“Lots of crazy shit happening this month, huh?” Calendar Girl says. “Mia was Max’s real half-sister! How about that plot twist!”
“Yeah,” you mutter under your breath. “Only eight chapters after it was obvious this was the plot twist.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Calendar Girl glares at you with disgust. “That wasn’t enough for you? Well, look at smarty-pants over here. Figures out one plot twist and now you’re the plot twist expert, huh? I guess you really like plot twists! Well, here’s a plot twist for you: so do I. You’ll see.” Calendar Girl cackles with glee. “You’ll all see.”
A bead of sweat rolls down your forehead.
Calendar Girl (August): Chapter 10
The chapter opens with Mia trying and failing for the fifth time that day to get in touch with Wes, who suddenly had to fly to Asia for Hollywood reasons. Mia’s feeling a lot of pressure because she doesn’t have her boyfriend around to help her process how she suddenly has a real half-brother, and she still hasn’t figured out the best way to tell Maddy about the news.
That might sound very normal, but she really hasn’t figured out the best way. Like, at all.
I still hadn’t figured out the best way to tell her that Maxwell was our half-brother. What I did do, though, was steal her hairbrush and request that Max have his people do the same DNA test.
WHAT IS WITH EVERYONE IN THIS BOOK STEALING EVERYONE’S HAIR FOR SECRET DNA TESTS? Jesus, Calendar Girl is almost a more terrifying scientific dystopia than Divergent was. And wasn’t Mia pissed off that Max did this to her in secret?
every day, [Max] asked when we were going to tell her.
And that he didn’t just tell her right away? So why is she doing the same fucked-up shit to her sister?
Anyway, here’s where shit gets really crazy. I can’t really figure out how to explain this succinctly, so, uh… let’s see. It’s like this. Calendar Girl heard you like plot twists…
Max shuffled in [with] the attorney, Ree Cee Zayas […]
“I have some startling information about the DNA test you and Mr. Cunningham requested on Ms. Madison Saunders.”
…so Calendar Girl put a plot twist in a plot twist so you can read a plot twist while you read a plot twist.
“See here where your genetic markers match up with Mr. Cunningham’s?” I nodded. She moved to Max’s sheet and pointed to Maddy’s. “Now see how these genetic markers match up?” […]
I shrugged. “What does this mean?” […]
“Ms. Saunders, this shows that Madison Saunders and Maxwell Cunningham are one hundred percent blood-related. They share the exact same mother and father. You share the same mother with both of them but have a different father.”
Mia does what every female character in a book we read on the blog does when confronted with life-changing information: lose consciousness.
“Christ, she’s fainting,” was the last thing I heard before the world went black.
Because nothing’s more dramatic when a character learns shocking new information than not being able to react to it!
The book immediately resumes with Mia regaining consciousness (so why bother having her faint at all?) in the Cunningham’s guest room (why bother taking someone who just lost consciousness to a hospital?), where Max explains that he “even had a doctor down the road come check on you” (nothing says concern for someone’s well-being like “I even got a doctor”!)
Mia’s medical scare finally prompts a serious conversation with Maddy. Mia tells Maddy that Max is really their brother, which Maddy takes… ridiculously well.
Maddy’s eyes widened, and then she did something I hadn’t expected. A slow smile slipped across her face. “You’re our real brother?” she asked, awe filling every word. […] She was taking this way better than I’d imagined. “This is so cool!” She threw her arms around Maxwell. “I always wanted a brother!”
Why is everyone so pumped for Max to be their brother? His only emotions are sad, angry, and horny for capitalism. What’s the thrill here?
Maddy is excited for a couple pages before Mia can get a word in edgewise about plot twist #2. It’s mostly annoying except for one genuinely touching moment where Maddy realizes she has a niece to be flower girl at her wedding. But eventually…
“No, baby girl. Pops is not your dad. You and Maxwell share the same parents. That means your real father was Jackson Cunningham.”
A tidal wave of tears hit her hard, rushing down the smooth lines of her face in rivulets. […] “But, but, Pops… I don’t understand.”
Let’s talk about things I don’t understand. Sure, I’m certain that learning that the person you thought was your dad is not your biological dad is difficult news to receive. But at the same time… remember how Calendar Girl has done no work ever establishing their dad as a character? He’s had zero lines of dialogue, has been in a coma the whole time, and he’s only mentioned in flashbacks that talk about how shitty he made their childhood. I don’t want to seem like an unfeeling shell of a person here, but… why do they give a shit again? “Because he’s their father-” asks us to care a lot more than “-who made their childhoods miserable” suggests we shouldn’t.
More significantly, Maddy then confronts the realization that Mia is her half sister.
“But you’re still my sister.” She hiccupped.
“Yes, baby, yes, we are biologically still sisters but only by half.”
“Not by half to me!” she cried […]
I [told] her I loved her [and] that nothing would change between us. I tried to spin the side of having Maxwell as our brother to help bring her out of her emotional breakdown.
SERIOUSLY WHAT IS THE SPIN HERE? “Hey, you know what’ll make you feel less weird about how you’re not related to the guy you thought was your dad and that the person you grew up thinking was your sister is your half sister? This stranger you met a few days ago is your brother!” What’s the reassuring part?
Anyway, remember how I said how Max’s three emotions are angry, sad, and horny for capitalism? Watch him cycle through all three!
“we’re used to surviving difficult things.”
[Max] scowled and looked at me, his pale eyes a frosty ice-green shade. “Not anymore. You now have our family money and connections.”
I frowned. “We don’t want your money or connections.”
He shook his head. “Doesn’t matter.” […]
“I don’t want it!”
“You don’t want to be part of my family?” His voice was strained, pained even.
I know I’m making a ton of jokes lately about capitalism being terrible but how can I NOT when this character literally goes from “you don’t want my money?” to “you don’t want to be my family?” in one single step?
Maxwell points out that Mia’s in his father’s will, so she inherits just under half the company whether she likes it or not because “the will is iron clad”. Mia says that she plans on giving her entire half of the money to Maddy, and then Max laughs, “overtaken with hysterics”, and explains that “Too late. I’ve already told the lawyer to draw something up to split the company three ways.” SO IS THE WILL IRON CLAD OR NOT? Hopefully you’re not interested in hearing the resolution to how the book contradicted itself in one conversation, because this is the last time it’s ever brought up.
Can’t get any crazier than that, right? Well, last but not least, Calendar Girl heard you like plot twists…
The buzzing phone woke me up from a dead sleep. […] “Ms. Saunders, I’m afraid your father took a turn for the worse. He contracted a viral infection that worked its way through his nervous system [and] he went into cardiac arrest.”
…so Calendar Girl put a plot twist in your plot twist in your plot twist so you can read a plot twist while you read a plot twist about the plot twist.
His. Heart. Stopped.
His heart stopped.
His heart… stopped. […]
“He may not have a lot of time. You’ll need to come soon if you want to say goodbye.”
Next month on Calendar Girl: Mia faces the possibility of continuing her story without her father. Gee, can you imagine what Calendar Girl would be like without her father? That’ll be super different.