The Negative Reader

Drinking Tea and Trashing Books

Yes, I’m getting slower. I’m tried of collecting degrees.

Welcome to another session of ‘chapters that really should have been cut, but the authors were too lazy to do so’. I understand that the Casts want to have some characterization before things get interesting, but every chapter should do something to advance the plot, and that’s something that the Casts are really having trouble doing.

The chapter starts with Zoey on her bed, listening as her mother talks to the shrink and then to her prayer tree.

Within thirty minutes our house would begin to fill up with fat women and their beady eyed pedophile husbands. (27)


And you wonder why people don’t like you, Zoey.

Moving on, Zoey whines about how they’re going to treat the Mark like a really big problem, anoint her with oil and pray that she stop being a pain to her family and that the Mark get cleared up too. Again, the fact that the Mark is life threatening isn’t been awknowledged, and I highly doubt that the Casts are trying to be clever and show the the People of Faith don’t care if she dies since Zoey seems to have forgotten that too. She also whines about how she doesn’t want to be a ‘freak’ and then we get more inconsistency.

This whole thing meant that I was going to be the new kid. Somewhere I didn’t have any friends. I blinked hard, forcing myself not to cry. School was the only place I really felt at home anymore; my friends were my only family.

Ok, there are three problems here.

1. Zoey has treated the only ‘friends’ that we have seen her interact with like crap and will continue to treat them like crap.
2. This is a bid for my pity, the problem is that, again, you can’t just throw things like that out there when she’s done nothing but act like a little monster towards everyone around her.
3. The primary problem that she is having is that she’s going to be ‘the new kid’ not that she’s a vampire. Not that she is turning into something that she’s been raised to think was evil. Not that she is dying. Not all of this is happening around her and she has no control over it. Just that she is being inconvenienced to meet new people who she doesn’t know.

I feel as though this is some kind of second draft, mostly cleaned up and ready for betas to read, but not for publication. Zoey’s characterization is everywhere right now. I think that this might have to do with the fact that the Cast Ladies differ greatly in their writing experience. Kristin (probably) is trying to make Zoey relatable to the reader, but it’s coming off as inappropriate. Just because most sixteen year old girls haven’t been turned into vampires doesn’t mean that they are unable to empathize. Most children weren’t locked into a closet by their aunt and uncle, but that didn’t mean that no one was able to empathize with Harry Potter.

Zoey continues whining about how hard her life is because there are going to be a prayer session and Dr. Asher is going to examine her and give her garbage about how her anger is normal, but she needs to learn how to channel it.

Someone, write me a spitefic about Dr. Asher’s notes about Zoey and how nuts she is. Please? This is BEGGING for it.

Zoey claims that because she was “the bad kid” she was prepared for this kind of thing. She’s snuck out and hung out with Kayla

Or, if I really wanted to be bad I might meet Heath at the park and make out. But then Heath started drinking there (needs to be a comma here) and I started turning into a vampire (28)

On the one hand, the status of Zoey’s relationship with Heath is still shall we say…weird. On the other hand, I like the last sentence, other than grammar issues. The fact that Heath started drinking suddenly, and this caused major problems is good information, and, if it was clearly shown that it wasn’t that Zoey and Heath weren’t really dating, but rather that she was starting to struggle with the relationship, maybe because her actual father drank or something, the Heath thing wouldn’t be the problem that it is.


Zoey slips out the window, bragging that she’s done it before and mentions that she’s glad that her sister is still out.

Hell must have truly frozen over because for once I was glad my sister’s world revolved around what she called ‘the sport of cheer’. (28)


Oh boy, cheerleading potshots.

You know, I kind of thought that this kind of stupidity was finished in the nineties, but somehow, no, it seems that everyone either harps on how all the girls want to be cheerleaders or only terrible people do. Also, Cheerleading is a sport. While it’s not one that I engage in or ever have, it takes a lot of work, can cause serious injury and honestly should be given more respect.

Also, there is a hint of sexism that a sport that is primarily done by women is so denigrated.

Moving on.

She snitches her key, and sneaks through the gate of her house “like one of Charlie’s Angels” (29).


Once on the ground, Zoey whines some more about the fact that John doesn’t let her keep her car in the garage, and mentions how awesome her vintage beetle is, which just reminds me that she’s an entitled spoiled brat who is throwing a temper tantrum. Again, a vintage beetle in good condition is pretty expensive. Even if she had gotten it from a family member, they need to be maintained. The fact that she’s sixteen and has this kind of car shows me that she is less abused than she thinks that she is.

Showing about the same about of emotion as a turnip, Zoey leaves, and turns off her cellphone, all while saying how she was going to the person who really liked her, and wouldn’t see her as a monster.

Other than, of course, the fact that while her family seemed to think that she needed Jesus, there was no indication that they thought that she was a monster. None. They more or less seemed to think that it was a phase or something that she was going to grow out of. Even John for all of his ‘get behind me Satan’ garbage seemed to mostly think that she was just being a pain. Not a ‘terrible person’ but a pain. They don’t even go the full distance and try to exorcise her.

I have some suspicions about this. I think what we’re seeing is a conflict between the Casts. One of them really wants to drive home the idea that humans see the vampires as monsters, but the other one wants to have Zoey’s family issues be super, super relatable. In the end, it’s just a mess.

Also, this scene honesty could have been a lot more emotional than it was, and I feel a little cheated. I want to see the main character of a story hurt. That’s why it’s his/her story. People who don’t suffer are boring. People who can just walk away from this kind of family without any kind of emotional response are boring.

I want to see drama.

So, we get a pointless scene break, and Zoey awkwardly transitions while mentioning that she’s getting sicker and her body is starting to hurt. She mentions that, even though the sun is starting to set, she still feels strange when it touches her, so she’s

glad that it was the end of October (there should be a comma here) and it had finally turned cool enough for me to wear my Borg Invasion 4D hoodie (sure, it is a Star Trek: The Next Generation ride in Vegas and, sadly, I am on occasion a total Star Trek nerd) which, thankfully covered most of my skin. (30)

This is the first that I’ve heard of the weather and the season actually. I kind of find that poor writing. Also, Zoey, don’t be sad, own your Star Trek nerd status, then you might conceivably have a personality.

Also, this is implying that she’s been to Vegas. This has been have been before Zoey’s mom married John or else well…


I have trouble seeing a super conservative Christian being big on Sin City.

World building should not be this easy to pick apart.

We have an honestly nice, brief description of Zoey’s grandmother’s house and how it makes her feel safe, and she heads up the stairs to see a not from Grandma Redbird about how she’s up on the bluffs collecting wildflowers.


Since the audience is obviously going to be wondering just who the note is for and why it’s there, Zoey makes sure that we are aware that Grandma Redbird (or rather Grandma Magical Native American) just somehow knows when Zoey is coming.

This is never explained.

It’s magic, I guess.

I’m holding off on my ripping up of Grandma Redbird until we meet her. Wait for it.

Zoey whines a little more about how much she hates John, and sniffs the paper that the note was written on. She considers going inside because Grandma Redbird is an idiot who never locks her doors and is obviously just waiting for someone to rob her, but her angst about how she wants Granny to “hug me and tell me what I had wanted Mom to say” (30) so she decides to go looking for her.

Let me repeat that. Zoey, who is going through a transition to a vampire and has said that she can’t stand sunlight anymore without it bothering her has decided to go up looking for her grandmother.

In the sunlight.

giphy (2)

She heads up to the bluffs, we get an overly sappy description about them ‘welcoming her home’, and because the Casts REALLY want to make sure we don’t have any sympathy for John and know that he’s really a one dimensional character, Zoey mentions that John does like her and thinks that she’s “a witch and going to hell” (31).

I personally concur that she’s a terrible person, but I’ll get into that in another chapter.

Then, out of the blue, she suddenly realizes that since she’s ‘never going to see her family again’ John can’t tell her what to do anymore. This would have more weight if I’d actually seen abuse from John. Rather than preaching and saying that she needs professional help.

Then, because she’s an idiot, she’s

sent…into a spasm of coughing that made me wrap my arms around myself, like I was trying to hold my chest together. I needed to find Grandma Redbird, and I needed to find her now. (31)

Alright, two questions.
1. If you were so badly off, why didn’t you just go to the House of Night by yourself? You can clearly drive. Be an adult.
2. Why didn’t you wait in the dark for Grandma Magical Native American to show up?


Don’t expect sympathy from me.

Next chapter: We meet the most cliché Mother Goddess of all time, various mythologies (particularly Cherokee) are crapped on in an attempt to make all of them monotheistic, and nothing actually happens.

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