Holy crap! So I think I mentioned something in my last review about feeling like something big was about to happen. I honestly wasn't expecting it this soon. Anyhow, one small formality:
House Cup 2014 Review
So it finally happened. You'd been building up to it for a while with Laurel. I really want to commend you on your pacing of this story. Your plot lines move in a nice, even, natural-feeling progression. I can't really think of anything that's come completely out of the blue in this story, but it isn't as though you telegraph every last development, either. Sometimes something happens and while you didn't see it coming, you realize that there were subtle hints.
I can't decide whether I think Tristan or Isobel will be the next to crash. Tristan doesn't seem to be as bad off as Laurel in terms of charm abuse, but I'm not sure how much more the kid can take mentally. If Isobel doesn't eat something soon, her body is probably going to start to shut down. Even Emily seems to fall off the wagon from time to time and take her substances too far. They're not a healthy group of individuals.
The Defense lesson was a great foil to keep drawing out Laurel's problems. It was interesting to watch all of the cognitive dissonance surrounding Laurel's reaction. Isobel and Tristan both should have figured out what was going on. At some level, I'm sure that both of them did. But they're also so caught up in their own problems that they don't seem to want to create even more difficulty and confrontation by calling her out on it. So the conspiracy of silence goes on.
Isobel's anorexia/bulimia is reaching scary proportions, as well. In general, I think you've done a very realistic and gripping job of showing the troubles that these kids are struggling with. You don't overplay it or blow the drama up to ridiculous proportions. All of them believe -- as I think most sufferers of such conditions do -- that they have things under control. It doesn't seem that serious to them, even though when we see it through another character's eyes, we definitely know it's serious. That's some really good writing.
The scene where Isobel finds Laurel in her bed had a very surreal, "this isn't happening" kind of quality to it, which was perfect. Everything about the rest of the school's follow-up reaction was also well done, from Flitwick trying -- and mostly failing -- to be helpful to the other Slytherins being complete jerks about it. Snape, oddly enough, seemed to be the only one who realized that sometimes less is more. Laurel is, presumably, where she needs to be now.
Second chapter in a row with no typos! Great job!
Author's Response: "Sometimes something happens and while you didn't see it coming, you realize that there were subtle hints." High praise, that!
Your "conspiracy of silence" comment was great! All these kids have stuff going on, but they only have eachother for support. And so their support systems are woefully inadequate. Kids go through these kinds of things at that age, even if they aren't at boarding school. But, I thought that in that context, it could be even more dangerous.
I'm really glad that you think her eating disorder was handled properly! I read once that people always fail when they write about that subject, because they end up romanticizing the stoicism and stuff. Which is irresponsible. The writer of this op-ed suggested that what eating disorders TRULY are, is boring and tedious. Now, since I'm going for accuracy, but also trying to write something interesting and engaging, "boring and tedious" is a difficult task to do in the right way. So yeah, really glad you think it's all coming off well.
And I'm really happy the overdose was surreal! It was such an important scene, I really wanted to get the tone right! And as for the fall out: YES. I lovelovelove Snape, and writing him from the perspective of students who hate him is really fun, but I also wanted to give him a moment to shine.
Thank you for these reviews! I can't say how encouraging it is to see all these little things I worked on coming through, and working out. It's an incredible luxury to get chapter-by-chapter feedback, so I thank you!