Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chapters One-Three: In Which the Lack of Control Begins at Home


Last time, our heroine was regaling to us all how everything was going to work out. But chapter one is where we really start our story.

"Others may count sheep; I plan."
I don't know why but this just made me laugh. It sounds like planning for college is what's keeping her awake, but people count sheep to help themselves fall asleep. So does she use planning to fall asleep or does it keep her awake? We may never know.
"The noise of the cabinets opening and slamming closed downstairs makes it known that she is feeling just as panicked as I am."
I'm wondering exactly what the sound of a cabinet opening is. I'd understand if they were creaky cabinets, but then wouldn't you just say that?

And "makes it known?" UGH.
"All of my life has been a series of tasks in preparation for this day, my first day of college."
"All of my life has been a series of doors in my face, and suddenly I bump into youuuuuu."

Sorry, I couldn't help singing a bit of Frozen here, and it looks like it was written after Frozen came out, so... Also, the fact that she's been preparing her entire life for her first day of college is not only a bit scary, but also unrealistic and wildly inaccurate. Both Tessa and her mom are treating this like it's her first day of (at the oldest) high school, but most likely kindergarten.

Tessa so far really likes to talk about herself TO herself, so we continue.

Talking about not being a normal teenager, she explains that she stayed in and studied while others partied...
"and doing whatever else it is teenagers do to get themselves in trouble."
Oh, look, more innocence. If fire burned innocence like it does an oil-slicked log of wood, I'd gladly light a match to it, and she'd be charred remains by now.

This also makes her sound older and more mature than she clearly is. You damn kids and your music! *shakes fist*

How much do you want to bet that Hard-On (aka Hardin, aka Harry Styles) and her new "pure inattention to structure" friends are going to make her do a good amount of those things that teenagers do to get themselves in trouble?

We find out that the college Tessa will be attending is Washington Central University. Seriously, what is up with Washington? Are their shits gold there or something? I'm wondering if Todd will be as "accurate" about the campus, as there is in fact a Central Washington University out there (the words are switched, so maybe she'll claim that they're not the same school?). But I get the feeling that Todd did as much research about the college as EL James did about all of Seattle. Kudos to Stephanie Meyer for knowing shit.

Her mom has already yelled at her to get downstairs for breakfast, and while she's trying to take a shower, the "planning" ruins everything once again.
" the time I finally wash my hair and body, I barely have enough hot water to run a razor over my legs from the knees down."
Leg hair... don't care.

You, madam, are the reason some places are in a drought! And while I can't imagine that's a problem in Washington, you still stole all the hot water and that is blasphemy. Also, umm, who the hell cares about your hairy legs?

We also find out that she hates dresses, which is not surprising because Bella hates dresses too and Ana has a terrible sense of fashion.

Then we get to meet goody-goody boyfriend Noah, who immediately bugs the shit out of me. It doesn't help that her description of him is so dull.
"He's brilliant and has straight A's just like I did, and - I'm so excited - he's planning on joining me at WCU next year."
Don't try to sound too excited there, girly. Wouldn't want to give the reader any idea that you love this guy or anything.

And, of course, he's so charming...
"The blue of his polo shirt matches the blue of his eyes, and his blond hair is combed and lightly gelled to perfection. 
'Hey college girl.'"

Everything about this guy is unappealing (he even wears too much cologne and Tessa has to close her mouth when she hugs him because of it), so I guess we're never meant to like him. And the whole 'hey college girl' bit sounds like something a dad would say, giving this guy even less sex appeal. But this A-crowd wannabe is nothing compared to the girl's mother.

After Tessa nervously pulls her hair into a ponytail, her mother tells her:
"'Honey, we can wait a couple minutes while you fix your hair,' my mother says quietly. I make my way to the mirror and nod; she's right. My hair needs to be presentable for today, and of course she didn't hesitate to remind me."
Or she can wear her hair however the hell she wants!


I'm not sure of Tessa's history with her mother, especially when it comes to hairstyles (HA! Harry Styles...), but she's about to go to college, and considering she's so nervous, she should wear it the way that makes her most comfortable. Talk about feeling unnecessary pressure from your mom on what's supposed to be the biggest day of both your lives.

The final thought of the chapter goes like this:
"Will I make any friends?"
No, because no has ever made any new friends in a college of thousands. It simply isn't done.

Chapter two starts with Tessa obsessing again. What a surprise.
"'Here we are!' my mother squeals when we drive through a stone gate and onto campus. It looks just as great in person as it did in the brochures and online, and I'm immediately impressed by the elegant stone buildings."
Her mother squeals? Uh.

I've often dreamed of going to a school with more stone. Stone is definitely what does it for me. And the more elegant, the better. For those of you wondering if I'm crazy, she says stone twice in describing the school. I know: sarcasm can be a confusing language.

When they get to the campus, her mother insists (something she seems to do a lot) on coming with her to freshman orientation. And, of course, Noah's there too.
"Noah listens intently, the same way that I do."
OMG just like their GPA's; they're so alike!! Maybe too alike? I wonder...

After, her mother insists on seeing her dorm as well, and it seems like she's judging the place before she even gets there. Apparently, she has a way of finding the worse in things, but being the Golden Boy he is:
"Noah smiles, lightening the mood, and my mother perks up."
Ahh... this is so sexual if you think about it. Can Golden Boy do no wrong? Except maybe banging his girlfriend's mother?

Tessa's mother does the whole, "I can't believe my baby's going to college!" spiel, including the tears, but Tessa doesn't react, even to say, "Mom you're embarrassing me!" Too stereotypical? But, seriously, at least give your mom some comfort. She is losing her baby. Who's life will she control after you're gone?

Run, Golden Boy, run.

Our MC (main character) also mentions that she's happy that she only brought 
"a few clothes, a blanket, and some of my favorite books along"
Okay, I'm confused here. Is she going to get more of her things from home later? Or...

Let me name a few more things she might need: pillows, bed sheets, toiletries, a backpack, notebooks, a laptop, a printer... I could go on, but I'm boring myself. She's made it clear that this is her first day of school, and yet she only has some clothes, a blanket, and non-school-related books. Why isn't her mother freaking about her lack of preparedness instead of her hairstyle?

Finally, we get to meet the infamous Steph, one of those new friends that have a "pure inattention to structure". And so far, I like Steph.
"'Hey,' she says, offering a smile, a smile that I find quite intrigues me, much to my surprise. 'I'm Steph.' She sit up on her elbows, causing her cleavage to push tight against her laced-up top, and I gently kick at Noah's shoe when his eyes focus on her chest. 
'H-hey. I'm Tessa,' I choke, all of my manners flying out the door."
Gosh, there's so much wrong with this. I'm curious as to what kind of smile would intrigue Tessa enough to make her surprised. I'm also wondering if she's surprised that the smile intrigues her, or surprised that Steph can smile over all that cleavage?

Speaking of Steph's cleavage, even my eyes tend to settle on cleavage and I'm straight. When any amount of boobs are out there for the world, our attention tends to travel to them, no matter our gender or sexual orientation. Yeah, you'd like to think Golden Boy would be above all that, but he's a guy. At the same time, I'm kind of surprised Todd had him look at the cleavage; that seems a lot less like the stereotype she's trying to create for him. Then again, she's probably just setting him up for Tessa to dump him. It's going to happen at some point!

And that last line... I'm just wondering if she loses her manners because she's angry at Noah, or simply at a loss for words and decorum. Yay, mood swings!

Her mother has a somewhat similar reaction to Steph:
"My mother's jaw is wide open, practically on the carpet."
Well, if her jaw was wide open, it'd be more likely to touch the walls than the carpet. But this oddity will come into play in just a few paragraphs.

Now, we get to meet a couple of the boys. Tessa's shocked that there are boys in the female dorms on the first day. The innocence and self-doubting is suffocating.

Surprised that one of the boys she meets is Hard-On? Me neither. Oops, I mean, spoiler?
"Or perhaps I could have found a way to screen my roommate first?"
Perhaps you can remember that we're in the year of our lord 2015? This 1D fanfic was written WAY after the creation of Facebook. Just like Ana from FSoG, Tessa has no concept of technology and its many uses. I wonder if her controlling mother doesn't let her? But at least if Tessa was aware of Facebook, she could've said: "I wish my controlling mother would've let me have a Facebook to find out about my new, strange roommate." I know, I know, dare to dream.

Meanwhile, her mother continues to freak out about the whole "dangerous boys in her innocent daughter's dorm room" thing.
"The poor woman looks like she might pass out."
The poor woman? Who calls their own mother a poor woman? But, who knows: maybe if she passes out, she'll find her jaw down there on the carpet.


Luckily, the boy we come to know as Nate (who I will call Nice Nate, because he seems nice), breaks the tension with:
"'Hey, you Steph's roomie?'"
Super eloquent, Nice Nate.

Also, who the fuck kind says "roomie" to someone they just met? Like, I legitimately want to know. I've said it lovingly and jokingly to my roommates, but that's after getting to know them, and it's never in a serious way. I just can't imagine this tatted-up guy saying the word "roomie." You're really breaking down barriers here, Todd.

Tessa comes to the same sort of conclusion about Nice Nate, but it doesn't come out nicely at all.
"His expression is warm and inviting despite his harsh appearance."
Okay Judgey McJudgerson. Imagine what he thinks of you, dressed all goody-goody.

Then, her gaze moves from Nice Nate to Hard-On, who has mop of thick waves, with "metal" in his eyebrow and lip, as well as...
"My focus moves down to his black T-shirt to his arms, which are also covered in tattoos."
I'm a bit confused here. If you consider that she first talks about his hair, Todd makes it seem like Hard-On has tattoos on his face and hair, as well as his arms.


And if you didn't know he was a bad boy from the metal in his face and tattoos on his arms, he's also wearing a black T-shirt. It's this detail that Tessa's mom is clearly freaking out about - not the body piercings and tattoos.

Of course, Hard-On completely ignores Tessa, Golden Boy, and Mother Dearest, including rolling his eyes and going on his cell phone. But, true to form, Tessa says that, while he's not as friendly as Steph or Nate, he's more appealing. Because 'appeal' only involves people's looks, apparently.

After Tessa undresses Hard-On with her eyes...
"I'm vaguely aware of Noah's eyes on me as I finally look away and pretend I was staring out of shock.
Because that's what it is, right?"
Like Golden Boy hadn't just been staring at Steph's cleavage?

And of course it's shock! Because you're in a committed, celibate relationship, so you're obviously blind to any other guys, and especially hot ones. Jesus.

After the bad children leave, Mother Dearest insists on switching Tessa into a new dorm. And Tessa doesn't want to be (understandably) embarrassed. But Mother Dearest is so mad that she can't even form coherent sentences.
"Her clean appearance clashes with the anger on her face; her long blond hair is flipped to one shoulder, yet every curl is still perfectly intact. 'You will not room with someone who allows men in like that - those punks, at that!'"
It took multiple times reading this sentence to finally understand what she was saying. Go ahead, read it a few more times; I'll wait...

I mean, what? Who taught this author in high school? Grade school?

This sentence also shows Mother Dearest's true colors: just like Hard-On will turn out to be, she's beautiful on the outside, but ugly on the inside.

Also, men? Most mothers would've called them boys, not men. Just saying.

These inspiring final lines of the chapter come from Mother Dearest:
"'Fine,' she spits out, much to my surprise. 'But we're going to have a little talk before I go.'"
This girl is surprised by a lot. It's good to know that she's not just surprised by a stranger's smile, but also her mother doing what she always does, which is to make her daughter feel bad about herself. She's very adept at making Tessa feel like she's a child that needs to be scolded.

All the foreshadowing.

Finally, Tessa is about to be on her own. But not before her mother cusses her out.
"An hour later, after listening to my mother warn me against the dangers of parties and college men - and using some language that's rather uncomfortable for Noah and me to hear from her - she finally makes her move to leave."
First, I don't understand why Todd likes to refer to guys in college as "men". If anything, they're more boyish than they were in high school since they're free of their parents now.

As hard as it is to believe, I think Tessa is even more innocent than Anastasia Steele. I know, I shocked myself with this information. At least Ana was willing to swear, and wasn't ever made uncomfortable by coarse language or sexual content. Tessa's poor, innocent ears.

After her mother leaves, it's time to say goodbye to the Golden Boy. Tessa reminisces on how she likes that he's tall but doesn't tower over her. Here's her reasoning.
"My mother used to tease me growing up, claiming that a man grows an inch for every lie he tells. My father was a tall man, so I won't argue with her logic there."
We were having a nice goodbye, and all of a sudden, we get some serious family drama.

Also, what a terrible thing to tell your daughter. Now Tessa has been scarred for life when it comes to tall men. I don't think we've been told Hard-On's height, but I'm guessing he'll be taller than Noah. Noah is the safe one, so he's not much taller than her (because god forbid she be in a relationship with someone her same height or shorter. FAN FICTION!), but Hard-On will be at least a little taller than Noah, making him less trust-worthy. But, of course, he'll show her that he can be trusted (or at least what the author thinks trust from an asshat would be like).

I should really start betting pools for this book...

Noah goes to kiss Tessa goodbye (just a brushing of the lips, of course), when Mother Dearest honks the horn impatiently. Golden Boy pulls back and explains:
"'Your mom. She's persistent.'"
Yeah, I bet she's persistent. *wink wink*

I'm very convinced now that something's going on between Mother Dearest and Golden Boy.

But seriously though, screw Tessa's mom. She won't get to see her boyfriend for who knows how long and her mom is like screw you, I need to get Golden Boy home so I can do him without you in the house.

"Left alone, I think about his hasty exit for just a moment"
...and then she moves on.

It's nice that you can think. I'm wondering, though, what exactly you thought about it? No? I'm asking too much, I know.
"I cringe at the sheer amount of leather and animal print filling the other closet. Still, my curiosity does get the best of me and I find myself running my finger along a dress made of some sort of metal, and another that's so thin it's barely there at all."
Ugh, seriously? It's one thing to knock leather as typical bad-girl attire, but animal print?

And here's another reference to FSoG. Her touching the forbidden dresses reminds me of Ana touching the kinky sex toys in Christian's Red Room. But I don't think Tessa is planning to have sex with Steph... or is she... FAN FICTION.

Speaking of Steph, Tessa starts to wonder what living with this bad girl will be like:
"I have a feeling she will be gone a lot, or, worse, she may have company over too often."
Wait, I thought you wanted to meet people and make friends. In fact, I remember you being extremely worried about not making friends.
"I gather my planner and textbooks"
Uh, from where? I distinctly recall you saying you only brought some clothes, a blanket, and some of your favorite books. Did the planner and textbooks come with the room?

In describing her plan of attack for the new school year, she talks about hoping to make a friend that will at least eat with her once a week (she really dreams big) and how she needs a new car. The money for this new car will be from graduation money and working at a bookstore. Because of course she worked at a bookstore. She even wondered earlier why she couldn't have gotten a roommate that read books. Apparently, she only wants to make friends with people exactly like her. Whoop-whoop.

When she wakes up the next morning and Steph isn't in her bed, she wonders if Steph has a boyfriend and if so...
"For her sake, I hope it was the blond one."
*claps* Bravo, Todd. Way to make Tessa not only judge Steph and Nice Nate, but also worry about this roommate that she's just judged in the same sentence.

After more cringe-worthy grammar mishaps (of which there are many), Tessa wonders if the bathrooms are coed, not believing that she didn't uncover it while researching WCU. First off, the actual campus websites normally tell you the exact floor plans of your dorm. In fact, I just looked up my school and got the 411 on the first freshman dorm I clicked on. Again, a stupid, inept, innocent girl forgetting that technology exists in the world.

Tessa finally has a legitimate fear when she's taking a shower in the coed bathroom of someone pulling the curtain back. If I'd been in coed dorms, I would've had this fear too as a freshman, possibly more-so.

But, then, of course, Tessa is clumsy just like Bella and Ana, and she elbows her clothes to the wet ground. She describes it so vividly...
"The shower pours onto them, completely soaking them."
The author wanted to make it VERY clear that, not only is it the shower and not the shower water that gets her clothes wet, but the shower pours onto them. I'd really love to see this sequence in action using these exact words.

We end this segment of chapters with a cliffhanger! After Tessa runs back to her room, wrapped in a towel and holding her wet clothes, she gratefully closes the door behind her...
"Until I turn to see the rude, tattooed, brown-haired boy sprawled across Steph's bed."
Because fan fiction. 

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