This week in “blog readers actually send me pictures of pigeons because of this stupid book”:
Speaking of Abby and dangerous things, everyone is currently trapped in a burning building. [Ariel says: I’ve been feeling down all day, but the thought of evil lanterns still manages to make me laugh. Seriously. These fucking lanterns, man.]
In the book’s lone example of showing that Travis loves Abby instead of simply telling us and hoping we take its word for it, Travis runs back into the burning building to find Abby.
I leaned down and grabbed my knees, panting. My sense of direction was weakened, both by the darkness, and the real possibility of not being able to find my girlfriend or brother before it was too late. I wasn’t even sure if I could find my own way out.
Oh, and his brother too, I guess. One of them is in there. Travis sure has a lot of interchangeable brothers!
Travis hears Abby’s screams and runs to that room.
My hands touched a wall, and then I stopped when I felt a door. It was locked.
Why would Abby lock herself in a room in a burning building? I realize this scene was only written to create tension and/or an excuse to have Travis kick down a door in a burning building, but this doesn’t make sense. I guess it’s possible it’s a door that locked behind her, but this building is so old that they had to use lanterns because there weren’t any lights. In the basement. Wow, who designed this building? [Ariel says: Why wasn’t the school more vigilant about preventing Fight Clubs from taking place here? This is America; they should get sued for their negligence.]
Travis gets to Abby and break a window to escape the building, because I guess we needed to resolve this cliffhanger in the first two pages of the chapter. Travis and Abby wait outside as police and firefighters arrive, pulling other survivors out of the burning building, hoping desperately that Trent is one of them.
Half an hour later, the bodies they returned with were lifeless. Instead of performing CPR, they simply laid them next to the other victims and covered their bodies. The ground was lined with casualties, far outnumbering those of us that had escaped.
Holy shit, Jamie McGuire is going for a J.K. Rowling-like death toll! In her college romance novel. I wonder how long it’s going to take for this to get tonally awkward.
Travis wants to call their dad to tell him what happened, but Abby tells him to wait since they don’t know yet. This happens a couple of times, because I guess either a) Jame McGuire really doesn’t know how to sustain tension without writing the same thing over and over again, or b) Travis just really wants to jump the gun on this whole “telling his dad that his brother is dead” thing. Because obviously Trent isn’t dead (just dozens of unnamed college students! PHEW.), [Ariel says: Do you think any of them were Students Without Netflix? I’m getting really worked up about this], which McGuire reveals in the most confusing way possible:
My breath caught as I punched in the numbers, imagining my father’s reaction […] The numbers turned into a name, and my eyes widened. I was getting a call.
This is what your high school lit teacher would call “flowery language”. This would be like if the last chapter ended with “The white sheets turned into fire. The sheets had caught fire.” or “Abby turned into empty space. She moved.” This also raises the question of why Travis has his brother’s number entered into his phone, but not his father’s.
“Are you okay?” Trent yelled in my ear, his voice thick with panic. […]
“Where are you?” I asked, desperate to find him.
“I’m at Morgan Hall, you dumb fuck! Where you told me to meet you! Why aren’t you here?”
Hahahaha what a wacky misunderstanding! Too bad all those people are dead.
After Travis and Trent reunite, Travis and Abby go back to the apartment, where Abby thanks him for saving her life. They solemnly discuss the night’s tragic events:
“A lot of people died tonight,” I said.”
“We won’t find out until tomorrow just how many.”
“Trent and I passed a group of kids on the way out. I wonder if they made it. They looked so scared…”
Uncomfortable shift in tone from serious to disrespectfully lighthearted in five… four…
“It’s official. Bimbos, fights, leaving, Parker, Vegas… even fires… our relationship can withstand anything.” […]
“Vegas?”she asked. […] “Have you thought about going back? […] What if we just went for a night?”
I glanced around the dark room, confused. “A night?”
“Marry me,” she blurted out.
Travis thinks Abby’s kidding, but she maintains she’s serious. He calls American Airlines to call her bluff, because I guess this book takes place in the 90s, and buys two tickets and realizes Abby is really being serious. In a chapter full of awkward segues, I wonder how bad the transition will be from “Abby was the one who proposed lol irony” to “Travis bought an engagement ring already”:
She hugged me, tensing her shoulders as she squeezed. “Travis and Abby Maddox. Has a nice ring to it.”
“Ring?” I said, frowning.
Wow, that was easy.
“Don’t freak out,” I said. “I kind of… already took care of that part.”
She already sprung getting married tomorrow on you. I think you kids might be past that point.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot of vomit-worthy dialogue in this scene. Of course, you don’t actually want to read all of it (that’s my awful, awful job), so here’s the best/creepiest-sounding one:
“I just happened to see it one day, and I knew there was only one place it could belong… on your perfect little finger.”
Anyway, you might remember that this chapter began with dozens of college students dying in a fire. Travis and Abby remember this too!
If there was a way to focus on something other than the horror of that night, we’d managed it.
I’m sure the parents of all those dead kids will be quite touched.