Religion Vs. Science, and Somehow Vampyres are the Science in Question: Marked Chapters 3 & 4

(Sorry this went up late! We accidentally scheduled it for 7pm for some reason. Life is full of mysteries.)

Previously, Zoey and her mom fought because parents just don’t understand!

Subsequently, Zoey wished death upon her family. The book makes a truly valiant effort to get us to hate Zoey’s family. Maybe it’s so we’re totally cool with her leaving them to become an educated vampyre? Horrible step-fathers, a useless mother who is under the spell of said step-father, and icky siblings. Keep the caricatures coming! [Matthew says: It says a lot that Zoey is the likeable character of this bunch.]

Chapter 3

Zoey’s step-father shows up, and we get the background story (translation: Zoey presents her very whiny history to us). He showed up, stole Zoey’s mom’s heart, and now she’s a totally different person! She has new friends and everything! [Matthew adds: And Jesus!] What a bitch.

To be fair, though, this John guy is a whack-job. I’m not saying he’s written like a believable whack-job or anything, but a whack-job nonetheless. [Matthew says: Also he’s a religious whack-job! Although, this being YA, that basically just means “religious”.

“It’s a physiological reaction that takes place in some teenagers’ bodies (of course) as their hormone levels rise. […] In certain people the hormones trigger something-or-other in […] a Junk DNA strand, (This actually isn’t bad fake science, for once!) which starts the whole Change.” […]
“God’s knowledge surpasses science, and it’s blasphemous for you to say otherwise, young lady.”

And this being YA, “religious” basically just means “super lame like omg you don’t understaaaaaand”.]

He tells Zoey she’s becoming a vampyre because she’s been bad. You know, your run-of-the-mill accusation from a religious fanatic. I’m surprised he didn’t come to the conclusion that Zoey’s rampant masturbation had a direct hand 😉 in her impending transformation.

Zoey defends her “bad” behavior as “semi-harmless lust for Ashton Kutcher.” Remember when Ashton was a dreamboat, you guys? Those were the days. When people look back years from now, they’ll realize what a nostalgic little treasure this is.

In another typical religion vs. science battle, Zoey’s like, “John, you’re wrong because science.”

I love this gif too much to ever stop using now
I love this gif too much to ever stop using now. Thanks for finding this one, Matt!

Even with the power of science and teenage angst on Zoey’s side, John cannot be stopped:

“Scientists are not all-knowing. They are not men of God.”

Apparently John is “an Elder of the People of Faith,” which is one of the most bland name for a religion I’ve ever heard. Closely tied are “The People who Believe in Stuff,” and their rivals, “The Folks Who Consider Possibilities of Religious Ideas.”

Zoey figures God must be as annoyed with John as she is, and I have to say, she’s probably not wrong. Given that his next course of action is to not only call the family therapist [Matthew says: Not just any therapist, but “a shrink who is totally clueless about teenagers”! That conveniently sounds like the worst!] but to “activate the prayer phone tree,” I think it’s a safe assumption to make that God is just dying of embarrassment like Zoey is. “Jesus fuck!” God whined. “I can’t believe I created this douchebag. I hope he drowns! And I hope Zoey runs away to The House of Night and never looks back! And meets a totally cute boy.

Zoey decides to take matters into her own “well-manicured hands.” [Matthew adds: No, seriously, Zoey constantly makes strange and jarring references like this to, I don’t know, show off how much better she is than everyone else? She actually says things like “I would bet my cool new Steve Madden flats that it irritated God as much as it annoyed me” . Look, Zo, we didn’t know you had Steve Madden flats. We didn’t know this was a bet you could even make, and now suddenly this is super serious! Steve Madden flats are on the line! You can’t just raise the stakes like that!] She pretends she’s going to stick around for the activation of the prayer phone tree, but really she’s going to sneak off to the House of Night! As Zoey’s leaving the room, John reveals that he’s actually a bitchy teenage girl in disguise (K, have you been John this whole time? That would be a great twist.)

“And why don’t you do us all a favor and see if you can find some powder or something to cover up that thing on your forehead.”

oh snap

Zoey vows to herself that she will remember this moment. “I’m going to remember that nothing could be as bad as being stuck here. Nothing.” That’s just asking for the universe to fuck with you.

But how many times does Zoey mention her cough? The answer is four! You can thank me for sparing you later.

Chapter 4

“So I sat on my bed and coughed [Wait, Zoey has a cough?while I listened to my mom making a frantic call to our shrink’s emergency line, followed quickly by another equally hysterical call that would activate the dreaded People of Faith prayer tree.”

There’s something so hilariously ominous about the activation of this mysterious prayer tree.

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

Maybe that’s why it sounds so ominous? Pedophilia will do it. [Matthew says: I made a note of this line too, because wtf? This isn’t something I get to write very often, but pedophilia just came out of nowhere here.] So far I don’t have a lot of confidence in Zoey being a reliable storyteller, though. I mean, we still don’t have a clear picture about how much Heath actually drinks. And the way she told us about the dead guy cursing her to be a vampyre? This shit’s all over the place!

Not to mention this:

School was the only place I really felt at home anymore; my friends were my only family. I balled up my fists and squidged my face up to keep from crying.

Remember when one of the first lines in the book was this?

Actually, now that I think about it, no one else noticed him until he spoke, which is, tragically, more evidence of my freakish inability to fit in.

Which is it, Zoey? Huh? Do you not fit in or do you totally love your kewl friends at skewl? GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!

[Matthew says: Unreliable a narrator as Zoey is, at least she has her priorities straight:

I’d gladly make a deal with God to be a good kid versus changing school and species. I’d even take the geometry test. Well, okay. Maybe not the geometry test

She may be turning into a vampire, but at least she knows it’s what’s inside that counts.]

Now it’s time for Zoey to make her escape. Thank God she hid her car keys under a flowerpot outside her window!

I was just considering that I might want to sneak out and go to Kayla’s house. Or, if I really wanted to be bad I might meet Heath at the park and make out. But then Heath started drinking and I started to change into a vampyre. Sometimes life doesn’t make any sense.

Yes I suppose those are both…shocking turns of events. A high school student drinks while one becomes a vampyre. In this day and age, I think the most surprising part of this is simply that the word is spelled “vampyre” and not “vampire” here.

The escape is pretty straightforward, but in a throwaway line we learn that Zoey’s grandma is called “Redbird.” Anyone have a feeling this is going to have something to do with the Cherokee ancestry or is she secretly a character from The Host? Little did you know her real name is actually Redbird Moon Skies from the Sky Planet. There the skies are like our skies except they are made of a thick pudding, but if you are a Bird from the Sky Planet, you can actually breathe the pudding through your nose/mouth.

Zoey heads to Grandma Redbird’s house, and I feel like there’s a Red Riding Hood jokes somewhere in here, but I’m gonna keep pushing forward to the chapter ending with Zoey going to look for her grandmother, who is apparently out picking flowers and left a note on her door about it. At the bottom of the note, I’m sure it said, “Please, come in, and feel free to rob me.”



  1. readingwithafeather Reply

    Do we yet know why it’s a bad thing to be a vampyre? My Sim doesn’t much like it but that’s because she’s outliving her friends. I haven’t heard any reason specifically for this and considering that she’s only worried about her social life, I feel that she would be a little happy that she’s getting a chance to reinvent herself. Considering she’s a teenager, I feel like she’d have enough understanding to be worried that she will outlive her parents and her friends while also being nervous about fitting into a whole new culture. But hey, it’s a bad YA novel, so I guess people don’t understand those concepts.

    How long do you think it will take for Andrew to stop interrupting my reading by saying vamp(h)ire every time I read vampyre? I’m thinking never.

    • 22aer22 Reply

      We can learn a lot by studying the sims. I often find myself explaining social situations and human needs through my sims!

      There hasn’t yet been any explanation as to why being a vampyre is bad. It seems to be frowned upon, but Zoey doesn’t even know what they wear, so they can’t be terrorizing the streets on a regular basis. People don’t exactly seem scared of them just scornful? And there’s definitely been no mention of Zoey having a reflective moment about eternity and what this means for her.

      I haven’t gotten past the Andrew thing either – I think it’s here to stay.

  2. malcolmthecynic Reply

    Little did you know her real name is actually Redbird Moon Skies from the Sky Planet. There the skies are like our skies except they are made of a thick pudding, but if you are a Bird from the Sky Planet, you can actually breathe the pudding through your nose/mouth.

    So I just read this and laughed embarrassingly in public. Yep.

  3. Shannon Reply

    Is it just me or does anyone else keep reading “Grandma Redbird” as “Grandma Redbeard”? No one? ok… sorry. Just changes my mental picture a bit from a kindly old Cherokee wisewoman to an aging pirate wench who may or may not have crimson facial hair.

    • 22aer22 Reply

      Hahahaha that would make this book way more hilarious. If she was both a Cherokee wisewoman and a pirate that would be the kicker.

  4. Dana Reply

    To give Zoey some credit, she IS reliably unreliable. And reliably a bitch.

    And I was seriously just about to comment on how many times you guys have used the “Yeah, science!” gif… (not complaining though. I just finished binge-watching Breaking Bad on Netflix a couple weeks ago, so it makes me think “Oh, happier times!”).

    • matthewjulius Reply

      “more than 80 per cent of the genome works as a kind of control panel packed with genetic dials. ‘Our genome is simply alive with switches: millions of places that determine whether a gene is switched on or off,’ Dr Birney said.”

      I honestly didn’t know they shot down the “junk dna” concept (I’m a godawful bio major), but this sounds at least functionally like kind of the same thing, or at least enough of it where it sounds like what this book’s fake science is getting at. Obviously, from what we know about the physiological and supernatural distinction between vampyres and non-vampyres in this book, it’s way too complicated for a single gene, but otherwise I like how it was vague enough to more or less work as an actual thing – even if, as you point out, they got the wrong terminology for the thing.

  5. Ali Reply

    If you’re gonna buy Steven Madden shoes, you don’t get flats. I’m not even sure they exist

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  8. Alana Reply

    Why the fuck is something as good as religion put in the shit mill that is this book?

  9. jmfausti Reply

    Sorry for the late comment, but I just got here. So loving this blog. I read, and really couldn’t stand this book, a while back. I think I started with your recaps to gloat. That being said: 1. In high school I had a girlfriend who just identified herself as “Christian”. When we asked her for at least the name of the church she spent her entire Sunday attending, we just got that it was her sister and brother-in-law’s church that met in somebody’s basement. We named it “Dave and Peggy’s Free For All”.

    2. One of the biggest problems with this book is that there is no one to root for. You have to be able to back a horse, any horse to get anything out of it. The fact that Zoey is more likable than the horrific caricatures that are her family, is nowhere near enough. People say that readers aren’t willing to give female protagonists any leeway when they aren’t totally likable. I don’t have to really like a character to root for him/her. I love a complex person. Zoey isn’t complex. In fact, she’s only tolerable when contrasted with the ridiculous stereotypes that are the rest of the characters in this book.

    • 22aer22 Reply

      First welcome to the blog and thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂 It always makes my day to see new comments on new and old posts alike especially when they involve tearing Zoey apart because she really is the worst.

      I actually burst out laughing about “Dave and Peggy’s Free For All” that’s amazing and probably pretty accurate in all honesty.

      It’s really untrue that a female protagonist has to be totally likeable because these writers are going out of their way to make these characters seemingly perfect/just bland enough to be liked by all, but Zoey actually fails miserably to be likeable and is in fact super boring and also unlikeable and impossible to root for.


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