This chapter was a really nice change of pace after the intensity of the last few. Not that it didn't have a highly dramatic moment or two, but most of it felt like relatively normal teenage girls doing the things that normal teenage girls do as they grow up.
"What is with that bleeding shack?!” demanded Emily. - It seems like Emily's family has an entirely different kind of shrieking shack. Ba-dum-dum-tssh. Sorry, probably the worst pun you'll see in a review any time soon. With that out of the way, I thought you did an excellent job of writing that moment in Isobel's life. You didn't overdo it and the girls didn't spend paragraphs and paragraphs debating "what does it mean???".
Isobel just nodded, looking half humiliated, half pleased, and totally overwhelmed. -- This. I think this summed up how most people feel after the experience very succinctly.
Another small reference to Isobel's deteriorating physical condition. At this point, I'm viewing Isobel's physical collapse not as a matter of "if" but "when". She's such a proud girl, so put together and so image conscious. I think this is going to be much more difficult for her than for Laurel.
I loved your description of the waiting room at St. Mungo's. It was just magical enough without being over the top and silly. Aww, poor Neville is visiting his parents. :(
Iman filled in another piece of the picture on Isobel's condition. The beautiful, talented older sister that she can never quite live up to. The poor girl has so many things working against her...
I liked what you did with little Luna. Very sweet and she sounded very much in character. "sick in her heart" It sounds exactly like something she'd say.
Upon that recommendation, Laurel took a biscuit and nibbled it, and Emily second guessed the wisdom of smuggling drugs to someone in rehab. -- I'm glad that point wasn't completely lost on all involved. Poor Laurel also seems to have a lot working against her. I'm sure her friends want to help, they just don't seem to know how.
"Like waiting," Laurel shrugged. "Waiting for the day when you can feel cheerful again all on your own. Waiting for when you stop screaming inside because you can't turn a wand on yourself." -- Amazing description. Sad and pithy and accurate.
"We lost that album in the move," Tristan lied easily. -- Another piece of the puzzle. While I do appreciate the information, I also feel compelled to point out that you had a slight break in narrative voice there, since neither of the girls could have known he was lying. Actually, depending on what Emily learned while they were using that telepathic potion, I guess that's not 100% guaranteed. Either way, it sounded like an omniscient narrator because you didn't attribute the realization to anyone in particular.
Poor Isobel seems to have early development and a weight problem hopelessly mixed up in her head. You really laid out the case for her -- against her? -- in this chapter. Like I said before, not "if", "when".
Excellent chapter! I shall return soon!
Author's Response: Hi!
Yeah, I think the fact that they are on vacation influences the tone a lot. And I try not to let the story ever go too far in one direction, and pull it back another direction, so I'm pleased you liked the change.
Yup, you were exactly on mark about sensing something between Lucas and Isobel! And I'm glad you liked my restraint. I wanted Isobel's experience to be realistic of one way that this moment can play out in a girl's life. Namely, "whilst on Holiday/not a huge deal."
Yeah, I definitely think this chapter and the last give us a lot of insight on Isobel.
And I'm glad Luna came off well! Yes, definitely a formidable canon character to write :)
And of *course* Emily is the one to rethink smuggling those biscuits to Laurel. Teenagers, I think, can sometimes go too far when they go through their "rules are stupid because I know what I'm doing" phase--which isn't to say they're completely dim all the time.
The "Tristan lied" bit--aha. I really like the verb "lied" because it's so revealing, and only one syllable. I've used it in this way before (Tristan's dad asks if he's ever self-spelled before. '"No, never" Tristan lied.') Ultimately, your last guess was right--Emily knew he was lying because of what she learned via potion. If the prose there was confusing, it was probably because I was all like "IT'S A MYSTERY! SO MYSTERIOUS!!1!11!!"
Thank you for another wonderful review! I get really excited when I see one from you!