Ket: I know it’s spring, but I’m cold. So let’s deal with Asshole and Moron, so I can climb under a pile of blankets.
ZeldaQueen: Will do! We open this chapter with Nora in gym class. Elliot comes strolling out, much to Nora’s surprise, revealing that he’s now in her class. You all remember Elliot, don’t you?
Ket: I sure didn’t. He’s the one that bought them donuts, that Vee said “looks like Dracula”. Very subtle, Fitzpatrick.
ZeldaQueen: No, Jules was the one that looks like Dracula. Elliot’s the one who had a magnetic personality, despite only saying one sentence to Nora. The doughnut part is right, though.
Ket: So magnetic that I couldn’t remember that. *Sighs* I have to assume that Elliot is also either an angel or a fallen angel, which is how he is suddenly in her class.
ZeldaQueen: Oh, you’ll see. We get an infodump on Elliot’s outfit, which is entirely pointless except for a comment on his shoes - “His high-tops looked new and expensive”
Ket: Which is kind of odd to me, because most expensive tennis shoes that I’m familiar with are like, Jordans. Is high tops a regional thing? When I think of high tops, I think of Converse, not general sneakers. But this is also an example of telling, not showing. How do they look new and expensive? Are they a well-known brand? Do they have no scuffs? Are they white and still spotless? What?
ZeldaQueen: Not a clue! Really, I only point that quote out because we’re going to see that it’s very obscure foreshadowing for something to do with Elliot. It also is the only piece of foreshadowing I recall, so when the reveal is made, his shoes will have been forgotten entirely.
Ket: Does Elliot stab Rag and blood get all over his shoes?
ZeldaQueen: Sadly, no.
Ket: *Slumps, disappointed.*
ZeldaQueen: That would be a great spitefic idea, though… *ponders* Anywho, back to the story! Elliot gives in a note to the teacher, then heads over and has a nice little conversation with Nora about how his old school didn’t require gym because it was a private school and that to make up enough PE credits, he has to take gym “first and fourth hours” *blinks* “Hours”? Aren’t...they called “periods”? Or is it different in other parts of the country?
Ket: When I was in middle and high school, it was “hours”.
ZeldaQueen: Weird! It was always “periods” for me. Calling it “hours” sounds to me like calling first grade “first former”.
Ket: Well, each class lasted an hour, so first hour, etc.
ZeldaQueen: That might explain it, then. My classes weren’t a full hour. I think they were something like forty-five or fifty minutes each.
Ket: Well, sure, once you accounted for settling in and such, the classes probably lasted 50 minutes, but they were scheduled for an hour.
ZeldaQueen: No, ours were scheduled for fifty minutes. I remember because it made timing really awkward. I think we had a few of the extra minutes for reaching our classes.
Ket: Could be.
ZeldaQueen: Nora asks why Elliot transferred and he says that it’s because he lost his scholarship to his last school and his parents couldn’t afford tuition. The conversation is cut short as the gym teacher (whose name I’m not even bothering with, since she never appears again after this scene) blows her whistle to signal them running laps around the gym. Nora asks if Elliot’s an athlete, he does a few of those boxing moves that people do in fiction and says he is, and Nora tells him, “Then you're going to love [the teacher]'s idea of fun”.
Ket: *Confused* the gym class only has one teacher? When I was in high school, and even middle school, girls and boys had separate PE and PE teachers. I mean, classes would go at the same time, but they didn’t mix.
ZeldaQueen: My gym classes were co-ed (the only sports I recall being separate were the extracurricular ones, like girl’s soccer, boy’s track, etc.), but there were still several teachers for the classes. I remember there was at least two in middle school and there were three in high school (along with two dancing teachers, with dance being considered an acceptable substitute elective for gym).
Ket: I guess the justification is that it’s a small school, but I can’t imagine there’s not at least one teacher that could be in either locker room to make sure no one was getting into other people’s lockers, or fighting.
ZeldaQueen: At my school, we all were told to use combination locks to protect our stuff and as for fighting, if anyone was late for class (which would happen if you took too long to get changed), SOMEONE was coming in after you. I don’t think locks are a Thing here though, since the second book has Nora say that Marcie repeatedly stole her bra from her gym locker and hung it in various places in the school.
Ket: Huh. I went to a really shitty high school, so the idea of not having at least one adult constantly watching is weird to me.
ZeldaQueen: *snorts* All my classmates who whined about constant adult supervision would love to hear that. My school was the sort that warned parents about secret teenage codes for “party at my place over the weekend!” and how to scope out our Homecoming dates.
Ket: ...my school had people smoking while waiting for the bus to go home. The bus circle was like 100 feet from the exit door, and down a hill, and...well, no one ever checked. Especially in the winter.
ZeldaQueen: The kids at my school went across the street, which was property the school didn’t own. They had their strategies. *pouts* Dang, talking about wacky school hijinks is more interesting than this book.
Ket: I agree, and I hated high school.
ZeldaQueen: So yeah, they run the laps and go outside to play baseball. It’s foggy and kind of drizzly out, and Nora mentally complains that the fact that they have to go out in this weather is proof of how hardcore the teacher is. Dude. You live in Maine. Cold, foggy, and drizzly weather should be the norm!
Ket: That would be like me complaining that my teachers made us go outside for recess in the winter. ...never mind that small children for the most part love snow and we’d have snowball fights until we got caught and in trouble.
ZeldaQueen: I had gym in second period, which meant it was pretty cold and usually pretty damp. We still tended to go outside. It wasn’t that bad really, save for one fun baseball game when I got hit in the boobs while playing outfield.
Ket: This wasn’t at school, but I did soccer. Getting a ball kicked into my boobs was not fun. And I wasn’t a goalie, so I didn’t have any extra equipment.
ZeldaQueen: It’s no fun at all, nope! So yeah, the teacher, who honestly sounds like a normal peppy teacher trying to get a class motivated, starts calling for two volunteers to captain the teams.
Ket: Who will of course be Nora and Elliot.
ZeldaQueen: Half right. Elliot volunteers as one captain. The other is…………………..
Ket: Oh, yeah. The one that Vee slut shames and makes comments about her having an eating disordered. Hilarious.
ZeldaQueen: Yeah, bet you didn’t even know she was in this class, huh?
Ket: I didn’t even know there were other classes besides biology!
ZeldaQueen: You’d be forgiven for that, since gym never shows up again. Biology itself doesn’t really show up again. In fact, school itself is given pretty much no focus after this book, unless summer school counts. Anywho, Elliot gets first pick and immediately chooses Nora. This prompts Marce to start laughing and thanking Elliot for ensuring she wins the game. I’d like to point out that this is all going on while the class and teacher are watching.
Ket: And I’m guessing the teacher never tells Marcie to knock it off.
ZeldaQueen: The teacher has virtually ceased to exist past this point, save for the odd comment or two. I, meanwhile, am not sure why this game is such serious business. It’s a one hour-long baseball game. Most of the kids in my gym classes didn’t give a flip about ‘em.
Ket: Was this published after Twilight's Vampire Baseball?
ZeldaQueen: This book was post-Twilight, yes.
Ket: Maybe it’s an homage.
ZeldaQueen: Difficult to say. This thing is so much in plot like Twilight that you could paint by the numbers, but it doesn’t feel so much like homage rather than Fitzpatrick got the formula soaked into her brain and used it without realizing it.
Elliot coolly tells Marcie that Nora is his friend, and while Nora knows that’s a bit of an exaggeration, she’s grateful for the support. Marcie is apparently completely floored that anyone would possibly want to be friends with Nora, despite the fact that Nora in no way does anything to get such disdain.
Ket: Fitzpatrick, I know Marcie is your scary sue, but dial it back. She’s cartoonish at this point.
ZeldaQueen: Given that Fitzpatrick said in her old “About the Author” section of her website that she used to be bullied by “mini Mean Girls” in elementary school and how another interview said she used diary entries as inspiration, I get the sense that there’s some skewed memories going on here.
Ket: I was bullied for most of my school life, because I was quiet and weird and fat. And yes, there are some people that just hate you for reason or not, but it was done when I was alone, away from teachers. I really doubt that the gym teacher is just standing there picking her ass and letting Marcie be abusive, or at least, that she would be in a normal world.
ZeldaQueen: That all is true. I guess I find it difficult to believe that Nora’s as hated as Marcie lets on because we never see anyone other than Marcie act like Nora’s worthy of disdaine. In fact, the few named students across the series are generally neutral towards her.
Ket: I assumed she hates Nora for being friend with Vee, but I have no idea why they dislike each other, except that they’re both bitches?
ZeldaQueen: No, we do find out why Marcie hates Nora. We find out why in the second book, which wasn’t planned when this was written, so Marcie is pretty much being a jerkass here just Because.
Ket: Because we need someone else to dislike besides Assrag, I guess. But I can’t even dislike Marcie because she’s not a character. She’s a rude, snotty teenager. How much more cookie cutter for a high school “villain” can you get?
ZeldaQueen: As the series goes on, she becomes incredibly tragic. Like, to the point where even the fans, who hated her, felt sorry for her in the end. Right now though, she’s pretty much just here for exactly one plot-related point.
Ket: I’m bored of her.
ZeldaQueen: Likewise. It doesn’t help that she’s incredibly inconsistent with how we’re supposed to see her. She tells Elliot that he’s just friends with Nora because he doesn’t know her, “Marcie Millar. You'll hear all about me soon enough.” Nora acts like lines like that are what get her countless gentlemen admirers.
Ket: I don’t see how. Considering that Elliot’s first impression of her is being nasty to someone who hasn’t done anything in his presence to deserve it, I can only imagine that Nora is implying that she’s a slut.
ZeldaQueen: You would be correct, but I fail to see how lines like that are sexy. It’s not even like she’s sticking out her chest or fluttering her eyelashes as she says it.
Ket: Honestly, it sounds like a threat to me.
ZeldaQueen: It sounded to me like some doofy boasting. Nora, however, apparently thought it was alluring enough that Elliot not responding was worthy of mental praise for him. “A lesser guy would have dropped to his knees and begged Marcie for any attention she saw fit to toss.”
Ket: Fitzpatrick, you have no idea what sexy is.
ZeldaQueen: Given how Patch acts, no she does not. The gym teacher, meanwhile, manages to win my good favor by basically telling them all to shut up and get playing. About time! They all divvy up into teams and Elliot starts setting up their batting order and telling Nora (who I guess is up first) what sort of hit to make. I must confess, I’m not familiar with this much effort being put into high school gym class baseball. My class’s games consisted of hitting the ball far enough away that you could run to a base.
Ket: Besides, wouldn’t that really be up to what was thrown? Who knows how good the pitcher is? I imagine Nora will try to hit it as far as possible, but if she walks, well.
ZeldaQueen: I have no clue. Nora herself seems to know nothing about baseball, which is why I would think just playing to the best of one’s abilities would be the norm - not everyone in gym is studying sports, so there are varying skill sets. Anyway, Nora steps up to plate, Marcie pitches (after thoughtfully flipping Nora off for no reason), and Nora clips it, basically getting a strike.
Ket: “Basically” getting a strike? What do you mean? Was it called a strike or not?
ZeldaQueen: It was called a strike, but Nora did hit it and it went “on the wrong side of the foul line”. I really only know the basics of baseball, and I only ever heard of strikes happening when the batter misses the ball entirely.
Ket: It depends on where it went if it’s a foul or a strike. If the ball didn’t make it as far as a base, it’s not a foul. It’d be a strike then.
ZeldaQueen: I think that’s what Fitzpatrick meant with the “foul line” bit. I did not know that, though!
Ket: I used to play softball when I was younger. I was really, really horrible at it. I couldn’t throw, bat, or catch.
ZeldaQueen: I’d play casually, although it’d depend on if I could find enough people.
Elliot shouts from the dugout that “That had a lot of spin on it- send her a clean one!” Somehow, it takes Nora a minute to realize that he’s directing that to Marcie and not to her.
Ket: What the hell would it mean for Nora?!
ZeldaQueen: My guess is that this was just meant to be a dead herring of sorts. Oh, of course he’d be blaming Nora! Nobody blames Marcie! Although, given how we’ll see Nora treated throughout the series, someone actually being angry on her behalf is a rarity.
Ket: And honestly, fuck you, Elliot. It’s the pitcher’s job to strike the batter out. If the batter can’t hit what you’re throwing, that’s the batter’s fault.
ZeldaQueen: Well, Marcie pitches and again it’s a strike. This time, the catcher announces it. He’s suddenly and randomly named as Anthony Amowitz, in case you were wondering. This is the only time he’s in this book, FYI. He’ll be trotted out on and off in other books, but is largely irrelevant, otherwise.
Ket: Why is the catcher calling the strike and not an ump, whom I would presume to be the teacher?
ZeldaQueen: Because reasons. *tired* But hey, Nora’s on her third pitch now, and the...uh, stakes are high, I guess. Nora’s all pumped and determined to hit the ball...and then is taken by surprise as Elliot comes up behind her, puts his arms around her to help her hold the bat properly, and suggests she try pivoting at the hips when she swings.
My God. This has to be one of the biggest cliched scenarios ever. Why not just have Unchained Melody playing in the background?
Ket: Honestly, I was expecting her to hit a homerun and round the bases in slow motion.
ZeldaQueen: Nonsense. Why show Nora actually succeeding at something when you could have some sort of vaguely steamy flirting? Marcie actually sounds like a teenager and shouts for them to get a room (no really, that’s what she says!) and Elliot promptly says that it’s her own fault and if she’d throw balls that Nora could hit, he wouldn’t be doing this.
Ket: Again, that’s not Marcie’s fault.
ZeldaQueen: And she points that out, although she only insists that her pitches were fine. Elliot replies that Nora’s batting was also fine. Uh, if that’s the case, why this stupid hands-on lesson? He starts telling Nora to keep eye contact with Marcie, the teacher materializes into the scene to tell them to stop holding up the game, and then Nora somehow hears her voice being called from the parking lot by the dugout. And no, her name wasn’t called verbally. She’s hearing it in her mind.
Three guesses as to who she sees watching her, folks.
Ket: *Hopefully* Satan?
ZeldaQueen: That would actually be preferable.
“Patch wore a faded blue baseball cap and had his fingers hooked in the chain-link fence, leaning against it. No coat, despite the weather. Just head-to-toe black. His eyes were opaque and inaccessible as he watched me, but I suspected there was a lot going on behind them.”
Ket: Yes, like how many pieces he’s going to cut your body into.
TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL = 11
Well, aren’t you the bad boy rebel, all dressed in black! I mean, it’s not like there are plenty of regular high schoolers who just like black! Nope, this just shows what a cool guy he is!
Ket: *Sings* he’s an operator, he’s a real player! And if you mess with him, you know you’ll never win!
ZeldaQueen: *snrk* On that same note, him not wearing a coat isn’t that weird either. When I was in high school, you could make a drinking game for every time you saw a student dressed inappropriately for freezing weather. In fact, my brother and I both knew a kid who tried to challenge himself to wear shorts every day throughout winter. I think he only lost because his mom forced him to stop wearing them.
Ket: *Snorts* here in Detroit, you constantly see jackasses walking around in heavy coats and shorts during the winter. No, I don’t know why.
ZeldaQueen: My boyfriend just never gets cold. He just wears a coat over his usual t-shirt and shorts when it’s really cold or wet out.
Also, on the subject of fashion faux paus, baseball caps aren’t nearly as bad boy as you seem to think they are, Fitzpatrick.
Ket: You weren’t allowed to wear hats indoors when I was in school, but it’s not because they were too badass for class. Most of the people I know who wear baseball caps are guys that are losing their hair.
ZeldaQueen: Most of the folks who I see wearing them are sports fans.
Also, while your comment on Patch’s contemplations sounds accurate, Ket, Nora herself is just guessing out her ass on what’s going on with him. By her own admittance, she has no clue what he thinks.
HAND HOLDING = 26
Patch starts streaming messages about the game into Nora’s head, which freaks her out. And I’m sorry to dump another quote on you guys, but...well, just look at this!
“I drew a steadying breath and told myself I'd imagined the words. Because the alternative was considering that Patch held the power to channel thoughts into my mind. Which couldn't be. It just couldn't. Unless I was delusional. That scared me more than the idea that he'd breached normal communication methods and could, at will, speak to me without ever opening his mouth.”
FROM ASSHOLE TO NIGHTMARE = 37
ZeldaQueen: This is Grade-A Paranoia Fuel, you guys! Patch is making Nora, who we’re supposed to believe he’s in love with, seriously doubt her sanity. And that is terrifying her. Understandably so! The idea of losing one’s mind is horrifying! And because he presumably wants to be all ~~edgey~~ and ~~sneaky~~, he’s just beaming commentary about the game into her head!
Ket: Here’s some more Paranoia Fuel for you: if he can think into her brain, he can probably read her thoughts, too.
ZeldaQueen: It’s difficult to say if he can do that or not. He tends to be able to know what she’s planning, but he claims to be able to read her really well. The later books also seem to have him be genuinely surprised by things she does, but those same books play fast and loose with the continuity of this one.
Ket: I’m going to say he can. Because why not rip the Twilight series off further?
ZeldaQueen: Good point. The teacher yells at Nora for spacing, and I’m going to point out right now that this is a running thing in the series - something supernatural happens, Nora is the only one who actually notices it - everyone she tries to get help from either ignores her or makes fun of her for being crazy. It makes her fear of being insane that much worse.
Ket: In this case I get no one else noticing--it’s only in her head, as far as we know.
ZeldaQueen: Oh yeah, so’s about 90% of the other supernatural stuff that goes on. My point is, it’s really creepy to watch this happen and not in a good way. It’s incredibly uncomfortable to watch Fitzpatrick treat someone who seems to be her self insert that way.
Ket: Absolutely. Now, I think that Nora should seek professional help if she suddenly hears voices, because she is in the age range where schizophrenia can manifest, but just for the purposes of the story: this is your romantic lead, people!
ZeldaQueen: But we see Fitzpatrick try to convince us that he’s mind screwing her for good reasons! Marcie pitches the ball, Nora starts to swing, and Patch mentally tells her not to swing just yet. Somehow, despite the fact that swinging is a fast action and Nora has been startled by the voices in her head, this does not result in her spasming in some way, mid-swing. Instead, she is able to hold off on swinging until just the right moment, because clearly the ball is going in slow motion, and manages a hit.
Ket: If he can do this, why not fuck with Marcie’s head instead and make her throw weird pitches, and that way not scare the hell out of your “romantic interest”?
ZeldaQueen: Because how else can we see that he cares?
Ket: I haven’t seen yet that he cares!
ZeldaQueen: Fitzpatrick seems to think so, but that’s another matter altogether. Anywho, the ball goes flying, nearly hitting Marcie because ha ha, it’s Marcie, and everyone starts re-enacting the “Run, Forest, Run!” scene from Forest Gump, urging Nora to run for first base, leave the bat at home plate dipshit, and then stop at first base. Nora doesn’t stop though, but instead keeps running for second. Left field is going to throw the ball and get her out, she seriously decides to slide in headfirst, despite having little coordination, goes for the big shot, and gets tagged out just before she reaches second base. Which means that this all was largely pointless.
Ket: I would have liked it if Nora struck out. That would at least have been not as predictable as her either getting a home run, or Marcie hitting her with the ball (the other thing I was expecting).
ZeldaQueen: Well, I do suspect this was intended to be funny in some way.
LAUGH, GODDAMMIT = 27
I think this would have been funnier in visual format, honestly. And, you know, if Nora wasn’t so dumped on all the time.
Ket: Or if we had a reason to hate Marcie, instead her just being the designated bitch because she’s a blonde “slutty” cheerleader.
ZeldaQueen: Nora limps back to the dugout, examining her painful legs and and noting that they look “like two cats had been set free on [her] thighs”. Dude. is the baseball field covered in gravel? You’re wearing sweatpants!
Ket: Sweatpants aren’t exactly thick if she was dumb enough to slide. She might have gotten scratches or road rash.
ZeldaQueen: That’s true, but if the field is clean, it seems unlikely that her thighs would be that messed up. Maybe it’s just me though. I was always too chicken to try sliding, myself.
Nora starts brushing dirt off of her legs and Elliot leans in and blows some dirt off of her knee. Uh...kinky? Again, she’s in sweatpants. That kind of downs the eroticism a few notches.
Ket: I’m no prude, but that seems kinda intimate for someone you just met that you weren’t planning to take home and fuck.
ZeldaQueen: I’m wondering who the fuck blows to get dirt off. Brushing her knee would have worked just as well and been just as awkward. I’ve only heard of blowing on cuts to make them feel better.
Elliot offers to take Nora to the nurse’s office. She insists she’s fine and then notices that Patch is gone. Yeah, he’s got things to do and people to torment, now that he’s had his fun mind-screwing you. Elliot apparently was aware Patch was there, since he asks if Nora saw her “boyfriend” just now.
Ket: Which he’s hoping she’ll say “he’s not my boyfriend”, so he can hit on her.
ZeldaQueen: Why Ket, are you psychic?
Ket: No. I just speak cliche better than I’d like to admit.
ZeldaQueen: I think the only thing you missed was Elliot pointing out that Nora blushed when she said Patch was her bio partner and not her boyfriend.
Ket: Eh, close enough.
ZeldaQueen: Right. Nora takes a minute to process the implications of Elliot telling her, “I don't want to chase after an unavailable girl” and Elliot invites her on a double-date with him, Jules, and Vee to Delphic Seaport, which is apparently some amusement park in the area. Me being a Nintendo geek, all I can think about is the Isle Delfino, from Super Mario Sunshine.
Ket: It makes me think of the Oracle of Delphi, since anything Delphic generally refers to her.
ZeldaQueen: Given how Fitzpatrick hadn’t planned on a series and the amusement park was pretty much just used as a location for this one upcoming scene, I’m pretty sure it was unintentional. Still, an amusement park with an oracle sounds awesome! Maybe if it was connected to one of those fortune teller arcade thingys…
Ket: I’m wondering if she’s trying to be clever and refer to Cassandra, because Nora is going to be telling everyone about Patch messing with her brain, but no one will believe her.
ZeldaQueen: Except Nora doesn’t tell anybody. She just sort of puts it out of her mind. This will be a running thing as well.
Ket: And I can’t imagine Fitzpatrick being clever.
ZeldaQueen: Not at all. She’s no Cathryn M. Valente. Now there’s a great author to read if you want mythological genius bonus!
Nora reflects that Vee will probably kill her if she turns down this offer, because...uh, I guess if Nora refuses, the entire trip is off? I have no clue why. Also, “going out with Elliot seemed like a good way to escape [her] uncomfortable attraction to Patch”.
Yeah, that’s right. The only way to avoid an attraction to a creepy stalker is to throw yourself at another boy. That’s a BRILLIANT idea!
Ket: It’s a good way to possibly get that other boy killed, since you never do anything about Patch.
ZeldaQueen: It’s also a good way to conveniently have more SUBTLE FORESHADOWING on Patch, but that’s for Chapter 7. We just finished Chapter 6, you guys! Didn’t that just feel essential?
Ket: Well, that was short and pointless. I think I’m going to settle in to read some Creepypasta. Wanna join me?
ZeldaQueen: Certainly! I could use some ideas for my own writing. And after that, I’ll loan you a copy of Deathless, for an actually good story about Russian folklore!
TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL - 11
DID NOT DO THE RESEARCH - 15
SAY WHAT? - 40
ILL LOGIC - 59
RELIGION FAIL - 3
JERKASS EXTRAORDINAIRE - 39
HAND HOLDING - 26
ALL WOMEN ARE LUSTFUL - 14
LAUGH, GODDAMMIT - 27
FROM ASSHOLE TO NIGHTMARE - 37
OUR INTREPID HEROINE - 37
Onward to: Chapter 7
Back to: Chapter 5
Return to: Table Of Contents