Friday, January 9, 2009

This Brain Tumor Doubles as Birth Control, or Letting Go of Lisa

Gentle readers, I have returned and I am millions! Thanks for all of the emails and comments and blog posts regarding my absence. It's good to be back, in the Lurleneverse, where I belong.

(I mean, except I don't at all.)

You also might notice the beautiful logo now gracing this blog! Normally my friends earn YA-inspired nicknames when featured on this blog but I will pimp out my multi-talented and adorable friend Val who you should totes hire for all your graphic design needs.

I am kickstarting my triumphant return with a book my darling friend Kristy sent me from her fancy book job, Letting Go of Lisa (2006). I was super intrigued by it because the cover didn't look like our normal angelic flowery look-toward-the-heavens sort of thing, and, hey, I learned that lesson along with everyone else, but let's be honest here: I still totes judge books by their covers!

And what does that cover look like? Well, folks, I'm glad you asked:

Uhh is it just me or does that dude look a lot like John Simm?

Then I thought, ooh, maybe the book is about John Simm getting into a car accident and then waking up in the Lurleneverse! However I was wrong.

I also thought, given the title and the image, perhaps it was literally about LETTING GO OF LISA and therefore FALLING OFF A MOTORCYCLE and facing, I dunno, death, coma, need of organ transplant, discovery of hidden cancer like when that kid got it playing baseball.

Luckily such things as synopses exist so all y'alls can find out what it's actually about:
Nathan Malone has been homeschooled his whole life. He’s never spent much time with kids his own age and he’s never dated. His mother is now busy with his new twin sisters, so Nathan must enroll at the local high school for his senior year. On the first day, a girl on a motorcycle catches his eye and Nathan is excited to discover the girl is also in his English class.

Not only does Lisa ride a motorcycle to school, but she’s a loner who seems to come and go as she pleases. She doesn’t care what anybody thinks of her. Nathan is intrigued—he’s never met anyone like her or had such strong feelings. When he and Lisa finally start spending time together, he’s the happiest he’s ever been.

But Lisa has a tragic secret and, when she decides she’ll handle it herself, Nathan has to make a choice. Can he ever let go of Lisa?
I don't know. CAN HE?

So the book opens with our protag, Nathan Malone. He's starting his Senior year of high school, going back to a public school for the first time since his mom started homeschooling him in the sixth grade. Now before long we get all of this OMG BEFORE THE THING HAPPENED expositiony crap so I thought all of that was gonna be tied into why Nathan's mom started homeschooling him. But, no, this is never actually explained. Nathan's mom is just BETTER THAN YOU so that's why OH EXCEPT FOR WHEN SHE'S AN OVERPROTECTIVE BITCH. To be fair that's the kind of characterization I can almost believe. I'm just saying, Lurlene, bring up something and ALSO bring up a secret family tragedy and you'd better EFFING CONNECT THEM OK.

So anyways, Nathan at least knows one person at school, his friend and neighbor Skeet. SKEET! Do you guys think it's Skeet Ulrich?

This picture is Australian, which may or may not explain how strange it is.

So Nathan's all Stresso McStressington because there are ALL THESE PEOPLE and HALLWAYS and CLASSROOMS and OMFG but the truth is I can relate because when I was in seventh grade I went to this really shitty Catholic school where the entire grade was made up of four girls and nine guys, and then the next year I transferred to public school into an eighth grade of approximately 250 people. I FEEL YOUR PAIN NATHAN.

Nathan is also freaked because while he was snailing his car into the parking lot someone on a motorcycle cut him off and gave him the finger. Oh my heavens!

Our homeschooler is shocked at the identity of the finger-giver:
"A girl?" Most of the girls Nathan knew were homeschooled like him, younger, all giggly and silly, and they didn't ride cycles and flash rude hand gestures.
Apparently this girl is Lisa, who the whole world's obsessed with because she's a loner and drives this black and silver bike with a red heart painted on it, and has long brown hair and creamy skin, and let's be honest here, if I'd gone to school with Lisa I would have been obsessed with her too. She fits the description of all my girl crushes.

Also I gotta admit that bike sounds hella sweet. Also SHUT THE FRONT DOOR did Lurlene come up with a "cool" character who actually sounds vaguely... cool?

Good thing I'm sitting down already.

Nathan says that the bike almost "creamed" him, which makes me kind of uncomfortable.

Anyways, Skeet's all gaga:
"Not a guy in the school who wouldn't give up his car speakers to get a tumble [Is that what the kids are calling it these days??] from Lisa. She's a knockout - transferred in as a Junior last January. Keeps to herself, though. I call her 'a heartache on a Harley'." Skeet pressed his hand over his heart.
I pressed my hand over my mouth as not to spew.

Lisa's the only one who's ever stood up the school's star athlete and most popular jockass. Guess what his name is? Are you guys ready? THIS IS SO GOOD. "Rod 'Roddy' Stewart, no relation to the rocker." OH MY GOD. Now if I wrote this effing book (which, uh, why would I write this effing book?) I wouldn't let a seventeen-year-old refer to Rod Stewart as "the rocker" but "that old guy my mom still crushes on, gross" though, DISCLAIMER, my mom hates Rod Stewart and would be ashamed I said that even hypothetically. My bet is Nathan's mom is all over him though. I mean in her mind.

Sorry, Mom.

Also I always think it's weird when there's a dude in your book named ROD STEWART for no apparent reason. There are like countless names; you don't have to pick one that matches a celebrity's. I assume Lurlene finished up the manuscript and her editor or agent was like "uhhh Lurlene, do you realize you've named a character ROD STEWART" and instead of doing a FIND-->REPLACE she threw in that little disclaimer. Way to get attached to something dumb.

Also way to speculate, Ames!

Skeet proposes that instead of going home after school, they stay to "drool over the cheerleaders". Uh did any of you boys in high school actually talk like that? Be aware if you answer yes we are no longer friends!

So at home after school Nathan's dad is cool but his mom, who had to stop homeschooling Nathan because now there are twin baby girls, is a royal heinous beotch. She's overprotective and talks about Nathan in front of him like he's not even there! Oh my god it's like she's someone's MOM or something. Sorry, Nathan, she's not actually that bad. She's just YOUR MOM. Shut up.

As Nathan's leaving the room he gives a MEANINGFUL LOOK at the refrigerator where a ratty old decaying piece of paper holding a child's drawing hangs. "Molly's last drawing." Wow, do you guys think this is gonna be important???

So do you guys want to know how Nathan and Skeet formed their bond?
Another sore spot in Skeet's life: a cold mother whose job was more important than raising a kid, and a stepfather who was downright mean to Skeet. Skeet's parents used to lock him out on weekends, rain or shine, and Nathan's family would take him in like a stray puppy.
Oh SHUT UP they did NOT. If they actually did, Nathan's family did NOT do the right thing by taking him in. What they SHOULD have done was called family fucking services.

Nathan and Skeet got to be friends, and bonded over their shared lurve of country music. Nathan clarifies it's not the twangy kind, but the new kind, so basically THE KIND THAT TOTALLY SUCKS. Anyways, Nathan plays guitar and Skeet plays... keyboard. KEYBOARD? Do you need a keyboard in a new country band? Hey, you guys, let's form a new country band! We will call ourselves the Lurleneverse and we will rule all.

Nathan proposes he writes a song about Skeet getting stripped and shoved in front of a bunch of cheerleaders by the jocks (god I hate high school) called "I Caught Your Heart While Chasing After Pigskin Blues" and Skeet pronounces that "demented". DEMENTED. The fuck? I do not think that word means what you you think it means.

(Right after that there's also a passage I debated writing about so I guess the pro side won out, but basically Nathan's twin baby sisters are loud, and he says they're "both screamers" and I felt really uncomfortable because I just don't know anyone who uses that term outside of a sexual context but that could just be my perverted nature (as well as the perverted nature of the people I know because let's be real, I do not exist in a vacuum!) but, please, people, don't refer to your baby siblings or your babies or anyone's babies as screamers to me. OK!)

So Nathan thinks he is a super writer! Luckily he has THE BEST WRITING TEACHER EVERRRRRRRR Mr. Fuller. Every week Mr. Fuller reads submissions, identified ONLY BY NUMBER, but only the best of the best. Nathan knows he'll be the first submission read. He's number 705 if you're a betting type of person. To that, Skeet replies, "I can't wait to see the movie" which I had to read like ten times because it doesn't make any effing sense. Does Skeet understand that not all writing is a screenplay? Now I'm POSITIVE it's Skeet Ulrich!

The other excellent thing about Mr. Fuller's class is that Nathan gets to sit behind the lovely Lisa. Skeet's all YOU ARE TOTALLY FALLING FOR HER and Nathan's all NUH UH I AM NOT I JUST TALK ABOUT HER ALL THE TIME WITH YOU FOR NO REASON AT ALL.
Skeet pointed his finger at Nathan in an imitation of firing a gun. "Pow. Dead meat at Lisa's feet."
Nathan tries to get to work on his writing submission that'll make Fuller orgasm, but he can't concentrate because he keeps thinking about Lisa and how he wants to bury his face in her hair. What is with all these hair fetishists in the Lurleneverse?

Nathan and Skeet are basically effing STALKING Lisa. To be fair, isn't that what you DOOOOO with your high school crushes? I used to have a crush on this dude who worked at a grocery store, so I walked there every day and got a candy bar. Then my friend told me he was gonna think I was fat if I kept doing that. So even though my parents owned a restaurant down the street where I could get all the free soda I wanted, I bought a Diet Coke every day. (I chose Diet Coke for two reasons, neither of which being that I drank it (though today it is my number one love in life, sorry, friends, family, and pets): 1) He would never think I was fat if I bought Diet Coke, and 2) Paula Abdul endorsed it.) Also I didn't have the nerve to, like, get his number or something, so my friends and I schemed and the best plan we came up with was for one of them to ask him what his sign was and then tell him that question was from me. It sort of backfired when he didn't know what his own sign was. ALSO BECAUSE THAT IS THE DUMBEST PLAN EVER.

ANYWAYS. Even though often this older dude drops her off on her own motorcycle, they don't think he's her boyfriend because:
"No kisses goodbye. No tonsil exploration. Is that SOP around here?"

"The tongue tangles?" Skeet shrugged.
If anyone ever tries to french you and dubs it "the tongue tangles" get the FUCK OUT OF THERE because this is not someone who knows WTF they are talking about. Also I don't picture kissing, I picture actual... tangling. Gross!

So Nathan and Lisa fiiiiiinally speak, and they sort of flirt but then Lisa retreats. Lisa's got game, I will give her that. You guys, I'm sorry, but even though Nathan and Skeet are goons, Lisa's kind of cool. Also she has blue-violet eyes, a color Nathan has never seen before. Are anyone's eyes actually that color? Does she also sparkle in the sunlight?

Oh, also, this will be important later: Lisa skips class a lot. Ooh Lisa, you rebel!

When Nathan gets home that night from school, his mom is planting a new plant. THIS IS IMPORTANT. IT HAPPENS EVERY SEPTEMBER. Wake me up when September ends! Nathan's thinking crap like GEEZ MOM IT'S BEEN FOURTEEN YEARS SHUTTTT UPPPPPP but at least offers to dig a hole. His mom LIKES digging the hole because it's therapeutic.

Over the weekend Skeet has to come over because there's a bright red handprint on his face from his stepdad hitting him because Skeet smarted off to him. WHY ISN'T SOMEONE CALLING THE AUTHORITIES? Skeet, dude, I'm sorry. If you'd been my next door neighbor I would have been all over that. Then again I call the cops really easily. If you don't want a cop at your door, don't disturb my slumber, world!

In Fuller's class, submissions are read... none of them Nathan's! HA. Is it OK that I liked this? I liked this. At least he's not some kinda Mary Sue. Also he realizes that Lisa's hair smells like... Creamsicles. OMG! Now I'm obsessed with Lisa's hair too. It seems AMAZING. Goddamn I wish MY hair smelled like a delicious frozen treat. It just smells like tea tree oil because I just found out about this amazing shampoo and conditioner from Trader Joe's. CHECK IT OUT PEOPLE YOU WILL THANK ME.

Anyways the poem that's read is supposed to be like uneffingbelievably good, and, whatever. I am not a poetry person. I know that probably makes me some sort of uneducated dipshit, and I feel really bad about that, but I'm just not. So, whatever. I cannot judge. It's some sort of Icarus metaphor/retelling sorta thing. Nathan's all BOO HOO I AM NOT THAT GOOD.

I WONDER WHO IS! Oh magical student number 454.

So we get a random few pages from Lisa's POV. This paragraph is so badly - and redundantly - written I can't help but share it with all of you:
Lisa Lindstrom was unable to pinpoint the exact moment Nathan Malone came on her radar; she just knew that she slowly became aware of him, like a buzz one starts to hear in a quiet room. [OK at first this seems like a good metaphor.] One minute all is silent, [riiiight, like you JUST SAID... QUIET ROOM] then a sound begins to break through a person's subconscious [uhhh yes, also like you just said a BUZZ ONE STARTS TO HEAR] and annoys until the person has to stop what she's doing and go find the source. She tried to ignore him, this noise, but one day he broke through - she looked up and saw the most incredible blue eyes, [The same blue as your eyes? OMG if you get that reference I will internet tonsil tangle you] fringed with thick dark lashes, staring at her. Nathan's eyes.
Lisa, your inner monologue sounds like me when I've had two Manhattans and a Metropolitan, but before they come back up.

Lisa wishes she could hate Nathan. If only he was like the jockasses! "Or avant garde and far out like the goths"!! I am actually hanging out with my goth friend this weekend; I will be sure to notice all of her avant garde and far out behaviour, and be grateful this allows me to fairly hate on her.

Nathan and Skeet go to the Homecoming game, then an afterparty (OK I guess in high school which is not Hollywood it's just called A PARTY) where Skeet asks Nathan if he smells pot, and says if he wants some he'll have to pay. WTF! Have you ever been passed a joint and a collection basket at once? What cheapasses! I was a total straight edge in high school (I mean, not officially, I just feared things like alcohol and drugs and many types of fun) but I could have gotten so much free pot if I'd wanted.

I will say though that people are drinking beer and there's clearly (albeit pay-to-play) weed being smoked, and this isn't shown as like A BAD AND EVIL party. It's just a party. Also Nathan feels all out of place and thinks of himself as a "social retard" which is totally NOT COOL TO SAY but abso realistic. You guys shocked this is in the Lurleneverse? I myself certainly am. I would take a hit to calm myself down but I don't have anything to put in the basket.

Lisa shows up at the party, right as the jockasses pick a fight with Skeet and start calling him "faggot" which is totally upsetting but, again, spot-on. WTF! LURLENE DID YOU TALK TO SOME REAL KIDS OR SOMETHING? Lisa basically rescues them, and Nathan makes Skeet drive his car home while he jumps on the back of Lisa's motorcycle. I really love it that the girl swoops in, saves the day, and then carries our protag out on the back of her totally sweet ride. I'm not even being sarcastic!! Way to - well, you know, not embrace feminism but at least some girl power? This book is not making me so hatey.

So they drive around, get some gas, and then go to Borders or B&N and drink mochas. Uhhh again, totally normal for real teenagers to do.

Nathan finds out the dude who drops off Lisa every day is her mom's boyfriend Charlie. Lisa calls him "the man who lives with Mom and [her]" though. Boyfriend is totally an acceptable term, Lisa. As is partner. I like Charlie though because he's the one who bought the bike for Lisa. Also, believe it or not, this lack of marriage isn't seen as a bad thing. In fact, Nathan feels boring and conventional for having married parents. IS THIS OPPOSITES DAY?

He asks her out, but she says she doesn't date. Still, he is super excited!!! When he gets home "he threw himself across his bed" which is sort of adorable but also the sort of thing I picture a thirteen-year-old doing before kissing a picture of Zac Ephron or something.

The next day Nathan gets in trouble because his clothes and car smell like beer, just because it got spilled on him. He feels free saying he didn't drink, even though that was only because the fight started before he could. Again, OK, sure. This book is making my head ache by not being crazy.

Oh, good, we're back there. Nathan's dad is all WE DON'T HAVE A LOT OF MONEY YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO TAKE THIS HOPE SCHOLARSHIP which means he'd have to go to a state school. Nathan says this means he has to live at home. This book takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, a state where I'm pretty sure they have more than one state school.

Soon Nathan and Skeet (I can't believe I've now typed "Skeet" so much it looks like a normal name to me) discuss Lisa, not that it's anything new. Nathan says he can tell she has secrets, and he wants to learn them. Skeet is wowed:

"Gee, most guys just want to get in her pants."

Nathan scowled. "That's crude."

"And that thought's never crossed your mind?"

"Knock it off, Skeet. Don't talk about her like she's some kind of sex prize."
Sex prize is a confusing term. Is it like someone whom having sex with would be like a prize? Or is it someone you're awarded for having good sex? TELL ME!

So Nathan gets his paper back in Fuller's class, and it's all marked up and says "pedantic, plodding and a rehash of old ideas" which is ironic given what a pedantic, plodding, and rehashing of the stereotypical tough professor critique that is.
For some reason, Fuller's criticism stung him like the tentacles of a jellyfish.
If that's true, Nathan, I hope you're planning to give all your organs away to strangers you've stalked/slept with!

At home him and Skeet practice their band, if you can call two guys without a singer and a drummer a band, and Lisa pulls her bike into the driveway, then backs up and roars off. Oh, Lisa. By now you don't seem cool, just wimpy. JUST TALK TO THE BOY OK.

Nathan and Skeet start auditioning drummers for their band which is a surprisingly good idea for these dorks. Lisa shows up with a girl she says is a great singer, Jodie:
She was a short girl with a round face, short dark hair and brown eyes. She was heavy, but pretty in her way.

Anyways, Jodie sounds just like Patsy Cline (lucky girl) and loves the other classics too: Loretta (aw yeah) and Reba (the HELL?). Do some research if you're writing about a music genre, writers! So now she's the singer, and "a kid named Larry" (LARRY?) who hates country music and wants to play rock will be their drummer. Well, this sounds like a fine plan.

Nathan takes Lisa around his backyard, and she loves all the plants and the koi pond (one of my worst nightmares!!!!), and notes that it looks like something used to be there. Nathan confirms this: there was a swimming pool where his sister Molly drowned. Ruh roh! FAMILY SECRET! He was three, Molly was six, she was supposed to be taking a nap but instead she went outside to swim and totes drowned. Aw, Molly, I'm sorry! Anyways, Nathan's all WE DON'T TALK ABOUT IT, like, uh, Nathan, you're the one who brought it up.

Time goes by, the band becomes awesome, but Lisa continues to only hang out with Nathan at weekly rehearsals, never at school. He confronts her about this, and:
"Your 'I don't give a damn' routine doesn't hold up with me."

"I'll work on it." She looked shaken, tried to brush past him.

He caught her arm. "Not so fast." And before he could stop himself, he'd pulled her against her chest and kissed her full and hard on the mouth. She fought him at first, but he didn't let go, and as the kiss lengthened, it deepened. His blood sang in his head, tore through his veins like wildfire.
Hey, gentlemen: a little love advice from Ames. If a lady is pulling away from you and you have to force your lips on her, that's not romantic. That's a lot like assault. That can totally BE assault. THIS IS NOT COOL AND NOT SWEET AND IF A GIRL ISN'T READY TO KISS YOU LET HER GET READY.

Ugh I hate that in books like this girls always give into the kiss or they try to punch the kisser in the kisser and break their hand and their jackhole dad laughs at them. Way to send a lesson to the ladies! Think of how much nicer kissing is when it's consensual!

So Fuller finally reads one of Nathan's poems in class. I'm not sure why; maybe he lost a bet:

I stand and watch you from afar
I wish upon you, like a star

You see me not.
You come.
You go.
Still, I love you better than you know.
I guess stalkers need lousy poetry too!

So Skeet is dating the overweight Jodie, so him and Nathan go over to the apartment complex where both Jodie and Lisa live to hang out with the ladies. It's clearly kind of skuzzy, since that's what apartments are like in the Lurleneverse. I'm sorry, but most apartment complexes I've gone to are totes nice. Mine is adorable!
Cars were parked everywhere, and Nathan ended up blocking in a car that Skeet said belonged to Jodie's divorced mother.

WTF why would anyone identify someone this way? Seriously, did one of Francine Pascal's ghostwriters tackle this part of the storyline?

Lisa's actually out with her mom, so Nathan hangs out with Charlie, who talks about Shakespeare and teaches Nathan about cars. Charlie is frigging awesome. Lisa's sort of weirded out to see Nathan there when she gets home but she recovers, and her mom totes loves Nathan.

Nathan convinces Lisa to come and hang out with HIS family, where his mom harrasses Lisa because she doesn't want to go to college. It's rude but at least it's more real than all those people in the Lurleneverse who act like college is this totally weird thing only a few people do these days. Lisa accidentally touches this Christmas ornament that Molly made, and his mom freaks the eff out. She's so good about it though! She just nicely suggests laminating the picture on the fridge and putting one of those collector's baseball protective globes around the ornament. Lisa, way to be!

Then there's this MYSTERIOUS STUFF from Lisa's POV where her mom and Charlie are like "you're gonna have to start going five days a week" and Lisa's all BOO HOO I THOUGHT I HAD MORE TIME TO BE NORMAL so I guess Lisa's gonna die! Or at least get really ill. Or something. Sorry, Lisa, you are perhaps the coolest girl in the whole Lurleneverse, so this royally blows for me too.

Also we totally know it's radiation when Nathan spots tattooed dots on the back of Lisa's neck. He assumes she started a tattoo and changed her mind. Yes, Nathan, tattoos are started with a few dots in a grid. You have to come back every day FOR ELEVEN YEARS for it to be completed. SHUT UP.

Nathan's mom doesn't approve of Lisa, and tells him that the wrong girl now could be disastrous. I don't even know what that means! Does she think he has to list girlfriends on college apps and resumes? Is she talking about getting girls pregnant? I don't even know. Shut up, Nathan's mom.

Nathan can't take it that he doesn't know where Lisa disappears to all the time instead of going to class, so one day he skips and follows her. HOW ROMANTIC. Anyways, he sees that she's going to the hospital, and waits so he can confront her. She's angry, but he says he has the right to follow her because he loves her. OH GROSS. Just the way stalkers and abusers rationalize what they're doing. Ugh ugh NATHAN COME ON.

Lisa says if he comes over that night she'll tell him everything. He does, and she admits she has a brain tumor. She doesn't want anyone to know so she swears Nathan to secrecy. He complies but finds it hard to concentrate on the rest of life. Uh, YEAH. His heart's not even in the band's first gig at the VFW hall, which Skeet declares so dorky they could register it. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN.

After the concert, Lisa makes Nathan take her to a frat party, where she starts drinking, puking, and then ending up in so much pain they have to call for an ambulance. Poor Lisa! Tumors are mean. Nathan stays with Lisa and her fam while she's being checked out at the hospital, and doesn't even pretend he gets home on time. The next day his mom goes nuts screaming at him about this, but he still doesn't reveal Lisa's secret brain tumor. Lemme tell you, I would have let my parents know, but maybe I'm just not good at secrets. Also I never had a curfew so clearly I was working with some different standards to start with.

While hanging out one day, Lisa tells Nathan the reason her mom won't marry Charlie is that if she does, she loses her (and therefore Lisa's) health insurance. WTF. Is this true ANYWHERE? I thought marriage got you more perks not less! I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

Nathan invites Lisa to the Valentine's Day dance so they can double with Skeet and Jodie. Lisa accepts and:
Nathan's heart hammered. He wanted to hold her and kiss her beautiful mouth.
You sure got a pretty mouth!

At the dance we learn the band is no more, between Nathan's waning interest, and Larry the Drummer leaving for a rock band. Well, hire a dude who really wants to be in a rock band, expect that he will eventually leave you for one.

After the dance, Nathan goes back to Lisa's with her and DECIDES TO SPEND THE NIGHT I AM NOT KIDDING. He calls his mom to tell her and she says the greatest thing ever ever EVER:
"That girl is poison!"

The next day Lisa goes to Nathan's with him, and his mom is all OMG YOU ARE TOTALLY GONNA GET PREGNANT!!!!!!!!! and I expected this to be all NOOO WE JUST STAYED UP TALKING but nooooooo instead Lisa says:
"That won't happen, Mrs. Malone. I won't get pregnant because, you see, I won't live long enough to ever have a baby."

I need to lie down for a bit and deal with this.

OK well my love is a bit short-lived because then in the next chapter Charlie has to go and thank Nathan for settling their girl down, which, ugh, isn't she only eighteen? Also I hate this notion that that's what a real relationship is. Again ESPECIALLY AT EIGHTEEN. Whatever. I still like you, Charlie. Will you buy me a bike?

So Lisa tells Charlie she has to go for some tests and will call when she's done. Except she doesn't! And her number is no longer in service! And they go to her apartment and the building manager is cleaning it out because the tenants have left!

Nathan tracks them down, though, and finds out Lisa is someplace in Miami (she's from Florida originally). He goes and finds her in basically a hospice, but one that is set in beautiful scenery so she can be surrounded by that when she dies. However, she is now blind. Also she's bald, but that doesn't seem as bad as the blind thing. She doesn't want him to see her like this but of course is glad he's there. They talk about the night they spent together and both say they have NO REGRETS OMG. This book is awesome at least for that. Also Lisa admits to being student 454, the genius author of the dubiously genius Icarus poem.

Anyways, Lisa OF COURSE dies (not that second or anything). Nathan gets accepted to a school in Kentucky. I hope it's in Louisville, because that is actually a very cool town. Also he plants his own memorial tree for Lisa in the backyard of death plants, with his mother's help. I guess they've stopped hating each other, so everyone can live happily ever after.

You know. Sort of. People did die and all. At least Lisa got some first!


Anonymous said...

This book actually sounded ... good? (gulp) It's like an actual, realistic sounding, teen novel. Do you suppose it was ghostwrote?

I would like to find some haircare products that make me smell edible. I must be shopping at the wrong stores.

Missed you, Ames, very glad your back :) And I love the new banner!

ames said...

I must admit that parts of this as well as most of Briana's Gift feel a little ghostwritten to me. Briana's Gift seems especially suspicious because it's the only book I've read of hers in first person. One of these things is not like the other.

Steph said...

Hahaha! I just discovered your blog. I devoured Lurlene McDaniel while I was in middle school - such a huge part of my childhood :P Nice recapping!


Sada said...

I can't believe someone got a tumble in the Lurleneverse. Whoa.

Anonymous said...

Is this a typo on your part?
Skeet's parents used to lock him out on weekends, rain or shin,

I hate it when it rains shins.

Huh. My verification word is just..."scent." But...that's a word! What's so funny about it?

Unknown said...

If Lisa's mom was widowed and the insurance was actually her dead husband's then she'd lose it if she remarried. Lisa wouldn't though, so yeah I don't know what that was about.

Didn't Lurlene say that she gets her slang and stuff from kids she listens to or hangs out with? I think they're screwing with her head or something, because no teenagers talk like that. Sorry, doesn't happen.

ames said...

Anonymous, yes, it's a typo! Thanks for the catch; it's fixed now. HAW.

Also... "scent"... really?

ames said...

Taren, I feel like there's conflicting information about whether or not Lurlene talks to real kids. I definitely read one interview where she said OH IF ONLY she could talk to real kids. I was like WAIT WHAT THERE ARE REAL KIDS ALL OVER GO TALK TO THEM DUMBASS.

Anonymous said...

OMG Lurlene. Don't say "Nathan Malone came on her radar."

zanne said...

So good to see a new recap! I have missed this blog so much. I never read this book, so it was even better. I thought this one was pretty good, and actually pretty realistic. Glad you are back!

Anonymous said...

Haha corenrind! Too true.

To be fair to ol' Lurlene, I don' t see Lisa and whats-his-face as a full endorsement of pre-marital rumpy pumpy... She's still lovingly implying that death is a common side-effect of teenage sex.
That's right, Lurlene. Stick to your guns. Them's girls are whores and need to be smited.

ames said...

Nancy, totally agreed. I mean, baby steps? I also like that it's implied the only way to avoid teen pregnancy is TO DIE vs. using a condom or taking the pill like the rest of us did.

Propagatrix said...

"Backyard of death plants" is my new very favorite phrase ever. Sheer genius.

Anonymous said...

Um...all my siblings were homeschooled, as was I. I went to prom, art class, dual-enrolled in community college. My sisters dated "freely". In fact, my oldest sister conceived my niece before she got married, despite having 'the facts'. So the stereotype about homeschool kids being lily white recluses is dumb. But this book sounds whack anyway.