Title: Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant
Summary: Aisha goes wild when a chance encounter rekindles all her old feelings about a guy named Jeff, who was her first great crush. She’s promised her whole heart to Christopher, but will a part of it always belong to Jeff?
Tagline: After Zoey breaks up with Lucas, and Jake breaks up with Claire, Aisha and Christopher are the only couple left on the island–until Aisha’s old boyfriend, Jeff, comes back into her life. Everything changes on Halloween night when… Aisha Goes Wild. [Wing: UMM. Nina and Benjamin say WHAT THE HELL.] [Rosey: RIGHT?]
I am still shook that Jake is my favourite of the Island boys this read through. Also, I remember basically nothing about the plotlines in this book even though I know I’ve read it more than once. [Rosey: This is the one where Claire Gets “Catfished”. ]
[Dove: This is the last of the Grapplegate books, after this they are ghostwritten. Also, I have to admit, this is my least favourite for the “lead” story. I’m sorry, I don’t really like Aisha’s story – the amnesia plot does not work for me. At all.]
[Wing: WHAT I DID NOT KNOW THAT EITHER. Ghostwritten? My heart is broken.]
Halloween is coming, and Zoey journals about what scares her: needles. But the bad things in life are the things she doesn’t see coming, like Benjamin losing his sight and her parents separating and finding out that Lucas — she won’t actually say what she found out, but we know. We know.
Zoey is refusing to talk to Lucas; he tries to chase down the ferry, but she refuses to get off the boat to talk to him. There’s no way she will ever forgive him for what he’s done. Because, of course, talking to him is out of the question and also you’ve never cheated on your boyfriend with anyone especially not Lucas. Cooooool. [Rosey: Zoey has a very short term memory. We need that calendar, but I’m pretty sure its only about 2 months since she was hiding Lucas in her wardrobe so her boyfriend wouldn’t know she’d been making out with him.] [Dove: This is so true.]
As she watches him fade into the distance, she pictures what it would have been like for Lucas and Claire hooking up in the Mercedes and how they would have thought about the people they were cheating on. That is one theory, yes. [Rosey: TBF, that is what Claire was doing…]
Zoey sits and thinks about how Lucas has acted just like her mother and envies other families and cries. I want to feel sorry for her, but I can’t, not when she won’t actually talk to Lucas and instead relies on gossip and when she’s so goddamn judgmental of everyone always even when they’re doing things that she herself has done. [Dove: This is why I can never get behind Zoey. She cheats. A lot. But somehow when other people do it, it’s impossible to comprehend. And there’s a solid air that they are cheating to victimise her personally, rather than doing their own thing. God, Zoey, don’t you remember cheating on Jake because Lucas had better hair?]
Meanwhile, Lucas agonises on the pier. He can’t even follow her because it’s the last ferry of the night. Everyone else plans to take a water taxi home after the party, splitting the cost ($40), and he doesn’t have nearly enough to take one across on his own right now. He’s also not sure what he could possibly say to Zoey, because even though he didn’t sleep with Claire, which is what Zoey thinks happened, he did make out with her and he did try to get her to sleep with him. He admits, at least to himself, that this is his fault. Obviously, Claire was in the wrong, too, but the real fault is his. (He also thinks about how he has a talent for screwing up, because pity party for everyone.)
Lara, her boyfriend Keith, Nina, and Benjamin are at a diner getting to know each other. Nina thinks some pretty shitty things about Lara, including the whole “white-trash” label for her hairdo (which is a classist, racist phrase — not racist because it’s racism against white people, which is impossible in the USA, but racist because one of the ways it is used is because poor white people refused, often for racist reasons, to be lumped in with black people) [Rosey: Yeah, specifying that they are “white trash” implies that “trash” isn’t usually white. ], and you are getting on my last nerve, Nina. Stop being shitty.
They talk about Benjamin and Zoey being Lara’s half-siblings, and Lara is pretty chill about it, which surprises Nina, who is pretty sure she’d react to that kind of news with more emotion [Dove: Clearly Zoey gets her drama from her mother then!] [Wing: Her drama from her mama, you might even say.]. Lara asks questions about whether they party a lot on the island, and Nina bites back on her sarcasm, but we’re in her head, so we know she’s thinking about how Lara looks like a bimbo and sounds like an airhead but surely must have some good qualities since she’s related to Zoey and Benjamin.
Coooool, I may very well hate every character by the end of this book. Or, god, I may hate every character but Jake, which will be horrible and will make me question everything I believe about this series. [Rosey: Darkest Timeline.]
Nina does her whole unlit cigarette, which continues to be ridiculous and delightful, and Benjamin jokes that all he can see are reruns of Full House, a weird thing that baffles the doctors; Nina laughs, but has to choke it off because Lara and Keith don’t get the joke.
Lara wants to know what he wants her to say, what it means that they are half-siblings, and that’s a very realistic response, I think, because what the hell do you say in that situation? (I say, being someone who very well could end up in this situation, since I’m adopted. I still have no idea what I’d do.) Lara also admits that sometimes people tell her things and she doesn’t know if they’re real or not, which makes Keith laugh to himself, because Keith is obviously terrible.
When Benjamin and Nina try to give Lara Benjamin’s phone number, Keither snatches it away, says she’ll call if she wants anything, and demands they leave. Before she leaves, Lara asks one more time whether he made it up, because she heard that maybe he did. He understandably wants to know where she heard that; the question makes Keith laugh again, and he says that they’d be amazed what Lara hears.
Well, you’re a strange, creepy asshole, aren’t you.
Christopher and Aisha are trying to carry Jake, the “behemoth,” the “great big dumb white boy who drinks too damned much” over to the water taxi. That’s a sucky position to be in, but it’s a solid friend thing to do. Jake got drunk, of course, because Claire is a “bitch,” and she has been a bag of dicks to him.
(Aisha thinks that Jake and Claire have a “strange, self-destructive relationship” not like the “mature, rational relationship” she has with Christopher. Oh. my. god. Aisha, you are really twisted up over him, aren’t you? Because your relationship is about as far from that as you can get.) [Rosey: Come on Aisha, you know that old saying – when you point a finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you…] [Dove: I’ve literally never heard that saying before.] [Wing: It’s pretty common around here.]
Christopher grumps about trying to haul Jake the Giant around (he’s not that giant, but he is a big, solid guy, and it would be difficult to maneuver him around), and they finally leave him passed out on the ground where they wait for the water taxi.
Aisha has little pity for drunks (not a surprise) and she’s annoyed that her romantic plans for Christopher are unlikely now that they have a drunk third wheel and she’s all sweaty and rumpled. She’s also disappointed by the party. The last two she went to were great with huge explosions of fights, hair pulling, etc., but this year it was tame. [Rosey: Those do not sound like great parties to me.] [Dove: I once went to a party where some gate-crashers stole the front door. I would express grown-up remorse, but it happened in Kent, and they can afford it. (I have a deep loathing for Kent.)]
Christopher points out that maybe they just missed the excitement, and that is a true statement, sir.
They make out a little, until Aisha spots Lucas, without Zoey, and they call him over and talk about Jake and his potential drinking problem. Lucas defends him a little, saying that he had a bad night; Christopher makes another good point that if someone’s a drunk, they can always come up with some excuse to drink, which is also a true statement, sir.
Claire rocks up shortly after, infuriating Lucas and driving him a little distance away from the rest of them. Aisha and Christopher clock this additional tension, and Christopher thinks that Jake’s “problem” just showed up. Again, true statement, not wrong, etc.
Finally Nina and Benjamin show up, right before they’re supposed to get the water taxi, and Benjamin tells them all about the delightful time he and Nina had meeting Lara, first spying on her and her boyfriend, then discovering Keith sells drugs, then getting beat up by Keith, then a long and terrible conversation over french fries.
This convinces Aisha that Christopher is right and they did miss the excitement. Clearly.
Back on the island, Claire heads toward her house without saying a word to anyone; Nina goes after her, but not until she and Benjamin smooth and say good-bye and smooth some more. Aisha would like to do the same with Christopher (oh, how you’ve changed), but Christopher and Lucas are busy trying to get Jake off the boat.
Aisha and Christopher make plans to meet later when he comes by (he’ll knock quietly at her window), and then Christopher and Lucas take off with Jake, and Aisha walks with Benjamin for awhile and then heads up to the bed and breakfast on her own.
Her father is asleep in the guest living room; it’s clear he tried to wait up for her, which is adorable. He claims he was reading up on cormorants, and I find their relationship utterly charming after only about five seconds. [Rosey: I always love scenes with Aisha’s family. Her Dad is especially adorbs though.]
He tells her that she had a call while she was gone, from Jeff Pullings who first called himself T-Bone until her dad threatened to hang up on him. Apparently, he’s opening for Tiesto and Afrojack in Boston and he’s wondering if Aisha wants to come down. I have zero memory of a Jeff in this series or about this plotline. (Also, Aisha’s dad calls the bands Tea Stew and Applejack, and I love him.) [Dove: Originally Salt n’ Pepa and Queen Latifah. Or, as Aisha’s dad says, Salted Peppers and Queen LaTeeth.]
Jeff’s rap group is opening for two major acts; Aisha always knew he was good, but she thinks this is huge, or at least she thinks it’s huge. She doesn’t pay much attention to music, so she’ll have to ask Nina in the morning. Awwww, friendship.
Aisha goes to her bedroom, where she’ll wait another hour and a half for Christopher to come along delivering papers, and they’ll make out for awhile. Christopher, the great love of her life. Christopher, who is completely different from Jeff, the first great love of her life.
… yeah, I still have zero memory of Jeff.
Lucas and Christopher only make it about halfway to Jake’s house before Lucas has to rest. Christopher half-heartedly suggests they leave Jake on the beach, but Lucas refuses, because, again, Jake’s had a bad time of it. As they sit on either side of Jake, Christopher makes a Weekend at Bernie’s reference, and then they talk about why Jake’s night was so shitty. Christopher tells him that he’s not the world’s biggest screw up, they talk about what he’s going to do about Zoey, and it’s actually a nice little moment of friendship — except I still can’t get past the part where LUCAS KNEW WHO BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF CHRISTOPHER AND DIDN’T SAY A GODDAMN WORD. [Rosey: RIGHT?! We get a few moments like this with Lucas and Christopher, where you realise they might have a friendship independent of their girlfriends and it would be lovely, BUT FOR FUCKS SAKE LUCAS!]
Back in her room, Aisha has a photo album in her lap (…this is one of the updated versions; I’m actually surprised to see a photo album) [Rosey: They really only changed pop culture references.], and we get a look at some of the decorations in her room: posters of Einstein and Stephen Hawking, Ronald McNair (astronaut and physicist killed in the Challenger explosion), Barack Obama, and Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. No women scientists? Faaaaaaaail, Grapplegate. At the very least, I’d expect to see Patricia Cowings or Katherine Johnson, maybe Bessie Coleman or Christine Darden. [Dove: Obviously Obama wasn’t on her wall in the original print.]
Anyway, she’s looking at a photo of her and Jeff; she thinks she looks like a toothpick topped with lots of hair. She was a freshman, Jeff a senior (so three years older).
Jeff was a head taller, hair cut in a stylish fade, muscular arms bare in a torn, sleeveless denim jacket that was open in front.
How the hell have I forgotten about Jeff? Because HOT. Which probably means terrible the way things are going with the guys in this series.
She was hanging out with Jeff and his friends when the picture was taken; it was the same weekend they decided they were going to get serious about making music. They played for awhile, got $9 donated, and were rousted by two “good-humored” cops who informed them they had to get permits to play music in public. (God, this is an optimistic thought about how cops would deal with a situation like this.)
Aisha did the work of learning more and in a couple months, Jeff ends up with a regular spot rapping in one of Boston’s T stations on weekends. This is adorable.
Anyway, Aisha and Jeff broke up when Aisha’s family moved away from Boston, and I guess they haven’t really talked since. Now that he wants her to come visit, she goes and digs out her old diary, because “in those days” she wrote her secrets in it. Now she’d use a computer. Since this is only three years later, my guess is she would have used a computer back then, too; is this one of those awkward updates? [Dove: No, it was the same in the original.]
She reads back through some of her diary entries, half-embarrassed by her gushing 14-year-old self; she’s looking for one entry in particular. The night when she and Jeff slept together, when he told her she was his woman, not his little girl.
NO SERIOUSLY HOW DO I HAVE NO MEMORY OF THIS GODDAMN STORYLINE, BECAUSE THAT WHOLE WOMAN/LITTLE GIRL THING IS GROSS AS HELL.
Christopher shows up wearing a Joker mask and asking “why so serious?” (Ostrich was just watching this movie the other day). They joke around, she goes out to meet him, she calls herself a cross between Minnie Mouse and Frosty the Snowman in her full Maine regalia to deal with the cold. [Dove: Clinton mask, doing an impression of him in the original, but Minnie and Frosty are the same.] While they make-out, she can’t stop comparing his kisses to Jeff’s kisses. Eventually, she gets too cold and they go to Christopher’s island car, where they joke about whether it is terrible enough to actually be an island car. For one thing, Aisha points out, it has a windshield and a muffler.
I am dying.
Aisha’s mother interrupts them before they get to any sort of hooking up, which makes me laugh. She tells Aisha to get back into the house, though she does let them say good-bye, and Aisha is buuuuusted.
Aisha journal entry. She fears snakes. She can watch “Nightmare on Elm Street one through seventeen” and not care, but don’t get her around snakes. Also: insanity.
Like the possibility that one day you’d be going along fine, minding your own business, and then, all of a sudden, your brain just loses it? You start hearing voices in your head, seeing things that aren’t there? You start gibbering like an idiot and talking about conspiracies? It happens. And it’s usually during the teen years that insanity starts showing up.
Deep. Deep. Deep. Deeeeeeep breath.
This is a very valid fear. It can be terrifying to feel like you’re losing control and to be scared you are broken and to feel different from the people around you and not know why. HOWEVER. Setting it up like this is really, really shitty, and stuff like this is a huge part of why I refused to even consider that I might have a mental illness while I was a teen (and well into adulthood). I’m not saying that Grapplegate can’t say this. I am saying that I think it is potentially damaging and that is a shame.
Back over to Zoey, who wakes up far too early for a Sunday morning when she has nothing to do. Once she remembers everything with Lucas and Claire, she goes for a slow jog that turns into a walk when she runs into the Catholics heading toward mass. (Apparently, there is only one church building on the island and the Catholics have it earlier, then Protestants later. Adorable.) Zoey is, unsurprisingly, actually there looking for a glimpse of Lucas, but he’s not there and she tries to tell herself she’s relieved.
Zoey considers waking up Nina, even though Nina warned everyone not to bother her before noon. Zoey thinks she doesn’t need to sleep until noon. Or even 8 a.m. That’s brave, Zoey. Brave.
Claire is already awake and taking coffee up to the widow’s walk. I love you, Claire, and the view from your widow’s walk. I want to sit up there and write, especially this morning, when there is fog everywhere, sitting low and heavy.
She spots Zoey coming to the house and thinks that it is far too early to deal with this, but it’s the necessary last step in the process. Oh lord, here we go. Claire bets that Zoey’s hoping Claire will tell her something to make it all better — and that is exactly what she’s going to do.
Jake’s mom wakes him up for church, and he’s deeply, painfully hungover. He throws up, tries to cry, but he’s too dehydrated to make actual tears. I’m feeling for him a surprisingly large amount. Not about the hangover, though those suck, but about how broken he is. He’s not had time to deal with pretty much anything, from the truth about his brother’s death to his father cheating on his mother and is own struggle with football and drugs, etc. [Rosey: Jake is such a surprise in this re-read] [Dove: Agreed. Why do I love Lucas so much when he’s an asshole, and have indifference to Jake, who is awesome? Well, unless Lucas pulls it back, Jake will stay my favourite. And I’ve gotta be honest, there’s a bit in college that’s going to be damned hard for Lucas to beat. Do you guys know the bit I mean?]
Claire makes small talk about the weather until Zoey snaps at her and calls her a backstabbing bitch. Claire actually turns red at this and wants to know what Zoey’s problem is, because they were having a little chat and then she went off. This throws Zoey, because it’s a good innocent act, if it is an act. When Zoey brings up Lucas, Claire acts both confused and annoyed.
When Zoey finally blurts out that Jake said she slept with Lucas, Claire really gets into the manipulation: Jake hates Lucas for taking her away from him, Jake carries a torch for her, Jake was so drunk he had to be carried home — and yet Zoey believes anything he says.
Slick, Claire. Real damn slick. Terrible, but slick.
Claire then tells her that she and Lucas have been suspicious that Zoey and Jake are thinking about getting back together and so they went for a drive to talk about it, which is what she told Jake.
Zoey is confused, because if this is true, then Lucas thinks she’s been unfaithful and Lucas was wronged and Jake is the bad guy, not Claire or Lucas. She asks if anything happened between Claire and Lucas, and Claire says that she did not have sex with Lucas. Damn, Claire, you are on fire right now. Or maybe I should say cold as ice. [Dove: I would be terrified of being friends with Claire, but damn, she’s good.]
Claire goes on to say that she thinks Jake’s story was a clumsy attempt to break up Lucas and Zoey, and that since he and Claire are basically finished as a couple, Zoey’s welcome to him. Oh, you cold, hurt girl. [Oh, Claire!]
Lucas goes to mass with his mother, even though he’s not a big believer in prayer, since he’s never seen any result from it, especially while he was in Youth Authority, which is a fair point. After, he sees Lucas sitting on a bench near his mother, looking exactly like a guy with a brutal hangover. Lucas grins at him “with the good-natured sadism sober people often feel toward drinkers.” I mean, we could just live and let live, but cool, why not. (Obviously, Jake was way over the line, getting drunk enough he needed that much help from them, people he doesn’t even really consider friends, but Grapplegate said drinkers in general.)
And then he comes face-to-face with Zoey, who is dressed sloppily for her, but still looks beautiful to him. He’s at a loss for what to say, but she comes straight up to kiss him and tell him that she wants to apologise to him later (she has to meet her dad now) and that Claire told her that Jake’s story was a lie. She also wants to “show” him how sorry she is. Are you really going to tease him with sex, Zoey, when you say again and again you’re not ready? Which is fine, you’re not ready, but you keep acting like you are. Ugh.
Heeee, a bunch of the churchgoers keep frowning at them for making out in front of the church, because of course they do.
Oh, suddenly Lucas thinks prayer does work. Coooooool.
Claire’s on the weather site chat room for teens only. She reads along for awhile, but nothing interests her, so she checks the list of chatters and sees Flyer’s name. He’s lurking, and she wonders if that means he’s waiting for her, so she DMs him. He asks how the party went and she’s not sure if she should tell him details, because she did something rotten, manipulated people to get back at her ex-boyfriend. He asks why, and she admits that he doesn’t love her and that he’s still in love with his old girlfriend. She won’t say that she’s hurt, though, even though he uses the word first. She goes into a little bit of a pity party herself, because she’s not the type of person guys fall in love with; flyer calls her smart and witty and driven, and she says people don’t love the manipulative, self-centered part.
Flyer says maybe he just looks at what’s superficial, and that girls do that same thing to him all the time, which is a pretty big red flag even when he’s just joking around and flirting with her.
He says he likes her and uses her actual name until she tells him that Weather Girl, her chat name, is safer somehow. It may feel safer, but it’s not much safer considering he knows your actual name. (I’m not saying it is always a bad idea to share your name online, even back in the 90s and 00s. Dove and I met online. bat and I met online. [Dove: Everyone at my wedding was someone I met online. Admittedly, it was Raven, Wing and Ostrich, but it felt like something to brag about!] A huge number of my friends were met online, and still get met online. But if she feels safer behind a pseud, then maybe don’t share your real name, too.) [Rosey: I read this as it feeling emotionally safer for Claire, it’s not her being open and vulnerable, it’s Weather Girl.] [Wing: Oooh, I like that interpretation.]
Aisha’s on her way to church with her family when she sees Zoey and Lucas making out. She thinks about stopping by Zoey’s house after church, but her mom likes a big brunch and so she goes home, even though she knows her mother is also waiting for the right moment to talk to her about what happened last night. (Or, you know, early this morning.)
Aisha and her mom walk home from church to talk (they are both wearing heels for this walk up a steep heel, because goddamn, women); her mom says she likes Christopher a lot, but doesn’t approve of Aisha sneaking out after dark “to have an assignation.” You are a delight, Mrs Gray. They talk about whether Aisha has had sex with him, and she says no, of course not. Finally, Mrs Gray says she doesn’t want another situation like with Jeff. Aisha tells her that Jeff called, because she’s pretty sure her mom thinks Aisha won’t say anything about it, and Mrs Gray pretends she doesn’t know anything about it. Mrs Gray wants to know if she’s asking for permission to go to Boston to watch him; Aisha says she figured her parents would say no, and Mrs Gray confirms that. They talk about how Aisha does want to go, and she thought she’d invite everyone (and really how do I have no memory of this plotline); they don’t know anything about what happened with Jeff except for Mrs Gray, and Aisha doesn’t think her friends would even believe it. [Dove: You have selective amnesia regarding this plot line?] [Wing: I can’t believe I never thought of that. Also: I hate you.]
Finally Mrs Gray says that if she went down with her current friends, maybe she would stay out of trouble. And that is — that is a lot, actually. On the surface, it’s just about someone who got into trouble before and is now not getting into trouble, but it’s more than that since the current group is made up of a bunch of white kids and the old group sounded like it was black guys. I don’t think this is intentional, but there’s certainly some racist nuance to it.
Aisha calls Jeff (and oh my god, when he tells someone to shut the fuck up, or maybe hell up, it is edited with –, because that’s for sure a thing that needed to be done), and they talk about how good it is to hear from each other and Jeff says he’s lonely. He gives her more details about the show, which is a benefit for ALS [Dove: AIDS in the original]. She talks about bringing her friends with her, and when he asks if she is bringing “just” friends, she says she is, which makes him happy. She tries to convince herself that she was going to tell him the truth after that, but he has to end the conversation too fast. Sure, Aisha. Sure.
Nina is reading to Benjamin in his bedroom, and she’s grumping about having to read all the detailed sailing bits when the author skips the romantic parts. She calls it a “boy” book because it has sailboats and cannons and women back on shore while the guys go have fun, which is a pretty good example of most classic literature pushed in USA schools.
Benjamin says girls read books about relationships and girl things like feelings and emotions and boys read books about cool stuff. Fuck. Off. Benjamin. Nina calls him on this sexist statement, they joke around a little, he’s annoying and superior and I want to punch him in his face. She finishes reading the chapter and then plays Jack White for him (he finally gives in when it’s not rap or Justin Timberlake — not sure I believe Nina would listen to Timberlake) [Dove: Redd Cross in the original, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers are what she likes.]. Nina goes to answer the phone when it rings, because house phones, totally a thing still in this rerelease; it’s Aisha, calling to see if they want to go to a concert in Boston on Halloween, of course.
Nina is shocked that Aisha wants to go see Tiesto and Afrojack and says that she’s proof that not all black people have rhythm. Aisha lets her get all the joking out and even listens to her while she talks about how there’s toaster strudel but it’s cherry and cherry is gross and only blueberry and raspberry are fine in toaster strudel and Pop-Tarts. Lies, s’mores Pop-Tarts are the best kind.
Nina wants to take Benjamin, too, and Aisha teases that she’ll have to put Benjamin in handcuffs to get him to a rap concert. They need to wear costumes, too, of course, so this is going to be interesting.
(I still have ZERO memory of this plot, holy shit.)
Over to Lucas, who is thinking about how sometimes his lies work and keeping secrets is a good thing and sometimes they don’t and they’re not. OH LIKE THAT TIME YOU KEPT A SECRET ABOUT CHRISTOPHER’S ATTACKERS, HUH? He’s also pretty tired of stumbling across everyone else’s secrets, too.
He spends a great deal of time looking into the Passmore house when they have their lights on and don’t close the window; he can see into the kitchen, breakfast nook, and family room. Now, I want to call this creepy, and it is, but it comes across far more like him desperately wanting to see what is usually a loving family rather than trying to spy on his naked girlfriend.
After a bit, he heads down to visit them. Benjamin answers the door and asks for a big, wet kiss, joking around about how he thought Lucas was Nina, which Lucas does not at all buy. He says he heard Lucas drop down into the background and then a loud “male” knock on the door. Gross. You could have just said a knock that wasn’t Nina’s, or even that Nina just lets herself inside because that’s how close she is with their family (I don’t even know if that’s true, but it’s something people do sometimes).
Lucas and Zoey go upstairs to talk and make-out, and she apologises. He doesn’t tell her about the kissing, because he knows he’s telling her the absolute truth when he says he loves her with all his heart.
Lucas blog entry: He’s afraid of small spaces and himself, which is kind of heartbreaking even though I’m not a Lucas fan at this point in the reread. He does a great job of screwing up his life; for one thing, he got himself thrown in jail for something he didn’t even do, which is a fair point. He’s pretty sure he can stay out of small spaces, but he’s not sure he can start dealing with stuff successfully. I mean, considering the page before, you were once again lying to Zoey, that’s probably a valid concern.
He’s really mostly afraid that Zoey will leave him for good. Maybe stop lying to her then.
Oooh, chapter that is broken down by days of the week. Love these oddly formatted chapters.
Monday: Christopher, Zoey, and Lucas are in; Claire is unenthusiastic but doesn’t say no; Jake gives a rude no. Benjamin also says no, but Nina says he means yes. No means no, Nina.
Tuesday: Aisha, Nina, and Zoey go to the mall to look for Halloween costumes; Aisha finds nothing that doesn’t seem dorky or like she’s either trying too hard or not trying enough, so she buys a purse she doesn’t really like on deep sale. Zoey buys an earring for Lucas. Nina buys drawing pens and a long black wig and size 36 DD bra as part of a costume that she won’t talk about. Nina says Benjamin’s agreed to come to the concert.
Wednesday: Aisha dreams of Jeff and Christopher fighting over a 14-year-old Aisha. She aces a calculus test and gets a C+ on a French quiz. Benjamin says that he’d “rather be boiled in oil” than go to the concert. Nina says that means yes. NINA. NO MEANS NO.
Thursday: Aisha still doesn’t have a costume. She wants to look good for Jeff but doesn’t, at the same time. She finally tells Christopher that Jeff is an old boyfriend, not just an old friend. She reassures him over and over that it was just a little freshman crush on a cool older guy. She doesn’t like lying, but she can’t tell him the whole truth. Benjamin says that he will cut off his legs with a chainsaw before he goes to the concert.
Friday: Aisha panics because she doesn’t really want to see Jeff again and it’s all ancient history and she’s totally in love with Christopher and devoted to him and all she’s feeling is nostalgia over a younger, wilder Aisha. She orders 7 tickets, and dreams that night of the day her mother took her out of school to go to the doctor.
Did … did Aisha just have a pregnancy scare or an actual abortion? I seriously have zero memory of this entire plot. What the hell, Wing?
Saturday: Claire talks to Flyer in the chat room, because she’s been doing that every night for two weeks. Sometimes they talk for hours, sometimes for a short amount of time. He even listens eagerly when she tells him about the amazing storm she watches one night and doesn’t write her off as strange for sitting out in a storm. UGH, CLAIRE, I LOVE YOU. She also finally explained to him, and therefore to herself, why she loves to do it: that feeling of powerlessness combined with awe and clean starts and change.
Nina comes up to ask if she’s really going to the concert, and Nina teases her about chatting with people on the computer. Claire is thrown by her nosiness. Claire says that Aisha’s already got her a ticket, so she’s in, and if she decides not to go, Nina can sell the ticket at the door. Nina thinks this is illegal, and Claire teases her about how she’ll end up in jail sooner or later so she might as well get some experience.
Claire then tells Flyer he’s the closest friend she has. UGH CLAIRE. I LOVE YOU.
They talk about how it is a little weird to care so much about someone they’ve never met, never heard their voice, and then Flyer goes off about how he loves her as much as possible under the circumstances. Claire thinks that’s a bit much, but does tell him that she cares about him, too.
Aisha, Nina, and Zoey talk about Jeff and how Aisha had a life before she came to the island. (They’re listening to an old U2 [Dove: Breeders.] song, though we don’t know what song.) Nina says that no one at 14 has any sort of life. After all, Nina’s 16 and barely has a life, and Claire’s 17 and talking to devil worshipers on her computer. Nina keeps picking at Aisha about how she didn’t loosen up until she started dating Christopher, and Aisha gets annoyed by this, even though she doesn’t really want them to know what she was like before she moved to the island.
Eventually, Aisha snaps and says she could tell Nina something that would make her take everything back, and immediately she knows she’s gone too far. They keep asking, and she blurts out that she had sex with him, which is a surprise to them but not to us, obviously. They want to know why she never told them, and she’s not sure why she did, except that the secret is preoccupying her.
When Aisha says she doesn’t have sex anymore, at least for now, Nina wants to know if it was terrible and Zoey wants to know if she caught a disease. Aisha had a pregnancy scare; they used condoms every time except once, but then her period was late and she had to tell her mom, who of course was horrified. It scared the hell out of Aisha, the whole thing, because she thought she’d end up having to get an abortion or living on welfare in some project with a baby at 14.
Aisha makes them promise to tell anyone ever, and Zoey agrees; Aisha then adds that when Nina tells Benjamin, she has to make sure he knows not to tell anyone, too. I love their friendship and that they know each other this well, but at the same time, Aisha should probably be able to keep her own secrets, right? It’s complicated, though. If I go to Ostrich for support about, say, a problem Canary is having, how much information can I give him before I’m betraying her confidence? Am I betraying it at all? Complicated questions.
On Halloween, Aisha wants them all to skip classes to go down as early as possible to avoid rush hour in Boston; only Benjamin is the holdout, because he wants to be in his last-period physics class, which is a class he’s struggling in because it relies heavily on blackboard equations. (He’s also still denying he’s going at all even while he makes plans to go.) Nina stays back to wait, and Claire does, too. She’s also being mysterious about why she’s going.
Jake continues to refuse.
So Aisha, Christopher, Zoey, and Lucas head down first in the Grays’ Ford Taurus, leaving a little after noon, their costumes in the trunk. Claire drives down alone in her dad’s Mercedes, leaving at 320 p.m., no costume at all. Nina and Benjamin drive down in the Passmores’ van, leaving at 335 p.m. No word on their costumes.
At 4 p.m., Jake drinks three bottles of his dad’s beer and worries how he’ll get more. To drink, not to cover up that he’s drinking. He doesn’t care if his father knows he’s drinking. [Rosey :,( ]
Aisha is distracted on the drive because she’s lost in her memories. She hasn’t been back to Boston since they moved to Maine, and she’s starting to feel closed-in, almost claustrophobic. Aww cities. (They have Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” on the radio; so what was the old version, Dove? [Dove: Animal by Pearl Jam.]) She’s feeling her old urban paranoia return. The others don’t seem to notice anything.
Her road rage starts to show when a Lexus cuts her off, shocking the others who, as Lucas says, have no idea she even knows those words. Aisha wants to drop them off at Faneuil Hall where they can shop or check out the aquarium (AQUARIUM! 100% AQUARIUM) while she goes alone to look at her old neighbourhood. Completely understandable, really. Christopher is a dick about this. They agree to meet up at 7 p.m., which is about 4 hours later, and Aisha gives them the car keys so they can change into costumes when they’re done shopping, since Zoey doesn’t want to walk around dressed like a zombie cheerleader for the next few hours. I love that idea. Aisha forgot about costumes until the last minute, so she has her old Girl Scout uniform, which she last wore when she was 14, and it is a little short on her now, but otherwise still fits. Aisha’s going to wear it while she walks around, so she doesn’t have to go back to the car without the key.
Claire is, I’m sure you’re shocked to hear, is meeting up with Flyer at the airport. Or, you know, Sean, which is his real name. She’s got printouts of her last conversation with him. They talked about how he doesn’t care what she looks like, because he knows she’s smart, private, reflective, and lonely, which causes her to be hard with people sometimes.
He has his pilot’s license and wants to meet her in Boston at the Logan Airport. The original version of this was written when you could still hang out in lots of parts of the airport, but the reprint not so much. Ah well. She thinks it is a good place because it will be crowded enough she can bail if she decides to and she can leave early because of the concert if things don’t go well. Fairly smart plan, Claire.
Nina is afraid of: waking up liking a Katy Perry [Dove: Mariah Carey] song; seeing Rush Limbaugh at the beach in a thong (look, he’s terrible, but fuck out of here with that body shame); or being kidnapped by a cult that forces her to buy all her clothes at Pappagallo’s. Whatever that is. [Dove: The original had the same. I guess the re-writers just shrugged and left it in to mystify a new generation.]
Her real fear is Claire, the cold, ruthless monster, the destroyer of souls, the ice princess with overly large breasts and no heart. You are strangely obsessed with your sisters’ breasts, Nina.
Benjamin wants to know why he’s feeling bumps; it doesn’t feel like an interstate, it feels like a back road. And Nina is taking a shortcut, but slamming into potholes, because you can’t fucking dodge them? She took it to avoid rush hour. Benjamin’s pretty sure they’re lost, but she doesn’t admit it. They talk about The Lord of the Rings and how all roads lead somewhere and how Mordor is like parts of NYC apparently. The road keeps getting narrower and narrower and it’s starting to get creepy (Making Out: The Horror Movie is something I would read a billion times [Dove: I wish this had non-continuity spin-offs, like Sweet Valley, Super Chillers, Super Editions, etc.]). She tries to turn around using a tiny dirt track and she gets them stuck in the mud.
Aisha goes to visit her old neighbourhood, even though it’s raining on her now. There’s some bad streets and good streets and gentrified streets; she plans to see her old home and Jeff’s house, even though she’s not sure why. She doesn’t even know if he still lives there with his mother and “odd collection of aunts.” At her old home, Aisha remembers her old friends: Lachandra, a giddy, boy-crazy girl; Anna Maria, who starts to see and hear things no one else could hear and was “packed off to a mental hospital” and only sent strange, self-pitying letters after (…Grapplegate, I cut you some fucking slack earlier, but this is some bullshit thrown in for dramatic backstory); and Kinya, her best friend until Jeff came between them.
She takes a shortcut down an alley and nearly runs into two men wearing rubber Halloween masks, one a gorilla and one the Joker [Dove: Clinton again.]. She clutches at her purse instinctively, because the city’s not as safe as the island. They pass her, but then grab the purse. She clings to it and shouts at them to stop, then immediately realises that she did the wrong thing and the smart thing to do would be to let them have it so she could get away. Joker hits her, Gorilla pushes her, and she slams into the brick wall and passes out.
It’s full night when Claire reaches the airport, and she’s regretting agreeing to the meeting. She scopes out the restaurant where they’re supposed to meet (I have not actually been to Logan; anyone know if there are restaurants before security? Because otherwise, this story no longer works), but doesn’t think he’s there because the only person of the right age is a hugely fat guy. WELP. Flyer turns up, and he’s six feet tall, broad shouldered, blond haired and blue eyed (though a pale, slightly vacant blue), perfect nosed, and wearing a brown leather jacket and Levi’s that fit well. He’s wearing something in his right ear; he says it’s a hearing aid stemming from a mistake with firecrackers when he was younger. Claire is leery, because he’s gorgeous and smart and she can’t believe he was waiting around in a chat room waiting to be picked up.
UMM. You are both of those, too, and you were there.
Jake has pulled a “quick cut” which is catching one ferry home and then catching the next one back to the mainland. I mean, sure, that is a move that warrants its own special name, obviously. He has Wade’s driver’s license, which had been changed back when Wade was alive to make him seem 21.
A girl sits next to him, and he realises that he saw her on the outbound ferry, earlier, and had done the same quick cut. She’s wearing a short skirt over fishnet stockings and high, black leather boots and a tube top under a cheap black leather jacket; she has big brown hair. She’s come to ask him if he knows a blind guy, Benjamin. It’s, of course, Lara, Benjamin’s sister. She flat out tells him this, but he’s already heard about the “famous half-sister.” He tells her a terrible joke about them and McDonald’s having Mc names. (She’s McAvoy, he’s McRoyan.) She asks what he’s doing that night, he tells her he was thinking about getting drunk; her boyfriend is in jail, and she likes getting drunk. Jake shows her the license when she asks if he can get alcohol; she tells him that’s a dead person, but doesn’t expand when he asks her why. I don’t remember why she knows that, either. Is there going to be some weird magical realism thing going on now?
Jake is afraid of being weak — maybe he’s an alcoholic or something, and he’s afraid of being out of control. Getting drunk makes him feel like he’s in control, though, and like he’s not afraid of anything.
Zoey, Lucas, and Christopher have dinner outside even though it’s pretty chilly; they’ve put on their costumes.
Zoey: death-blue makeup on her face, bare legs, and hands; plastic ax half-buried in her head. No description of the cheerleader outfit itself, though I’m assuming she’s wearing it. The guys have masks on the table. She teases the boys about half-assing their costumes and how hard she worked. They talk about Nina’s costume, which is dressing up like Claire: the black wig, stealing some of Claire’s clothes, and she’s going to stuff her bra with eight pairs of socks. Jesus, Nina. Benjamin is going as the devil.
Aisha is lying on the cold wet ground, her left arm and leg completely numb from it. She has no idea why she has a bump on her head or why she’s on the ground in the alleyway she takes to get to Jeff’s house. Her Girl Scout outfit is weirdly short, too; maybe the water shrunk it?
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME AN AMNESIA STORY?! [Rosey: HOW DO YOU NOT REMEMBER THIS BOOK? ] [Dove: Irony.] [Wing: APPARENTLY I HATE IT SO MUCH I GAVE MYSELF AMNESIA I AM ALSO TERRIBLE.]
I actually had to take a break from this recap because I am so annoyed by the potential for an amnesia story (well, and I had day job stuff to do, but whatever, unimportant). Anyway, back to Aisha, who is grumpy and refuses to go home because it will just make her mother worry that she was in the alley and then blame Jeff and then talk about finding a safe place away from Boston where bad things didn’t happen and no older guys chased Aisha.
Benjamin and Nina try to get the van unstuck, but it’s impossible. They joke over how lost they are (they don’t even know what state, it could be Maine, New Hampshire, or Massachusetts, they think). Nina wants to walk down the road to see if it leads to a farmhouse, because otherwise why does a road exist (MURDER HAUS KEEP UP), but she’s nervous about how dark it is. She does find a flashlight in the van and it even works. FOR NOW.
Nina wants to take her backpack with them because it has her purse and their costumes, and she thinks they might want the extra clothes because it’s so cold. It’s quiet and they talk about how that’s good because Benjamin will be able to hear anything dangerous coming, like bears. I — I don’t think that’s exactly how it will go, necessary. Anyway, Nina’s thinking more about serial killers.
They come up to a tight group of trees, an owl scares the shit out of Nina, and then Benjamin hears a violin playing Bach. MUSICAL GHOST MURDER HAUS.
Claire and Flyer are still hanging out. She asks him if he wants to go into the restaurant (where the fat guy is still sitting, though now alone, and I have suddenly remembered where this plot point is going, at least, and how shitty it is, coooooool), and at first he says no, it’s crappy. She teases him a little about that word and then they go inside anyway.
Claire is overwhelmed by Flyer, in part because the guys she’d gone out with recently are people who’ve known her most of her life, and this guy is gorgeous and smart and charming and it is strange and overwhelming. They decide to start calling each other by their actual names (“actual” names for Sean, I guess), and pretty much immediately they fall into an awkward pause. Claire notices that he sometimes raises an eyebrow after he says things, as if he disapproves of them, especially after he says her mind and her beliefs are more important than her appearance.
They talk about how it really is awkward to have made friends through a computer screen, and that it feels new, but also it’s like writing letters, before, so it’s not really a new thing at all.
Sean checks out her breasts and then runs to the “little boys’ room” which is (a) a weird thing to call it and (b) makes it look like you’re off to masturbate, dude.
Claire leers at Sean’s ass as he walks away and is embarrassed when she meets the fat guys’ gaze, because she doesn’t like to be caught showing how she feels, not like that. She knows this is the time to bail if she wants, but she very much doesn’t want.
Jake succeeds in buying beer by pretending to be his dead brother (24 cans of Budweiser), and Lara takes him back to her small studio apartment. She puts on Gregorian chants, and Jake tells her that it sounds like something Benjamin would listen to. Lara says she knew he would be into classical. She asks Jake to tell her about Benjamin, and goes off on weird things like how she knew before Benjamin and her real father isn’t a person. Jake is weirded out by this and considers going to find someone else to drink with, but he’s already dry and warm and there. She may be weird, but she’s pretty, and sometimes she reminds him of Zoey. Creepy and gross, dude. So he sticks around, even when she says her dad was a “what” not a “who.”
Aisha, amnesia, she’s looking forward to private time with Jeff, I really, really hate this. Jeff is pretty predatory based on her memories of him, she loves him, she sees a limo stop to pick up Jeff and he sees her before he gets in. They kiss, she flashes back to wearing a bathrobe and a green parka, and she’s all confused by them going to the concert. I hate this.
Benjamin’s biggest fear is that he’ll lose his hearing as well as his sight. But then he talks himself back around because taste, smell, and touch can all be wonderful things, so he says he’s not afraid of anything. Except maybe being beaten up because he can’t see, that people will realise how defenseless he is when the world expects guys to be tough. But his biggest daily fear is that he’ll make a fool of himself.
Back to where Benjamin and Nina are making their way through the trees, and he’s feeling truly blind, because he’s in an unfamiliar situation where he doesn’t know how many steps to take or where the clear path is, etc. They get close to a house when a dog starts barking and snarling. The guy inside playing the violin (Nina can see him through the window) comes out and calls Moloch to hold off. He demands to know why they’re on his land and is grumpier than ever when Benjamin mentions hearing the violin, because dude wasn’t playing it for them.
He doesn’t have a phone, but he does invite them inside to get out of the rain and the cold, though everyone is reluctant. He brings them coffee, the dog is big enough to bite off Benjamin’s balls (Nina’s description, not mine, though I went a little blunter with it), and he says his wife is “departed” when he means dead, which Nina doesn’t get at first. I seriously doubt that, because surely people would have talked about her mom being departed after her death, but okay, whatever. He adds that she’s “burning in the everlasting fires of hell” because she went searching for excitement and got it. Creeeeeeepy.
When Nina suggests that they go back to the van since he doesn’t have a phone, he says they won’t like the sort of people who drive by on Halloween or what they might see in the woods. Creeeeeeeepier. I seriously want some Making Out horror stories.
He sends them out to sleep in the barn, watched over by Moloch; Benjamin is not super thrilled about this in part because Moloch is named for an ancient god who was known to prefer human sacrifices. He’s going to keep that info from Nina, though.
Jeff is showing off the limo to Aisha, who can’t believe he kept this huge event a secret from her, because FUCKING AMNESIA. Jeff is noticing things are weird, but she brushes this off because she doesn’t want to start a fight. She falls asleep backstage and dreams of Jeff and Christopher and a ferry and a village OH MY GOD I HATE AMNESIA STORIES WHY IS THIS HAPPENING IT IS SO FUCKING POINTLESS. [Dove: You are not alone. There’s a lot of good in this book, but all I remember is this stupid plot point.]
Jeff kisses her awake, they flirt about sex, and Jeff wants to take her on stage.
Of course he does. I fucking hate this storyline.
Christopher, Zoey, and Lucas are waiting outside the Orpheum, of course, because Aisha is supposed to meet them. (Also, even though the show is apparently about to start, they haven’t opened the doors yet, which is not at all how things work, Grapplegate.) Christopher’s freaking out about Aisha, but Zoey points out basically everyone is missing. Lucas, meanwhile, is counting gorilla costumes and is annoyed as hell because that is his mask, too. He’s up to 8 so far. Good god, man, chill. If you wanted a creative costume that no one else has, MAKE A GODDAMN CREATIVE COSTUME.
Zoey spills the beans that Jeff is Aisha’s old boyfriend, but I could have sworn that Aisha fucking told him that herself. Christopher says she let it slip once (but again, I thought it was an intentional telling him earlier) and backed off them being boyfriend and girlfriend, which, okay, maybe she did back off a little, but he knew they were together at least a little bit.
Christopher gets angry as hell, because of course he does, I cannot think of a way this storyline could get more cliche. They decide to go inside and see if they can find Aisha before she sees them.
Lara and Jake are halfway through their beer and talking about how many things are not what they seem; Jake’s glad that she’s finally slowing down and not matching him drink for drink anymore. He’s feeling drunk, though, and she’s not acting like it at all. She’s been teasing him with her theory of who her father really is, but keeps finding excuses not to do it. She finally tells him that her actual father is named Necrophage, who is a demon. She’s not sure whether Benjamin is also a child of Necrophage, but the blindness might be a sign. Then she gets out a Ouija board. My god, Grapplegate is going hard into the Halloween theme here. SHAME ABOUT THAT GODDAMN AMNESIA STORYLINE. She tells him that she’ll call on her spirit and after she learns about Benjamin (who she keeps calling the blind boy), she’ll ask whether she should give her body to Jake, because it’s clear he wants her in part thanks to her being Zoey’s half-sister in his mind. SO FUCKING CREEPY. Lara’s spirit is Amber Shores who was killed by Indians in 1649, I am so sure, but the spirit is not Amber, it spells Wade’s name instead, and Jake jerks away from the board.
Claire and Sean are drink cup after cup of coffee while they talk; she’s gotten used to the way he hesitates right before he says something. Claire’s getting swept away by him and by her desire for him, because he is smart and thoughtful and beautiful and perfect. Claire says she’ll fly with Sean, Sean looks panicked, the fat guy smiles wickedly, oh my god. Claire says it’s too bad they have to stay at the airport, he points out they don’t have to stay in the restaurant, at least, because there are Z-iosks everywhere that allow people to sleep on an actual bed while they’re waiting.
… no airport I’ve ever been in had that available. WTF, airports. NEED. (I once spent something like half a day hanging out in an airport because Dove and Raven were delayed elsewhere. [Dove: Fucking Newark. Every time.]) There was no private room and bed. All she needs is a credit card, and of course she has one. Sean hustles away with a lot more force than she expects, enough that she almost feels resentful. Claire’s a little hesitant, because she’s not sure how far she’s going to go, but when he kisses her suddenly, she lets him pull her down onto the bed.
Oh god, Claire.
Claire is afraid of pain and helplessness, including severe, third-degree burns and paralysis from the neck down. Oh, also, ending up completely alone, but she’d be happy with one good friend and one real boyfriend who loves her for what she is. UGH, CLAIRE, I LOVE YOU SO GODDAMN MUCH.
Nina and Benjamin are alone in the barn, not even the dog around; there is a cow, though, and they are shocked by how loud it moos. I don’t blame them, because I don’t particularly like cows much except as food. Nom. They talk about how the old guy was talking like they were in a horror movie. Benjamin cleans up at a water pump after Nina promises not to look and goes up to the loft to make beds of straw. She does, of course, look down after all (mostly when he doesn’t answer her when she speaks, which I would not blame her for looking considering it feels like they’re living a horror movie), but then she looks again, this time with purpose. He’s grumping about how he’s about to dress up as Satan (he’s putting on his costume so his regular clothes can dry), in the barn in the middle of nowhere, with a loner old guy and a dog named Moloch. It’s basically a Stephen King story and he doesn’t like it.
And then a shriek sounds in the distance and Moloch starts howling and baying and this is GREAT.
They freak out, Benjamin threatens to kill the dog with a pitchfork, and they run into the darkness.
Aisha’s on the side of the stage, silly and conspicuous and too young to be cool, and also confused about how it is already Halloween. The curtains open and the band gets ready.
Down in the crowd, Christopher grumbles about how the band is five minutes late starting, which is not late at all, really, for a concert, but let’s roll with it. Christopher is furious that Aisha must be kissing her ex-boyfriend, blah blah blah, Christopher, I hate you and your temper.
We jump to Jeff, because why not, and he’s thrilled that the crowd actually loves him and the band, not just tolerating them because they’re the opening act. And to be fair, that is cool as hell. He plans to have sex with Aisha, then send her back to Maine and hook up with more girls who love hotass musicians. Oh, cool, you’re still a manipulative ass, that’s awesome.
Aisha is confused about the music, but thrilled, and thinks that of course she doesn’t know much about it, she’s not obsessed by music like Nina and Benjamin — but oh, wait, who the hell are they? She sees a man in a gorilla mask coming for her and a man with a painted face and starts thinking about whether she had tripped or fallen some other way — and then Jeff drags her onto the stage and kisses her. Because of course that’s where this plotline is going. Why, Grapplegate. Why.
Christopher freaks out, Zoey tries to calm him down, Christopher shouts at her that just because she doesn’t care if Lucas kisses Claire in her daddy’s Mercedes doesn’t mean he’s happy about Aisha kissing some guy in front of a thousand people.
So much for the friendship code, huh? God, you are all shitty.
Sean and Claire make out, and he reminds her of a mix of Jake’s body and Benjamin’s intelligence and Lucas’ tough sweetness. Oh my god, adorable. I mean, terrible, because of what’s happening, but I love the things she loves about them. Then she hears a strange, tinny noise, like a tiny radio with someone yelling. He says it’s his hearing aid, which sometimes picks up radio. They go back to kissing, but things are nagging at Claire now, especially when he says “Now, babe, it’s just you and me” and “Damn, you are a hot bitch” because subtle, dude, and also shitty.
Claire tries to convince herself she can put all her concerns out of her mind and just enjoy hooking up, but she can’t. She calls him on what’s happening, tells him that she may be a bitch but anyone who knows her knows she’s not a hot one. Oh, Claire, honey, I love you and the coldness you wear like a shield.
Aisha sees a man in a mask throw himself at her and she’s freaking out — and then a dude in a gorilla mask comes out, too, and that freaks her out further, because she’s remembering them grabbing her purse and how she fell and how she hit her head. She flees backstage and realises that she’s terrified.
Zoey knows when she looks at Lucas that Christopher was telling the truth and of course now she’s cold and furious with him. She calls him on the way he danced around the truth by saying he didn’t sleep with her but never talking about not hooking up with her. She’s bitter and furious and and sickened by everyone, including Aisha, being willing to stab everyone else in the back. Lucas wants to tell her not to take her anger at her parents out on him, but doesn’t. And yes, that is clearly part of what’s going on, but also, you did a shitty thing and then lied about it. Oh my god, Lucas, get your shit together.
Aisha begs god for help because she’s in pain and confused and scared. Jeff comes back thrilled, mentions it being three years, kisses her even though it’s absolutely clear she’s confused as fuck right now, and that helps her focus. Until she tells him to use a condom (well, a “thingy” because maybe they can’t write “condom” in this book I don’t even know) [Dove: No, there’s definite talk of condoms in a later book. I think she used the word “thingy” to show that young!Aisha is driving.] and when he says they don’t have to worry about it, she murmurs that Christopher said that last time, too. She starts to remember that Christopher is her boyfriend. Christopher breaks into the room because somehow he got backstage after already losing against the bouncers, and he punches Jeff.
Claire considers walking away, but goes to the restaurant and over to the fat guy, who is watching her and looking both sad and triumphant. She thinks a lot about how ugly he is and how overweight and how greasy and pallid. Right, right, I actually like Claire, but holy shit do I kind of hate her right now. [Rosey: She is so awful here, and teen me definitely took some of this stuff to heart.] Dude was Dennis, this is Sean, and Claire wants to know why he did it. Sean tells her that he assumed she was plain, maybe, as much a victim of her looks as he was, and how she talked about how little looks mattered to her. It wasn’t until the last minute that the only people besides ugly, plain people who think looks don’t matter are beautiful people, so he brought in Dennis to be his Halloween mask. Claire points out that he never even gave her a chance to see behind his fat. He thought she was beautiful and perfect and elegant and confident and there was no way he could talk to her, so he sent Dennis in.
Claire says that she might have surprised him because she’s really not superficial, really not obsessed with looks, really not “one of those girls.” UMM. Yeah, based on how you just described him, you are shallow as hell. He points out the way she watched Dennis walk away and then how she looked at Sean and her lips curled into a sneer. He tells her that someday a girl will come along who cares about his mind and his heart and not what he looks like. Dude, you very well could find a girl who thinks you’re hot as hell as well as everything else. Fat people are not inherently ugly no more than skinny people are inherently ugly. Also, ugly is not inherently a bad thing. Ugly people can be good and loving and loved. He asks Claire if she is that girl; he leaves for the men’s room (thank fuck he used that instead of little boys’ room) and tells her that she should be honest and if she isn’t that girl, she should leave before he gets back.
Jake runs away from Lara’s apartment far into the warehouses by the waterfront. He can’t decide if Lara is insane or evil. Ugh. He can’t figure out why she wanted to frighten him, but he knows everything was fake because spirits don’t speak through Ouija boards and Wade is in heaven anyway, not wandering around like a lost spirit. UGH JAKE MY HEART WHAT THE HELL WHY ARE YOU MY FAVOURITE NOW.
He’s drawn to a liquor store and calls Lara crazy again and that she needs Prozac and professional help. Oh, cool, I can still hate you some, thanks for that. [Rosey: PHEW]
He drinks and staggers down the street and laughs and ends up in a graveyard and not just in a graveyard but at Wade’s tombstone. Goddamn.
Nina sees lights in the woods; Benjamin didn’t let her run to the van because it’s stuck and it’s the first place the murderous, psychopathic farmer will look for them Oh my god, why is everything all #crazymeansdangerous in this book? Goddamn it, Grapplegate. They find a fire in a clearing and people wearing goat head masks as they dance half-naked around the bonfire. Benjamin calls it a black mass, Moloch attacks them, and the old farmer shows up. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OH MY GOD IT IS AN AUTHENTIC RECREATION OF A WITCHES’ COVEN HOLDING A HALLOWEEN CEREMONY FROM 1692 AND BENJAMIN IN HIS COSTUME AND PITCHFORK HAS TERRIFIED THE PARTICIPANTS. I am dying. The dude explaining this to them is there to get video of it for dateline. [Rosey: I love it.] [Dove: On the plus side, their blooper reel is going to rock.]
Jake has a drunken hallucination of Wade visiting him there at the grave. Wade tells him not to drink, even though Wade did it himself, and that Jake is a drunk and there are always reasons to drink, every single day, and soon he’ll be drinking every single day because of it. Jake waives this off, but Wade keeps talking. He says he was a terrible big brother and a complete dick and he has this one opportunity to convince Jake to stop destroying himself because if he keeps trying to kill himself like this, he’ll succeed.
I can’t believe I have zero memory of this plot, either, because this sort of maybe there is a ghost maybe there isn’t is right up my alley, holy shit.
Zoey misses the last train and no car rental company will rent to someone under age 21, so Zoey has to wait for the others. She looks for the van with Nina and Benjamin, both because she wants away from Lucas and because she’s worried about them, but of course doesn’t find it.
Claire waits a full minute after Sean leaves. She wants to be the girl he hopes she can be, but she knows it is a lie and she really is prejudiced, unable to see beneath the surface. She tries to rationalise that she’s doing him a favour because she’s really terrible and she’s not good enough for him, but she is aware that she’s rationalising that. She walks away in tears. Cry me a river, pretty little rich girl. Jesus.
Nina and Benjamin decide that their excuse will be they ran out of gas rather than getting lost and stuck in the mud and interrupting a witches’ ceremony oh my god. Anyway, the Dateline guy helps them get the van out of the mud, Benjamin picked up his clothes from the barn, and they’re on their way back.
Christopher refuses to believe Aisha’s temporary amnesia, which, you know, I don’t actually blame him, even though I think he’s reacted to most of this terribly. You know what this book didn’t need? A fucking amnesia plot that does absolutely nothing for anything. [Dove: This plot would have worked just as well without amnesia. Ex boyfriend vs current boyfriend, both have a solid amount of ambition, ego and possessiveness about Aisha. Jeff would have definitely tried for a kiss, even if she had a boyfriend, and Christopher would have kicked Jeff’s ass even if he didn’t try for a kiss.]
They make up pretty fast, though, and Christopher tells Lucas he needs to drive so they can really make up by which he obviously means make out. So much eye rolling here.
Aisha et al arrive a little after midnight and catch the water taxi home. Benjamin and Nina show up at three a.m. and charge the water taxi to Nina’s dad because he’s rich. Claire drives from Boston to Cape Cod before she turns back north and doesn’t arrive until dawn on the first day of November. She eats breakfast in a diner and decides not to go home. It’s a school day, so she’s just going to school even though she doesn’t have her books and she’s way overdressed. Jake wakes up in the graveyard just before dawn, hungover and half-frozen. He wants a good drink, but pours the rest of the bottle into his brother’s grave, then lets himself into the school, sleeps in the locker room for two hours, then drinks water and works out hard to sweat out the last of the alcohol.
Zoey is exhausted the next morning and everything enrages her. She snaps at Benjamin for disappearing the night before. She’s just working up into a full steam of rage when she hears a man’s voice upstairs and storms up there to find her mom with her dad. They’ve apparently gotten back together, Zoey doesn’t understand how he can forgive her mom, and he says that they both forgave each other, which is a really good fucking point.
Zoey calls Lucas and tells him that he’s a jerk and she hates him but she also loves him. She hangs up before he can answer, but she can see him in the window and he mouths “I love you” to her. Then she tells Benjamin that she’s happy now, because of course Aisha’s book ends on Zoey being happy thirty seconds after she was trying to rent a fucking car to go back alone oh my god.
This book. I don’t even know what to do with this book. Parts of it were horrible, part of it was wonderful, part of it was completely unnecessary (OH MY GOD AMNESIA STORY SO POINTLESS), and Jake continues to be my favourite. HOW. Claire’s story is heartbreaking and she’s shallow and it’s terrible, but it’s also intentionally painful and she’s struggling so hard and ugh I still love her so much.
Nina and Benjamin’s ridiculous adventure was hilarious.
Jake’s story is sad as hell.
AISHA WHAT THE FUCK GRAPPLEGATE NEEDS TO DO BETTER BY YOU.
[Rosey: The amnesia story is so weird and bad! and the Claire story is horrible – I can remember really wanting her to be able to see beyond Sean’s appearance, as a little fat girl, it really hurt that being kind/funny/intelligent weren’t the things that mattered. And the INDIGNITY of what the ghosties go on to do with Sean…]
[Dove: Agreed on all counts. I was so desperate for Claire to love Sean but she couldn’t. Aisha’s stupid amnesia plotline was infuriatingly stupid – as I mentioned before, that plot would have functioned perfectly without her forgetting the past three years. Nina continues to be a joy, Benjamin continues to be something that’s attached to Nina. Lucas and Zoey continue to irritate me, with his constant lies and her constant judgement. Jake, though, Jake I still love. He is my favourite.]