Hey there - stopping by to drop off your review from the forums ;) Unfortunately, I don't have time to read two chapters, but review the second, but feel free to re-request! :)
So, I really enjoyed this! I like how even though it's a plot line I've seen a couple of times (the characters-in-their-last-year-decide-to-take-on-the-resident-pranking-dons-at-their-own-game one), you've managed to put a pretty original spin on it, which is great to see! Makes it stand out from all the rest ;)
I really like Penelope as a character too. I think it's interesting that this is only her sixth year, but potentially going to be her last because of her mother's illness and her parents not being able to afford to send both of their children to school and that's why it comes up and why they decide to go for it. It's a unique point to start from. I'm curious as well as to the fact that all of Penelope's friends are boys. Are there any girls she talks to/is friends with? It's not necessarily a bad thing, I'm just curious! :P
Her friends are good, too. I like how they've all got pretty distinct personalities - though you might want to make sure they never blur, have their own mannerisms, phrases, etc. just to be careful since sometimes they seem a little similar, though that might just be me! I like how, as well, they didn't all magically meet on the train and become best mates, they became friends through chance, ridiculous childish behaviour and how they're not all in the same year. It's a very believable scenario, and I like that they're in different years - it's different! :)
There were a couple of times I noticed you went down the 'tell' rather than 'show' route. It's nothing major, as such, just that if you read through it again and tried to show, rather than tell, that Chris is Penelope's best friend, for example, instead of just stating it, it would work better ;) Again, particularly at the end, when you say 'the whole compartment erupted' (I'm just picking this up because it's the end, and the end is important!), you then describe what the characters do, which kinda makes it a bit pointless to say that the compartment erupted, if that makes sense. Expanding on the characters' actions would allow for more description, and less telling rather than showing. Of course, that's just my advice, you don't have to follow it - but it's probably something I'd suggest you take a look at ;)
That being said, I couldn't see any grammar/spelling errors, inconsistencies, or anything which jarred the flow of the story, so it's a really strong start, in total!
So yeah, in summary, your characters are great so far, your plot is good, your set-up is great, your writing style is lovely and clear and blissfully mistake-free, the way you've written the plot is unique and interesting, and it's made me pretty curious about what happens next and how things pan out ;)
I really enjoyed this - hope it wasn't too harsh! - and feel free to come back and re-request any time! :)
Author's Response: Hello Aph :)
Not too harsh, more helpful. I've done the 'show' rather than 'tell' before, and got a negative response, so I tried to do kind of both in this chapter? I'm glad you mention it, because now it's something I really want to look into and want to tweak my writing style, like I have with my other story.
I'm glad you think I put an original twist to it. I wanted to really try and give the reader something new but that was kind of cliche at the same time. Familiarity is always a good thing :)
You give me some really good hints for keeping my characters distinct, and I appreciate that so much! This being my second story ever, I hope to try and get as much advice as I can get, especially because I hold characterization so near and dear to my heart :)
Thank you for reviewing!