Previously, Trent said he was going to take Cami out to dinner. Cami is plotting ways to avoid this because those Maddox bros just don’t take no for an answer. One of their many many charming and shared characteristics.
Cami informs Raegan that the plan is to tell Trent she isn’t there when he shows up, and she’ll hide in her room. Great plan, girls. You two should consider coming up with even more plans that lead to wacky hijinks and mayhem. Think Oceans 11, but for idiots. [Matthew says: …I would actually watch the shit out of that movie.]
Just when Cami thinks Trent isn’t coming, the doorbell rings.
I was just beginning to relax as the obnoxious voice of Family Guy prattled on when the doorbell rang.
I’d like to draw your attention to “the obnoxious voice of Family Guy” portion of that sentence. Jamie McGuire, if you are going to try to show the “new adults” (side note: this term is real and it’s the worst) that you are hip to the max, please understand the difference between a character and a whole television program. [Matthew says: I like how she couldn’t even bother to make her factually incorrect sentence grammatically correct. It should be “the Family Guy“. Except it shouldn’t, because that’s not the character’s name.]
Raegan turned the bolt lock and the knob, and then I heard her muffled voice. After a short pause, another voice that was much deeper hummed through the apartment. Trenton’s.
I know I’m being insanely nitpicky this chapter, but why is McGuire being so weird about voices in the span of a page? We know and expect that Trenton is coming over, so why not just say “Trenton’s voice hummed through the apartment”? Even the least astute reader in the world knows that it would have only been surprising if it wasn’t Trenton’s voice, you know, humming through the apartment. [Matthew says: And we already know it’s not the voice of another character from Family Guy because apparently Family Guy is the only character on Family Guy now.]
Almost immediately, the plan is cast aside just like Abby’s cardigans were after the first chapter of Beautiful Disaster. Oh the good old days! Raegan comes into Cami’s room and tells her that Trenton “fights dirty.” Cami goes into the living room and sees a little girl standing next to Trenton.
She was breathtaking. Her enormous green eyes were like telescopes, disappearing behind her long, dark lashes every time she blinked. Long, platinum hair cascaded down her back and shoulders.
For a hot minute I thought Cami was going to be struck with jealousy. You can’t blame me; it’s the only reaction female protagonists in these books seem to have when encountering other females in the wild, especially when they start their observations off with “She was breathtaking”, which is also a fucking weird way to describe a little girl.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I had way more fun reading this chapter when I started imagining plot!child as Honey Boo Boo.
I promise, it makes everything so much better.
Trenton nodded to the tiny, perfect person [Ariel says: *tiny, perfect plot!child*] next to him. “This is Olive. Her parents bought the house next door to my dad’s two years ago. She’s my buddy.”
Oh my goodness gracious why on earth are her parents letting her hang out with this fool? Whoever is responsible for placing the call to the ASPCA about plot!puppy, can you please also call child services to report gross negligence on the part of plot!child’s parents?
But how exactly does this child earn her title of plot!child? I’ll allow her to explain.
“Twent said he would take me to Chicken Joe’s, but we can’t go until yow weddy.” She blinked, but didn’t smile. She was serious, and she was seriously holding me accountable for every second longer she had to wait.
I hope you all have your bingo boards at the ready. PLOT CONTRIVANCE TO GET THEM TOGETHER ALERT. The emotional manipulations of the Maddox bros has reached strange, new heights. [Matthew says: Because sequels and spin-offs always get better once you introduce an adorable, irritating child character.] How could Cami resist such blatant, and also idiotic, emotional manipulation?
He pulled the seat belt across his chest and clicked it into the latch, and then looked at me expectantly.
“Click it or ticket,” Olive said from the backseat.
“Oh,” I said, turning to grab the seat belt and repeating what Trenton had just completed.
Two things here:
- This would have been the appropriate place to mention Trenton’s past car accident without it being awkwardly shoved into the second chapter.
That is officially the weirdest way to describe putting on a seat belt ever. In case we were like DID CAMI PUT HER SEATBELT ON LIKE TRENTON? If not, they aren’t soul mates. Or in case we weren’t sure that Cami was up for the insurmountable task of putting on her seatbelt.
At Chicken Joe’s (which is essentially McDonald’s with an arcade [Matthew says: Ariel, that’s Chuck E Cheese. You need to come spend some time in America again. And not go to Chuck ECheese.]), plot!child runs off to play some games, so Cami finally has a chance to call Trenton out on his tactics.
“Exploiting a child is not a good first date. [Matthew says: Never forget this is a real sentence in this book, btw.] That’s not exactly a memory you want to share later.”
“Who said this was a date? I mean . . . if you want to call it a date, that’s cool, but I thought you had a boyfriend.”
I nearly choked on my own spit, but that was still preferable to blushing. “Forgive me for thinking coercion was something you didn’t do for just anyone.”
I don’t think whether or not he’d do this for anyone has any bearing on whether or not this is a date – it’s the fact that you have a boyfriend, Cami, and you have also expressed nothing but disinterest in Trenton.
Why can’t Cami at least have a different attitude towards Trenton than Abby did towards Travis. I get that some people adored the shit out of those books, but wouldn’t even diehard fans want to feel a little bit like it was a different story? [Matthew says: Aren’t we ignoring Cami’s character that was already established in Beautiful/Walking Disaster? Wasn’t she a badass bartender stock character with finger tattoos that spelled out “BABY DOLL”? Why have those tattoos never been mentioned IN HER OWN STORY, where she instead acts exactly like Abby?]
While discussing food options, Cami notices a dad yelling at his son. My notes in my ebook are very astute, worrying that Trent is going to start something with this dad because of course he will.
“Why do I even bother bringing you to places like this?” he yelled.
“I was thinking the same thing,” Trenton said.
The father turned around, two deep horizontal lines in the center of his forehead.
“I mean, you don’t really act like you want your kid running around, playing, or having fun in general. Why would you bring him here if you just want him to sit still?”
“No one asked you, asshole,” the man said, turning around.
“No, but if you keep talking to your son like that, I’m going to ask you to step outside.”
Let’s pause for a moment to think about how we’re supposed to perceive this and how we should actually perceive this exchange. It’s pretty clear we’re meant to be on Trent’s side because Jamie McGuire has a massive boner for the Maddox family. But say this dad is actually a really nasty human being and is a genuinely abusive father instead of just stressed out or something. What the fuck would Trent stepping outside with him to fight accomplish? In fact, I would bet the father would just take his anger and humiliation out on his kid again later, not be forever reformed and remorseful because of Savior Trenton.
I also don’t imagine the kid would look fondly back on that time someone beat the shit out of his dad in the parking lot of Chicken Joe’s. Trenton is not Batman. Okay? He’s just not. This kid will not grow up remembering him as a hero. Instead, it sounds like a horrific backstory that someone on an episode of American Horror Story would have to explain why they go on murder sprees at Chicken Joe’s around the country. It’s just weirdly stupid enough to work on that show.
But just when you thought this scene couldn’t get worse, it does, but for different reasons. Because not only does the book seem to want us to believe Trent is a hero, it also wants us to believe he’s an angel.
The man faced us again, began to speak, but something in Trenton’s eyes made the man think better of it. “He’s hyper.”
Trenton shrugged. “Hey, man, I get it. You’re here by yourself. It’s probably been a long day.”
The lines above the man’s eyes softened. “It has.”
“So let him burn off some energy. He’ll be worn-out when he gets home. Kinda silly to bring him to an arcade and then get yourself all worked up when he wants to play.”
Shame darkened the man’s face, he nodded a few times, and then he turned around, nodding once to his son. “Sorry, buddy. Go play.”
Because whatever that man saw in Trent’s eyes was life changing. [Matthew says: It was love. And machismo.] And then when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, for some reason we have to learn this man’s entire backstory.
After a few awkward moments of silence, Trenton started a conversation with the man, and they began chitchatting about where they worked, Christopher, and Olive. Eventually we learned that the man’s name was Randall, and he was a newly single father. Chris’s mother was an addict and living with a boyfriend in the next town over, and Chris was having trouble adjusting.
Trenton may be working part time at a tattoo parlour, but really his dream is to be a therapist. A therapist WHO WEILDS DUAL GLOCKS LIKE A BADASS MOFO!
When it was time for them to leave, Randall held out his hand, and Trenton shook it. Christopher watched both men, grinned, and then took his dad’s hand. They left, both of them with smiles on their faces.
And thus Trent has set a new course for this family with the power of…something in his eyes.
Afterwards, plot!child wants pie. So multiple pages are dedicated to pie, which is slightly preferably to the previous scene.
Trent drops Cami off at home and tries to convince her to make this a weekly thing. She says it isn’t a good idea, but she tells Raegan how much fun she had once she gets inside. The chapter ends with T.J. calling because plot!child can’t steal all of plot!boyfriend’s thunder, damn it.
Question: What do you think of the term “new adult fiction“? Should it die a violent death or are you cool with it? [Matthew says: Didn’t we already have a term for that? I think it was called “fiction”.]