After hanging out with Olive and Trent, Cami heads to her job at the Red where she is immediately greeted by our favourite character Blia, who can always be counted on for her Blia-isms, which usually are about holy balls or shit of some variety.
“Holy flippindip!” Blia said, rubbing her hands together as she passed by. “It’s colder than a frog’s ass in January!”
There’s our girl. But what the fuck is up with that “frog’s ass in January” thing. That can’t possibly be an actual phrase.
So no, it’s Jamie McGuire’s weird attempt at a hilarious hillbilly colloquialism. I definitely think she works with the Casts to create characters like Stevie Rae and Blia. Like, I’m almost positive there’s an email thread out there between them that is like, “Re: writing 4 hillybilly characters who we adore!11!!” [Matthew says: Modern day Mark Twains, over here.]
[Matthew says: Speaking of Blia-isms, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t mention that she says “Fuckity squared” in this chapter, because good character writing means that your character simultaneously sounds like a hillbilly and British.]
The staff complain about how nobody is there on account of another super-secret-fight-club-event-that-everyone-always-knows about. [Matthew says: Despite them apparently being popular enough to siphon the ENTIRE clientele from a bar in a college town on a weekend.] Seriously, the PR for these events must be fucking incredible if everyone in the world can simultaneously know about them and yet they remain completely undetected by the cops unless there is some sort of dramatic fire caused by evil, love-hating lanterns. [Matthew says: Speaking of cops, this chapter mentions later that police cruisers are parked outside the bar in anticipation of rowdiness. If this bar is this notoriously bad, why not, I don’t know, crack down on all the underage drinking? Or the fact that literally its entire patronage just came from an illegal fight club?]
Trenton, not at the fight because, “Unlike boyfriend in California” he puts Cami first. [Matthew says: So I guess the boyfriend in California is also at the fight? Thanks to a misplaced modifier, this is canon now.] Thank goodness he’s there when Kody starts giving Cami crap because she didn’t talk sense into Raegan. Which, I do get the instinct to think that the best friend can be the one to talk some sense into a person, but when is that ever really accurate in love? “I was totally going to dump you because I want to be with someone else, but then my best friend reminded me that you’re really nice, so I didn’t. Lucky you!”
Kody, still angry, finds a way to mark the beginning of the book’s non-stop, completely infuriating references to Cami’s Big Secret.
“Yeah, I do. You don’t think the guys at Sig Tau talk, Cami? You don’t think they’re discussing your drama, too? They’re worse than the Cap Sig girls, sitting around gossiping about who’s fucking who. And then it trickles down to me and I have to hear about all of it.”
“My drama?” I glanced around. “I don’t have drama.”
Kody pointed at Trenton. “You’re racing toward it at ninety miles an hour. You shouldn’t mess with that, Cami. They’ve been through enough.”
I want you to remember this, and I want you to remember this really really well. Sig. Fucking. Tau (Travis’ frat) is talking about Cami’s big secret that Trenton-and the less astute reader-doesn’t know until the end of the book. Kody knows the Big Secret. Raegan knows the Big Secret. Let’s keep a tally, because soon it will feel like only 2-3 people do not know this Secret.
Here’s Cami to explain the situation in more confusing terms:
Trenton made a face. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing,” I said. I kept my face smooth, pretending that my heart wasn’t trying to beat through my chest. T.J. and I weren’t exactly a secret, but we didn’t broadcast our relationship. I was the only one from our little town that knew the nature of his job, and it was important to him that we kept it that way. A little bit of knowledge led to questions, and avoiding questions meant keeping secrets. It really hadn’t been that big a deal because we’d never given anyone a reason to talk about us. Until now.
So okay, everyone knows about their relationship, really, because Sig Tau and Kody are gossiping about it. And everyone at the bar presumably knows because T.J. first asked her out there, and they all knew they were dating from Cami talking about it. What the fuck does his job have to do with keeping the relationship a secret? Given Cami tells us the job is an important job relating to statistics/data analysis, what in fuck’s name does any of this mean? If you’re thinking that will make sense once it’s revealed what’s going on, I know the fucking secret already, and I’m telling you, it doesn’t.
Cami tells Kody off because she was rooting for him and he “doesn’t know dick” about her life. Except he totally does, and he’s completely right about the fact that Cami is no better than Raegan.
But now it’s time for Cami’s brothers and cousin to show up. Really not entirely sure what the cousin’s purpose is in the book except to make this clan look somewhat tougher because they have an extra member with a name beginning with the same letter. Striking fear into the hearts of everyone who doesn’t have a name beginning with the letter C! [Matthew says: Except for the only tougher act in town, the Maddox brothers! AKA everyone whose name begins with the letter T.]
Cami’s brothers and cousin try to convince her to start coming back to their miserable family gatherings. They offer timeless, compelling reasons like “We’re family” and… well, actually that’s basically the only reason they can offer. [Matthew says: It’s like The Godfather, but everyone’s a shithead in college.]
“Then why pretend? We’re hanging on by a thread. I’m not even sure what’s keeping us together anymore.”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s all we’ve got,” Clark said.”
Cami has school, her own place, two jobs, a boyfriend, friends, an irritating, misogynistic stalker, and even her very own plot!child. Really doesn’t seem like abusive family get-togethers are all she’s got. In fact, it seems like the one thing that’s going to mess up all of the other things.
It’s strongly foreshadowed that Cami’s dad is going to show up to her apartment soon to “set her straight”, which is pretty chilling. But also exciting because her father is hilarious. [Matthew says: PRO WRITING TIP. Try to not make a single thing instil both fear and the giggles in the reader.]
In case the last post I wrote didn’t include enough fanservice for you, this chapter features the classic Cami talks to Travis scene. This features unforgettable moments like,
“Someone’s talking shit on you? Not very smart of them,” I said, watching Travis light a cigarette.
“The pigeon,” he said, crossing his arms over the top of the bar. He leaned, hunched over, looking lost. I watched him for a moment, unsure if he was talking code or already drunk.
It’s amazing how unflattering that nickname still seems even though I thought I’d been desensitised. Like a child playing violent video games who doesn’t bat an eye when someone gets decapitated, I too thought I would no longer roll my eyes deeply into my head when Travis referred to Abby as “pigeon.” How wrong I was.
Cami at least has the decency to be incredibly confused like a normal human being. But, come on, let Travis explain.
“All right, all right,” he said, looking around. He leaned in. “It’s Pigeon.”
“Pigeon? You’re joking.” [Matthew says: This is indeed a huge surprise, since Travis has only ever talked about this one person every time he’s had dialogue in this novel.]
Travis managed a small laugh. “Abby. She’s a pigeon. A demonic pigeon that fucks with my head so bad I can’t think straight. Nothing makes sense anymore, Cam. Every rule I’ve ever made’s getting broken one by one. I’m a pussy. No . . . worse. I’m Shep.”
I laughed. “Be nice.”
[Matthew says: Shep has never once been mentioned in this book. Why is Cami laughing?]
Cami encourages Travis to be a better man for Abby, and Travis says that he’ll never be good enough for her because she’s incredible. But what makes Abby so incredible you ask? Well, it’s the same thing Cami saw in her two chapters ago:
“There’s something in her eyes that’s familiar. Something I can relate to, ya know?”
What is up with both of these characters justifying Abby’s greatness with nothing more than, “There’s something in her eyes.” This would be like arguing that a congressional bill looks excellent, not because of it’s sound policy, but because there’s something special about the font. It’s like, super relatable font.
Also, more importantly, we get our very first mention of plot!puppy. Now that’s the fanservice I’m talkin’ bout.
“I’m going to get her a puppy,” Travis said. At least he was too drunk to stay on the subject of Trenton. “Think Trent will keep him for me?”
Yes, yes I do. And I think we’ll be subjected to plot!puppy being used and cast aside in this book as well. Poor guy can’t catch a break.
Anyway, Travis goes home with the two ladies from his infamous threesome. While Raegan and Cami are simultaneously like, “LOL Travis. Omg hope he doesn’t have the threesome in the same apartment that the girl he’s in love with is staying at!” But of course we already know that’s exactly how that plays out, so, why the fuck is this even in the book?
Question, do you have any guesses about Cami’s big secret?
On that note, my other question for the week is, is anyone watching the new season of The Comeback? If you can handle awkward humor, I highly recommend watching season 1, which was made like 10 years ago, and the new season that’s just coming out now. IT TRULY IS A COMEBACK.