the car and drive. Awesome. Rory tells him that she has to go back to work after the party, and he asks if he can come with her. So like, Benji is going to slam three beers and get in the car and drive to Rory’s work, where he’ll be, you know. Drunk at Rory’s work. Good plan.

Luckily, Rory isn’t having it, so we get treated to yet another round of talking about their potential relationship. Because none of us have gotten tired of that yet.

“I’m jus trying to drink up the nerve to ask to kiss you.”

On the same day, the same day that she says she’s not sure about him and she might never want to go out with him, Benji is angling for physical gratification. Awesome.

You know what? Benji is such a fucking dick, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the actual hero of the story and not just the side guy the heroine rejects. I’m taking penny bets here that she ends up with him. There’s no way she won’t; he’s really terrible.

Benji asks Rory if she would be unsure about dating him if Cy hadn’t come into the picture, and she explains:

“I don’t know why you’re interested in me, for one. We don’t really”–I pointed back and forth between the two of us–”make sense.”

“Who says?”

“Me.”

“You’re wrong. We make perfect sense.”

Silly woman. You have no idea if you want to date him or not. Let him make all those decisions for you.

“The White Stripes tee and the yellow oxford. Yeah, makes perfect sense,” I said before taking another drink.

What is this fan-fiction-I-wrote-in-seventh-grade hang up about clothes and bands? You are a fucking adult, Rory. You’re an adult. Benji is not the brunette version of you in a remake of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” video, okay?

Somehow, in my nervousness, I’d managed to drink the entire cup of beer.

“Want another, or are you done?” he asked.

“No, I’m definitely not done. We came to party, didn’t we?”

Yeah, bro, let’s pound these brewskis and then I’ll get right back to work and DO DRUNKEN SCIENCE ON THIS HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER SPACE ROCK OF WHICH ONLY ONE SPECIMEN EXISTS.

drunk baby

 

Benji is now halfway done with his third beer, and Rory is ready to make this a drinking contest. Benji says:

“Whoa there. Slow down. I don’t want to be blamed if you don’t make it back to work.”

“Do I seem like the kind of girl who makes everything everyone else’s fault?”

perfectly looped jack nicholson

The conversation comes back to the shirt analogy, and Benji says:

“It’s not the outside, Rory. I mean, you’re obviously beautiful and unorthodox. I wear button-ups and get nosebleeds, but it’s the inside where we make sense.”

"She's unorthodox/I wear button-ups/she is beautiful/I get nosebleeds"

“She’s unorthodox/I wear button-ups/she is beautiful/I get nosebleeds”

“I’m talking about the inside that is nice to me. The girl who tells me where freshman orientation is on the first day. The girl who let me sit next to her in class even though she wanted to be left alone. The girl who pushes everyone aside so that she can help me stop a nosebleed. The girl who walks me home after said nosebleed. The girl who let me hold her. The girl who asked me to this party. The girl who is going to at least try to give me a chance. And more importantly, the girl who had something so awful happen to her that it changed her life, but she didn’t use it as an excuse to fail.”

“The girl I badgered into being friends with me. The girl I bribe with promises of food, like she’s a pet raccoon. The girl who can be easily manipulated due to past tragedy. The girl I made up in my head. The girl who waited. The boy who lived.”

Then Benji asks again if he can kiss her. Again.

Rory decides they should play a drinking game, in which they ask each other questions, and if one of them doesn’t want to answer, they have to drink. Which, I don’t know, Rory. You don’t want to tell anyone so much as your phone number. This might end in alcohol poisoning.

The game is super boring. We find out that Rory’s middle name is Ann, and that Benjamin is Benji’s middle name, because his first is Franklin. Neither of them are virgins, Benji had a good childhood, and despite bringing up the subject of families, Rory drinks rather than answer Benji’s question on the subject. She asks him why he hates Bobby Peck, his arch nemesis, and it turns out that Bobby is dating the girl Benji lost his virginity to.

“Who’s going to drive me back to work?”

“That’s,’ Benji said, pointing at me with the same hand his cup was in, “a very good question. Not you and not me and not just because I don’t want you to go back with him. I want you to stay here with me. Do you know how maddening it is to know you like him and that you spend hours with him every night?”

I just shook my head.

“It is. Sometimes, I feel like I’m going to go out of my mind and just storm in there and steal you away.”

But you just found out that she’s working with Cy, Benji. Like, in this chapter, you expressed surprise that they were still working together.

This chapter is working so hard to make me hate Benji. He will not let up with his pursuit of Rory, when on the same damn day she told him she might not ever want to be with him. This behavior? This is not the friendship she was promised. Neither is this:

He reached over and entwined his fingers with mine. “I’m in love with you, Rory. I have been for a long time.”

“Oh,” I said again, feeling my cheeks warm in reaction. Outside of the classroom, those words felt more real. The embarrassment was replaced with nearly uncontrollable lust. No man had ever told me he loved me before Benji–well, except for my dad, and that wasn’t the same, not even close.

Well, thank Christ for that.

The moment is interrupted by the evil Bobby Peck, who is there to offer them rides home. He even tells Rory that she shouldn’t go to work as wasted as she is, so… I guess I don’t get why Bobby Peck is that bad a dude. I really don’t give a shit if he hurt Benji, because fuck Benji, that’s why.

Rory texts Cy and tells him she’s not coming back because of her awesome work ethic. Like, she literally texts him, “Drunk. Going home.” Because she’s so worried about losing her position to him, her competition. So she tells him, the guy she was pretty sure was trying to steal her job, that she’s too drunk to come back to work.

I actually get light-headed reading this book sometimes.

Benji and Rory ask to be taken to Benji’s place, and then they’re so flirty that Bobby Peck gives them a condom. Bobby Peck is on top of his game. I like Bobby Peck.

But why do they need that condom, you ask?

“It’s the middle of the night. I’m walking you home.”

“No, you’re not. It’s stupid for you to walk all the way over there and then back.”

“It’s stupid for you to walk alone.”

We stared at each other for a moment.

Benji squeezed my hand. “Stay with me.”

“Yeah, right,” I said, walking away.

“I’m serious,” he said, pulling me to him. “I’ll sleep on the floor.”

I thought for a minute, chewing on my lip. “You’re not going to let me walk home alone, and I’m not going to let you walk me home. We’re at an impasse.”

“Correct.”

“So, my staying here makes sense, right?”

“Right.”

“Okay.”

“Okay?”

senor wences

We all know where this is going. We’ve read these kinds of books all the time. “Just stay the night, nothing is going to happen WHOOPS THERE’S MY DICK IN YOU HOW DID THAT GET THERE.” He even gives her a t-shirt to sleep in.

I pulled back the covers and turned onto my side, facing Benji. He was looking straight ahead, lying perfectly still.

“Okay then,” I said, starting to turn my back to him.

“you look really good in my shirt,” Benji said, his voice muffled. “I’m just trying to keep my promise.”

Technically he promised he would sleep on the floor, but let’s just take this for the “I’m trying not to rape you and it’s a Herculean effort” line that it is and be as thoroughly grossed out as we should be.

“You did promise to sleep on the floor,” I said.

Benji slammed his face into the pillow. “I did. I promised. And I will never break a promise to you.”

I could barely understand him, but it made me giggle.

He looked up. “There is nothing about this that’s funny.”

“I don’t know. You’re pretty funny right now.”

Ha ha! Yon knave hath made a jest about raping me! How droll!

I stopped smiling and tried not to think too much about what I was getting ready to do.

Just_don't

I crawled down from Benji’s bed. He turned onto his side, watching me move toward him.

 

dude no

I lowered myself to the floor next to him and leaned in. “What if I want you to touch me?”

felicia day no

 

Without skipping a beat, Benji put his hands on both sides of my face and pulled my lips against his. His mouth immediately opened, and I slipped my tongue inside , caressing his tongue with mine .

67296-I-dont-know-what-I-expected-gi-q3di

Let’s talk for a minute about how this is a rape scene, shall we? Great.

So, Rory goes down on him, then they have intercourse. That’s seriously it. From BJ to insertion, the whole thing is shorter than the will they/won’t they that we just had to sit through from the party until now.

The prose is E.L. James level vague:

He pumped and rocked against me, faster and stronger each time, rubbing against every part of me that I wanted him to until I could feel the build, until it consumed me, overtaking my entire body, finally making my thighs twitch uncontrollably. I moaned and let my arms fall back with my hands over my head. Benji reached for them, intertwining his fingers in mine. He rocked against me, each time making the smallest, most amazing humming sound until he came.

I was seriously waiting for a “he detonated around me.”

“I love you,” he said, brushing my hair back from my face. I wasn’t sure what expression I had, but it made one corner of his mouth turn up. “It’s okay. You don’t have to say it back.”

She can’t say it back. She’s got over half the book left to stretch this conflict over. Tomorrow she’ll probably hate you again.

I closed my eyes, refusing to think too much about what we’d done or what he’d just said, just enjoying having someone so close who loved me that much. I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was love, but I’d never felt this way before.

Meanwhile, back at the space rock, JUST KIDDING HA HA THERE’S STILL NO FUCKING SCIENCE FICTION IN THIS BOOK JUST KISSING AND SURPRISE IMMORTALITY.

 

115 thoughts on “Jealous Hater’s Book Club: Apolonia, Chapter Eight

  1. …I can’t even tell what’s bad writing and what’s science fiction. But, no, you know what? I refuse to accept her immortality because we don’t need her negativity in the world for 500 years.

    Yeesh.

    Also is this like a “I’ve been spoiled reading better sex” thing or was that sex scene just really dull?

      1. I guess because she can’t risk other people finding out she’s immortal. If she didn’t defend herself, it’d be pretty hard to explain how she got up and walked away from what was clearly a death-inducing blow. I mean, assuming that happened at some point. Maybe SHE’S the alien in the story.

      2. Because immortality doesn’t mean anything regarding trauma? It just means you’ll wake up again. I totally get why someone would want to avoid being traumatized.

      1. Funny you should ask, as I was multitasking while reading this, watching an episode of Highlander at the same time… :)

        There’s been no indication up until now that this chick is immortal. I’m hoping it’s an unfortunate typo.

  2. UHHHH. Immortality? Wut? Since when how what? Is it a metaphor? Is it real? Is this real life?

    Goddamn this book needs more editing. This reads like a NaNoWriMo draft. I’ve had writer friends who started contemporary novels and then just tumbled into fantasy or sci-fi because it suddenly hit them. And that’s totally cool, it ups the words count. BUT IN A PUBLISHED NOVEL? Genre shift confusion.

    Also, I’ve been avoiding books with love triangles for a while, and I finally remembered why–on top of there hardly being any tension and detracting from the main plot (usually), it also makes all the involved participants look like total douchebags. Quit freaking stringing each other along and talk it out once and move onnnn.

    1. I’ve decided to intoduce the “love ladder”.

      Or as it’s also called, a healthy progression of relationships that includes the possibility that the person you date at sixteen may not be the person you date forever.

  3. This book. This fucking book. If this is a rip off of Roswell (though I maintain that Twilight is, in fact, the Roswell rip off), it’s doing a horrible job. Roswell had lots and lots of kissing and sexual tension but it also had aliens right away, lots of science fiction stuff and a space rock that actually amounted to something and lead to the aliens’ backstory. Jesus Christ, it’s like she only paid attention to the part where Liz was infatuated with Max but also had her ex boyfriend who was still infatuated with her and her best guy friend who did things for her unquestioningly.

    So basically, Rory=Liz, Cy=Max, and Benji is a horrific combination of Kyle and Alex minus any of their actual nice traits. Good job, Jamie McGuire, you fail at creating compelling science fiction and romance.

    1. NOT EVEN LIZ WAS THIS ANNOYING THOUGH, JEEZ! (I hate Liz.) And Liz was kind of like, the opposite of Rory, because she was always like “Oh Max we are totally soulmates and we must be together even though you are an alien and you keep trying to push me away and also you kind of have an alien wife.”

      Actually now that we say it like that maybe Benji is Liz and Rory is Max and Cy is Tess?

      1. “Actually now that we say it like that maybe Benji is Liz and Rory is Max and Cy is Tess?”

        Oooh, that dynamic totally works. I can definitely see that. Max was always kind of stringing Liz along despite knowing how she felt about him. He was also inexplicably drawn to Tess without knowing why. Rory is totally Max but worse.

        I disliked Liz too! Though she still was not half as horrible as Rory is. She at least tried to be kind and thoughtful of others…tried. Rory goes out of her way to be awful.

  4. I just want to learn about the space rock. ;_;

    And as a slight tangent, I don’t write sex scenes because I’ve not had sex and that people who have had sex would read my sex scenes and be all “wut that can’t happen,” but between this horrifically vague rape sex scene and what I’ve read from Jenny’s 50SoG recaps, I feel I might be slightly more qualified and confident in my abilities. XD

    1. Ehh, the sex scenes in most romance and erotica aren’t realistic either. Even if they are well written they are usually very idealized.

    2. Just FYI, you do enough half-decent reading and also do the education thing like on how things work which you generally should in life anyways, and you can fake it really well. I don’t think writing sex is really that different than writing flying a helicopter or mountain climbing, or whatever, and the people who read my sex scenes apparently agree! XD

    3. And then our parts touched. Our bodies gyrated together in the natural sex movements, enthusiastically. When he stuck his tongue in my ear, my knees itched and I felt like hot wax on a grease fire. His manhood exploded and I felt the balloon of his love fill my areas.
      Was this what the singers had been talking about all along?

  5. I hate Rory. So. Much. I hate this book. I hate that there are people who like this book. and I hate the ocd level of compulsion I have to finish any book I start. This is worse than when I forced myself to finish Savage pearl, at least that one had a plot.

  6. Hahahha everything about this was awesome. I am so glad I am reading these recaps and not this actual book. My favorite part was definitely “I hope you get hit by a snow plow.” hear, hear!

    1. Indeed.

      There’s something so irritating about guys going from ‘No, I just want to be your friend’ to ‘Why won’t you like me that way? How did I ever end up in the friend-zone?’ I wish they’d fuck off already.

  7. There are so many irritating things about this book but name-dropping bands is just awful. I love The White Stripes, okay? I’ve loved them since I was seven and I refuse to let someone like Rory love them.
    Also, I believe there never will be any sci-fi in this. 50 Shades of Fuckery had more sci-fi in this. I once wondered whether Chedward was a Cenobite.

      1. I actually changed my mind. I want Chedward, Ana, Rory, Benji and Cy to be taken by Cenobites and torn into billion pieces like Frank. Maybe they can take Bella too, they’d be doing us a favor.

  8. “Think I’ll ever make it back out of the friend zone alive?”

    For some reason I find this to be the most confusing sentence ever. I mean, first “back out?” Because the way you came in was as non-existent on Rory’s radar, and I don’t think you want to go “back out” that way. Also, you tell me, buddy, are you going to get out alive? I don’t think Rory is going to stop you if you decide “just being friends” is a waste of your time and decide to leave.

    This friend zone bullshit is something that really bugs me. I can understand that if you are romantically interested in someone, trying to get to know them and flirt and see if they are interested in you, and then—upon discovering that they are not in fact interested in you back—deciding, “you know what? It kind of sucks being around you because I was really in to you and you didn’t have the same feelings, so I’m going to have to pass on hanging out with you anymore.” I can respect that. But I hate it when someone is like, hey, I really want to be your friend, no really, being your friend is definitely what I’m interested in. And then months later, they say heeeeyyy, jk, I actually want to be dating you, and you say heeeyyyyy, sorry, you’re such a great friend and I love hanging with you but I just don’t feel that way. And they’re like, it’s cool, we’re still friends, but in reality they never talk to you again.

    Maybe this has just happened to me too many times that it really pisses me off to see it in fiction.

    1. I hate the whining about being in the friend zone.
      But I recently found a video that I’d like to share with you.
      These two people sum it up pretty good.^^

    1. I got the impression that she shaved all the way around her head, but left the hair on the top and cut it to either 4inches long or chin-length. I don’t think she ever specifies which it is and you’d think if her head were that small she’d have mentioned it, but seeing as we apparently just learned that she’s immortal, maybe not.

  9. I often think when people try to do this whole ‘Oh, we hate each other – oh, check it out, we’ve fallen in love’ thing, that they’re trying to replicate Pride and Prejudice. And even though that’s a well loved classic, it doesn’t work outside of the context of Georgian England. Possibly not even then, depending on who you ask.

    When transposed into a modern day setting, you often end up with a girl who hates a guy for mostly no reason then falls in love with him for mostly no reason (pregnant sisters bringing shame to the family being somewhat outdated), and it ends up sounding more like Helga from Hey Arnold.

    1. Helga! But she’s so great, because she loves and hates Arnold in equal measure. Or she hates him because she loves him? Anyway, she rocks.
      (It helps that she’s an screwed up kid who has trouble expressing any emotion other than anger)

    2. As Helga Patacki’s unofficial internet PR agent and #5 fan, I would like to refute the statement that Helga hates and falls in love with a guy for mostly no reason because Hey Arnold! is a far more sophisticated cartoon show than this book is proving to be.

      Helga’s family consists of one constantly angry and verbally abusive father, one alcoholic and depressed mother because her husband is constantly belittling her, and a “perfect” older sister Olga that her parents give all their attention to and none to Helga (it hasn’t been officially confirmed, but considering their age difference and that her parents keep calling her “Olga” instead of “Helga” , it’s fairly obvious that Helga was an “accident” and her parents just couldn’t deal with it). Helga’s life is so shitty that no one will take her to her first day of preschool, so she walks there by herself in the rain in clearly unsafe parts of the city with a can of shaving cream in her lunch box. Who should be there to offer her an umbrella and tell her that he likes her bow and dress? Preschool Arnold, that’s who. And it’s clear that he likes her too when he gives her his snack after another kid steals hers.

      So what went wrong? The same kid notices that she’s fawning over Arnold and starts making fun of her for it, and in her mind she sees two options: become over-aggressive and show she’s a tough chick who takes no shit, or wilt and be beaten by the insults by her clearly depressed mother. She chooses option A, and starts bullying not only the other kids who made fun of her, but Arnold as well. Arnold gets the brunt of the abuse because A) since Helga likes/is obsessed with him, she gives him the most attention and B) I personally feel that Helga is recreating her own family situation, only with her being the one on top who beats down her partner in submission.

      The show makes it clear that bullying and being mean to the person you like is not okay behavior and is not going to get you the person you want. Helga is aware of how screwed up she is, gets mad at herself for it, and then gets even more angry at Arnold for being the cause of her frustration. Helga’s love for Arnold is not completely healthy too, because part of her love is obsession for the idealized version of Arnold (who can be a dickish Nice Guy). She wears the same style of dress and hair ribbon for years, sees his face everywhere, and builds shrines of him in her closet that she worships nightly too. She’s built him up as some perfect deity that will make her life normal and loving once she gets to be with him, because her life is not normal and loving (on the flipside, Arnold’s life is loving, but not exactly normal and is quite chaotic as his grandparents raised him in their boarding house, so he dates Lila because she seems the perfect, normal girl with a normal life to him and is so bitter that Lila likes his dull-as-dirt version Arnie, not understanding that Lila wants–*is smacked by the internet*)

      By the end of the series you see that Helga has taken steps to not be as aggressive as she started out to be, but her and her family have a long road ahead of them. This idea was SUPPOSED to be explored in a spin-off show focused on Helga, but then the movie bombed and that canned that idea but now it looks like it might be coming back. The point is that Helga’s love interests are far more mature and interesting than this book at the moment. XD

  10. *stabs everything*

    I didn’t even blink at “immortality” because I just assumed it was a typo.

    But the whole “come home with me, I promise I’ll sleep on the floor” thing is horrible. I had a guy do that to me at university, except he was “offering” to come back to my room and definitely just sleep on the covers, not even under them, definitely not touch me, etc etc. And I kept saying no and he kept begging and telling me he wasn’t trying it on, but he really, really wanted to come back to my place and he’d be a real gentleman, why was I being so mean, etc, etc…

    And because I stuck to my guns and wouldn’t let him come back with me, I was then a slut and a whore somehow?

    I really, really don’t like seeing this kind of interaction in fiction unless someone’s going to slam on the brakes and say “what the fucking fuck?” about it.

    1. Yeah that triggered some bad memories for me. Unlike you, I could not stand my ground and did let a guy come back to ‘just sleep on the floor.’ After further pressuring he got me to make out with him, cause I just wanted to shut him up and stop all the guilting. When he felt me up I gave him a hard no and hid out in my bathroom all night out of fear. You’d think a person would take the hint and leave then, right? ‘Hey, that girl won’t leave the bathroom and it’s 3am.’ But no…he kept knocking on the door and asking if everything was alright. “Eh, I don’t feel so well. Think we could hang out later?”, “No, I want to make sure you’re ok.”, “I’ll be ok, I just don’t feel well. I’ll call you later, ok?”, “What if I got you some pepto or an antacid?”, “Nah, I got that in here. I just need some time. Sorry, I ruined the night just see yourself out.”, “No, I want to make sure you’re ok.” THIS WENT ON FOR HOURS. I WAS TELLING HIM AS POLITELY AS I COULD TO FUCKING GET THE FUCK OUT AND HE WOULD NOT. The lie I constructed to get out of his sexual pressuring backfired on me and I could not get this fucker out of my apartment. It was five AM before I came out, and by then I was lying about having to go to work so I could just have some excuse to kick him out. I didn’t have to work. I just drove around the block so he’d leave. I actually DROPPED A CLASS so I could avoid that person. Like my hands are shaking just typing this out now. Guys need to learn to accept NO. No is not a soft yes!!!! This whole chapter made me want to puke.

      1. Really sorry that happened to you. Cyber hugs if you want them. What a fucking creep.

        I’m not good at hard “no”s. When a man starts pressuring me and I have no direct way out, I tend to think of the least painful way to go along with whatever he wants and try to get it over as quickly as possible. This is why I’ve pretty much stopped dating for now and just stick to trusted casual partners who I know won’t pressure me. I just don’t feel like taking the risk of having to go along when I don’t want to again.

        1. Oh god this seriously reminds me of a time when my housemate and I threw a party and one of his friends was like that about coming to sleep in my room. I was super firm with my “no” but then once I was almost asleep at fucking 2am, my bedroom door magically started opening and there he was, trying to sneak in without me noticing. He wanted to get into bed with me ASLEEP AND UNKNOWING. Ugh.

          I was too tired to say “dude, how fucking dare you walk into my bedroom without knocking? I’ve known you like four hours.” So I just did a load of weak “no, go downstairs” stuff and the creep wouldn’t take no for an answer. If I’d been sober I would have threatened him with the police or something but I ended up having to go downstairs and sleep on the floor with him just because a couple of my friends were there and I felt safer (than in my own bedroom, WTF?). Feelings of safety were misjudged as I woke up with his hand in my PJ bottoms. No more sleep for me that night. Fucker.

          My housemate was all “oh he’s a nice guy, he doesn’t mean it, he was drunk” and all that bullshit. I said I didn’t care – that guy was banned from the house. Didn’t stop him inviting him back a few weeks later so I had to stay at a friend’s. Double fucker.

          Since then, I’ve been very nervous about sleeping in any room that doesn’t lock and unlock from the inside.

          So yeah. Benji is a fucker.

          1. My story is far less creepy and gross, but still so wrong.

            I was waiting for the bus and this guy was also waiting for the bus, so we talked a little bit. He asked if I wanted to come home with him (okay, this part was kind of creepy). I was like, ‘Um, no.’ He wanted to know why. I explained that I don’t go home with people I’ve met five minutes ago. He then asked for my phone number. I – again – said no. He asked why. I said that I don’t give my phone number to strangers. He then wanted to give me his phone number.

            At this point, it was pretty clear that he was NOT getting it. I explained that I did not want him to have my number, because I didn’t want him to call me, so I did not want his number either, because I was definitely not interested in calling him. He insisted that he leave me his number. I told him (a ridiculous amount of times) that giving me his number was useless, BECAUSE I WAS NOT GOING TO CALL HIM. Nope, he still wanted to give me his number.

            Finally, I literally said ‘whatever’ and allowed him to give me his number. At the time, I just thought it was incredibly pathetic how the guy failed to understand that I had zero interest despite me repeatedly, explicitly saying so. Now… I don’t know. I see this kind of behaviour a lot and I wonder what’s wrong with the world. Especially when books and films somehow portray this wearing down tactic/bullshit as romantic.

            And I feel for all the people who’ve had shit happen to them because someone would not take no for an answer.

          2. I’m really really really sorry for your bad experiences, and I think it’s terrible that that kind of thing is so common both in real life and fiction. And also, apparently, I read the wrong books and know the wrong guys, because when I read that scene, I thought, “So he’s going to sleep on the floor… WHY exactly is Jenny talking about them having sex?” And then I read the rest of the scene and knew, and now I’m sitting here remembering my teen years and the many, many times I could’ve been in danger because a guy I didn’t want to have sex with slept in my flat, my room, my tent, or in my bed (sometimes even under my duvet) with me. Seems I was just plain lucky. It’s a scary thought even in hindsight…

          3. Yo, how does someone not mean to stick their hands into your pants? I am so sorry this happened to you. I think the worst part though is having others making apologies for them like “being drunk” is an excuse for molestation?

          4. My story is far, far less creepy. I went out on a date with a guy – even before we agreed, his suggestion was to watch a movie at his place when we barely knew each other. I said no, and even offered to pay for the cheap cinema tickets (while he bought popcorn).

            Afterwards he kept trying to get me back to his place. I said no multiple times. He kept asking why not. I kept saying no fucking way. He never offered to come to my dorm, but kept wanting to get me over.

            Because he couldn’t get me there? We never got around a second date.
            (Altough I had a feeling we couldn’t have gotten a second date even if I had said yes.)

          5. Seriously, why do people think that being drunk gives guys a right to do whatever they want sex-wise with no consequences? If a guy got drunk, got behind the wheel, and killed someone with his car, no one would question that he was guilty of at least manslaughter. Shouldn’t that mean that, by extension, the guy should still be held accountable when he assaults someone? I mean, you would think that would be common sense, right? It shouldn’t matter how nice he is when he’s sober, he did something awful while drunk, and he needs to be held responsible for it!
            /rant

  11. Maybe it’s just deja vu, because every one of these chapters feels like a rehash of the last one, but didn’t Benji confess his love for her, like, last week? I honestly could have sworn Benji and Rory already had this exact convo.

  12. You know this kind of off topic, but I noticed the complete lack of any sort of female oriented foreplay when I read Beautiful Disaster. Abby is a virgin when she and Travis first have sex, and they literally go from kissing to straight up penatration with no pain on her part and I’m pretty sure she even has an orgasm. And now here it is again.

    Maybe I just tend to read more quality romance, but it seems really weird and anachronistic to me. Like I can’t even remember the last time I read another book that had a sex scene and didn’t at least imply there being some cunnilingus. It’s like the only way women in Macguire’s books can get any sexual pleasure is by being the break through which the (rapey) hero gets his. At least in 50SoG Christian does try to please Ana.

    1. Yeah, that’s another sexist thing about these books. Even in 50 shades, Christian barely goes down on Anna. He finger bangs her a lot, and granted ‘down there’ could mean literally anything, but we don’t get descriptions of clitoral stimulation much. We get tons of BJs though. Like…aren’t these books written by women? It seems like they’re all trying to say the ‘right’ guy will give us earth-shattering orgasms from PIV sex alone.

      1. Which is just bullshit on so many levels. First of all, that’s not even how sex works. There are women out there who can come from penetration alone, but they are far from the majority. Secondly, for novels that are ostensibly supposed to be romances for people in their late teens and early twenties, these books seem to have a pretty poor understanding of the way my generation has sex. Oral sex is expected, from both genders. And I think it’s pretty well recognized that women have needs and are as capable of enjoy sex as men.

        Basically these books are like 1950s bullshit. They seriously remind me of Mad Men without the style. They are all about a woman who is under the thumb of a guy who emotionally manipulates her, controls what she wears and who she talks to, threatens her with violence (literally in 50SoG, more subtly in Beautiful Disaster), and acts like a toddler throwing a tantrum/ outright threatens self harm when he is denied what he wants. On top of that she is treated like a quasi mother figure responsible for the “hero’s” emotional state. And she only gets to orgasm if his dick is in her.

        And that is all just completely fucked.

        1. This may come as a shock to you, but not all women like the same things when it comes to sex. Oral sex (receiving) has never done anything for me. At all. I don’t enjoy it, I don’t orgasm from it and I’d prefer to skip it altogether.

          And even if I didn’t feel that way, it isn’t something I would do every single time. Sometimes it’s just about ripping off the clothes and going at it like animals.

          1. *raises hand* Pretty sure I’m the same generationish and I’m somewhere on the asexuality scale so yeah don’t count me into sex stuff without asking me, thanks, lol. And there are a lot more asexual people out there than you think. Plus not everyone who has a vagina is a woman/every woman has a vagina, and some women like to have sex with women and leave men out of the equation altogether, so it’s just… it’s such a bad idea to generalize the sexual preferences of “women” as one giant group.

            But seriously any partner who “expected” sex, oral or otherwise, could go and “expect” it from themselves, because that would literally be a dealbreaker.

          2. I don’t think Jessibel was generalising. She explicitly said that ‘far from the majority’ of women enjoy/achieve an orgasm during penetrative sex. Nor did she say that all women love to receive oral sex.

            It reads to me like she just said that the way sex is overwhelmingly portrayed in these kind of novels (female orgasm through penetration, little to no oral sex for the woman) strikes her as outdated.

        2. I used* to be one of those women that could orgasm through penetrative sex. In fact, I rarely orgasmed from clitoral stimulation, but frequently through penetrative (though, I admit, it took me a long freaking time to figure out what worked to give me an orgasm. I was in my 20′s before I had one. But once I figured it out it was easy to do.). Even so, even I get annoyed with books where the heroine only orgasms from the hero’s penis being inside her.

          Even I know that’s unrealistic as hell. I mean, given how frustrated my boyfriends and flings would get when they couldn’t get me off through fingering, cunnilingus, etc, I know my situation has got to be rare as hell.
          Plus it’s annoying because it’s so freaking boring to read. Oh, look. He teases her, she goes down on him, they screw, the end. Again. And again and again. *yawn* Mix it up a little, people! There’s a million and one ways to have sex. There’s countless things that can be done to get a woman off. If it’s going to be the same boring sex over and over at least make 99% happen off screen. Geez!

          *(Just a note, I use the past tense there because some years ago I had an injury to my lumbar spine that caused nerve damage through pretty much my whole lower body. Nothing too major other than chronic pain, but it also means nothing sexual feels the same as it used to so I’m having to re-learn what works and what doesn’t. It’s really weird to have to figure out what gets you off and what doesn’t all over again.)

    2. This really bothers me about the romance genre, as well. Orgasm through penetration seems to be mandatory and the only way the heroine is supposed to get off. I honestly think it’s being written that way out of habit; I wrote scenes like that because I learned how to write sex scenes from reading other sex scenes, and it was only when I really thought about it that I realized that my heroines weren’t possibly having these awesome, mind-blowing orgasms from just blowing a guy followed by penetration.

  13. Okay, here’s my major beef with this story: Cy’s story is just…wtf.

    Not just because he’s flaccid and dumb, but I can’t help but wonder, if he is an alien and he’s got advanced enough technology to travel to Earth, why can’t he study the rock on his own planet? Like, couldn’t he just…steal the thing? I mean, it’s from space. It’s not native to Earth or anything, so there’s no reason he can’t take it to an alien research facility for fear of contaminating it. AND if he’s studying it for alien research, why is it just him? Why not more aliens? Why not a team of aliens at a hidden, secret, alien research facility somewhere on earth (if it is, in fact, necessary to study it here.) I mean, now that he knows Dr. Z wants to keep that shit under wraps because of the CIA, he could totally steal it, because it’s not like Dr. Z can report the theft, and he could study it in another lab.

    ALSO, if the rock is so important, why would a student be sent to study it, not some alien scientist. AND if Cy ISN’T an alien, isn’t he worried about the implications he would face for conspiring to hide scientific research from a powerful government agency responsible for, you know, torturing the shit out of people (esp middle eastern men.) Not to mention if he’s caught, his chance of ever possibly immigrating to the U.S. goes completely out the window and all of the work he put into the whole space rock thing will be completely null and void (and there are a lot of academic implications.)

    I know I’m expecting too much out of this story, but god, a little realism would be nice. Or just something to explain these characters’ weirdass behavior, because it’s honestly past the point I can see anyone suspending disbelief. It’s just totally ridiculous to expect any reader to just go along with this kind of shenanigans.

    1. just to clarify, the reason the alien lab thing bugs me so much is bc I just think a race of aliens capable of manufacturing ships for interstellar travel is also going to have the technology needed to study the rock properly. So instead of Cy stuck with microscopes and whatever the number shit they’re doing is, he’d be able to actually, you know, study the thing. Hell, he could have probably identified it already.

    2. You know, those are good questions. And since this is sci-fi I imagine there are 503483490 ways they can explain inconsistencies like that. But…you know…this book is more concerned with the DeEp aNd MeAniNgFul connections between cardboard-box people than actual plot. I expect…if this novel addresses any of the points you mentioned, it’ll be in roughly 5 lines of exposition somewhere at the end.

      1. Not to forget that the blissful ignorance about the possible implications of all this makes Dr. Z either stupid or a douchebag or a stupid douchebag. Either he hasn’t noticed that he put Cy in a really shitty situation, or he doesn’t care that the student he’s responsible for might be tortured and killed about his half-hatched “let’s keep this from the CIA” plan. The only explanation for that kind of behaviour that makes Dr. Z look okay is that he knows Cy is an alien, and that opens up a completely different kind of worms.

        As for the alien lab problem: There is a neat explanation for that one. The space rock really is a clump of excrements from a spaceship’s waste processor. Cy knows that. He is only there to keep the stupid humans from finding out about it, and he figures that hiding it from the CIA with their better resources and keeping it in a cellar with an incompetent coworker doing stupid, not scientifically relevant things with it is the best way to do so. And Cy is not a student but the alien equivalent of a janitor who screwed up and now has to clean the mess up.

        1. I just generally want to know how on earth Dr Z is hiding this thing from the CIA. They obviously know he has it, I mean, they have to know, so he’s hiding it where he works? Genius shell game there, Doc. I bet the CIA and FBI would never, ever think to search your workplace for this supposed no-one-knows-what-it’s-made-of super special space rock.

          Also, I’m pretty sure I remember that as far as meteorites go, the law says that whoever’s property they land on, that’s who owns it. So Dr Z finding this thing doesn’t mean jack crap unless he also owned the land it landed on. If one lands on government-owned land, the government owns it.
          Given that he found it in the Arctic somewhere doesn’t that mean he likely stole it from either the US, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway or Finland? Or from a citizen or native peoples of one of those nations?
          So, for one, how very moral. Two, finding out who he stole it from, why he thinks he’s justified in owning it and hiding it, if the victim knows they’ve had a Super Special Space Rock™ taken from them, and what they’d be willing to do to get it back would be infinitely more interesting than this I-hate-him-no-I-love-him, inconsistent characterization, boring-ass bullshit that has comprised most of the book thus far!

    3. I’m somehow reminded of the Third Doctor story, Spearhead from Space, where the Doctor has to study an alien asteroid, and spends a lot of time complaining about the primitive technology he’s stuck using, because the Brigadier wouldn’t give him the TARDIS key. Perhaps something similar is going on with Cy and he can’t use his advanced alien tech because he can’t get to it.

      Damn, this just made me realise I’d so much rather be hearing Cy’s side of things than Rory’s. Alien stuck on Earth, having to fit in? That’s so much more entertaining than whatever this is.

        1. Word. Especially if it included him forgetting that he’s “from Egypt.” Being in his head when he gets asked a random question, then he answers honestly or has to make up some Arabic-esque bull off the top of his head, then mentally beats himself up later for being stupid/careless and being worried that a few people are on to him would be SOOOOO much more interesting.

          Or maybe I just really want this not to be a racist “other” kind of characterization and being in Cy’s head has the possibility of solving that little issue.

          1. Uh, yeah. Or him saying that he’s “from Egypt”. Then talking about “his home” while mixing Persian culture, Indian food, and throwing in some French and Japanese customs in for good measure, not to forget the stuff from his home planet. And NOBODY NOTICES. And he’s totally confused by that, but gets even more careless (because being on a foreign planet, he has enough other stuff to worry about, and he’s confused by the “planet of hats” syndrome), until he’s caught because of that. By an actual exchange student from Egypt.

            Now, THAT would be fun. But no… I think when coming up for ideas for this book, the author thought: “Well, we have an alien, a space rock, a girl with a traumatic past… that’s so many possibilities! Now… which of these would do for writing the most boring book EVER?”

  14. Benji pressing the boundaries – it’s skeevy and it’s ridiculous and has added coersion. If she doesn’t want him to confess his feelings for her – that’s a pretty heavy indication she doesn’t share them. He can’t not know that – but thinks he can change that by pressing it

    but then she does mix her signals like a damn Kenwood chef.

  15. I hate everything about this book. It’s not as infuriating as Fifty Shades, but at least Ana had the “Oh, sweetie; sweetie, no” thing going for her. Rory I just want to slap. Not strangle in a blind rage like I wanted to do Christian, but slap repeatedly. And Benji, too, even more, and he’s bordering on the strangulation.

  16. Not only is the characterization, dialogue, and plotting atrocious in this section, the language makes my head explode. Like “his staple khaki cargo pants.” So staple khaki is a color now, like charcoal gray? Then there’s “back of Cy’s infuriatingly beautiful head.” I’ve heard of the front (the face) of someone’s head being beautiful, but not the back, because it’s just, well, HAIR back there, and why should it infuriate anyone? Just horrible writing all around.

    1. Staple khaki, is that the specific color for people who work at Staples? Cause we don’t have Target khaki and now I’m jealous.

    2. I’m pretty sure “staple khaki” just means that he always wears khaki pants.

      Maybe the author thinks that if she’s totally consistant with what her characters wear, people won’t notice when she’s not at all consistant with how they act.

  17. The thing that really freaked me out was that Benji seemed possessive of the woman he lost his virginity to, as though she HAD TO BE HIS FOREVER <3 <3 <3 because she punched his v-card or…. whatever. And assuming that isn't problematic enough, Rory's gonna go for a dude who clearly isn't over the last woman (I mean, you don't hate the person dating her for no particular reason, right)? Even though he's professing his undying love for Rory? Hold up a minute.

    Though, I guess I could have missed something since I'm only reading the recaps.

    1. Yeah. Even worse is that Benji’s acting like the other guy STOLE his sex-partner–like she had NO control or no motive other than ‘simply going’ with the other guy.
      That definitely makes Benji even more skeevier: first for obsessively wearing Rory down, second for trying to guild-trip her every 5 minutes, and NOW acting like that it’s all ONE GUY’S fault if one girl preferred to ditch Benji and date someone else.

      I suppose the writer didn’t mean to make it sound like that, but it suggests SO much on how Benji sees women in general.

      1. I hate saying one character’s personality is indicative of an author’s personality, but…. I’m going to say something close to that anyway. I don’t necessarily think McGuire feels that way about women, and I certainly hope she doesn’t, but I wonder if that’s how she thinks the average college guy thinks of women. I doubt she’s looking at it that deeply, but I get the impression that Benji is supposed to be a bit of an average (if slightly more studious than average) college guy.

        And what really gives me pause- from my own college experience, from what I see on tv shows and from what I read in YA books and in news articles and blogs, she’s not entirely wrong. If that’s not how a majority of college men view women (and I sincerely hope it’s not a majority) then it’s at least how an awful lot of media portrays the average young man.
        It took me until several years after college to realize that the “nice guys finish last,” and “friend zone” narratives/complaints and the “I’m going to say I just want to be friends, but use that closeness to wear you down, then when you give in and date me I’m going to wear you down about getting more drunk than you want to, and going farther than you’re comfortable with physically, and, and, and…” dynamic are, in fact, extremely misogynistic and lead to very, very questionable situations where consent is involved.

        In college I knew it made me uncomfortable when guys complained about being “friend zoned” or how the girls/women they liked only date jerks, but I didn’t know why and I didn’t give it much thought. Likewise, I didn’t know why I felt freaked out and uneasy when I woke up in some guy’s bed not knowing how I got there or remembering anything that happened. It just didn’t occur to me that him being mostly sober and me being three-sheets-to-the-wind or (unknowingly) drugged meant I hadn’t given consent and was raped. And millions of other examples that the light bulb didn’t go off until several years after the fact.

        And I’m not sure I can blame the author if she doesn’t know that these traits of Benji’s, at least taken individually, are troubling. Heaven knows that there are scores of women that think it’s normal behavior and attitudes to have, but somewhere in the editing process someone should have told her that one of these traits is annoying and that all of them put together is exceedingly misogynistic and paints Benji as selfish and disrespectful at best, and possibly an abuser.

        A couple, or hell, even all of, these traits in a character could be a positive thing for a book. Especially when the characters are college students and the book is targeted at college-age women. It can add a dose of realism. But it has to be handled in the right way. It should not be construed as romantic, the female target of these attitudes should be uncomfortable with it, and I think that at some point she should realize how f-ed up it is to be treated that way.
        In the hands of the right author, it could be an interesting plot to a book or an interesting sub-plot. But Jamie McGuire is NOT that author just like neither Stephenie Meyer nor E. L. James are that author either. Especially E. L. James. Good gawd is she the wrong author for depicting, …well, any relationship.

  18. Maybe the university they’re at is in Snoresville and that’s why this book is so boring.

    Stupid joke, but I’m keeping it.

  19. Well I finally got round to reading this book and I can honestly say I found nothing in it that redeemed the time I spent on it. To be fair, by a third of my way through I was speed reading because sometimes, life is simply too short for this shit. It does need a really good edit (had I done the job I suspect that we would have been left with a neat collection of the words “a”, “and” and “the”) but there’s a more basic problem; it needs an actual story. The whole thing hangs together like a bad soap opera and not the early series either; the “Bobby steps out of the shower and it was all a dream because we’ve run out of ideas’ late season” shit show. I’ve barely come accross anything with a less coherent narrative, more unfathomable characters (and not in a interesting ‘I’m mysterious’ way, more in a ‘this is just a collection of meaningless traits I as the author have strung together’ way), and pointless plot development (and I use the word ‘development’ here with a healthy dose of irony). Honestly, I just wanted to stamp one of those gifs of Inigo Montoya saying “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” all over every page. I could just about bear all of this if the whole thing wasn’t riven through with seriously negative stereotypes and really terrible messages like the scene described by Jenny above. The depictions of girl on girl hate are also some of the worst I’ve read. Top tip to authors when your readers find themselves wishing your heroine had died in the massacre of her family in Chapter One something is probably up with that and you might need to rethink your whole endeavor.

    Honestly, sorry for the rant but it’s a long time since I’ve read anything this bad and the fact that it’s author has had the temerity to engage in so much “author behaving badly” behaviour astonishes me. I read on Twitter recently that she and EL James had met up via social media and all I could think was “water finds its own level”. Maybe they should start a club?

  20. I read this review early this afternoon then went about my business as usual. The last scene stuck around in my head though and got me thinking about something I haven’t really thought that much about in a while and unfortunately made me re contextualize an event that I hadn’t really viewed as being that bad in the past. I had always felt massively uncomfortable over it, but since I had always considered myself a willing participant, it had always just bothered me in a ‘I made a poor life decision’ way, not in a ‘wow, he’s a massive jackass’ way. Now I don’t know how to feel about it…

    I feel weird about changing how I look at the situation so drastically years after the fact… Is it right to judge him now nearly a decade later for something I had absolved him of responsibility for so long ago? I feel like I gave up the right to be judgmental about that situation when I consented to it… But at the same time hindsight is suggesting my consent to the situation was… less straight forward than I realized at the time. I still feel unsure as to whether or not I ‘blame him’ so to speak, I mean, yes is yes… But the more I think about it the more I think ‘yes is yes, but you still should have known better.’ I dunno how to feel about it anymore…

    I know I’m being super vague, as I mentioned above the situation always made me uncomfortable and at the best of times I am not comfortable discussing sex. I just feel compelled to give my confusion voice even if it’s mostly just cathartic to me and super confusing for everyone else. But for a little context I’m basically Benji in that last scene minus the ‘it’s super hard not to rape you right now’ part… And I’m a girl :p

    1. I’ve had to re-contextualize things that have happened to me years after the fact. It really wasn’t easy to go from “I made a bad decision” to “I am a victim,” but the more I allowed myself to process it, the more I realized it was the truth.

      NOTE: I’m going to try to avoid triggering language, but given the subject matter, to a degree that’s just not possible, so: Trigger Warning for rape, sexual assault, and abusive relationships.
      Also allow me to apologize right now for this comment being so long.

      Here’s the basics of the major situation I had to deal with: I was a teen dating a man that was 11 years older than me. I was incredibly naïve, he wasn’t. He did the thing where he said “I’ll never do anything you’re uncomfortable with” then would wear me down on said thing I’m uncomfortable with until I gave in. He did this a lot. And it worked a lot.
      Eventually, through naïveté or stupidity I still don’t know, I convinced myself (with his help, of course) that when you love someone you do things you’re not comfortable with if they want to do it. That’s love, right?
      Sex acts for us ranged from me giving enthusiastic consent to me not consenting, but not resisting just to get him to stop pestering (not the right word, but I’m blanking out on what a good word might be) me about a specific sex act to me saying “no” and resisting but being made to give in anyway.

      Let’s just put that last part aside because it’s not as relevant since it’s so much more obviously rape. It still took me years to actually realize it was rape, though, which still saddens me deeply.

      For everything else that didn’t fall under the heading of “enthusiastic consent” I was uncomfortable with it and upset by it, but it didn’t really cross my mind that I hadn’t actually given consent for that. I do remember being really confused because sometimes something would make me think of some specific time when I’d just “given in” and I’d start to feel anxious over it (I deal with anxiety disorders). I couldn’t understand why I had that reaction. In fact, there’s a certain sex act that I’d “given in” on that upsets me enough that to this day I even have a hard time reading about it if it comes up in a book. Generalities I can handle, but specifics I absolutely cannot. And I especially can’t handle even thinking of doing it.

      Anyway, several years after I’d broken up with him, I was in a class (working, not a student) and the class was on the subject of coercion and rape. It was like someone had dumped a bucket of ice water on me. It just hit me all of a sudden that for all that time I’d been dating him he’d been coercive, he’d used our age difference and power imbalance to his every advantage, and that he had raped me. Repeatedly.

      It wasn’t an easy thing to process. It wasn’t easy to talk about either, but both talking about it and processing it were for the better for me. Back then I didn’t have health insurance so seeing a therapist wasn’t an option. When I had that epiphany I went to talk to a friend who was more knowledgeable about such things (rape, rape culture, misogyny, etc) than me. She was much more comfortable talking about those subjects than me and she was comfortable talking to me about her own personal experiences. That really helped me be more comfortable talking about it. I talked with other friends and my now-husband about it and once I got married (and therefore had access to health insurance) I talked to a therapist about it.

      I think it’s helped me to realize what degree of that situation was, in fact, my fault and how much of it was him convincing me it was my fault, him coercing me not just to do things,but even to stay in the relationship with him.
      It helped to realize how abusive of a relationship that really had been. It’s also given me a perspective of how easy it is to become trapped in an abusive relationship and how easy it is for the victim to be blind to the abuse and her own victimhood (is that a word?).

      I think the way it helped me the most, though, is that it made me realize how murky issues of consent can be and how incredibly important enthusiastic, informed consent is. With that knowledge it is my hope that when the time comes I can use to make it clear to my currently-quite-young son the importance of enthusiastic consent.
      Maybe I can make it crystal clear to him that a girl/woman* you like isn’t a reward that you deserve for being a “nice guy.” That even with a girlfriend/boyfriend you are never owed any kind of sex. It’s not expected, it is not to be demanded from an unwilling partner, and he/she should not feel pressured to comply out of love, affection or whatever. If I can help to prevent my son from being part of the problem, and if me talking to friends about my experiences can maybe help one of them not be a victim, then it was more than worth it to come to terms with my own victimhood.

      * Should I add “boy/man” here? Is this a dynamic that happens for men attracted to men or is it primarily heterosexual males doing/saying these sorts of things? I’m genuinely not sure, and since I’m not sure what sexuality my son will identify with when he’s older, I’d like to be inclusive in my language.

      1. After I wrote that I talked to my best friend about it. I’d never really given anyone the details about it. She’d been aware that there had been a thing between he and I, but I’d never really explained it in any detail before. Which I suppose should have been clue number one now that I think about it… but anyway, after I explained what actually happened her response was ‘I’m just going to let you read that back to yourself and then ask why you feel conflicted over whether or not he was an asshole.’ And yeah, just the act of actually explaining it to someone helped immensely.

        It’s difficult to know in the situation what is and is not actual informed consent. It’s significantly less clear than it should be. And honestly even now, looking at it knowing, ‘yeah, he was an asshole’, I still struggle with judging him harshly since I said yes. I can unquestionably say ‘yes, he assaulted me’ even without taking into account the ‘yes’ because some of what happened between us did actually happen before I knew the situation and he clearly had no intention of telling me until someone else made him. But for everything that happened *after* that point, despite coming to terms with the fact that ‘having an emotional breakdown and being treated like shit for having an emotional breakdown, then basically being told my primary value is sexual’ is something that would make me violently angry if it happened to a friend, and again, actually saying what happened it’s so much harder to understand why I’m conflicted, I still struggle looking back at him with anger for it because, I said yes.

        The sad thing is I avoided relationships for a few *years* because I didn’t want to have to explain this situation, because I was ashamed of myself for having allowed it to happen…

        It feels weird to have an epiphany about rape and fuzzy consent because of this awful, awful book XD

      2. Also because I forgot to put it in my other reply there, I’m sure your son will turn out alright :) I think that teaching kids to genuinely respect other people, and being a positive example for them, is the best way to help them be a good partner in a relationship. And from the sounds of your situation, you’re probably on the right path to give him just that.

        1. Thanks. :)

          I’m so sorry you went through that. I really am. *hugs*

          I do completely understand how telling someone the situation can make it so clear. Much more clear than it was in the moment or even thinking about it afterward. I think that’s natural.
          There’s a show I watch called Switched at Birth and funnily enough, this week they had an episode about consent. Basically girl gets completely wasted at a party, blacks out, then wakes up in a strange dorm room in bed with a guy she knows and completely naked. It shook her up and really freaked her out, but she couldn’t figure out why. She knows this guy and she just kind of assumes he wouldn’t have had sex with her unless she were okay with it, but she doesn’t remember being okay with it at all.
          She can’t shake it, talks to her mom about it, and her mom immediately identifies it as rape. Once her mom kind of repeats the story back, the girl realizes “oh crap, that’s why I’m so upset.”

          So, yeah, I think that is incredibly normal to not really see the situation clearly until you can hear or read a synopsis of the event. Almost like removing yourself from it before analyzing it again.

          On your point about holding a grudge against the guy, I don’t think there’s harm in just accepting what happened without holding anger towards the guy. Especially when it’s been so long.
          Do you still see him? Are you still friends or hang around the same circles? If so, that could be murky and awkward (of course), but if he’s no longer in your life in any appreciable way I don’t think it’s a requirement to hold any animosity towards him. Might even be easier to process what happened without expending the energy to hold something against him. Does that make sense?

          1. He was my platonic roommate for several years after that while he dated someone else. It was incredibly awkward for a multitude of reasons. But he was a shitty roommate who kept the apt in a state where it wouldn’t be unreasonable to have seen it on the show ‘hoarders’ and he would constantly be late with his share of rent because he had decided he needed the latest collectors edition game/movie and that was clearly a higher priority, and I had a chance to get out of the dead end job I was in so I took it, moving far away. I still talked to him for a while after I left, but I haven’t talked to him since I learned he cheated on his now wife with her maid of honour a few months ago. Not that I’m a huge fan of his wife either (while I was living with him she was constantly threatening to commit suicide if he left her. Or said anything nice to his female friends. Or if he even talked to his female friends other than me. She hated me too but for some reason she got it in her head that I would hurt her so I got a free pass :P) but I couldn’t sit back and support him pulling that kind of bullshit. Her being a bad person doesn’t give him carte blanche to do that. If he didn’t want to be with her he shouldn’t have married her.

            I used to be a really angry person, so part of me is still in that mindset, that I have justification to be angry so I should be. But in the last few years (since I started living alone, fancy that) I let go of a lot of angry energy and I just don’t get nearly as mad as I used to, so yeah, just letting it go makes a lot of sense. I don’t have to talk to him anymore, I literally live on the other side of the country from him now, so yeah, process and move on sounds like a good answer.

            Thank you for talking to me about all this btw. It has helped. It’s always good to know you’re not alone and that someone understands.

      3. Very belatedly, yes: this is a dynamic that happens between men, and also between women, as well as in male/female couples and with non-binary people, so no matter what your son’s orientation (and/or gender identity), this is something he needs to know about.

  21. If someone described this book to me as, “It’s about an immortal ninja punk college chick whose family and friend were murdered by a crazed cult! And then she goes to college and studies a space rock that’s being kept a secret from the CIA! And her lab partner is really an alien, who’s pretending to be Egyptian! And the punk ninja girl has bizarre sexual situations happen to her!” I would be so excited to read this book.

    However, that isn’t what Jenny’s actually reading, apparently.

  22. Okay this is only a minor complaint compared to the awfulness of this book. But wasn`t Rory like “If I drank anything but water, my throut would feel dry and raw.” at the beginning of chapter 7. And now she drinks beer? The author was probably like ‘oh I need a reason why she ends up having sex with Benji, okay let’s get her drunk…’. So frustrating.

    1. We all knew that would happen. McGuire just stuck that trait in there to make Rory look sympathetic for a moment (fail) and then she forgot all about it. These ‘characters’ are all over the place consistency-wise. It makes everything even less interesting than it already is.
      The plot of this book is like FSoG’s plot: non-existent (though plenty of cool stuff seems to be happening off-screen or before the story started).

  23. WHY ISN’T ANYONE TALKING ABOUT THE HUMMING?!

    “He rocked against me, each time making the smallest, most amazing humming sound until he came.”

    1. I am torn between Benji is humming a tune (though that would up the WTF score) or the humming actually comes from the gears working inside Benji.

      Translation: I have the weirdest image of Benji being a robot right now for reasons I don’t even know why.

        1. Yeah, I think there’s a bot who had sex with a human in the 1981 movie (and another one in HM 2000). I only know the robot from the ’81 movie and he seemed to be very different from the guilt-tripping asshat Benji–Benji seems more like Toshiki Sirashaki from shoujo comic Absolute Boyfriend (Toshiki was a robot designed for sex, but wound up hurting and molesting the main heroine).

          1. I once slept with a guy who did weird humming noises on every thrust starting from about 30 seconds before he came. He probably had no idea he was doing it.

            It was really not sexy.

  24. I’m glad you’re still reading this book, I thought you’d given up. I’m curious as to what will actually happen (if anything ever does happen in this book) but I don’t think I’d ever be able to read this book myself, it’s extremely boring yet predictable romance-wise. Guys love the outsider girl, she hates everything and looks down on everything yet still ends up partaking in activities she denounces. She’s full of attitude but never stands up when she’s supposed to. Random guy whom she hates likes her and she can’t deny the inexplicable and largely forced sexual attraction between them. Blah blah blah, I just want to know what’s going on with the space rock and will be super pissed if it has no role in the plot.

  25. I am wishing for the day where a NA/YA novel features of a polyamorous relationship between 3 people.

    … But I’m not holding my breath.

  26. I’m just gonna try is and convince myself that the whole “Immortality” thing is just a nod to My Immortal. It’s about the right caliber for this kind of literature.

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