Title: Lucas Gets Hurt
Front Blurb: Zoey’s parents broke up, and it rocked her world. Then Lucas watched miserably as Zoey was comforted by her old boyfriend, Jake. Now Lucas tries to hold off Claire, his old love, who says she’ll do anything to get Lucas back. Whatever happens… Lucas Gets Hurt
Back Blurb: Lucas gets hurt when he watches Zoey, the love of his life, drift back into the arms of her old boyfriend, Jake. That’s when Claire appears, wanting to help Lucas forget his problems. But if Zoey finds out what happened between Lucas and Claire, will she ever take him back?
I wonder who is doing the Making Out recap this month? Oh… Fuck… Is it me? Messages Wing and Dove. Oh Fuck… it is me!
This is the one where Jake’s becoming an alcoholic and we meet Secret Sister. I can’t remember what hurts Lucas, though and I really doubt that he is having to “hold Claire off.”
We open up with a flashback to the end of the last book – Claire and Lucas reliving their first kiss, Christopher with a gun to the head of a crying racist, and the shock announcement of Secret Sister – before diving into a diary entry from Zoey. Her life has fallen to pieces, and she realises that her parents who she had always thought of “as very good people trying their best to be perfect parents” are small and weak and petty. So Zoey is now on the same page as the rest of us. I love that Grapplegate have planted this bomb in the Perfect Passmore family – I wonder if it was something that they always wanted to do to the Wakefields? [Wing: … great question. I think yes.]
We are at the Passmores, where the kids are reeling at the news of Secret Sister, and we get a name pretty quickly – Lara McAvoy. She doesn’t know who her real father is, or where he lives. Mrs Passmore doesn’t really want to talk about Lara though, she wants the junior Passmores to know that they love them and that they “don’t want any of this to affect you.” Zoey is still pissed at her mum for sleeping with Jake’s dad, whereas Benjamin seems willing to accept that both his parents have messed up.
Aisha is in a police car, racing to the site of Christopher’s vengeance. The cops know about the skinhead gang but they were hoping the gang would lead them to “bigger fish.” Aisha begs the police not to hurt Christopher when they find him walking away from the house, gun at his side. The police start yelling at him to drop the gun, or they will shoot and end scene. [
Honestly, this is probably the closest to real peril that any of our characters have been in at this point – Christopher is a black man, with a gun and the cops are here – and I’m a bit annoyed that it’s being sandwiched between Zoey’s family drama and Lucas and Claire’s make out session. [Wing: Hard same. This is serious shit. And sure, the Passmores are also dealing with some shit, but not nearly on the same level. And let’s be blunt here: there’s a very good chance that in reality, Christopher would be dead now.] But that’s where we are now: they are having a good old snog and Claire thinks this is a great way to get back at Jake for – and this is so Claire – “sleeping with Louise, secretly still loving Zoey and for the worst crime of all – for not really loving Claire.” Anyway, the make-out session is hot, even if Claire does still find capacity to muse on her “dispassionate mind” and how is this maybe what guilt feels like? Horn Dog Lucas is definitely into it, but he’s also into hurting Zoey, so this is very healthy behavior all round. We cut away as Lucas undresses Claire…
… Back to Chez Passmore. Seriously… Christopher is in an armed encounter with police, at the home of the racist who attacked him, but let’s deal with Zoey’s feeling about her Secret Sister. She doesn’t like the phrase half-sister or half-brother because it’s “like you were making an issue out of it. Like you didn’t quite want to accept a person.” She’s too tired to think about it now though. [Dove: I think this is one of the reasons I can’t make myself like Zoey for longer than more than a page at a time, about once every 28 books. It’s not just that Zoey believes her drama is the most important thing in the universe, but the book structure agrees with her. I know there’s the juxtaposition of “life and death” and actual life and death, and the writers don’t think that way, but Zoey’s very unlikeable.] [Rosey: I had the same problem with Rory in Gilmore Girls. Should everyone in Stars Hollow be aware that Rory is the main character?] [Wing: Rosey’s asking the good questions.]
Right, new chapter, and we are with Christopher. He drops the gun and the police take him to the ground. I remember feeling genuine worry when I read this the first time, even though I don’t really like Christopher and I feel the same way now. He’s not a great man – he’s impulsive and he treats Aisha poorly – but this is a really dangerous situation and one wrong move could get him killed. Plus, we still don’t actually know if he shot the racist that attacked him. He’s pulled onto his feet and pushed up against the car and then Aisha is there, crying and hugging him while a cop is disarming the gun as more police cars arrive.
The gun hasn’t been fired and Christopher admits that he couldn’t do it. He wanted to, and he had the guy but he couldn’t kill him. He feels “embarrassed and defeated” by this, but I think we all know it’s for the best. Not that I’m adverse to violence against violent white supremacists, but it wouldn’t have worked out well for Christopher.
A police officer drags him off the road, into some trees and towards a river. Christopher is cuffed at this point, although I’m not sure when they put them on him, and Aisha is following, crying and asking the officer where he is taking Christopher. Genuine. Peril.
The officer is angry with Christopher, but he’s going to tell the racist not to press charges. Seems that the cops were already onto this guy and investigating his role in the attack on Christopher.
“So Tough Guy, why didn’t you shoot him?” the policeman asked more gently.
“I don’t know.”
“It would have been easy, You had the gun. He was helpless.”
Christopher felt a wave of nausea at the memory. Yes, he’d been helpless, crying, begging. “It made me sick.”
“What made you sick? That he was scared? That he was begging for his life?” the sergeant bored in relentlessly.
“No,” Christopher said sharply. “It made me sick that I made him beg.”
“You enjoyed it. The rush of all that power from that little gun.”
“No. Yeah, at first.” Christopher admitted. “And then… Look, he deserved it. He’s a racist piece of crap”
Surprisingly, the policeman laughed. “you know what? Lots of people deserve lots of things, Kid. Sometimes they even get what’s coming to them. Not all the time but sometimes.”
The racists who attacked Christopher probably won’t though – he and the cop agree that they will probably get a couple of months in jail and then be back out on the streets. Christopher thinks that maybe he should have killed him and the cop tells him he’s the bigger man for not taking pleasure in another person’s pain. Oh, and they ran a background check on Christopher when he made the police report about the attack and he’s a good, hard-working kid so he’s walking away from this. The police officer tells him to throw the gun in the river and stay out of the case so that it can go through the courts smoothly and then walks away from Christopher and Aisha.
Is it normal for police to run background checks on assault and battery victims? It’s definitely not great that they are destroying evidence and intimidating victims of subsequent crimes. Seems like corruption is as rife in the Weymouth PD but on this occasion, they are using the power to take down the racist gang [Rosey: rather than be the racist gang. OOOOOO] so I’m good with it. As far as I remember, this storyline is now over and we never deal with Lucas keeping the identity of the attackers secret. That’s forever a mark against Lucas’s name for me but I’m glad that this is over so I can go back to hating Christopher.
Speaking of Lucas, he and Claire are hot and heavy in the car when Claire says they can’t do “this” as “it’s a little too far to take payback.” Lucas is pretty pissed that this is just about payback and calls Claire cold. She might be cold, but she can read Lucas like a book:
“Uh-huh. I’m cold, but you’ve suddenly fallen madly in love with me, right? It isn’t just that you’re horny and you’re mad at Zoey for refusing you. Or that you’re worried about that long, very long hug between her and Jake? It isn’t that you’re thinking, ‘well, I get laid, plus I get to pay Zoey back’?”
So they both admit that while the other one is super hot, they are in love with other people and drive home, Lucas realising that he’s just given Claire all the power in his relationship with Zoey.
We get a Claire diary entry and she is musing on how small the island is and how everyone needs to get along because there are so few of them – she’s dated 3 of the 4 boys that are in her age group and she has to see them every day so you can’t “develop a healthy hatred for your ex and just put him out of your life because you’re going to be seeing him every single day. So relationships never completely die.” I feel for Claire here because that is exactly how I like to deal with exes!
Lucas and Claire get the last ferry back to Chatham Island and see Aisha and Christopher huddled together and Claire instantly knows that “something had gone wrong with those two on the mainland tonight” but whatevs, she has her own drama to deal with. Lucas is trying to play off what they did as no big deal, but then panics because Zoey will definitely think it’s a big deal if she ever finds out. They bicker a little – Claire saying that she enjoyed kissing him, but it’s just physical pleasure. Lucas teasing her for being a secret romantic. Claire annoyed that everyone thinks she’s so aloof and untouchable (you do sort of cultivate that look Claire!) and we get an on-the-nose read of Zoey from Claire:
“Zoey’s an idealist,” Claire said. “Zoey doesn’t just believe in love, it has to be perfect love. It has to be cosmic and flawless and unquestioning. See, people have always loved Zoey. Everyone loves Zoey. It’s easy for her, so she’s not interested in anything flawed or uncertain, where one person maybe cares about someone and yet that person doesn’t always show it the way she should.”
Which about sums up Zoey’s relationship drama – from boyfriend to mother. Thanks Claire! In her head Claire finishes this thought with some vulnerability that she should possibly show other people one day – she’s scared that no one will ever love her. [Dove: I love Claire, both for accurately summarising Zoey, and for the way she’s just as worried as the next person, but works so hard to hide it.]
Lucas says goodbye, and walks home feeling disgusted with himself. He tried to pressure Zoey into sex (AGAIN, Lucas. Let’s not pretend it was the first time!) he probably overreacting to her hugging Jake (ya think?!) and then he made out with Claire. Quick reflection on how hot said make out session was, and back to feeling bad. He considers visiting Zoey, but he’s scared he smells like Claire.
Still, he decides to do it, but when he gets to the Passmores, all the lights are off. It’s only 9.30, so he thinks this is weird but since no one on the island locks their doors he heads in and up to Zoey’s room. He’s worried what will happen if he wakes everyone up and even stops to ask himself if Mr Passmore has a gun [Dove: For all my dislike of this entire family, I will say I bet they’re the least likely out of all of Chatham Island.] but when he does wake Zoey she’s happy to see him. She tells him about the impending separation of her parents and Lucas realises that’s why she has been so weird these last few days. She clings on to him as she goes back to sleep and Lucas, you had better been feeling like a prize A wanker right now.
Chapter four and FINALLY NINA! Honestly, my heart did a little dance seeing her name on the page. She’s at home as Claire returns from making out with Lucas. They do their sisterly thang –
“Claire, I have to talk to you.”
Claire appeared in the doorway. “Are you sure you have to?”
I love these two. Nina tells Claire the big news about the parental Passmores and I love what Nina says next so much. I’m sorry, this recap is just quote after quote, but Grapplegate do such good dialogue!
“I mean, not to get into all the gross details, but it turns out both Mr and Mrs Passmore are a lot more interesting people than anyone ever thought. Think The Young and the Restless. Think General Hospital. I mean, Chatham Island is Port Charles.”
I really love this scene, because both sisters are into the gossip, even though they think they shouldn’t be because it’s pretty shit for Zoey and Benjamin. I mean, it is pretty scandalous, and it’s usually the kids causing all the drama. Anyway, Nina relates it all to Claire (and reminds the reader) – Mrs Passmore slept with Jake’s dad a few days ago – Claire guessed it would be Jake’s dad because “Mr McRoyan’s that way. Everybody knows” – and that the Passmores and Mr McRoyan were in a love triangle back in the day and that Mr Passmore took off on a trip to Europe and got another woman pregnant.
Although she’s into the drama of it all, Claire is pretty surprised to learn that Benjamin just tells Nina all this stuff, and how it makes him feel. I’m guessing that when she was dating Benjamin, there wasn’t quite so much talking about their inner lives. I know they weren’t banging 24/7, but I can imagine Claire and Benjamin sitting round trading cutting barbs about everyone around them till the end of the live long day. [Dove: My view of their relationship has always been a bit like this:
Claire: The O’Dales painted their house yellow.
Benjamin: I’ve heard that the weather is quite pleasant in Chicago.
*both furiously translate what the other means*]
The sisters reflect that although it’s dramatic gossip, it’s pretty sad. They seemed like such a happy family, and Zoey, in particular, seems to have got through life (which has so far included her brother becoming blind, her boyfriend’s brother dying in a drink driving accident and her best friend opening up about her childhood sexual abuse) believing that nothing bad can happen. Apparently, this will destroy her. The break up of the Passmores reminds both sisters of the death of their mother, which broke up their own family and although no physical contact is made, this feels like a Geiger Sister Hug Moment.
Christopher wakes up at 3AM for work, grateful that he had been allowed to slip back into his normal life. He nearly ruined everything, and he realises how lucky he is to have his life and to have Aisha. After he delivers his papers he visits her and they make plans for that night. Plans that include him just sitting and looking at Aisha. It sounds a little creepy but it is about the level of worship that Aisha deserves, so while I’m gonna assume it was his way of saying he isn’t going to be looking around for other options anymore.
We then get a “Police and Fire Log” which lists the incidents that Weymouth Police and Fire services had last night: they evacuated a building after a kitchen grease fire, followed up on a gift shop robbery, a disturbance involving two youths but no firearms, a medical emergency at an assisted living facility, busted 4 members of the Aryan Defense Element, and rescued a cat from a tree. I love the simultaneous detail and absence of detail in this report – the cat is a tabby called Charles, the gift shop robbery losses included a gift basket of jam, cheese and sausage, while the unnamed “two youths” were Christopher and the racist, the Aryan Defense Element are the racist gang that attacked Christopher, and the cop kept his word about keeping Christopher out of it all.
Lucas is dealing with some toxic masculinity. He recognises that men are told to “Be tough, be brave, be manly, never show one minute of weakness because if you do you’re marked for life…. play through the pain, as all the jocks say.” But that approach doesn’t work with your girlfriend who wants you to be “all sensitive and open and understanding and never to pressure her… But at the same time I have to be tough. I can’t let her make all the big decisions” except that you have to Lucas, when those big decisions are things like what she does with her body and how/where/when you are allowed to touch her, because those are her decisions to make. He doesn’t quite get that far in his reasoning though and concludes that girls have it easier because they don’t have to walk this tightrope. [Wing: NOPE. Though him at least recognising some of that tox masculinity’s effect on his life is maybe a very small first step toward him becoming the character I swear I actually like at some point.]
Zoey doesn’t think girls have it easier: She loves being a girl but she thinks sex is more complicated for women – for a start she has to worry about pregnancy so she can’t reduce sex to a “fun thing to do on a Saturday night…. it has to be easier being a guy and getting to just think about all the fun aspects of things without having to get all serious and depressing with the realities.” [Wing: ALSO NOPE. But a good look at a couple of ways to interpret things from Team Grapplegate, so that’s fun.]
Zoey wakes up in bed with Lucas, and they are both momentarily confused about how he’s there. They talk and both apologise for being jerks to each other, which… I think Lucas has been the main jerk, but okay. Zoey doesn’t care if her parents see Lucas leaving her room and offers him a toothbrush. She doesn’t want to be here when her dad leaves the house.
Benjamin also wakes up, to a blues CD he chose the night before. He gets ready and we learn little about how his room is set up – his CDs have Braille stickers; his wardrobe of limited colours is carefully arranged by his Mum so he knows which clothes are where and can get dressed without having to ask for help. I like these details about Benjamin and how he copes with his blindness, and remember finding them really interesting when I first read these books because at that age I hadn’t really thought about that kind of thing before – SVT and Point Horror don’t really take you there. His wardrobe is pretty empty night now, and the hamper pretty full because Darla has been preoccupied. He starts to get annoyed – he can’t do his own washing because he can’t separate the lights and darks. I think a couple of stitches on a washing label could help with that? I guess he’d need someone to do them for him though. Anyway, he doesn’t want to get angry or self pitying, so sings along with his world-class stereo system. [Wing: Also, sorting laundry is overrated. You could totally do it yourself, Benjamin, plenty of blind people do.]
His mum knocks on his door and wants to talk. Benjamin is open to it, but he doesn’t have much time because he’s going to school. His mum is glad to hear it and says she wants him and Zoey to carry on as normally as possible. When she says she thinks Zoey is mad at her, Benjamin bites at her, but regrets it because he’s still trying not to be angry or hurt anyone. His Mum is getting on his nerves though and when she tells him he’s “the man of the house” he tells her he has enough on his plate. [Dove: This is a trope I wish would die – though it’s well used here – during a break-up/death, the next oldest male is given this stupid phrase. How on earth does that help? Because I’m a girl, I got told “When the chair becomes empty, someone’s got to sit in it,” by my aunt. Who was sitting in my dead dad’s chair. I still don’t know what to make of that conversation. I got no small amount of pleasure when Benjamin bit Darla’s head off over it.]
Lucas is upstairs brushing his teeth. He’s never spent the night sleeping with Zoey before, and he likes the way it sounds. He’s bummed out when he reminds himself that they were literally sleeping. He’s glad Zoey apologised and finds it easy to forgive her, he just wishes she’d told him what was going on earlier because then he wouldn’t have gone off with Claire. [Rosey: Once more, for the back: He’s glad Zoey apologised for the way she reacted to him pressuring her for sex. And for hugging her friend when they were both upset. If only she’d told him about her parents sooner, he wouldn’t have tried to shag Claire. Fucking hell, Lucas.] [Wing: I swear, there is a point in time where Lucas isn’t terrible. Right? Some point? Because I did end the series liking him, I JUST CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHY ON THIS READTHROUGH.] He then thinks about how cold and ruthless Claire is, and how much leverage she has now.
As Lucas and Zoey leave for school they meet Benjamin downstairs and Lucas keeps quiet, assuming that Benjamin won’t know he is there. Benjamin launches straight into “Lucas is probably overcompensating for feelings of inadequacy as a male and possibly even latent homosexuality” and I get your point Benjamin, that Lucas shouldn’t try to exploit your disability to his own advantage, but maybe lay off the homophobia? I’m the only one here at Nostalgic Bookshelf that remotely likes you, so don’t piss me off, ‘kay? [Dove: *smirks*] [Wing: HEE.]
The Passmore kids talk about their parents and Lucas asks if he should leave, so they can talk family stuff, they tell him to stay, bit awkward. Zoey and Benjamin decide they are going to find out where their Dad is staying and visit him that afternoon. Zoey wants to soothe him, but Benjamin is interested in learning more about Secret Sister. Oh, turns out, Zoey hadn’t told Lucas that bit – the bit about her Dad having a secret child, just the bit about her mum being a hoe. Interesting, considering how much she worries about having sex in case she ended up shouldering the responsibility of a pregnancy, she thinks that any bad decisions on her Dad’s part happened so long ago they are irrelevant. Benjamin says they shouldn’t get into choosing sides, but Zoey has already had her #TeamJeff T-shirt printed, so it’s too late. Lucas, who is still here, is feeling even more awkward now, especially when Zoey says she doesn’t like “sneaking and secrets and betrayal”…
[Wing: UMM You sure as hell did back when Lucas first returned to the island.]
Chapter Seven and Nina is dissing the food in the school cafeteria. I love that this is like an anchor for the series. It happens at least once a book, doesn’t it? Whatever else is going on, the food at school is disgusting and Nina is hilarious about it. In fact, isn’t her missing the opportunity to do this one of the tell-tale signs that things are badly wrong in Nina Won’t Tell? Anyway, she’s queuing up with Benjamin and she’s adorably loved up: – I love this description:
“Something between the early symptoms of flu and the giddy-moronic feeling when her dentist gave her nitrous oxide. Objectively speaking it was basically an unpleasant feeling except that it was intensely pleasurable.”
She wants to eat lunch with him, but “tradition” dictates she sits with the girls. They make plans to go to Richie Felix’s birthday party, which sounds like it might get wild – he’s a strange kid and has the most bizarre parties. She’s beaming with love and even though she tries to hide it when she joins her girlfriends, they tease her for being so adorable.
Apparently Nina has been drawing cartoons, and has one she’s done about the canteen food. Zoey suggests she takes it to the school paper, and we learn that she isn’t flavour of the month since ditching the story about drug use on the high school football team, claiming it was just one incident. Hmmm… I seem to recall that the one incident that Zoey looked into involved Jake being supplied the drugs by a teammate and the coach having a protocol for dealing with this kind of thing, but sure. Just one incident, no story there.
Anyway, this is followed by our first sighting of Jake, when he meets Zoey in the hallway. They talk about their parents. Jake’s aren’t splitting up – his mum doesn’t see anything she doesn’t want to and wouldn’t be able to function alone, after all “what can she do aside form bake pies?” Ouch. Considering it was Jake’s Dad that shagged around, why is he pouring scorn on his Mum? [Wing: It is interesting, in a terrible way, how they’re both so gung-ho about punishing their mothers.] Anyway, Claire shows up and is coolly pissed to find Jake comforting Zoey. She sarcastically insists that they check everyone else is okay too, like Louise Kronenburger, is she okay? Is Lucas okay? When Zoey says that Lucas is okay, Claire delivers her killer line: “Just okay?… I’m a little surprised. I found him much, much better than just okay.” Zoey spends all day trying to brush Claire’s comment off, but it’s under her skin. She concludes that Lucas came to comfort her, and those aren’t the actions of a cheat. #Awkward
Surprisingly, Claire is also mulling over what she said. For one, Zoey has enough other stuff going on, without Claire adding to her worries. And also, if Zoey and Lucas break up, that just leaves “Zoey free for Jake.” Claire admits to herself that she and Jake aren’t boyfriend and girlfriend anyway – he’s been trying to get away from her and she’s been trying to manipulate him into staying. She’s jealous of Zoey, who people just fall in love with, when she never seems to inspire the same feelings. She seems to be working on pretty short-term memory here, because when Lucas was her boyfriend he went to prison for her. But, okay, sure: the boy you want to like you doesn’t like you the exact way you want him to like you and you aren’t able to control and predict his behavior exactly the way you want to. That can suck, I’ll cut you some slack.
Benjamin’s Diary: Benjamin thinks he’s more prepared to cope with his parent’s divorce than his sister is because he went blind overnight and really understands that bad things can happen. Plus, Zoey is a sunny disposition kinda gal, whereas Benjamin has always been a bit more cynical. So even though this news has come as a complete surprise, he’s not devastated by the news. He thinks of this as a kind of optimism though – focusing on what he can do and still has, not what he’s lost. [Dove: I do think Zoey’s had a charmed life, because while Rosey does list all the things she’s been aware of (Ben’s blindness, Nina’s molestation, etc), they don’t happen to her. So Zoey kind of has blinders and gets completely flattened by something any other character could work through.]
After school Benjamin and Zoey rock up at Bachelor Towers – the building that houses Christopher’s apartment and their Dad’s new place. Benjamin is trying to be light-hearted, getting Zoey to describe the building. It’s a dump and she’s not in the mood. It’s Benjamin who tracks down their Dad’s apartment though – he can hear the sound of depressing country music. When they knock on the door, their Dad answers quickly and is disappointed that they aren’t their Mum. The apartment is in disarray, and it’s all a bit bleak, Zoey complains how unfair it is that he is the one who has moved out and the kids hug their Dad.
Claire is up on her Widow’s walk, and she wants a storm. It doesn’t seem like the skies are any more inclined to bend to her will that Jake is at the moment. She checks the weather on the internet and thus begins one of the few distinct storylines I remembered going back into this series. Claire ends up on an internet chatroom, the text of which is so spot on, I think it was probably copied and pasted from an actual AOL chatroom. She’s not talking, but someone called Flyer notices her lurking and privately messages her. She panics a bit, but answers his question about her name “Weather Girl” – she’s actually a bit flattered because most people glaze over when she starts talking about her interest in the weather. Overall though, she doesn’t rate the chatroom experience and doubts she’ll do it again. [Dove: I used to frequent the Freeserve chatrooms early on. There used to be a group of us, and we used to alternate between a) teasing the Silver Surfers until we were thrown out of their chatroom and put on a 30 minute ban (we were assholes, I’m sorry); or b) pretending not to know each other and fabricating a story that Eminem had been shot, someone would start, a “stranger” would say, “OMG, it’s on the news right now” and so on. Yes, Claire had a very normal chatroom experience.]
Benjamin is at home and listening to the sounds around him he identifies that his mother and sister are tucked away in different parts of the house. He’s trying to track down Secret Sister. SHOCK NEWS: Lara now lives in Weymouth. Small world, huh? To be fair on Benjamin, he’s pretty amazed by how easy it was to find this information, and how close by she is. And then we find out that the affair between Mrs Passmore and Jake’s Dad 19 years ago is weighing on Benjamin – he wishes he could see his half-sister’s face and see if they resembled each other, if they look like they share a father. People always tell him he looks like his mum, but never his dad and now he’s done the maths, he’s wondering if that’s because Mr Passmore isn’t his dad after all.
Aisha is all dressed up and heading to meet Christopher at Passmores restaurant – he’s set up a table for her and is treating her like a princess. He tells her he got a second chance at life yesterday and he wants to be a better person this time and that he loves her. It’s cute.
Nina meanwhile is heading to bed, listening to a CD of baroque guitar music that Benjamin lent her. It’s not her thing, but Benjamin likes it, so she wants to try it out.
Claire is also in bed, reading. Except not really, she’s not taking it in, she’s too busy thinking about Jake.
Zoey wakes up, feeling sad. She doesn’t remember what she dreamt but she wants to go back to her old life of negativity and faith in romance. There’s a diary entry from her about an Oscar Wilde quote: Children begin by loving their parents: after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
Zoey wants to go shopping, Aisha is in, Claire is not. Nina is in her room listening to music and drawing a picture of a shirtless Benjamin with hearts and their names. Her friends tease her: “Where is the tough, unsentimental girl we all once knew?” Anyway, she is also up for shopping. So they all head to the mall to buy… oh, furnishings for Mr Passmore’s bachelor pad.
Lucas is surfing when Christopher comes to find him. He wants some help looking at an island car. He tells Lucas he’s a one-woman man from now, and old married couple like Zoey and Lucas. Lucas responds by telling Christopher everything that happened with Claire. Christopher advises Lucas to keep it a secret. Yeah, this is gonna turn out well. [Wing: LUCAS WHY WOULD YOU EVER TAKE RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FROM CHRISTOPHER OH MY GOD YOU ARE ALL IDIOTS.]
Claire is back online chatting to Flyer. He’s 17, getting his pilot’s licence and his parents are divorced. Claire opens up to him about how people find her cold and don’t trust her with their feelings. They tell each other their real names – his is Sean.
Back to the future: 2014!Nina is listening to Jack White. [Dove: Nirvana in the original.] [Wing: Either would be believable.]
Claire and Nina are fighting over the bathroom mirror while they both get ready for dates. Claire misses the days when Nina didn’t date and she had the bathroom to herself for pampering. The sisters bicker – they argue over Nina stealing Claire’s make-up; Claire teases Nina when she says she wants a nose ring; Nina wants to know why Claire wears sexy underwear – who sees it? [Dove: Sexy underwear is not necessarily for someone else to see, Nina, it’s for you to feel nice in.] [Wing: I’m with Nina, sexy underwear is overrated.]; Claire tells Nina to stay away from her at this party tonight; Nina is surprised Claire is going with Jake – after he was sexually assaulted by shagged Louise Kronenburger; Nina better watch her mouth or Claire will take Benjamin back. Claire thinks this will really hurt her sister and it’s supposed to, but Nina laughs. She is so secure in her relationship with Benjamin and I love it.
Lucas is lurking, trying to catch Aisha before she meets Christopher to see his new island car. Lucas needs to check in with Aisha, because she saw him on the ferry with Claire on Thursday night. He wants to make sure she knows it was an entirely innocent coincidence before they all head to the same party. They chat a bit about the party – Aisha says that Richie Felix is a creep, but his parties are great. I wonder if anyone actually likes Richie for anything but his parties? Anyway, Lucas feels his way around the topic of Thursday night with Aisha and he manages to get her to say she won’t mention it to Zoey, because she wants to keep Christopher’s gun episode quiet and thinks that is what Lucas is talking about. [Dove: Although I hate Lucas for this, I have to say this was skillfully done. It’s nice to see a subversion of talking at cross purposes that usually outs a secret.] [Wing: Especially after it was played straight that time when Zoey fucked up in that scene with Jake RE his dad/his drug use.]
They are all on the boat, heading to the mainland to go to the party. Benjanina are being pretty cute, and want to slip away to kiss rather than sitting with everyone else. They make some innuendos to each other and Nina suggests they swim back and spend the evening making out instead. Benjamin reveals that he has a plan for the night though, a bit of detective work…
Meanwhile, Jake, Christopher and Lucas are talking about cars while Zoey and Claire are avoiding conversation with each other. Both girls are watching Benjanina being cute. Claire seems to think it’s sweet, but Zoey is annoyed that Benjamin didn’t get the memo about the official mourning period for their family. How can he be laughing and joking with his girlfriend after everything that has happened? And why is Lucas chatting to the boys instead of being nauseating with her? She thinks the blame is between them – him for being pushy about sex, but her for “neglecting him while she’d become preoccupied with the drama of her parents.” Yeah, those things are not the same. [Dove: Agreed about those issues, but I think there’s also the problem that they don’t really like each other. They just think each other is hot. Zoey always describes how handsome he is, how she likes running her fingers through his hair, and he always says she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. Excellent. You’re hot for each other. I just don’t think you like each other’s personality enough to be in a relationship.][Rosey: Ooooh! That’s a REALLY good point – we never see them talk about things they have in common like a shared love of music or an activity or anything. ] [Wing: Excellent points.]
Benjamin and Nina get off the ferry and head off in search of Secret Sister. They work out which her apartment building is and Benjamin wants to have a nose around, but isn’t ready to admit to the truth if they get caught. They decide they are looking for friends who live in the next building and are a bit lost. They find the Secret Sister, and follow her. The sneaking about and spy references and dialogue are great but this review is long already so I’m skimming now. Nina describes Secret Sister as having lots of brown hair in a puffy up do, blue eyes and dresses “kind of bar-slutty.”
Benjanina trail the secret sister and her boyfriend to a bar, and worried Benjamin will draw too much attention, he waits outside while Nina goes in for a look around. Turns out, Secret Sister and/or her boyfriend are dealing drugs. Benjanina follow them for a bit longer, before they all wind up at Richie Felix’s party.
The rest of the gang head straight to the party, which is already wild. We learn that Richie Felix’s parents stay in a hotel a couple of times a year so he can have these parties. They hire security and leave the kids to it. Brave. There is a keg, but Jake is on the coke instead. Coca Cola, this time. There is almost a ~*~moment~*~ between Zoey and Jake, and they quickly split to find their respective dates. Zoey and Lucas head upstairs, where they find Louise Kronenburg,who offers them a joint, teasing Zoey that it might help her loosen up. I mean, it might. Zoey is riled – and asks Lucas if she’s boring, he reassures her that Louise is a slutty slut and nobody really likes her. Zoey thinks Lucas might be happier with someone else – someone who doesn’t hold him back, i.e. who will touch his knob. They bicker. They make up.
People are dancing: Claire is elegant and precise – on beat, but the music doesn’t move her. Jake is more graceful that people expect him to be – which I think is a metaphor for Jake in this re-read, honestly. [Wing: Agree. I’m still surprised by how much I like Jake, even when the focus isn’t on him. This book, for example, there’s not a ton of him, but the other guys so often are terrible that he continues to look better even when he’s not doing a damn thing.] Aisha believes there is a formula to dancing well, if only she could figure it out. [Wing: I love when Aisha tries to break things down into math.] Christopher is an excellent dancer, he might even be as good at it as he thinks he is. Zoey is a good dancer, but small, shy and not innovative. Lucas hates dancing, once he finishes dating, he will never dance again.
Claire doesn’t like it when Zoey dances with Jake. She thinks he is still in love with Zoey and will never love her. Since she can never really have him, she decides to fuck some shit up. Claire takes Jake upstairs, they make out but Jake is uneasy, he already knows Claire is up to something. Claire drops the bomb – she doesn’t care that he slept with Louise Kronenburg because she slept with Lucas a couple of days ago. They argue, Jake storms out, Claire cries.
Benjanina arrive at the party and hang around outside for a bit. Benjamin is pretty rattled by the discovery that his brand new sister is s drug dealer. And that she’s selling drugs to people at his high school. They head in and chat to Lucas for a bit, before following Secret Sister’s Boyfriend upstairs.
In the aftermath of his argument with Claire, Jake finds the keg and starts sinking beers. One of his team mates produces a bottle of tequila. Jake gets bombed. He’s upset that Claire betrayed him, but he’s more angry that Lucas could treat Zoey that way. And Claire is sort of right about his feelings for Zoey – she is a prize Jake is competing for and right now Lucas had “betrayed Zoey and yet still [had] her all to himself…” He vows to tell Zoey what Lucas has been up to.
Aisha and Zoey are in the bathroom, Aisha hunting for a tampon. Zoey grabs Nina as she passes, to see if she can help. She can, and everyone leaves Aisha in the bathroom. Benjamin tells Zoey that he’s tracked down Secret Sister, and that she is here at the party and that she’s probably selling drugs to their classmates. Zoey is pissed that he did all this by himself – it concerns her too. She’s inevitably curious though and asks Benjamin to point her out.
Pretty soon, Secret Sister Lara and her boyfriend make a beeline for Nina and Benjamin and Boyfriend shoves Benjamin up against a wall and demands to know why he’s been following them. Nina tries to pull Boyfriend off Benjamin, but he shoves her away. When Benjamin hears her cry out, he starts throwing punches and gets the boyfriend in the head. Unfortunately, Boyfriend punches him in the stomach and Benjamin is doubled over. Boyfriend is going to carry on the beatdown, Nina appeals to Secret Sister Lara, telling her that Benjamin is her Secret Brother and Benjamin kicks Boyfriend in the balls.
Zoey sees Jake downing tequila and she’s worried, she asks him to dance, but he tells her that he can’t – this bottle of tequila won’t drink itself. He tells her he had a fight with Claire, and it concerns her.
Lucas sees Benjamin getting beaten up by Boyfriend and heads over, but things have calmed down. He sees Zoey with Jake and he’s mad, but realises that Jake is hammered and Zoey is probably trying to get him to put the tequila down – When Jake drinks “it’s like slow motion suicide.” He thinks about how beautiful Zoey is, how much he loves her.
Jake tells Zey he loves her. And that Lucas slept with Claire. Lucas appears, pissed off that Jake is touching Zoey and Jake says that he’s already told her about “you and Claire” – Lucas doesn’t realise that Zoey thinks sex, he thinks she knows they hooked up. Zoey runs away before Lucas can clear up the misunderstanding. I mean… it’s a problem that Zoey thinks you had sex with Claire, but honestly, she’s not going to be particularly happy about you making out with her either, Lucas.
Jake staggers off and finds Claire, demanding to know why she pretended she’d had sex with Lucas. She explains: You are in love with Zoey, she knows it. Now she thinks you are a pathetic liar who will do attempt to sabotage her current relationship to get her back. In short, Claire thinks she’s stumped any chances of Jake ever getting back with Zoey.
Back to the future:
2014Richie Felix’s party features Sam Smith’s Stay with Me which replaces [Dove: Since I Don’t Have You by Guns N’ Roses]
2014Lara’s boyfriend looks like Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy.
For some reason, I was really conscious of the time frame in this book – the whole thing spans about 48 hours. And now I want to know if that’s an usually short time frame. And I want a calendar that plots out the books. Dove, you already have a spreadsheet that does this, right? [Dove: Not yet. I did start drafting one a few years ago, but didn’t really get very far.][Rosey: If you share what you had with me, I might see what I can do with it as we go along?] [Wing: I love this teamwork.]
As for how Lucas got hurt, well, he hurt himself with his own actions. I wonder if he see’s it that way? Will Lucas be able to convince Zoey he only made out with Claire? Will that make it okay? What will happen with drug dealing Secret Sister Lara? Can Jake stop drinking? How long will Christopher’s wandering eye stay under control? Why is Nina still the absolute best even when given far too little page time? [Dove: We want NINA: THE SERIES. A book series, a TV show, and possibly a movie too.] [Wing: “Six seasons and a movie.”]