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Coco & Me (Part 5)

by Liberty500


Chapter 24 | Discharged

“Hannah! Rachel! Reny! The doctors have said that Jaxon can come home! He’s been discharged!” Aunt Morina yelled up the stairs where me, Hannah, and Reny were playing Snakes and Ladders; we were playing in Reny’s room. Reny was winning. As usual. As soon as we heard the good news, we all shot up and dashed downstairs. Aunt Morina was attacked with questions by the three of us.

“Whoa, hold it girls, one question at a time.” Aunt Morina smiled at us all, we all were kind of getting along.

“I call driving!” Hannah exclaimed.

“You do have to start driving now, you’re supposed to drive yourself to Araid. Oh my! I just realized that you’re gonna be starting later than everyone else!” Aunt Morina said.

“It was mostly because of you. You were the one who killed mom and dad.”

“Enough!”

“I’m gonna go and continue… playing Snakes and Ladders.” Reny whispered in my ear. She was still uncomfortable in conversations like the ones happening right now. I nodded and said that I’ll be coming too.

“I’m coming too.” Hannah said to me after her fight with Aunt Morina was over.

***

You with the sad eyes

Don't be discouraged, oh I realize

It's hard to take courage

In a world full of people

You can lose sight of it all

The darkness inside you

Can make you feel so small –

“That song is making me nauseous.” Hannah groaned.

“Deal with it.” I turned it back on and Reny giggled.

“No!” Hannah shut it off again and half swerved the car.

“Reasons why I don’t like you driving!” I mumbled, sitting back.

“Hey!”

“Sorry.”

“No!”

“Stop being bratty.”

“You’re not supposed to say that to your older sister.”

“Hush up.”

“You’re not supposed to – Wait did you just say hush up?”

“Yeah.”

“Hey! That could be the polite way of saying shut up!” Reny entered the conversation. We all laughed as Hannah parked the car in the hospital’s parking lot.

“Let’s go!” Aunt Morina said. We all hopped out of the mini-van and walked all the way to the hospital entrance. As we entered, me and Reny fought over who was going to press the button pointing upwards for the elevator. Hannah did it. We waited and waited until we reached the tenth floor and turned to the direction of Uncle Jaxon’s ‘base’. I knocked on the door and some woman’s voice said we could come in. As we entered the room, we saw a nurse taking Uncle Jaxon’s blood pressure.

“He’s all good to go.” She chirped and walked away but stopped in front of me, “Your father is a really brave man. He didn’t worry at all.” She winked at me and left. Father. He’s my father. I believe it now. I must, after all, he is my dad.

“Hi!” I said, rushing over to hug him. He was already sitting on the bed. I knew he knew what I was thinking. He knows I’m his child. He knows he’s my father. He wrapped his arms around me.

“Uh, is anyone else feeling awkward or is it just me?” Hannah said. Reny raised her hand, agreeing. I looked at Aunt Morina, or should I say mom, and she nodded. We must tell Hannah now. I got up and asked mom to come out with me in the hallway for a second. Hannah and Reny stayed inside, chatting with dad.

“How am I supposed to tell her?” I asked, mom knew what I was talking about, so she didn’t need to ask me anything.

“I don’t know, I was thinking the same thing. Maybe you could tell her tonight?” mom said. “You don’t wanna spoil her mood do ya?” she winked and left me alone in the hospital hallway. A young boy with no leg passed by me. I got it! I entered the room and smiled at dad. I looked at Hannah and Reny, they had already chatted with him long enough. “Shall we leave now?” Hannah said.

“Let’s go, kiddos!” dad grinned from ear to ear.

***

“I just realized something today.” dad said as he got out of the car.

“What?” Reny asked.

“Hannah is a crazy driver.” he whispered loudly.

“I heard that!” Hannah yelled from the opposite side of the car and all of us burst out laughing.

Chapter 25 | Spill!

It’s time, mom mouthed from across the dinner table. We’d had pizza, macaroni, and Chinese rice for dinner. Everyone was completely full, groaning about how deliciously awesome the food that Cook makes is.

“I’m gonna go up to my room.” I said, looking at Hannah for any sign that she might be coming up soon. Nope, no sign of anything. “Excuse me.” I mumbled and left.

“Wait! I’m coming too.” said a voice. I turned around. Hannah. Yes, I thought.

“Let’s go.”

***

“Tell me it now!” Hannah shouted for the umpteenth time. I was telling her that I wanted to tell her something important and that she can’t freak out.

“Spill!” she said again.

“Okay, okay, but you promise that you are only gonna talk after I’m done talking, right?” I made sure. She nodded furiously, “Promise!”

“The thing is, I’m not your sister – Let me finish!” I exclaimed before Hannah could even say anything. “Morina is my mother, Jaxon is my father, you are my cousin, Frank is my uncle, Maybelle is my aunt. It actually makes sense. Whenever I asked them to show me my birth certificate, they always said that they’d show me yours instead.” Hannah eyes looked playful, like I was playing a prank on her. I wouldn’t judge her. “Hannah, I’m serious, Me and mom – Morina, I mean – have been trying to figure out the right time to tell you. Anyways, I asked Morina to show me my birth certificate and she had hidden it really well. It was in her closet’s attic somewhere. I don’t know how a closet can have an attic, but whatever.” I waited for Hannah’s reply. She stayed silent. I continued, “Remember the time we first went to the hospital because of Jaxon – dad?” she nodded. “Well, at that time, you were sleeping, so me and Morina thought that we could do a…” I trailed off but continued. I had to. “DNA test.” She stared at me, her playful look vanished. “And we did.” It looked obvious that she thought this was serious.

“You’re kidding. Right?” she whispered. I looked down, feeling my eyes get watery.

“No,” I choked out. “you aren’t my sister. You’re my –”

“Cousin.” she finished. I nodded. She looked sad. “How long ago did you find out?”

“’Couple days ago.” I mumbled.

“Okay. So, let me get this straight. You. Are. Not. My. Sister.” she spelled out. I nodded.She started laughing. “You are not my sister! I have no parents and, and, I’m alone in this world… all… by myself.” Hannah started crying. “It’s not like it’s anything new to me. Mom and dad died. Pumpkin was in so much danger. Leo was left alone at home but ended up here. Who knows how much trouble my kitty went through?” she sobbed. As if on que Leo meowed from his spot on Hannah’s couch. Joe was sitting right by me. He sensed the tension in the room and started howling. I tear slipped down my face and I hugged Hannah tight, comforting her, telling her that I didn’t want this to happen either. That night, I slept there, in Hannah’s room.

Chapter 26 | More Dreaded Questions!

Aaoooo!

I groaned, rolling over. I opened my eyes to look at the ceiling. I jumped up, I’m not in my room! I looked beside me, Hannah was softly snoring. Then, it dawned on me. I had slept in Hannah’s room last night.

“Hannah?” I whispered, she stirred slightly but didn’t wake. I looked at the clock. It was only 6:15 in the morning. I sighed. If I was awake, I better do something useful.

Aaoooo!

I whipped my head down to the ground and saw Joe howling. He was looking at me with those eyes. “Let’s go.” I mumbled. I grabbed his leash and walked out with him at my heels. I opened the front door and a blast of the cool breeze hit my face, I smiled at how I love connecting with nature. Joe trotted over to a private spot and did his stuff. “Looks like my daughter is awake.” a male voice said. I looked around and saw dad. I ran to give him a hug. “Good morning, dad.” I said into his shirt. He stroked my hair. “When did you wake up, hon?”

“Like, a few minutes ago.”

“Same!”

“Did you have breakfast yet?”

“Nope.”

“Let’s go make it together.” I grinned and walked away with Joe running to me. Once my dad caught up to me, he asked, “You told her?” I frowned and nodded.

“How’d it go?” he asked.

“It… It was fine, I guess. She cried, but I was expecting that. She laughed though. I don’t know why. It was a real shocker.” I said softly, rewinding the entire experience.

“It’s gonna be fine, she’s you’re adopted sister and cousin! We adopted her, remember?” he chirped. I stopped as he continued walking into the house all the way to the kitchen. I stayed outside. She’s my adopted sister. Does she even remember that? She does have somebody in this world! But… Mom said she adopted us. Both of us. Does that mean that mom/Aunt Morina lied? My head was spinning with question, I was so confused. I was gonna ask mom/Aunt Morina.

Chapter 27 | Jumping

“Oh no! Did I say that?” my aunt or mom, or whoever she was to me, said after I told her what was on my mind. She had just woken up and it was almost nine. Me and dad/Uncle Jaxon had had bacon and eggs for breakfast, Hannah had joined us late.

“Yes.” I huffed, “would you care to explain?” my arms were crossed over my chest which for some reason made her laugh so much that her bed started jiggling; she was still in bed. “It slipped from my mouth! Usually, when I’m mad, random things slip from my mouth!” she started giggling. I stared at her, shocked. When I asked if it was true, she started laughing even harder and I joined in, thinking of how silly I was being! So, she’s my mother. I shouldn't have been jumping to conclusions.

I told her to get out of bed so she could eat her breakfast that was still waiting in the microwave. I hadn’t gotten a good look at her room. I looked around, it was quite like mine. Chandelier, four-poster bed, walk-in closet, couch, window seat, balcony, and the long window.

“Good morning, Belle!” dad exclaimed as soon as mom entered the breakfast room. Belle was mom’s nickname, she looked a lot like Belle, and she was belle. Belle in French means, beautiful. The smell of bacon and eggs hit mom square in the face; it was obvious by the look on her face. “Yum! Did you guys make this alone?”

“It was only them two, mother.” Hannah said. I stared at her blankly. Mother? Seriously? Did Hannah just - Oh right! Hannah is mom’s adopted child so of course she was going to say mother. But why mother? Why not mom? Is it because in fairy tales the princesses usually use mother for their step-mom? Well, mom wasn’t really her step-mom. She kind of was, but not really. I was off in my own land, thinking up a bunch of stuff that probably were not even true. Hannah was waving her hand in front of my face. “Earth to Rachel! Earth to Rachel!”

“Hey!” I snapped into reality and playfully shoved her hand away and smiled.

“What were you thinking of?” she asked.

“You.”

“But I’m right here.”

“Anyone want any drinks? There’s OJ, apple juice, milk, and if anyone wants hot chocolate there’s that too.” Reny said casually. I liked how she was fitting into this family well. Everyone asked for hot chocolate. Rent makes the best hot chocolates. You haven’t even lived if you haven’t tried Reny’s hot chocolate. Reny laughed, “Alright!” and scurried away into the attached kitchen to get working. Me and my family were soon in a very serious conversation about who should take the last piece of bacon. We had finally decided after ten minutes that all four of us should split it. We soon got our hot chocolate.

* **

“Let’s go riding!” I exclaimed out of the blue while we were all on our phones in the living. Hannah said okay, and so did mom. Reny said she’ll check her schedule and dad said he couldn’t because the doctors said it wasn’t allowed for him. It could be ‘dangerous’. I hugged dad good bye and walked to my room to get into my gear. I waited for Hannah and mom at the stable door. Turns out Reny was coming too, because, she was coming towards the stable in her riding gear. I wasn’t gonna forget it this time!

“I’m coming!” she called out.

“We should’ve kept the horses in the field, look at how hyper they are!” I said, pointing towards the horses once Reny came to my side. We both giggled and went in to get them tacked up. We planned to warm up in the field while we waited for the others.

“You wanna go through those jumps?” Reny challenged once we had reached the field.

“You’re on!” I said, laughing. “I’ll go first.” I tapped my heels against Coco’s ribs, telling him to move. I ordered him, in my head, to start cantering. Sometimes, I talk to Coco through telepathy. I urged him on, faster and faster. He was so close to the jump. I counted the beautiful, ground-swallowing and even strides in my head. Three, two, one, jump! Coco lifted his legs up at the perfect time and while we were in mid-air, I felt like we were flying! It was the perfect feeling. That was the only reason I liked jumping so much. Thud! We had landed on the arena dirt. I grinned broadly and halted Coco in the middle of the jump we had just done and the jump we were supposed to do. Since we were just doing warm ups there was no rush, so we’d do one jump, only.

“You were pros!” Reny shrieked. She trotted Oak towards Coco and high-fived me. “My turn!” a voice called out from far away. Mom and Hannah were coming with Andy and Pumpkin. I stared at Andy, he was flicking his tail, in the proud type of way. I looked over at Pumpkin, she was shaking her mane, as if she were showing-off. I shook the thought away. Pumpkin wasn’t that type of mare. She would never.

“Reny do you notice something?” I asked, pointing towards he stallion and the mare. Reny shook her head. “Nuh-uh. It’s probably because I’m not that much of a horse-whisperer as you are.” I smiled at her.

“You were great on that jump, sweetie!” mom fist-pumped me and I thanked her. We all galloped to the woods on our favorite trail. I hadn't felt this type of happiness in a long time.

Chapter 28 | Andy and Pumpkin…

“Guys, I think we need to talk about it now, with Jaxon and his cancer, he might get too shocked to see you guys too shocked so he might have something happen to him, so we can’t have him in any of these conversations, ya know what I mean?” mom said in one breath. She exhaled slowly, waiting for our response. Me and Hannah obviously know what she was talking about. I wasn’t so sure about Serenity. She looked kind of confused. But then she nodded in agreement as if she started understanding.

“I agree, who’s going start?” Reny asked nodding

“You know about everything?” Hannah asked. Reny replied with a nod, “Of course!”

“What do you know?” mom asked suspiciously, “I never told you anything.”

“I know that you stole Coco, killed Maybelle and Frank, half imprisoned the girls, and I also know that Andy, here, is looking at Pumpkin a lot. They’ve been nickering to each other for so long!” Reny pointed at the two, who were, indeed, nickering to each other and playfully nipping at each other’s mane.

“Race ya!” Hannah exclaimed, galloping hard ahead of us.

“Why do my conversations always have to go off topic?” mom muttered under her breath. She kicked Andy into a steady trot then pushed him into a canter. Then slowly went into a gallop. I could see Andy trying his best to get right beside Pumpkin. I looked at Pumpkin, she looked fat. I nudged Reny and pointed to Pumpkin, “Does Pumpkin look fat?” Reny shook her head then slowly stopped.

“Oh my god! Rachel! How could you think that? Andy and Pumpkin would be good together, but, are you serious? Nuh-uh. Nope. Never. I’m the one who takes care of this type of stuff. I’d never let that happen.”

“But – what if – yeah I’m probably being dumb.” I mumbled then looking up, I beamed, “Race ya!”

“Hey!” Reny called out as I kicked Coco into a hard gallop. I could feel the wind blowing back my hair as Coco galloped harder and harder every second. I closed my eyes as the wind blew back my hair. I opened my eyes and noticed that we were close to the others. I looked back to see that Reny was far behind us, I grinned, we were gonna beat this race! I looked at the sun, it was somewhere close to evening. My stomach growled. I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast!

*  *  *

"Coco?! Coco?!" I screamed, I couldn't believe what was happening.


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Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:26 pm
mellifera wrote a review...



Hey Liberty500! Happy Review Day :) I hope you don't mind me swinging by today! Let's get into it, shall we?


Also, I do apologise if I don't understand something that appeared in a previous chapter and I comment on it.


Aunt Morina yelled up the stairs where me, Hannah, and Reny were playing Snakes and Ladders; we were playing in Reny’s room.


Instead of a semicolon, I would just separate these two sentences? I wouldn't say that's really the proper use of one, and it sounds better when it's separated.

As soon as we heard the good news, we all shot up and dashed downstairs.


This seems a little long-winded? The reader should now by what Aunt Morina said that it is good news. The other thing is that there's an awkward pause where your train of thought, so to speak, drifts away from Jaxon getting discharged to them playing Snakes and Ladders? It feels like she calls it and then the reader is jerked into a sort of "but that's not important immediately", if you will. I'm not quite sure how to suggest a change here? I think I would establish their playing Snakes and Ladders before Morina says anything? Then it doesn't detract from the announcement that Jaxon is being discharged.

Aunt Morina smiled at us all, we all were kind of getting along.


Now I've just come from being scolded of doing the same thing here haha but the repetitive "all" doesn't read very nicely? I might write, "Aunt Morina smiled, pleased we were all getting along." or something along those lines, to condense it. (also, by these lines, I'm assuming these three normally don't get along then?)

"It was mostly because of you. You were the one who killed mom and dad."


Uh, whoa. That escalated quickly. I'm also confused and, albeit, I don't know any of the plot beforehand, but I'm still left wondering who's speaking? And without any additional dialogue tags or character reactions, this exchange feels flat despite how serious it seems to actually be? Nobodyreacts strongly to this comment, and I don't know who it's coming from. (one of them is accusing Morina of killing their parents? in a car crash????)

"I'm coming too." Hannah said to me after her fight with Aunt Morina was over.


Did... they fight more? Was that the extent of their fight? (I'm guessing Hannah is the one who spoke before then, too?) It didn't feel much like a fight, but I mentioned that already so I won't bring it up again.


The main thing that strikes me about this is that it feels like I'm entering the beginning of a story? It doesn't feel very established here, it does feel like some kind of inciting incident happening. Jaxon is getting discharged- what next? Again, maybe it's because I don't have prior context! But it doesn't read like an already established story with a solid plotline to me right now.


"Hey!"

"Sorry."

"No!"


…Why is Hannah saying no to their apology? If she gave them a reason, I could understand, but just saying "no"... doesn't make a lot of sense?
(also- what is the point of this fight? Does it have a significance to the plotline? Right now, it feels like it exists for the sole purpose of existing and driving it in that Hannah isn't a very nice character?)

"Hey! That could be the polite way of saying shut up!" Reny entered the conversation. We all laughed as Hannah parked the car in the hospital's parking lot.


Well, I mean, I hope she's parking in a parking lot. But uh, they're having a fight and then he says this and they're all laughing along merrily? If I was having a fight with someone and, by extent, angry, I'm not going to laugh two seconds later. Again, this argument feels very flat, and I'm not sure what purpose it serves in the plot at all? There's no connection to the protagonist or any description about how anyone (never mind anyone, in fact! I don't know how the protagonist is feeling in the slightest, which is a problem for first person like this, because you want the reader to be able to step into your character's shoes. They can't do that if they have no idea how they're supposed to react to anything) is feeling/reacting to any of these situations. Are they happy? Does their chest get tight with anger, do they clench their fists? Do they breathe properly or do they hold their breath? There's all sorts of little details you can incorporate to breathe life into your characters and your story that I'd love to see utilised that currently aren't being taken advantage of.

As we entered, me and Reny fought over who was going to press the button pointing upwards for the elevator.


They fight a lot, don't they? Three fights in the first few hundred words? Awful lot of fighting.

Father. He's my father. I believe it now. I must, after all, he is my dad


I thought he was their uncle??? Like, even if he's their guardian, why does he have to replace their dad? Unless this is some sort of weird turn around, he's really her dad and not her uncle?? (sorry this must be so obnoxious hearing from someone who has no context and which probably has already been explained!)

He knows I'm his child. He knows he's my father.


That... is usually what being someone's child implies...

I looked at Aunt Morina, or should I say mom,


Why wasn't this established earlier? In the chapter, I mean, I'm sure it WAS established before and I'm just pointing it out all silly like because I don't know about it.


Since you're referring to Aunt Morina now as "mom", it should be "Mom" since it's referring to a person. There's a difference between "I love my mom" and "I love you, Mom". Does that,,, kind of make sense? Think of it as a name- you capitalise the first letter. It's similar to that, in certain contexts (such as addressing her or mentioning her in any place her name could go instead).


"You don't wanna spoil her mood do ya?"


Her mood seemed to spoil at the beginning of the chapter, but all right, I guess.

I looked at Hannah and Reny, they had already chatted with him long enough.


They've been here... what, five minutes? That's "long enough"? What constitutes a conversation taking too long unless it dries up?

"I just realized something today." dad said


Okay! I noticed this earlier! But when you have dialogue tags following dialogue, that period after "today" should be a comma. So, that would be:
"I just realized something today," Dad said...
vs.
"I just realized something today." Dad got out of the car.
See the difference? (also, I didn't mention it, but the "Dad" should be capitalised just like "Mom")

"I heard that!" Hannah yelled from the opposite side of the car


It's... a car. It's not that big. She doesn't have to shout unless she's actually angry?

I was telling her that I wanted to tell her something important and that she can't freak out.


Then why didn't you lead with this? It's kind of pointless exposition when you could easily have just started with it.

"Spill!" she said again.


"again" Only serves much purpose if she had said it before, which, to all our knowledge, she didn't. It's not necessary, is really what I mean by that.


Once again, the confession scene feels flat because there's still very little in the way of showing how the characters are feeling. Hannah does start crying, but there's no build up to it. We still don't know how the protagonist is feeling.
Another quick thing! You have all these other characters (Leo is a cat and Joe is??? a dog????) that appear at the end of the scene but there's no introduction to them before and so they just sort of pop up randomly. I would have described them earlier, so they don't just drop onto the reader out of nowhere like this.


"Looks like my daughter is awake." a male voice said.


Is there any reason you can't just write that it's her dad? I mean, if my dad was talking, I'd definitely recognise his voice as his voice and not just "a male's" voice?


"It slipped from my mouth! Usually, when I'm mad, random things slip from my mouth!" she started giggling.


why is this funny? I'm not... sure why she's giggling? Also- I thought Morina already showed the protagonist her birth certificate? So why is she suddenly like, up in arms about it?

"Good morning, Belle!” dad exclaimed as soon as mom entered the breakfast room. Belle was mom’s nickname, she looked a lot like Belle, and she was belle. Belle in French means, beautiful.


What purpose does this serve in the plot? This far in to the story, it should already be established that Jaxon calls Morina Belle, if that's his nickname for her.

Mother? Seriously? Did Hannah just - Oh right! Hannah is mom’s adopted child so of course she was going to say mother. But why mother? Why not mom? Is it because in fairy tales the princesses usually use mother for their step-mom? Well, mom wasn’t really her step-mom. She kind of was, but not really.


Again- what's the point of all this inner monologue? What purpose does it serve? I use "mother" all the time, and she's not my step-mum. This seems like an odd comment to make in the first place, but it also does nothing for the story.

I was off in my own land, thinking up a bunch of stuff that probably were not even true.


("that probably was not even true[/b]")
This is already evidenced by the inner monologue. You don't have to repeat that. It's the difference between telling and showing, and here you're trying to do both. Showing us the inner monologue, and then saying the exact thing that we already knew the protagonist was doing. If a character sits down, you don't have to follow the action by telling us that the character sat down! Trust in your reader to know what's going on (and if it's unclear, that's what reviewing is for!)


There's horses!! Do the characters live on a farm, or do they have to drive to a stable? From the sound of it, it sounds like they live there, but I wasn't sure so I thought I'd ask.


"We should've kept the horses in the field,


Where were they before? In the barn? In a different field? I mean, most horses should be getting turned out into a pasture anyway during the day? And they should follow the same schedule for getting turned out and the like?


It's mentioned they plan to warm up once they reach the field, but then they reach the field, and the horses are immediately asked to canter? They do need to warm up? It's not good for their tendons/muscles to go straight from not working-working hard.


mom fist-pumped me


Do you mean "fist-bumped"?

“I know that you stole Coco, killed Maybelle and Frank, half imprisoned the girls, and I also know that Andy, here, is looking at Pumpkin a lot. They’ve been nickering to each other for so long!”


Whoa! What? This sounds suddenly a lot darker than it did before?? And they seem 100% okay with all this?? Did I stumble into like,, a cult family???


Okay! Overall comments!

I would split the chapters in actual chapters rather than merging them all in "parts" the way you have it right now? I also think some of these chapters can be merged/moved around. Yes, it saves points to post more at once, but it's also exhausting for a reviewer to get through longer works and often discouraging?

This also kind of leads me into my next point, which is that a lot of your scenes don't feel like they have relevance to an overall story line? It seems like most of it just exists to show the character's lives, which is fine, but also... not overly engaging. And I know how tempting that is to do that, especially because writing is for yourself first and foremost! You write what makes you happy! But it's still important to think about overall plot structure and what really needs to belong in your story and what doesn't. It takes practise, goodness knows that was all I did when I started writing haha.

There's potential here for an interesting story from the few coherent plot threads I did pick up. I'm really sorry if I was very critique-y in this review, I'm not trying to be mean! I want to help you and your story. I really hope you continue with this idea, or other ideas, and see where you can take them! It just needs some rounding out, and especially if this is a first draft, at least it's getting written down. Editing/other drafts come later for the polishing, which means this can serve as a good foundation for what you do and do not want to do.

(also- horses ;D gotta love a story with horses in it)


That's all I have for you today! Please feel free to ask me any questions about my review or if you have any comments, let me know! I'm happy to chat, or help you out.

I hope you have a wonderful day! :)




Liberty500 says...


Thanks for your extra long review! <33



mellifera says...


haha that's me and my rambly reviews! I was going to add that I know some of the starting comments are kind of null, I suppose, once I read further? But I like to leave in most of my thoughts in case anything is helpful regardless!
<33



Liberty500 says...


:D



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Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:27 pm
paperforest wrote a review...



Hey there! First a disclaimer: I haven't read you previous chapters, so if I point out something that's actually not a problem if you know what happens before, then just ignore it. All right, starting with Chapter 24:

Aunt Morina yelled up the stairs where me, Hannah, and Reny were playing Snakes and Ladders; we were playing in Reny’s room.

I know hiraeth mentioned this, but I'm pretty sure it should actually be "Hannah, Reny, and I". Usually you mention yourself last, and when deciding whether to use "I" or "me", try saying it without the other people. So "I was playing Snakes and Ladders" is much better English than "me was playing".

Moving on, I notice that you use a fair amount of passive voice. That's saying things like "Aunt Morina was attacked with questions by the three of us," which is fine, but it doesn't pull you into the story as much as a more active sentence construction would. The "was" and "by" that I bolded there are words that passive voice often uses, so if you notice them when editing you might want to take a moment to think how you could reword the sentence to not use them, and then decide which version you like better. A way to say it in active voice could be "The three of us attacked Aunt Morina with questions."

One other general thing that you could keep in mind to better pull your readers into your story is to use filter words sparingly. These are things like "we saw" or "I heard", and they make the reader more aware of the narrator's voice. This can be good in some cases, like when you want to focus on how the narrator/veiwpoint character is reacting to something, but when you're just describing what's happening around them, it can slow down the story unnecessarily. So when you say "I knew he knew what I was thinking," because this story is only being told from the main character's point of view (at least, that's what I've seen so far so I'm assuming that's the case), you don't really need to say "I knew", you can just say "he knew what I was thinking," or even "he must have known what I was thinking," and it still makes perfect sende. We already know that this is something she knows, after all! And if that sentence is confusing, then you'll know how I felt when I first read "I knew he knew what I was thinking." :D

Now onto the plot. I thought it was a bit slow at first, because the Snakes and Ladders game and the song on the radio and the conversation in the car (which I found a bit confusing to keep track of who was saying what, I'd recommend adding more "___ said" to help your readers there) didn't seem to pertain to the main action at all. But as I got used to your writing style it isn't actually that slow, there's just a lot of details that sometimes hint to plot things in the future (or past), and sometimes add to what we know of the characters, and sometimes just make it feel more slice-of-life. I admit, I'm used to fast-moving fantasy books, so I may be a bit biased on this point.

Anyways, the first thing that felt off to me was when Hannah (I think it was Hannah? Whenever there's more than two people and it's not obvious who's saying what, it's always a good idea to use dialogue tags like "she said") anyways, when Hannah said:
"It was mostly because of you. You were the one who killed mom and dad."

I was shocked, and suddenly very interested. It doesn't seem very realistic for kids to stay with someone who they know killed their parents, and to talk civilly with them about that very fact! I don't yet know if this is realistic for this story or not, but I'm going to say that unless this is something that they've always known, and it was an accident or the aunt was possessed or something, it doesn't make sense for them to just casually toss this info into a conversation and then just move on. (And if I were Reny at that point, I'd be more than uncomfortable with the topic, I'd be calling the police. Why aren't they? What is going on? I must read on, and I hope you have a good explanation later on!) The fact that this isn't brought up again for pretty much the rest of this part is a good way to build suspense, if that's what you're going for. They seem to forget about it until Chapter 28 when the conversation gets interesting and Reny (is that short for Serenity, or are they different people? That confused me at the start of Chapter 28) says:
“I know that you stole Coco, killed Maybelle and Frank, half imprisoned the girls, and I also know that Andy, here, is looking at Pumpkin a lot. They’ve been nickering to each other for so long!”

What's going on? Why does the conversation keep getting deflected when it gets to the important bits? If this aunt/mom has really done all these things, how can she not be a terrible person, and why has no one called the police yet, and why are they just confronting her and not running away and why doesn't she get mad at them for it? At the moment, the only explanation I can think of is that she was possessed or something when she did those awful things, so she's actually a nice person but it's still uncomfortable to talk about it. But so far nothing else in the story is fantastical in any way.

The last thing I'm going to talk about is another case of unusual/unrealistic reactions. When the main character goes up to her Uncle/Dad Jaxon, it seems like this is the first time she's seen him since she found out that he's actually her Dad, so it's a pretty recent revelation, and I'm also guessing that she's known him as her uncle for a long time, perhaps all her life. In light of this, it seems really fast for her to suddenly switch to calling him Dad instead of Uncle, and to call Morina Mom instead of Aunt. And again, I don't know what's happened up until this point in the story, but if she's already been "adopted" by them and they've raised her and Hannah as if they're sisters and they've been good and fair parents, it doesn't really seem like the switch from Aunt and Uncle to Mom and Dad would be a big deal, or change how she thinks of them in a big way. Anyways, that's just my thoughts based on what I'm assuming about the situation from this installment on its own, so take this with a grain of salt.

Overall, this was a bit slow at first but became more suspenseful and intriguing with the introduction/foreshadowing of important issues that I assume will be addressed in later installments, and it was really fun to read and review! Keep writing!




Liberty500 says...


Thanks for the review! <3



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Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:09 am
hiraeth wrote a review...



Hi liberty!I didn't really read your previous chapters, just coming in here to give it a boost out of the green room; so it's probable that I'll get a few things wrong :)

I'm just gonna be making comments as I read:
First,

Aunt Morina yelled up the stairs where me, Hannah, and Reny were playing Snakes and Ladders; we were playing in Reny’s room.


I feel like this could sound better if you wrote : "Aunt Morina yelled up the stairs where I, Hannah, and Reny were playing Snakes and Ladders in Reny's room.

I nodded and said that I’ll be coming too.

“I’m coming too.” Hannah said to me after her fight with Aunt Morina was over.


You've used 'coming too' too many times in near succession - doesn't sound nice when i say it my head or out loud. Maybe you could try something like: "Wait up," Hannah said, joining me after her fight with Aunt Morina was over.

Just a tiny nitpick here:
It's hard to take courage

Courage isn't something you generally take, it's something you have. So 'It's hard to have courage' or 'It's hard to retain courage' makes more sense.

I've noticed a punctuation problem:
“That song is making me nauseous.” Hannah groaned.

“Deal with it.” I turned it back on and Reny giggled.


after your dialogues, you said end with a comma instead of a full stop. kind of like this:
"That song is make me nauseated," Hanna groaned. Again, you'll see I changed nauseous to nauseated : it's because 'nauseous' actually mean "causing the feeling of sickness" and nauseated means "feeling sick."

As we entered, me and Reny fought over who was going to press the button pointing upwards for the elevator. Hannah did it.

Personally, I would like to see some action here. something like, 'Hannah rolled her eyes at us and pushed the button herself, saying, "You guys are so childish," or something like 'But while we were busy arguing, Hannah used the opportunity to take a one over both of us.' Considering I don't really know Hannah's characteristics much, i can't get the how I'm supposed to feel about the lines.

There are a couple more nitpicks throughout the chapters, but I think that's just because you neglected a rigorous proof-check; with some editing, this will be great! Your story is nice, it got me interested; so maybe when i have more time I'm gonna read the other parts of this :) Happy writing, and keep it up!




Liberty500 says...


The 'It's hard to take courage' thing - It's from a song called True Colors. Lol, that's fine. Thanks for the review though! Haven't seen you around in a long time!



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Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:58 pm
Liberty500 says...



I know the chapters are very kind of uneven, don't judge.





When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool, you end up looking like a moron instead.
— Robin Hobb