Zoey Promises Her Boyfriend She’s Totally Not Hitting On Her Teacher: House of Night, Chosen Chapter 6

We’re back reading House of Night after a year of reading other books, and it’s throwing so much of its ridiculous shit at us, it’s like we’ve never left! Damien is gay! Zoey slut shames like a motherfucker! Damien is gay! And the end of the last chapter promised the return of one of the best parts yet: the high school teacher that’s been hitting on Zoey!

and there was much rejoicing
fuckin’ WOO HOO, you guys!

House of Night, Chosen: Chapter 6

The hottest teacher-vampyre in the world walks in on Zoey getting to second base with the hottest student-vampyre in the world, which is definitely a situation that needs to be described with fitting gravitas.

Oh. My. God. I wanted to die.

Just in case you thought I wasn’t being serious about all that “HOTTEST IN THE WOOOORLD” stuff, once again, there is fitting gravitas:

Loren Blake, Vampyre Poet Laureate and the Best-Looking Male in the Known Universe, was standing there with a smile on his classically handsome face.

As you might know, Zoey is dating Erik Night, has – er – bloodlust with Heath, and has been flirting with her teacher/poet laureate/vampyre poet laureate. However, throughout the last two books, none of these men actually knew anything about any of this, and they moved in fairly different narrative circles anyway. Naturally, since these two have no knowledge of this, much less have ever interacted, it’s about time for Erik and Loren to start having a pissing match over Zoey anyway.

“So how was Europe?” Calm and collected, Erik draped an arm nonchalantly around my shoulders.

Although, to be fair, maybe it’s not so much a continuity snafu as it is how men actually are.

Loren’s smile got wider and he looked from Erik to me. “Not as friendly as it is here.”
Erik, who seemed to be having fun, laughed softly. “Well, it’s not where you go, it’s who you know.”
Loren lifted one perfect brow. “Obviously.”

Even taking the general pettiness of masculinity into account (which could probably be this blog’s tagline by this point), the nonsense of this exchange immediately escalates when the Casts attempt to write dialogue:

“It’s Zoey’s birthday. We were just doing the birthday kiss thing,” Erik said. “You know Z and I are going out.”

House of Night just made the idea of kissing your significant other on their birthday somehow sound like the most alien thing ever with “doing the birthday kiss thing”.

Loren wishes Zoey a happy birthday and sulks off, and Zoey lets Erik have it for actually so chill about being caught in a fairly compromising position.

“You were kissing. I was sucking your blood.” I looked sideways at him. “Oh, and there’s that little your-hand-up-my-shirt detail. Better not forget that.”
He took the lavender plant from me and grabbed my hand. “I won’t forget that, Z.”

raven symone facepalm

“It’s embarrassing. I can not believe Loren saw us.”
“It was just Blake, and he’s not even a full professor.”

I love the idea that somehow it’s less embarrassing because the person who walked in on them making out isn’t tenured.

Erik suddenly wins the award for being the first person in the House of Night series to point out that, hey, has anyone noticed that Zoey’s teacher is hitting on her and this is kinda fucked up? Three books to get here, people. Three books.

“I don’t like the way he looks at you. […] Like you’re not a student and he’s not a teacher.” He paused. “So you haven’t noticed?”
“Erik, I think you’re crazy.” I carefully didn’t answer the question. “Loren doesn’t look at me like anything. […] There’s no reason for you to be jealous. There’s nothing going on between me and him. Promise.”

Man, if there were ever a sentence that could make someone suspicious, it might be saying “nothing is going on between me and him” in response to “huh, did you notice that way he looks at you?”

Zoey narrates about how stressful her situation is between Imprinted Heath and how “the last thing I needed was a secret affair with someone who was even more off limits”, and then points out that “Sadly, it seemed like the last thing I need is usually the first thing I get”, which my Kindle helpfully informed me is a commonly underlined passage among readers of these books, which makes me super nervous about what’s going on in the life of the average House of Night fan.

His masculine insecurities assuaged, they move on to discussing other matters. Like how Zoey needs a replacement for Stevie Rae in the Dark Daughters, because she represented earth in their rituals. Thankfully, Erik is willing to take her place, which Zoey agrees to, thus ensuring that none of the other students presumably at this school ever get involved in anything going on at it. This prompts Zoey and Erik to make out again, which prompts one of the few times I’ll ever agree with the Twins:

“Twin, I may vomit. How about you?” Shaunee said.
“Definitely. As in projectile,” Erin said.

I mean, I agree with the sentiment, which is buried beneath layers of how nobody in real life talks.

Having been suddenly joined by Shaunee, Erin, Damien, and Jack, the book takes the opportunity to totally naturally pair up the main characters who are currently lacking significant others.

“you wouldn’t be interested in what Cole and T. J. wanted me to pass along to you?”
“Cole Clifton?” Shaunee said.
“T.J. Hawkins?” Erin said.
“Yep and yep,” Erik said.
I watched the twinly cynical Shaunee and Erin instantly change their negative attitudes.

Do Cole and T.J. also operate as a unit, like Shaunee and Erin? And both have to get Erik to ask out a girl for them? I know I wasn’t especially social adept in high school, but, Jesus, even I think this is super weird.

After another round of nobody-actually-talks-like-this (“Does this mean you two are actually interested in some lovey-dovey stuff?”), we get some details about this absurdly convenient group date everyone’s about to go on, that will somehow appease everyone in this scenario.

“What are we gonna see?” Jack asked.
Erik paused for dramatic effect, then said, “300 is rerunning as a special holiday IMAX event.”
It was Jack’s turn to fan himself.

It does not get more believable from this point.

“You know, 300 may be the perfect movie. It has something in it for everyone,” I said. “Man titties for those of us who like that. And girl boobies for those of us who like that. Plus a very large dose of heroic guy action, and who doesn’t like that?”

A gif from an Adam Sandler movie sounded more rational than what just came out of House of Night. Let that sink in.
A gif from an Adam Sandler movie sounded more rational than what just came out of House of Night. Let that sink in.

I’m terribly sorry to have to do this, but I think it’s really important we break down just how stupid Zoey’s explanation of 300 is. I know we don’t want to spend any more time thinking about it, but I think we just really have to process this one.

  • “300 may be the perfect movie” – no
  • “Man titties for those of us who like that. And girl boobies for those of us who like that.” -this is the first qualification for why this is a perfect movie? Following this logic, these kids should just all go to someone’s dorm and watch some porn. For their group date.
  • “Man titties” – also, “man titties”
  • “And girl boobies for those of us who like that” – I get that this book is trying to be cute and observe how, hey, it’s a great movie because it objectifies both sexes! Tee hee! But this is still a seriously depressing notion that the only way anyone could be interested in going on this date is if they can set up some good, old fashioned male gaze for their men.
  • “Plus a very large dose of heroic guy action, and who doesn’t like that?” – I mean, props for House of Night for not gendering action movies as a “guy thing’, but I don’t think holding up action movies as the universal genre EVERYONE LIKES is a much better statement
  • “a very large dose of heroic guy action” – furthermore, this is also every movie
  • Not an excerpt from this quote, but I just read this quote to my roommate and her response was, “I just… I don’t know… How are you still reading this book?”

After they all agree to go on this date, they start… talking about how expensive Zoey’s birthday presents are?

“Yeah, you’ll be wearing those totally hot boots we spent $ 295.52 on?” Erin added. […]
“The cashmere scarf wasn’t exactly cheap, either,” Damien said haughtily. “Did I mention it’s cashmere?”

Again, why are these characters so loaded? I know, I know, they just happen to come from wealthy families, but seriously. Actually why are all of them loaded? Why are all the main characters teenagers from financially privileged backgrounds who won’t think twice about dropping a few hundred bucks on a friend’s birthday and then harping on how much money they spent? Why is this book suddenly so classist now on top of being homophobic, racist, and sexist? Maybe it’s playing bingo?

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14 comments

  1. Lougoober Reply

    Zoey’s description of 300 is stupid, but I’ve seen real people describe movies in a similar way. That doesn’t make it less stupid, just… more believable that someone would describe a movie that way.

    Zoey’s friends are jerks. Are they trying to guilt-trip Zoey because she wasn’t thrilled about getting Christmas-themed gifts for her birthday by saying how much it cost them? Or are they just trying to slap Zoey in the face with their metaphorical wads of cash?

    Also it makes me kind of uncomfortable that the twins spent $300 on a gift for a person they’ve known for like two months. I know they’re closer friends than normal teenagers, but it still just seems weird to me.
    It’s weird, I only remember Aphrodite being well-off – her having her own Gold Card is a plot point later on – but I don’t remember the other characters having a lot of money. I guess maybe it just didn’t come up much.

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    • Skylar Reply

      I once had a “friend” in school I’d known for about a month before I got so tired of her insane antics (like stalking, claiming we were lesbians, all of that romantic stuff) I tried to push her away. I told her that I wanted time – A LOT of time – to myself and everything, and she shouldn’t even try talking to me for awhile. One day she came to school and gave me a ring and other pieces of jewelry that added up to around $300. It was because she was trying to guilt-trip me (like I’d believe the twins are trying) and didn’t see the money as a big deal (she got something like $200 every WEEK as her allowance. I’m talking about a 15 year old girl in a middle-class family. I’m sure the twins don’t see the money as a big deal either). So yeah. there’s people like that. sigh

      But I hiiiiighly doubt that the Casts are trying to portray a friendship that is being forced through money, or two friends who are unknowingly hurting Zoey, or two people who are trying to manipulate her. I’m 100% certain that they had the friends talk about this simply to show, “SEE? THESE KIDS TALK TOGETHER ALL THE TIME! FRIENDSHIP.”, but because there was nothing else to talk about, they had the characters bring up the presents and the cost of them.

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      • 22aer22 Reply

        Wait so what ended up happening with that girl? Did you take the ring? Did you have to actually have a full-blown friend breakup over her guilt tripping?

        No one the Casts could possibly write something so nuanced. Maybe they just don’t understand what these kids would realistically spend on each other? I feel like there’s no way Damien is rich (didn’t he runaway from home and have a really awful relationship with his family?)

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        • Skylar Reply

          Ahh, I don’t know how much to explain here, so I may over-explain. This is not meant to vent or anything, but I’m not sure if you’re wondering about what happened with that specific situation or what happened in general. Sorry if it’s too much xD

          I kept telling her I wasn’t going to take it because I felt like she was guilt-tripping me, and that I’d have to return the favor, etc, etc, and she continued to insist, “No, no, I just bring people I know random gifts every month! It’s you this month.” Yet then she’d keep telling me, “You’re so lucky. This was so expensive. A lot of girls I know would love this.” I mean it went on and oooon. I took the ring to shut her up, told her thanks and everything.

          So, if you want to know what happened in general:

          I ended up being stuck with her for the entire year because whenever I told her I wouldn’t talk to her anymore, things kept happening, like rape (she’d say she got raped by a teacher when she was a toddler, then again when she was twelve, then it happened like twice during our school year and one of them was from a guy who only pretended to be gay to get closer to her?), and rape attempts, and then pregnancy, and abortions, and it went on… I was terrified of leaving her because I thought there’d be a day I would go to school and I’d find out from kids gossiping that she killed herself. She was a cutter and sometimes talked about suicide. So she would always give me things (and then at the same time complain her family was so dirt poor…? Despite how she was given so much of an allowance every week. Ugh), you know, like that man or woman who hits you in a relationship and then never says sorry, but just brings you pretty flowers the next day and everything is apparently okay. At the time I had anxiety about being touched, but she would forcefully hug me literally 10 times or more a day, and surprise-kiss me on the lips and tell me, “I know you really hate this, but it helps me, and I need comfort right now.”. Plain to see, she was extremely manipulative. It still amazes me that she was just 15 years old and knew how to do things like this. And to think there are teenagers who are seriously far worse than that!

          To be fair though, I should have known. Her first impression went like this. We were standing in a line waiting for a door to be opened, and she looked back and saw me. She gasped and said, “Oh my god, you’re so pretty! Your hair is so pretty! Are you a christian? I really hope you’re christian, I don’t want you to go to Hell.” It’s insanely hilarious looking back on it.

          On a lighter note, I think someone like her in the HoN series would really make it interesting. Insane, but interesting. Heck, Zoey should be it! It would be so confusing too, because I see her as the same unreliable narrator as the guy in the book Lolita (who over-sexualizes the girl, so it makes you think she was “asking for it” and then you side with him… which most people do, and it’s very saddening). I can so see Erin staying with her out of absolute terror, and Heath (?) having the horrifying situation of having a sexual attraction through Imprinting to an insane girl who just abuses him. But even more horrifying would be the Casts attempt to make a story like that without offending everyone in a single sentence…

          I’m pretty sure the Casts just have no idea. When I was in high school, friends would get each other a 1$ bag of chips or a cute 10$ shirt or something. This would come from kids who got over $50 a week for their allowance, haha. I feel as though the daughter who helped to “make the teenagers sound like teenagers” was an extreme recluse, so she doesn’t actually know how kids interact beyond casual conversations? I don’t want to make assumptions about her but that’s really the only thing that makes sense to me.

          Damien DID run away, didn’t he? I remember that… Maybe the Casts did too, and that’s why they constantly have to remind you he’s gay, because it’s such a distraction that you won’t remember anything else regarding him.

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          • 22aer22 Reply

            Oh my gosh I’m so sorry you had to deal with someone like that. It is so draining to have those kind of relationships with people, and they can be so hard to untangle yourself from because of all the manipulation. Even though you guys were only 15 then, I’m not really surprised. I’ve seen people behave in really manipulative ways so much earlier than that! I remember being in like kindergarden and there were girls who were really nasty/emotionally manipulative who would intentionally make other girls feel bad/want to hang out with them by being like, “We’re all sisters, but she’s not in our family.” And weird stuff like that. It’s like, “WTF shouldn’t you just be thinking about like candy?” Aw, people can be terrible at all ages.

            Zoey is SO unreliable, but I feel like she’s meant to be written as super reliable and we all just don’t trust her at all. Nobody can be told 30 times a day how special she is, it’s absurd!

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  2. Honey Reply

    Why does Zoey say Loren’s full name? Is that necessary? I don’t know…

    Also, while rereading the deconstruction of chapter 1 book 1 (shut up!) I came across this quote:

    “Zoey Montgomery! Night has chosen thee; thy death will be thy birth. Night calls to thee; hearken to Her sweet voice.

    I thought she was Zoey Redbird? I’m assuming Montgomery is her stepdad’s name, but surely he would have to properly adopt her to change her name? You are the experts, so correct me if I missed something (I probably did….it’s been a while since I went through the initial HotN books).

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    • matthewjulius Reply

      Ah, there is a reasonable answer to this! Once she gets to HoN, she’s given/realizes she has the opportunity to go by whatever she wants to be called (a la Divergent), so she gets rid of her family’s last name and goes for something more in line with her native American roots.
      Similarly, there is a girl who goes by Elizabeth, opting for no last name at all, which prompts Zoey to only ever call her Elizabeth No-Last-Name, possibly demonstrating that symbolism only works so well.

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  3. jmfausti Reply

    How does a movie where 299 of the 300 title characters die in Ancient Greece become a “holiday special”?
    (I get this goes back a smidge) Why would people assume that someone would want extravagant Christmas themed gifts for their near Christmas birthday? On the other hand, they were extravagant gifts and it was Christmas time. It’s not like she got this shit for her April birthday and what the hell was she going to do with it in the middle of spring, with Christmas 8 months away?
    Is it possible that there is a wealth and fame gene in this universe? All of the wealthiest and most famous and talented people on the planet just happen to become vampyres (so pretentious, especially for a book series that seems to be written by out of touch with civilization, backwoods hillbillies who’ve never read a good book or met a teenager)?
    I couldn’t bring myself to read the second book in this series, despite knowing people (including a teenage girl) who love these books. So, I’m not really sure why I am doing this much thinking about it. Clearly, the two of you are the most interesting part of this series.

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  4. Gee Reply

    I am laughing so much over this whole “man titties and girl boobies” thing I can’t even physically stop, my husband thinks I’m having a fit or something.

    I’m really baffled by this writing. She’s seventeen and it’s supposed to be believable that that is how she talks? Like a pre-teen? I like watching good looking men on television as much as the next person, but this just make it sound gross. She can’t even say something like “Toned, shirtless guys and well-endowed women” or ANYTHING else but how she worded it? I mean, when you’re appreciating a good looking guy, you don’t think “Wow he’s got nice man-titties”.

    I can’t even with this book anymore.

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    • 22aer22 Reply

      I feel like if one of my friends said that as an intentional joke, I could imagine finding it hysterical because it’s so weird and ridiculous, but this is just how Zoey genuinely speaks! Who refers to them as “man titties” in all seriousness unless it’s a about a heavier guy. I struggle so hard to picture Zoey as a 17 year old.

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  5. bookbaron Reply

    The twins in this book actually somehow manage to offend me. I’ve had two best friends that I’ve known since I was eight and they were in kindergarten. And yes, they are indentical twins. As a joke because I couldn’t tell them apart by just looking at them, (their voices, tone and body language is easier for me to tell them apart by) I started calling them the twins. Or just twin. Helped that both their names started with t. And these two are probably the closest to the twin stereotype I have ever known. I have never met any other twins more identical or synchronized. They used to enjoy people mixing them up. If we started to figure out which was which by their sweatshirts or eyeglasses color, they’d come in the next day having swapped. It was their secret joke. But even so, the twins in this book are still too far removed from reality. Despite my twin friends attempts to really be the ultimate identical twin pair, they never address each other as twin. They have separate interests and very distinct personalities that you’d get to know the more often you hung around them. Kinda like Fred and George is like to imagine.

    Also these friends continue to prove that they are the worst. You never tell friends how much their presents cost! Even if you wanted them to use the gift. It’s really none of their business if she wears them or not. If they wanted to give her gift they should have known there was a chance she’d never use it. Which is why you never buy such expensive gifts for a friend you barely know. The only reason I’d spend that much money on a friend would be because I know what they like having known them for so many years. I give a newer friend a gift card and maybe a handdrawn birthday card.

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  7. graceless Reply

    Reading this brings back memories of exactly how uncomfortable reading this book made me feel. I was so embarrassed to have it with me in public.

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