Full disclosure, I stayed up until 2 am last night finishing this book just to find out what the shitty twist at the end was. And, oh, was it shitty. I have so so many jokes written, I am dying to spoil it all.
Because I’m not going to spoil the Big Secret, what I can tell you is that Blando DOES show up in this book, and so does plot!puppy, and ‘bagged’ is still a thing for reasons that are beyond my ability to understand. Kara, alas, does not appear, so no fanservice for any of us.
Cami goes to apply for the receptionist job at Skin Deep Tattoo where Trent works, which immediately leads to wacky misogynistic adventures:
“Jesus Christ, Calvin,” Trenton said. He was looking at the large Chinese mural on the wall, trying not to notice that Calvin couldn’t manage to stare anywhere else but at my breasts.
Meet Calvin, owner of Skin Deep Tattoo. He exists to somehow make Trent look less misogynistic. It’s also confusing to me why Trent is looking at the mural, pretending Calvin isn’t looking at Cami’s breasts, while he is yelling at him regarding staring at said breasts.
But more importantly, what is Trent wearing today?
Trenton’s red ball cap was on backward, and his boots were untied. On anyone else the look would have appeared sloppy and screamed douche bag, but somehow the look made Trenton even more appealing.
Meet Cami, the world’s most unreliable narrator. There’s no easier way to lose all credibility than to say something would have looked douchey on anyone else but Trenton Maddox. That’s like saying Trucker hats made Ashton Kutcher more appealing – they didn’t, and I’m still sort of bitter than non-truckers wore them unironically.
[Matthew says: Not to mention that, from a quality-of-writing perspective, this is sort of cheating? You can’t describe something by explicitly saying it’s not how you admit it’s likely to be interpreted. Let’s pretend other books were written this way…
- “A wizard is never late. He arrives precisely when he means to.” Gandalf said in a way that from anyone else would have sounded douchey, but somehow sounded wise.
- “You’re a wizard, Harry.” Hagrid said in a way that from anyone else would have sounded like he were batshit insane, but somehow sounded totally believable.]
Cami takes this time to tell us about her boob situation, which is crucial to our understanding of her as a character.
I didn’t have the most voluptuous chest in the world, but my slight frame made my small D cups seem bigger than they were.
SMALL D CUPS? That is like saying, “I climbed that small mountain…you know, Everest or whatever?” As a woman how does McGuire not know that D cups are widely considered big! [Matthew says: I bet you weren’t expecting another one of these so soon, but BUTWHATIFOTHERBOOKSWEREWRITTENTHISWAY?
- “I’ve lived in New York all my life,” Holden said. “And I know Trafalgar Square like the back of my hand.”
- “I’ll have a martini. Shaken. No foam on the top.”]
I hated to admit it, but they helped score extra tips at the Red, and now they could help me get a second job. It was a vicious cycle of not wanting to be objectified, and using the gifts God gave me to my advantage.
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to take away from that. Being a woman is so complicated :(? Cami’s real talk is sooo kewl? B00bz r awsome? [Matthew says: Unless they’re small D cups. Some girls are just unlucky like this 🙁 ]
Cal hires Cami, but says she needs to get some tattoos because it’s bad business for the receptionist not to have any. I think we just figured out why Cami never mentions her one defining characteristic that was in Walking Disaster (her baby doll tattoo)…I SMELL AN ORIGIN STORY A’COMIN.
I got a little over-excited to Matt over Facebook chat when I figured this out. Then again I did the same thing when Blando showed up, so I must have been pretty tired. [Matthew says: I was wondering about this, since Trenton had been calling her “baby doll” throughout the book, and I even wrote about my confusion that Cami hasn’t mentioned she has that tattooed on her hand last week. WHOOPS. My bad for not assuming this wouldn’t be a direct copy of how the guy got the girl to get a tattoo exactly like in the other book.]
Some drunk guy calls to ask when they close, and Cami tells us how comfortable she is around drunk people, which is a really strange thing to say. Anyway, it’s not ’cause she’s a bartender, but because…~cue sad backstory~
I felt more at ease with drunks. My dad had popped the top of a Busch beer can every morning for breakfast since before I was born. The slurring, the stumbling, the inappropriate comments, the giggling, and even the anger was what I was used to.
Then, boy, Cami do I know the right guy for you to fall in love with!
Here’s what else happens on Cami’s first day. Classic McGuire infodump [Matthew says: It’s not a Jamie McGuire novel if we aren’t introduced to five new characters every other chapter. Seriously, this is like Cami’s sixth group of BFFs.]:
- We the meet Hazel who works there as a body piercer. Don’t worry, we immediately establish that Hazel is a lesbian, so her friendship with Trent is completely non-threatening.
- Hazel says if her ex-girlfriend calls to tell her to eat a dick. When she calls later, Cami follows through on this, thus establishing Friendship between Cami and Hazel.
- For some reason, this also makes her immediately ship Trent/Cami: “We’re going to get along just fine.” She pointed back with her thumb as she retreated to her room. “Land that one, Trent. She’s right up your alley.”
- We don’t meet Bishop who is another tattoo artist or something. Cal comes in to ask if he ever showed up at all, which you’d think he would know given only 4 people worked there before Cami started that day.
- Trent buys Hazel and Cami Chinese food. Cami says even though she’s seen scary sides of Trent all her life, it’s nice to see he’s just so happy to make them happy. Because nothing says heart of gold like free fried rice.
- Some drunk students come in, and when Cami turns down their money, one points out that since she also works at the bar, she must need extra money, winky wink.
- “Does she look like a whore to you?” Trenton seethed. I’d seen that look in his eyes before—right before he beat the shit out of someone. […] “Do you want to die tonight?”
- The asshole’s girlfriend keeps making eyes at Trent even as he’s throwing her boyfriend out of the shop. Because those Maddox boys, amiright?
- The asshole throws Trent’s past in his face and says he’s “that psycho who got that girl killed”.
- After work, Cami invites Trent back to hers to get drunk because he is sad about what that mean boy said to him 🙁
While drinking with Trent at her apartment, Cami talks more about her ~sad backstory~ because the women in the Disaster/Oblivion/Maddox/Pigeon/Camlin books need to have dark pasts in order to be the Perfect, Amazing, Vulnerable, Strong, Independent, Desperately-needing-to-be-loved, Deserving-of-the-love-of-a-Maddox Protagonist.
“He’s old school. Don’t talk back. Don’t have an opinion unless it’s his. Don’t cry when he beats the shit out of my mom.”
Trenton’s eyes tightened.
“He doesn’t do it anymore. But he used to. Fucked with us kids, you know? That she stayed. That she could still love him.”
Mr Cami’s dad is such a delight, I can’t wait until you guys meet him.
They bond a bit more about the sad things in their past, and Trent hugs Cami. For some reason, right after hearing about Cami’s sad past, Trent speaks really fondly of how he and his brothers used to beat Travis up as kids…which seems like a really insensitive thing to tell the girl whose mother used to get beaten up by her dad.
“I have better things to do than watch Travis beat somebody’s ass. Again. Besides, he doesn’t have any moves I haven’t seen.”
“Right. You’ve taught him everything he knows, I’m sure.”
“One third of everything he knows. That little shit. We beat his ass so many times growing up, he picked up on everything to keep from getting pummeled. Now he could beat all of us . . . at the same time. No wonder no one can beat him.”
“I’ve seen you and Travis fight. You won.”
“Over a year ago. Right after . . . he told you to quit drinking before you drank yourself to death and you beat him pretty bad for it.”
So you’re telling me that this wouldn’t leave a bad taste in Cami’s mouth at all? Because brother on brother violence is defo okay because neither is a woman? Because boys will be boys, and they’re sexy boys so it’s really okay?
Raegan and Kody come home fighting about something stupid. It’s basically just a scene that was lifted from America and Shepley. Search and replace really served McGuire well in this book.
At the end of the chapter Trenton affectionately tackles Cami, and I can’t get over the fact that they’ve hung out like twice, and it’s really creepy he’s acting this familiar with her. But it’s fine, I guess, because ultimately it’s Tru Wuv?
Have any of you read all of this book? Without spoiling anything in the comments, can you tell me how you felt about it?
Also did you find it super weird that Trenton was speaking almost nostalgically about beating Travis up to Cami at the end of this chapter or am I reading too much into that? [Matthew says: But Ariel, don’t you remember how Travis is the BEST FIGHTER EVAR? Who wouldn’t be nostalgic about getting a victory over on someone who learned how to fight by fighting his brothers a lot?]