In which there is even more geographical fail, heteronormativity, and an unconvincing love story!Hello everyone, and welcome to chapter 10 of Halo! Here, this chapter is going to be quite annoying and frustrating to read, so, let's get going!We open up with Bethany talking about how she's ignoring Xavier's invitation for a date, and says that it was easier than expected because he's at rowing camp. So she feels more relaxed now. She believes that she wouldn't be able to back out "if he were standing right in front of me, nutmeg hair fringing those limpid blue eyes". *sighs* I... I'm not going to even comment on this, otherwise I'd only be repeating myself.It's currently lunchtime, and Bethany is sitting with Molly and her friends, "listening halfheartedly to their litany of complaints about school, boys, and parents".*rolls eyes* Yeah, the only reason why you're sitting with them is to prove just how much better you are than them, right? According to Bethany, "their conversations mostly followed a set pattern, and I felt I already knew the lines by heart. Today the prom was the subject of discussion-- no surprise there".Right, because that's all teenage girls talk about, huh? About boys and looking good, right? *seething* I hate it when teenage girls are always characterised as shallow little twits! And also, this all for the sake of showing just how much of a good girl Bethany is and how different she is!And hey, let's add a dash of slut-shaming while we're at it!"Oh my God, there's so much to think about," Molly said, stretching out on the asphalt like a cat. Her friends were scattered around her, some on the garden benches, their skirts hitched up to maximize the impact of the early spring sun. I sat cross-legged beside Molly, tugging at my skirt so that it modestly covered my knees.God, the internalised misogyny is really strong in this book! And Bethany, sitting cross-legged while wearing a skirt isn't exactly the most comfortable thing, you know? Not to mention, not what a Good Girl should do, right? But on a more serious note, this sort of attitude is extremely disturbing, this internalised misogyny among girls. It's encouraging toxic atttitudes in teenage girls, and there's already enough of female rivalry in media! Why can't there just be some valuable, genuine friendships between girls that aren't one girl kissing the ground where her friend walks?We continue, and we find out that these girls are extremely frivolous in their spending when a girl named Megan Judd pulls out her planner and starts reading her to-do list for prom!"Book French manicure. Look for sexy shoes. Buy clutch. Decide on jewelry. Find celebrity hairstyle to copy. Decide between Hawaiian Sunset and Champagne spray tan. Book limo. The list goes on...""You forgot the most important thing-- find dress," said Hayley.*fuming* Adornetto, will you just shut up with your preaching about how girls are supposed to behave? This is all excessively feminine, not to mention, extremely costly! Limos? French manicures? Celebrity hairstyles? These girls are clearly from rich and wealthy families, otherwise they would not be talking like this!Oh, and for those who are curious about a French manicure, and what makes it so special, I just looked it up. There's not much of a difference between an American manicure and a French manicure. According to this website:
- French manicure: The classic French manicure utilizes a clear base that leaves your nail with a fresh, pinkish style of tone. This is applied over the entire nail, and then when completed a very dense, white tip is painted across the nail.
- American manicure: The process of the American manicure is the same, but instead of a clear base, multiple colors are available for application. A common form of this manicure is to use a flesh color for the base of the nail and then a bright color is used instead of a dense white color for the tip.
Point is, a French manicure is supposed to give style and sophistication. But of course! It's only worth getting because it's French, and France is the land of haute couture and fashion!
Bethany is baffled at how they're planning for an event that's far away. And we then get this!
"It's going to cost so much." Taylah sighed. "I'm going to end up blowing my budget and spending every dollar I've made working at that crappy bakery."
"I'm cashed up," Molly said proudly. "I've been saving from working at the drugstore since last year."
"My parents are paying for everything," bragged Megan. "They've agreed to pay for the whole thing as long as I pass all my exams-- even a party bus if we want one."
*sighs* I'm going to have to really comment on this. You know, this is where we see just how sheltered Adornetto is.
For all the talk that Bethany does about how much better she is than these girls and how she's an angel and all that, she's still hanging out with the Popular Crowd, which is Molly and her friends. She never attempts to befriend any of the "Nerds". Think about it.
Molly is pretty much the Queen Bee of the school, and all these girls are pretty, popular, and wealthy. Megan's parents are paying for all her expenses for prom, which shows just how rich she is. Adornetto clearly wants to eat her cake and have it as well. She wants Bethany to be a part of the Popular Crowd, but also show just how much better she is than them because they're shallow and materialistic, while Bethany is smart and profound. And it really looks like Bethany's just a fake person who is pretending to be interested in the Popular Crowd so she herself can be popular by proxy. Adornetto, were you a part of the Popular Crowd in school? Because from the way you're writing them, it really seems like you were a part of this crowd in high school.
Also, these girls are spending all of their money from their jobs for one night. So it seems like they only got these jobs so they can pay for all their expensive things for prom. Adornetto, do you not have any idea as to why teenagers get part-time jobs? I've been working since my senior year of high school, mainly to get experience in working with children in order to prepare for university! And some teenagers get these jobs to get extra spending money to buy things they wanted, or to have their own money!
In addition, when I had to get all done up for my school banquet and graduation? Yes, my mom helped me with it, but we never did any of this frivolous spending on pricey things! I sometimes even reused jewelry from previous years or borrowed some of my mom's jewelry! Hell, I wear my grad saree on special occasions, and for grad, I even used some of my mom's jewelry, makeup, and accessories! These girls here, they clearly have no idea about the reality that others live because they're so sheltered!
On a side note, Stephen King did a much better job showing Carrie's preparation for prom. You know what Carrie did? She sewed her own dress from fabric she bought herself, without any support from her mother! It was done so much better in a horror/tragedy novel that had a prom going wrong, than in a YA novel like this!
And what is Bethany doing? She's an angel who's been sent down to help humans. So why isn't Bethany doing anything? She could be encouraging these girls not to spend so frivolously and to donate some of their money to charity, or even save it up for what really matters later in life! Hell, she could even be encouraging them to use their privileges to help others! But no! All she's doing is just listening and then going on about how they're so shallow and how she's better than them. Yeah, some angel you are, Bethany.
*shakes head* Let's move on. *reads ahead* Oh, but it seems like Adornetto hasn't finished pissing me off! Look at this!
"I wonder if Gabriel will go," Molly mused, turning to me. "All the teachers get invited."
Molly is serious about going to prom and having a relationship with Gabriel!
Adornetto, do you not realise how illegal that is? In North America, especially in the U.S., student/teacher relationships are extremely taboo! Sexual relationships between teachers and students are considered immoral because a student-teacher relationship is similar to that of a parent and a child, so this is almost similar to incest! In fact, mutual consent does not matter, because the teacher is in a position of power over the student, and it is often viewed as sexual harassment or even statutory rape!
This is also viewed as an abuse of trust, Adornetto. Students trust their teachers, and if a teacher enters a sexual relationship with a student, the trust that is associated with a professional relationship is destroyed. Teachers are in a position of authority, and they are trusted to foster the intellectual development of their students, so by engaging in a sexual relationship with a student, they are violating that trust.
In addition, this could conflict with classroom behaviour as well, because that teacher could be showing favouritism towards a student they're in a sexual relationship with, or even hostility. And if they get found out, then it'll be a big mess. The teacher will get fired from their job, and possibly arrested, and it may not work out well for the student, because they may be viewed as having slept with their teacher to get better marks, so they may end up as a social pariah!
As a future teacher, this is seriously uncomfortable to read about. It's also prevalent in so many movies and TV shows, like A Teacher, Notes on a Scandal, Pretty Little Liars, and so many others. The point is, this is not healthy, and I really do not like how serious Molly is about this.
I'm going to move on. So, the rest of the girls start debating about different kinds of dresses, and Bethany decides to leave, claiming that, "the conversation became so banal that I needed an escape". The conversation was already banal in the first place, Bethany.
Bethany decides to head off to the library, prompting Taylah to tell her that, "only losers hang out in the library". *rolls eyes* See what I mean? There's also a bit where the rest of the girls make stupid guesses as to where the Middle East is located, and it's all just to show how stupid and dumb they are.
Bethany wants Ivy to give her company, but Ivy's too busy. And we find out that she's already started their mission with this!
She had joined the church group and was already recruiting members. She had made badges promoting fair trade and printing pamphlets that preached about the injustice of working conditions in the Third World. Given her goddess status within Venus Cove, the numbers at the church were growing. The young males in town had taken to seeking her out and buying far more badges than anyone could use in the hopes of being rewarded with her phone number or even just an appreciative pat on the head. Ivy had made it her mission to play Mother Earth at Venus Cove--she wanted to bring people back to nature. I guess you could call it an environmentalist mentality--organic food, community spirit, and the power of the natural world over material things.
Er... there is just so much wrong in this passage.
To start off, Bethany says that Ivy has joined a church group. That, I can buy. But the rest of it? It's all blasphemy. Let me say that again. Ivy, a Seraph, is committing blasphemy. How? Well, the Bible states that people absolutely cannot pray to or worship angels. Prayer and worship should be offered to God only, because only He is worthy of prayer and worship. This is stated in the Book of Exodus, Book of Matthew, and the Book of Luke.
According to my research, prayer is a form of worship to God, because we are asking God to forgive us our sins, to guide us, to help others, and many other reasons. Prayer is a trustful expectation that God is able to hear both our spoken and unspoken prayers in multiple languages, wherever we are, and all at the same time. This belongs to God alone, and to no other creatures. Angels are limited, and to pray to angels is to assume that they have the same ability as God. Worship of angels being forbidden is also made clear in the Book of Colossians and the Book of Revelations! Hell, in Revelations, John almost worships the angel, but the angel stops him, telling him that only God should be worshiped, and that he is just a servant of God.
But the blasphemy doesn't stop there! It continues!
You know how Bethany calls Ivy a "goddess" and "Mother Earth"? Mother Earth is a pagan concept, not a Christian concept! Angels should not be using this at all, because it goes against the creed of the Abrahamic God as the creator of the world! Not only is Bethany using sacrilegious language, Ivy is clearly using her beauty and position to gain more followers! She's doing things that got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven!
Not to mention, these boys that are showing up? They're not there for learning the greater good, they want to get laid with Ivy! She should be at least discouraging this!
And what Ivy is preaching? While she is trying to raise awareness, not everyone is going to take the cause more seriously! And like I said before, these boys are only there because they want to get into Ivy's gates of Heaven! And her encouraging people to go organic?
Organic food is quite expensive! In fact, these are just freaking First World Problems that Ivy is going on about! She's basically being a blasphemous hipster on Earth, and is using God to preach whatever she wants!
Good God, this is just... man, the unintentional heresy that these angels commit is appalling. *thinks* 'Unintentional Heresy'? That'd be an awesome metal band name.
Okay, I'm in desperate need of something sexy. I need some of this!
*pleased* Yep, that's just what I needed. You keep working it, Ruki~ move those hips for me, baby...
Ahem. Back on track now.
Bethany decides to go and hang out with Gabriel instead. Er, he's a teacher, Bethany! He can't just drop his class to give you company!
She goes off to the music wing and interrupts Gabriel's music class, in which he is conducting the choir. However, Bethany just waves and the choir resumes singing their hymn, which Bethany is enchanted by. There's then a time skip to Friday, and Bethany is heading to her locker where she sees a note tucked into it.
The note is from Xavier, who reminds Bethany about their little date tomorrow.
I read it several times. Even via a piece of paper, Xavier managed to have the same dizzying effect on me. I handled the note as delicately as if it were an ancient relic. He wasn't easily deterred; I liked that about him. So this, I thought, is what it feels like to be pursued.
*fuming* Bethany... you are seriously pissing me off right now. First of all, why are you even on Earth if you're going to act like a lovesick teenage girl? And secondly, way to encourage rape culture! You're just giving guys the impression that if a girl isn't interested, then she's only playing hard-to-get!
Not to mention, this is encouraging the kind of attitude I hate the most: that it's okay to string along a guy who clearly likes you! It's cruel and horrible and I hate it so much!
Bleh. Bethany comes home and is clearly in a good mood. Gabriel and Ivy ask her about it, and Bethany lies, saying that she just got a good mark on a French test. And Gabriel is happy that Bethany is in a good mood, and I swear, it's like everyone's walking on eggshells around her! Bethany then states that she doesn't blame Gabriel for his sternness because he's not able to relate to what she is going through!
God, the First World Problems are just so much in this damn book!
Saturday comes and Bethany is wondering whether or not she should go and see Xavier.
I desperately wanted to see Xavier, but I knew it was reckless and selfish. Gabriel and Ivy were my family and they trusted me. I couldn't willingly do anything that might compromise their position.
There's really no point in that crap when you're just gonna do it anyways. After their dinner, both Gabriel and Ivy start playing the guitar and singing together as if they're a perfectly happy Fifties family! *sickened* I feel like throwing up.
And remember how I said the above part was pointless? It is, because Bethany actually sneaks out of the house to go see him because "In my mind's eye I saw him shrug his shoulders, walk out of the cinema, and go on with his life". And apparently, this is painful for Bethany to even think about!
To any aspiring authors: this is not how you make your protagonist sympathetic.
Bethany heads down the dark street, attracting people's attention for some reason. And we get a description of the town on her way to the cinema!
I passed a café called the Fat Cat, which seemed to be full of students. Music was pumping from a jukebox and kids were sitting in deep couches, drinking milk shakes or sharing bowls of nachos.
A throwback to the Fifties, huh? And I looked up Fat Cat café, which is an apparently popular name, because there are a lot of restaurants and cafés called Fat Cat. But really, did Adornetto suddenly become obsessed with Grease or something?
I passed the Terrace, one of the ritzier restaurants in town, set up on the first floor of an old Victorian hotel. The best tables were on the balcony that ran along the front of the building, and I could see candles glinting in their holders.
Just how many ritzy restaurants are there in this town? I wonder just how expensive this place is.
I sped past the new bakery and the general store where I had met Alice and Phantom just weeks earlier.
That was last week, Bethany. Not several weeks ago.
Finally, Bethany arrives at the cinema and gives us a description of the place, which is called the Mercury Cinema.
The cinema dated from the 1950s and had recently been redecorated in keeping with the fashion of that time. It was full of retro memoribilia. The floors were polished black-and-white linoleum; there were sofas in burnt orange vinyl with chrome legs and lights like flying saucers.
You really seem to like the Fifties, Adornetto. You think America was more romantic and wonderful in the Fifties? Well, I guess it was. Only if you were white, though! If you were a person of colour... let's not go there.
On another note, really? Adornetto, what is the point of setting your story in America, let alone Georgia, when you're going to put in a whole bunch of Australian businesses and geography? The Mercury Cinema is an Australian place, located in Adelaide! You could've at least set the damn story in Australia to avoid all this! In my original novel, I namedrop a few places like the Yorkville Village, Scruffy Murphy's Irish Pub, Jarvis Collegiate Institute, and Linseed Oil Mill. Because these are actual locations in Toronto! I don't try and claim that it's in Vancouver or New York or whatever, because I've set my story in Toronto! Do some actual research before writing, Adornetto! Your novel is seriously coming across as unprofessional and sloppy!
You know, this is really reminding me of Devil Fish, an Italian rip-off of Jaws set in Florida. All the American characters were drinking beer every other scene, because Americans apparently drink beer all the time!
Moving on now, Bethany doesn't see Xavier and assumes that he went in to see the movie, but no! He's standing before her, being as big of a douchebag as he was in the previous chapter with "his wry smile, navy chino shorts, and a cream polo shirt".
Is it too much to have a genuinely sweet hero? Bethany tells him that she couldn't make it, so he tells her that she didn't have to run all the way to tell him before offering to take her out for coffee. Bethany accepts, but says that she cannot stay out too long, so he takes her to a café called Sweethearts. And yes, there is one in Australia, but there's two more in Arizona and California!
When they reach there, Xavier guides Bethany into the café, and Bethany gets all warm and tingly before realising that he's unknowingly touching her wings, causing her to shy away. And how does Xavier respond?
"You're a strange girl," he said, looking bemused.
*scowls* Oh, she's strange because she shies away from your touch? Shove it up your ass, Xavier.
They go inside and see a few familiar faces from school in the café before they take a booth seat for privacy. Bethany then describes the café.
The place was inviting and I started to feel more relaxed. The lighting was low, and the walls were lined with old movie posters. On the table were free postcards advertising the work of local artists. The menu offered a variety of milk shakes, coffees, cakes, and sundaes.
Adornetto, local artists do not stand a chance in small towns! They always go to the big city if they want to make it big!
The waitress then comes by to take their order, and Bethany orders a hot chocolate while Xavier gets a latte. And what does the waitress do? She "gave [Xavier] a flirtatious smile as she scribbled on her pad". Why do we always get the obligatory scene where the love interest proves just how wonderful he is by not paying any attention to a flirty waitress? Maybe she was just being polite!
Xavier and Bethany talk a little, with Xavier saying that he comes to the café after training. He then tells Bethany to tell a bit more about herself, specifically why she chose Venus Cove. According to him, "it's not exactly high profile".
Have you seen the damn place?! It's full of fancy restaurants, cafés, French bakeries, everything! It's a pretty wealthy town, so there's no way that it isn't high profile!
Bethany tells him that it was because her family was tired of jet-setting, so they decided to settle down in a quiet place. She then tells Xavier to tell her a bit about himself. Apparently, Xavier is from a family of six kids, and is the second oldest one. Both his parents are doctors, his mother a local GP and his dad an anesthesiologist. The oldest sister is in med school and is already engaged, and has three younger sisters, with the youngest kid being a four-year-old son.
Also, Xavier wants to go into design, but his parents are encouraging him to go for something like medicine, and this is all reading like a teenager's rant about their parents that I refuse to read this any longer.
So! Xavier decides to order some chocolate cake with their drinks, and Bethany eats it all daintily as if she were a Proper Woman. *glares* Shut up, Adornetto. Bethany should not care about this kind of crap!
Afterwards, they head out of the café!
It was only once we were outside that I realized the time.
"I know it's late," Xavier said, reading my face. "But how about a short walk? I'm not ready to take you home yet."
You know, I'm having a hard time believing that this is supposed to be a forbidden romance between a Good Girl and a Bad Boy. I mean, look at Xavier Woods! He's from a well-off family, he's the school president, and is involved in a lot of activities! None of this says 'Bad Boy' whatsoever! Adornetto just couldn't write about the boy who comes from a bad family and has a tattoo and swears and is completely broke, so she decided to make the heroine an angel in order to work around it!
Whatever. Bethany decides to go with him, describing how she feels around Xavier.
I just couldn't bear to tear myself away from Xavier a moment sooner than I had to. When I was around him, I was filled with an overpowering happiness that made the rest of the world fade away to nothing more than background noise. It was like the two of us were locked in a private bubble that nothing short of an earthquake could burst.
Yeah, she says all this, but I don't see it! I really cannot see the chemistry between these two at all! Look, love is a lot more than just this sort of daydreamy happiness. You two are only in love because you're both good-looking!
This was mentioned in the sporking of the previous chapter. In my novel, Yamini and Ruki start off as friends who bond over how they both see a bit of themselves in each other. However, as the series progresses, they start to fall in love because they are both able to relate to each other and that they have similar interests! Not to mention, they both look out for each other, protect each other, and respect each other! In addition, they have fun together!
There's a scene I'm planning on writing before they realise their feelings for one another, where Ruki compliments Yamini's hair, saying how soft it is. This gets Yamini all flustered because she's never received a compliment like that. When Ruki notices, he just starts smiling and giving her several cheesy compliments, which just turns Yamini into a blushing, flustered mess because she doesn't know how to react. And then for fun, Yamini responds by giving Ruki several cheesy compliments in return, which also gets him all flustered and blushing. Basically, as a couple, Yamini and Ruki are dorks in love.
One of the key things to make a love story more convincing is to have them slightly nervous around each other, wondering what they should say, what they should give, how can they ask each other out! Turn them into blushing dorks because it's absolutely adorable and sweet and even more cute than any of this! That is able to convince me that the couple is in love even more than just smooth talking about how their love is the greatest and all that.
Moving on, Bethany and Xavier go on a walk along the beach, where they see a traveling carnival on the boardwalk. Xavier wants to go check it out, but Bethany is reluctant, saying that it looks closed.
"Where's your sense of adventure? We can always jump the fence."
*snorts* That isn't enough to convince me that Xavier's a Bad Boy, Adornetto!
They just decide to stroll in before they come across a woman by a trailer. Turns out that the woman is a psychic!
"Angela Messenger at your service." Her name threw me off somewhat--that it should be so close to angel was unnerving. "Come on in, no charge," she added. "Might lighten up the evening."
Angela- *bursts out laughing* Just how much more unsubtle can you be?! Why not add in a seedy biker and call him Louis Cypher while you're at it, huh?!
The woman decides to read their palms, and the scene indicates that Adornetto hasn't done any research about palm-reading, because it's all about love and finding love and romance and all that. I'll just summarise. According to Ms. Messenger, Xavier is a romantic, thinks directly and doesn't beat around the bush, has heroism in his blood, and is destined to experience a great pain that isn't too far away. And with Bethany, Angela says that she has a great aura and that she will find love only once in her lifetime, and that she doesn't have a lifeline.
Well, after this scene, Xavier and Bethany walk back to Xavier's car. It is "a sky blue 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible. It had been lovingly restored down to the last detail, and made me feel like we'd traveled back in time".
Very Fifties. Again, Adornetto is clearly fascinated by the Fifties.
Xavier introduces Bethany to the car, calling it his 'baby'. I'm no Supernatural fan, but I've heard enough about it to know that this is a clear rip-off of Dean Winchester's Impala.
So they get in and drive off, and Bethany is fascinated by the scent of the car. It isn't long before they pull up in front of Bethany's house and Xavier asks her if she's going to be in trouble. But before Bethany leaves, she asks Xavier about Emily.
Xavier tells her a bit about Emily.
"Emily wasn't just my girlfriend," Xavier said. "She was my best friend. We understood each other in a way that's hard to explain, and I thought I'd never be able to replace her. But then when I met you..." He trailed off.
Xavier says that he felt the same way around Bethany, just like with Emily! He then says that wherever Emily is, she'd want Xavier to be happy after Bethany asks if Emily would mind him feeling that way around her.
They sit in silence for a few more moments before Bethany decides to ask another question.
"Do you believe in God?" I said eventually.
"You're the first girl to ask me that," Xavier said. "Most people think of religion as some kind of fashion statement."
Well, way to insult people who are actually religious, Adornetto!
Xavier states that he believes in a higher power, claiming that life is too complex to be an accident, and Bethany agrees before getting out of the car.
All I could think about as I climbed the steps to the front door was not the lecture that awaited me but how long before I could see him again. There were so many things I wanted to talk to him about.
And with that incredibly cheesy and cliché passage, we finally close this chapter! God, this was a real drag. I'll see you all in the next chapter, where I'll be bringing back some reserves to help me out.
Continue to: Chapter 11- Head Over Heels
Go back to: Chapter 9- No Boys Allowed