Howdy Renee! Because I am horrible, it has taken me...-frowns more deeply- over a month to get here. I'm REALLY sorry (especially since I know you were working on it for Camp) and if there's anything else you want reviewed, PM me and I'll do so ASAP.
As for your story itself, I think this is a really interesting concept. Petunia is an easy character to demonize - heck, I make her pretty mean and petty in my story - but it's later on and so I think it's really interesting to explore the nuance of the relationship from the earliest days on through to the end.
I know one thing you had expressed concern about is the consistency of Petunia's characterization throughout this chapter and I will say that on my first read-through, I really didn't pick up on anything that stood out to me negatively in that respect. I actually found it refreshing that there's a bit of oscillation in Petunia's thoughts and feelings about her relationship with Lily at this point. Though I don't have any siblings you seem to hit the classic touchstones of that relationship with the positive side of spending time together and shared activities, the dueling parent-child dynamics as perceived by Petunia, and the desire for independence that can come about naturally. I thought it was really helpful in fact to have laid that out at this point in their lives PRIOR to addressing the Hogwarts issue because it lays the foundation of a natural sibling relationship first, and THEN introduces the complication that really sends things over the edge.
In terms of other aspects of the story, I thought you did a good job with the dialogue of kids at Petunia and Lily's ages. Too many times (even in canon, honestly) kids are portrayed as having a clarity of speech and thought that are unnaturally advanced and instead, you made the interactions and accompanying speech both simpler and more impulsive and emotionally-tied than adults which made everything seem much more authentic.
Finally, perhaps my favorite part of the chapter was the end, where you turned around the dynamic of Petunia calling Lily a "freak" with Lily planting the seed that Petunia thinks she's odd and undesirable as a result of being a witch - something that I'm sure Petunia will later pick up on and in a way, the fact that Lily introduced the idea in the story makes the insult more cutting I think.
If I had any CC, which I really don't, it's that occasionally, when we see the breaks in dialogue that provide an opportunity to hear Petunia's thoughts, they are accompanied at times by an action, or description of Petunia that feels unnecessary. For example "Petunia didn't respond" is something that speaks for itself if you just insert Petunia's thoughts and have Lily speak again thereafter.
All in all though, I enjoyed the story and think it's a good and brave thing to take on that the fandom needs still more of.
Author's Response: Kevin, hi!! I had completely forgotten I requested this review, so this was a wonderful surprise!
I remember from past reviews that you don't shy away from CC (one of the reasons I requested from you!), so I'm flattered that you didn't have too much of it. I think I mentioned in my request that I struggled with this chapter for a long time. Simply knowing you don't think it's terrible is a relief!
"Petunia is an easy character to demonize"
--> this is so true! I have other stories where I demonize her, too. I think JKR was a bit cruel with her in canon. As you've seen in this chapter, I think her life was quite difficult in some ways, but she doesn't get any credit for that.
"I actually found it refreshing that there's a bit of oscillation in Petunia's thoughts and feelings"
--> I often ponder the dilemma between character consistency and the reality that people are not always consistent. I'm glad this came across in a way that, from what I gather, didn't feel unnatural.
This was a very helpful and reassuring review, thank you so much! And don't worry at all about the delay... you should see how behind I am with MY review thread! (EEEK!)
Thanks again! :)