Zoey’s Got 99 Problems, But A Plot Ain’t One: Betrayed Chapter 15

Yes, it’s another post where Zoey just reminds the reader what’s going on in her love life, as though there was an actual plot that might distract us from this. [Ariel says: Plots are sooo last year.] [Matthew adds: Except the entire first book took place in the span of one month, so… plots are so four weeks ago?]

Chapter 15

Zoey, Not Zoey, the gay guy, and two background characters celebrate their successful plan to stop the bridge accident by calling in a fake bomb threat.

I knew my call couldn’t be traced, and I’d watched Damien “accidentally” drop and then totally step on and smash his disposable phone.

Why did this need to be done “accidentally”? The phone’s only purpose was to make the incriminating call and then be purposefully destroyed. If anything, destroying the phone “accidentally” draws attention to the fact that you own the phone that this incriminating call can be traced to. [Ariel says: Not to mention, why would they have destroyed the phone in public? Weren’t they doing all of this in private anyway? Or were they just in the middle of the fucking cafeteria “anonymously” calling the FBI.] 

They briefly wonder why Neferet is telling people that Aphrodite has lost her ability to see the future when her last vision just came true. Fortunately, they stop worrying about something as trivial as the plot to focus on something more important:

“Why are the Twins so cynical about love?” I asked Damien

Oh my god, I don’t think the Casts could have come up with something I could have cared less about. The Twins are fucking irritating and so poorly developed they don’t even have one character between the two of them. Why the fuck do we need to learn about their boy troubles when literally everything else that has ever happened in these books thus far would be more interesting? Wow, that is a low bar.

[Ariel says: I can’t even imagine these characters dating someone while the other is single because they’re pretty much in a relationship themselves. I feel like they need to be sister-wives or something.] 

On the plus side, this is a gold mine of authorial intent fuck-ups.

“Yeah, the Twins are hard on guys. It’s like they double-time them,” Stevie Rae said.

Dear Casts. “Double-timing” does not mean what you think it does in this context. However, Zoey is the one who’s double-timing guys!

“Do you remember when Thor asked Erin out?” […]
“Yeah, she called him a lemur. You know, like the moronic lemurs in that Disney movie,” Stevie Rae said, laughing.

Or, like, lemurs, as a whole.

“Walter went out with Shaunee a total of two and a half dates. Then, right in the middle of Starbucks, she called him a Pentium 3 processor,” Damien said.
I gave him a totally clueless look.
“Z, we’re up to Pentium 5 processors now.”

I feel like the quality of that insult says way more about how sharp Shaunee is than it does about the guy.

Yes, a gif from "It's All About The Pentiums" WOULD have been way more appropriate, but the internet doesn't seem to have tapped into that one yet.
Yes, a gif from “It’s All About The Pentiums” WOULD have been way more appropriate, but the internet doesn’t seem to have tapped into that one yet.

“How’s it look, Zoey?” [Drew, the jock character whose only defining trait is appearing out of nowhere to inexplicably have the hots for Stevie Rae] asked without taking his eyes from Stevie Rae. […]
“Looks good,” I said.
“Doesn’t look too bad from here, either,” Shaunee said, giving Drew a look up and down.
“Ditto, Twin,” Erin said, waggling her eyebrows at Draw.

Wait, since when is eyebrow waggling sexy?

goosebumps dummy gif
This is pretty much how I’m seeing this one.

[Ariel says: Since you posted that gif, Matt. We literally just witnessed the moment it became sexy. Momentous!] 

Zoey concludes that “Clearly it’s going to take a couple of really special guys to date the Twins,” which might be the only time I’ll ever agree with Zoey on anything, even if we’re technically using different definitions of “special”. Seriously. “Eyebrow waggling”. What a doofus.

Naturally, Zoey’s main reason for ending the conversation about barely-even-characters Erin and Shaunee’s love lives (aside from the obvious) is so we can talk about her some more. Zoey ditches her friends so she can go study in the library, even though it’s a Saturday night and, as Zoey helpfully points out for us, “only total dorks spent Saturday night” there – presumably in a way that’s empathetic for earth or sincere for spirit, of course. Speaking of those ideals Zoey totally embodies, Zoey’s doing research for the circle she has to cast at the Dark Daughters ritual, because apparently now she’s nervous about her circle-casting abilities all of a sudden:

Okay, sure. I’d cast one circle with my friends a month ago as a little experiment to see if I really had an affinity for the elements […] Not that I’m totally cynical or anything, but please. Just please (as the Twins would say). Being able to tap into the power of the five elements was pretty bizarre. I mean, my life wasn’t an X-Men movie (although I’d definitely like to spend some quality time with Wolverine).

Every now and again I feel the need to just put an entire paragraph of this book in this post, to remind you just how painful reading this book is, and to remind any job-hunting readers we may have that St. Martin’s Press probably has really low standards for editors.

Zoey feels it’s her duty to make the Dark Daughters’ ceremonies less “ho-ish” than Aphrodite did. In comparison, Zoey starts dwelling on how she’s currently involved with three guys:

Okay, I’d been kissing and messing around a little with Erik some during the past month. Yes, I liked it. No, it hadn’t gone very far. One reason was that despite recent evidence to the contrary, I didn’t usually act like a slut. […] I didn’t want there to be any confusion on Erik’s part that I was definitely not a stank slut like Aphrodite the Ho. (I ignored the memory of my rubbing the bulge in Heath’s pants.)

The real question is why we’re getting a recap of this, because it suggests that there are other things happening in the book. Of course, another good question is why we’re supposed to see Zoey as a likeable main character when she’s spent a book and a half calling a girl who danced seductively and tried to give a guy a blow job once a “ho” and a “stank slut” while she lets herself off the hook for wanting to cheat on her boyfriend with one guy and actually cheating on her boyfriend with another guy with “but I don’t usually act like a slut”. But I feel like I’ve asked that question a gajillion bazillion times by now, and we’re only on book two of twelve.

I know you've seen this movie, PC and Kristin Cast. Your books are exactly like them, except shit.
I know you’ve seen this movie, PC and Kristin Cast. Your books are exactly like it, except shit.

Speaking of the guy she wants to cheat on her boyfriend with (except he’s not really her boyfriend, so it’s okay), Zoey turns her thoughts towards her high school teacher (except he’s not really her high school teacher, so it’s okay):

Loren had made me feel like a woman – not an inexperienced nervous girl, which is how I tended to feel around Erik.

When? When is this ever how she described herself feeling around Erik? Last I heard (again and again), the way she feels around Erik is “Gee, I hope he doesn’t think I’m a slut”.

Zoey wishes she could talk to someone about her problems with juggling three men at the same time. Okay, Zoey. I’ll give you that one. That is probably a hard one to find people who will give a shit about how this is tough for you. Of course, this is Zoey we’re talking about, so she’s really having trouble figuring out who she can talk to:

I wasn’t about to tell an adult vamp about Loren.

Because he’d be arrested? [Ariel says: Bloggers can dream.]

Stevie Rae? She was my best friend [but] I didn’t think she’d understand – not really.

Is… is Zoey reverse-slut shaming now? Oh my god, what the fuck kind of median do you have to hit between chastity and promiscuity to be in this person’s good graces?

I couldn’t tell Grandma.

Zoey, you’re not even trying. [Ariel says: But actually that would be the best and worst conversation in this entire book, and that is saying a lot. Need I remind you of the bomb threat and Nature’s Jihad.]

Suddenly Zoey realizes who it’d make sense for her to talk to. It’d be a good idea if you significantly altered your definition of “sense” at this moment.

Ironically, I realized who the one person was who would not be freaked out about the blood, and would definitely understand about the lust and such – Aphrodite.

Sure, Zoey. Sure. And why is that?

I had a feeling

snape you just know

Because this chapter just won’t give up on making high school romance seem like an interesting story, Zoey opens a book she was going to use for research and finds a haiku, the sexiest of all forms of poetry. OMG BUT WHO WROTE IT?

For Zoey

Alluring Priestess.
Night can’t cloak your scarlet dream.
Accept Desire’s call.

Zoey wonders if Loren really wrote the haiku, or if it might be Aphrodite trying to set her up. I wonder if the Casts know that by having the greatest poet in the vampyre world exclusively write haiku, they’re just drawing attention to what untalented writers they are. [Ariel says: Vampyres just have a really low standard for poetry, I guess. Which is weird given they have eternity to perfect their craft.] 



  1. Dana Reply

    If a guy ever wrote that sort of poem for me, I’d break up with him immediately. Then I would share it with all my friends and post it on Facebook for everybody to see with several different memes articulating my feelings on the matter:


    • AJ Reply

      I’d like to imagine that each meme articulates a different level of NOPE, each getting progressively more severe:

      -first meme: politely indifferent rejection
      -second meme: restraining order
      -third meme: petitioning to make the other person a persona non grata in every possible country
      -fourth meme: fuck this shit i’m blasting you off to the andromeda galaxy

      On second thought, maybe the Andromeda Galaxy is too close to home. Maybe this non-existent distant galaxy will be far enough.

      • Dana Reply

        I just rewatched the last gif again, and I’m pretty sure that badger was committing suicide at the very end.

    • Bellomy Reply

      Okay, that would be…pretty horrible? Why would you do that to the poor guy? All he did was try to write you a poem that turned out to be bad. It was actually a nice gesture, just badly executed.

      I mean, break up if you want to, but publicly humiliate him? What did he do to deserve that?

      • Dana Reply

        Of course I’m exaggerating a bit for the sake of snark. If a boyfriend actually wrote me a bad poem, I would just playfully tease him about it and show my family and maybe my closest friends (honestly, if this guy knows anything about me or my family, he really should expect some form of humiliation and mockery—that’s basically a disclaimer in my household).

        However, this above haiku is just plain weird and creepy (Accept Desire’s call? Um, how about no…). I think if a guy wrote that specific poem in all seriousness, it wouldn’t be saying anything good about his personality. Would I still publicly humiliate him? Maybe not, but I’d definitely look at him much differently.

  2. Madeline Reply

    That creepy haiku makes me so uncomfortable ew ew ew.

  3. Madeline Reply

    Loren you pedo
    Get away from teenagers
    Ew ew ew ew ew

    See Casts, I can pull haikus out of my ass too.

  4. AJ Reply

    Was I supposed to understand that bit of library vandalism as poetry? I thought poetry was like this:

    a cloying poem, trite and worn,
    to which I respond:
    care not do I for your poem,
    nor for your courtship. Begone!

    Or, since the Casts wrote a “haiku”:

    Were I Zoey, I would
    Tell Blake this: your poem bores me;
    Now kindly fuck off.

    I always thought haiku were overrated anyway. Not that the Casts are exactly helping the genre’s case, but still.

    As a side note, it’d be hilarious to see how many people can come up with funny responses to (or rewrites of) the Casts’ poetry.

  5. E.H.Taylor Reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever hated a character so much.
    You two should get medals for reading this in its entirety so that we will never have to.

  6. Bellomy Reply

    I once read a haiku that started with “A horse is pissing”.

    It was published.

    Haikus can suck ass.

  7. Jena Reply

    I will say that having been an annoyingly self-absorbed teen with a superiority complex, Zoey’s narration sounds pretty accurate. Her godawful asides, hypocrisy, and references to meaningless shit was pretty much characteristic of everything I ever wrote in high school. So point for Casts?

    But when I turned 18 I burned all my journals because I had the sense not to subject the world to my awfulness. If only the Casts had that base level of awareness.

  8. future venusian Reply

    Every time I hear someone say they think these books are well written I want to slap them into next Thursday. I’ve seen fifth graders who write better than this.

    And Zoey is like the polar opposite of alluring. Unless you happen to find total and utter vapidity alluring.

      • 22aer22 Reply

        We are all about forgiveness and redemption here. There were times when I thought Bared to You was half-way decent, but I blame Stockholm Syndrome.

      • matthewjulius Post authorReply

        Don’t worry. If we were judged on our opinions from when we were 14, none of us would survive.

        So much Linkin Park…

        • 22aer22 Reply

          Man I listened to A LOT of Linkin Park that year. Seriously, this was back when you actually put a CD in a CD player, and I played theirs on repeat. I was one step closer to the edge and was about to break, because in the end it doesn’t even matter 🙁 I could do this all day.

                    • 22aer22

                      I feel both proud and embarrassed now. I find my December to be a very lovely soon even to this day. For some reason. Maybe I’m not qualified to make judgment calls about anything ever anymore haha.

                    • matthewjulius Post author

                      We should write our announcement that we’re ending the blog because we realized we both like Linkin Park and are unfit to judge.

                    • 22aer22

                      HAHA that’s the two year anniversary post. It just wrote itself.

  9. KayMia Reply

    What the fuck is up with all of the haikus in this book?? A five-seven-five syllabic pattern alone does not a haiku make. That’s what you tell your second-graders as a teaching tool for practicing identifying syllables in words. I hate these people.

    • 22aer22 Reply

      Well that’s why they didn’t vote you vampyre poet laureate! You just don’t understand that anything can be a haiku if it’s about deflowering an underage vampyre gurl!

  10. Gray Falcon Reply

    The proper reply to Loren’s haiku:
    No no no no no
    No no summer no no no
    No no no no no

  11. Juliana Reply

    Counterpoint: my high school boyfriend wrote an awesome poem asking me to prom, and I loved it. But he was quite the Renaissance man, and it wasn’t a shitty haiku, so….maybe this is a bad example.


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