Previously on Obsidian,
Beautiful Teen Hideous Teen Katy explains why she’ll have no parental supervision for the duration of her impending alien romance, then discovers just how deeply Sexy Neighbor Douchebag can affect her libido/moral reservations against homicide.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold or block-quotes, it’s paraphrased snark.
Oh hey, looks like we have a tradition in the making: chapters starting out as boringly as possible.
It took the entire drive into Petersburg for me to calm down. Even then there was still a hot mix of anger and humiliation swirling inside me.
I’ll just leave this totally unrelated bit of advice about showing vs. telling here.
Katy reaches the grocery store without incident, and pauses her small towns are the worst sneerathon long enough to share—let me count them—four whole sentences about the store’s front window display, apparently crafted entirely of missing person flyers for a pretty girl Katy’s age, last seen more than a year ago.
Is that a plot I smell? In the start of chapter two? Dare I hope?
Katy’s avalanching food into her basket like a Supermaket Sweep champion when a “soft female voice” says her name, startling her out of her singleminded focus on GingTFO. The female attached to that female voice is, she sees, “too beautiful to be standing in a grocery store,” a veritable goddess who “stood out like a sunflower in a field of wheat,” which is an oddly rural simile coming from someone who’s spent the entire book thus far moaning that she, a native of bustling Gainesville, Florida, is too metropolitan for this barbaric backwater.
FYI, by “like a sunflower” she means the girl has long, dark hair and brilliant green eyes. She also presumably has a compellingly muscular torso, because Katy immediately realizes the girl must be Douchebag’s sister. And she’s right: the girl cheerfully introduces herself as Dee, sister of Daemon.
Faced with Dee’s offering of friendliness and good cheer, Katy does what any other shy, friendless new kid in town would do: launches straight into bitterness over how obscenely attractive the siblings are.
And of course his sister would be as attractive as him. Why not? Welcome to West Virginia, the land of lost models. I was starting to doubt I was going to fit in here.
Dude, you’ve laid eyes on exactly two people.
I am tired to death of pretty protagonists who bristle and mope at the sight of other attractive people. Extra points off if they’re white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied protagonists wailing that they can’t possibly fit in with their white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied peers; they’re just such misunderstood social outsiders, woe.
Dee’s got a Hufflepuff glow about her, and her fingers are visibly antsy to start on their matching BFF bracelets (hers probably in pink and yellow, Katy’s in shades of gray and who the fuck needs friends). Daemon had apparently emergency-broadcasted Dee a bulletin with Katy’s destination, ETA, and physical description.
“I don’t think your brother likes me,” Katy says, and when Dee apologizes and admits he’s a moody dude, Katy decides befriending this lovely cupcake is less important than insisting she’s right about Daemon:
No shit. “I’m pretty sure that was more than being moody.”
Care to explain why your three-minute interaction with him makes you more of an expert on his moods and behaviors than his twin sister? No?
Dee, desperate to achieve her dream of matching BESTIE necklaces, explains her brother’s behavior (short version: he’s having a bad day, and even on good days he’s not a people person; Katy’s reply: a laugh and sarcastic “You think?” and oh my god I think I hate her), before diplomatically steering this shitshow of a conversation toward cleaner and friendlier ground: how happy she is to meet Katy, and how she’d worried she’d be a nuisance if she stopped by Katy’s house to introduce herself.
“No, it wouldn’t have been a bother.” I tried to keep up with the conversation. She went from one topic to the next like someone in bad need of Ritalin.
Listen, Katy, Dee’s a charming conversationalist who’s trying to keep both of you happy and engaged. YOU’RE the one who’s failing at Human Interaction 101 with your self-absorption and lack of consideration of her feelings. And apparent inability to follow a straightforward and much-needed change of topic.
And oh my god, Dee tries to open up a bit and tell Katy about herself, and here’s Katy’s response:
“Be right back.” I headed over to the refrigerated section.
Katy literally walks away, what is her deal.
While I’m over here fuming, a little boy’s goofing around (which Katy manages to make about herself: “Sometimes being around children was the perfect abstinence program. Then again, not like I needed a program“), until his mother sees how close he is to Dee and immediately start hemmoraging plot-related anti-alien prejudice:
“Timothy, get right back here this instant! [ . . . ] What did I tell you?” she hissed. “You don’t go near them.”
Her eyeballs are lazering terror at Dee, who’s now looking a bit wan. Katy asks what’s that all about, and Dee dismisses it as a small town with weird locals, no biggie.
By the time Dee heads home, the girls have scheduled a gardening date for later that afternoon. I’d congratulate Katy on making a friend, except Dee’s clearly a lonely muffin desperate enough to settle.
Katy’s just getting into her car when alert: neck hairs indicate someone is staring. A stealthy glance around the empty parking lot reveals only an ominously tumbling tumbleweed. Oh, and a dude wearing a black suit and sunglasses looking at a missing person flyer.
All I could think of was Men in Black.
The only thing he needed was that little memory-wiper device and a talking dog. I would’ve laughed, except nothing about the man was funny.
Three questions. (1) Why would you laugh if literally nothing about the guy is funny? (2) Is this really the best excuse the book could come up with to reference aliens? (3) Men in Black is all you can think of, really?
Guys, the laziness of this book’s writing is amazing.
Scene change! Dee bops onto Katy’s porch, ready and eager to do some hardcore gardening. Katy notes that Dee’s wearing ridiculously impractical shoes and “an impish grin” which Katy claims makes her look like “a cracked-out Tinker Bell, considering how hyper she was.”
I’m seriously hating Katy’s descriptions of Dee. And no, we haven’t seen any proof that Dee is high-energy; we just have to take Katy’s word for it, which you know is my favorite.
Dee opens the conversation with a humorous anecdote: as soon as she got home with her groceries, Daemon went all Tasmanian Devil on them. Katy lols appropriately and marvels that he can eat so much yet still be sculpted of the purest, most grindable VixSkin Platinum silicone (note from my husband: that search term is not safe for work, children, and certain families); Dee says yeah, hoovering up food with nothing to show for it is a family trait.
TIME TO WOE:
My envy was almost painful. I wasn’t blessed with a fast metabolism. My hips and butt could attest to that. I wasn’t overweight, but I really hated it when Mom referred to me as ‘curvy.’
(Oh thank god, our heroine isn’t actually overweight. I almost panicked there, thinking her likability rating would plummet from—wait let me check the stats—2% to Too Fat To Bother With.)
The girls chat a bit about Katy’s move, and Dee lets drop that she and Daemon also aren’t from around these parts and that they also conveniently live without parental supervision, and just before I fall comatose from boredom, the book rolls in a freak storm to ruin their gardening plans and cut their friend-date short.
The girls agree to try again tomorrow, and Dee scurries back home, pausing only to shout that she’ll tell Daemon hi for Katy. (Katy’s response: “NO DON’T.” Dee’s response: “TOO BAD LOL.”)
And hey, wow, Katy’s mom was casually eavesdropping in the kitchen, like a concerned and attentive parent. Katy calls her out on her momly tactics, and Mom winks, “How else am I supposed to know what’s going on?” then warns “there is no such thing as privacy,” which is getting my hopes up. Will Mom play an active role in Katy’s life after all? Can I be so lucky?