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20 Reviews Found

Review #1, by dracoismyboyfriendguys 

18th May 2017:
Hi,
I've binge read this story over the past couple of days and I've saved all my thoughts till now! I was so so impressed- your writing style is beautiful, I can't wait to read a novel written by you one day!
Isobel was my absolute favourite. As someone who's suffered with eating disorders for years, I thought you told her story beautifully and I was really pleasant surprised with your reveal about her sexuality- it fits so perfectly.
Laurel was a brilliantly developed character too. The whole charming aspect is so original and interesting- it definitely made for a unique plot and I don't think I'll ever read a story quite like it again.
The way you revealed different aspects of Tristan's life gradually was so clever and I thought his arc was one of the best developed ones I've read in a fanfic!
Congrats on such a fantastic work of fiction! I can't wait to have a look at some of your other stories!
Lots of love and thank you for keeping me entertained for the last few days,
Alice xx

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Review #2, by Bele 

13th April 2017:
Very nice story. Thank you for writing it.

Author's Response: Thank you for reading and taking the time to review!

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Review #3, by Amicus 

13th November 2016:
Just amazing couldn't stop reading so many things that could have across trophy or ridiculous handled beautifully. Not the sort of story I expected to love but one of the best I've ever read.

Author's Response: Thank you so much! That means so much to hear :)

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Review #4, by baletgir 

22nd October 2016:
I have no words. I am happy and sad. Yes, this was a satisfying ending and I understand why you ended it here, but I would love to read more. The parallel to Harry's story is such an imaginative concept and you've done it so well. I've also fallen in love with Tristan, Isobel, Emily, and Laurel and I want to know how their 6th and 7th years turn out.

All in all, an amazing story and so well written.

Thank you!

Author's Response: To be completely honest, I do have a lot of follow up sequel things I've worked on. Thing is, while they have moments I LOVE, I'm not sure if they really work out as complete stories. Year Five meant a lot to me, and it's still something I'm really proud of. I'd hate to try to follow it up and fail. (More importantly, I'm trying to focus on original fiction now).

But I will say, a big part of why I logged on today (after so long an absence) was an intense feeling of nostalgia for this story. Seeing these surprise reviews gave me so many squee feels!

If ever I do post more of the Y5 saga, it'll def be because of you and more reviews.

But I'm not promising anything!

Again, thank you so much!
xoxo
Roisin


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Review #5, by naughtforreal 

12th December 2015:
Hi! I binge-read your fic and really, I wanted to write reviews for every chapter but Idk seems pointless. However, I will just write you quite long review to make up for the 22 ones hah I don't even understand what I'm saying at this point.

Anyway, I love your story. I love the angst--the everything. Few people write angst very nicely (i.e. I write them poorly) and I really love that their angst wasn't...y'know. Just bs. Heh.

Tristan was far by the most well-rounded character so far. I actually thought he was the son of Bellatrix and Rodolphus for some point but Rabastan--that's okay, too. I mean, I really don't know what to say. He's a really brilliantly-written character! My heart broke for the poor boy but I'm really proud of him.

Isobel is my fave and while she was the most relatable character, I like how she ended! It meant a lot that you get her to realize to just like the way she is and I'm proud of her (proud of you, too). It's a step by step process but you know, I know she'll be okay. (And she might be a lesbian, right? I mean she's still finding herself but I love it!)

Laurel broke my heart the entire story! She can be difficult and spontaneous, sometimes and she combusts when you're not looking but I love how you written her--honest. I'm glad she realized (a little late but still) to catch herself right before she spirals back down and I'm proud of her, too!

Emily's far by the best. There aren't really anything to say after that line. She's the best. Enough said.

To the other bits of the story: I've always thought about the Hufflepuffs growing out mind-altering plants when no one's looking and that Sprout of course, would be very aware of this HAHA. Huff le puff. That's perfect I'm crying. (Truth be told, I was about to put this in my story before I read this so I'm sorry for a little shadowing in the future.) And a wizard wanting to become a muggle! I never thought about it like that! Such a fresh POV and it's brilliant!

It's one of the most relatable stories I've ever read and it such a good read for people with the angst, too and thanks for reminding everyone about the rare fleeting good times in this life. They might be rare but they're there, aren't they? I swear I'm in love with you. Or at least, your characters haha.

Sorry, don't be creeped out! Congrats on finishing this~ (T^T crying in the corner now brb)

Author's Response: This review makes me flap my arms and squeal - THANK YOU SO MUCH! I always want to burst into tears when I get such a nice review like this on the last chapter, and I so appreciate you taking the time to tell me what you thought :)

Heh, there were a few reasons I decided to make Tristan Rabastan's son rather than Rodolphus', but I'm not gonna lie: part of it was the name. Like, "Rodolphus" just reminded me too much of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer :P "Rabastan" seemed to suit Tristan better, so lo and behold, Rabastan it was.

Yes, you called it right, Isobel is gay and beginning to think about that. I didn't want to give that too much of a resolution, because I didn't really want the ending of this story to be an /ending/ if that makes sense. Like, life never perfectly wraps up with a little bow, and there are always threads that are going to keep on developing. And like, these kids are only 16 (and Isobel's still 15), so while I wanted to give them an ending of sorts, I also wanted to keep a lot open for them.

I really love what you said about how Laurel "combusts when you're not looking at her" - that's a really apt way of describing it.

Yee, Emily. Yes, I absolutely love her. I think that's part of why she ended up getting a pretty awful backstory as well - I was sort of being too easy on her originally because I liked her so much.

Heeheehee, Sprout! I'm glad you agree about her and the Hufflepuffs ("Huff le Puffs"). I mean, it's just OBVIOUS isn't it?

In a lot of ways, Tristan was designed to be the anti-Potter. Like a mirror image: identical, but inverted. Both got orphaned during the war, both got adopted, but Harry never knew about his own backstory while Tristan was one of the ONLY people that knew the truth about himself. Harry hated living with the Dursleys and adored the wizarding world, while Tristan loves his adopted parents and resents the wizarding world. Harry sees family that look like him in the Mirror of Erised, Tristan sees a version of himself that looks like his adoptive family. Both of them had a choice whether or not to be in Slytherin, but Tristan gave in whereas Harry fought the hat. And then there's the silly stuff: Tristan wears contacts (not glasses), and actually likes getting socks as gifts.

Part of my idea was that JKR came up with Harry's character first, then designed the whole wizarding world around him. Since this is fanfiction, I was interested to see how someone different would fit into that context. Plus, a lot of teenage issues never got explored in canon, partially I think, because there just wasn't enough TIME. Like, the trio were all too busy fighting evil to moan about not having CD players or start experimenting with mind altering substances/spells.

But yeah, like I said, I never planned this to be so angsty. I was 22 when I started planning this fic, so I'd sort of forgotten how brutal being a teenager was. Like, I'd just kind of remembered it all as fun and rosey. Writing these characters kind of made the whole mindset come back, and I remembered how confusing and difficult it was. So the happy ending here is that even though they went through some really awful crap, they'll end up remembering something brighter and better. And the past doesn't exist anyway - it's all just a memory. So if the memories are better, that's all that really matters.

Thank you again so much for this amazing, lovely review. It really does mean so much to me that this story meant resonated with you :)



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Review #6, by Gabriella Hunter 

24th October 2015:
Hello!

*Tosses confetti* Congratulations for finishing this wonderful story! This is Gabbie of course and you know what's about to go down! *Twerks*

I am so sad to see that this story is over but I think that you wrapped this all up so brilliantly. I think what I really loved the most though was just the simple fact that the group was together, like really together. There were no longer any reasons for them to guard against each other and I loved the melding of their thoughts and the strength of their friendship. I wish that I could kidnap a few of my friends and go lurking around all of these awesome places. Also, The Evil Dead II is one of the best moves EVER cause it's all groovy and such but I can understand why the girls didn't like it. Hahaha.

Anyway, I feel like the healing process for all of them is going to be a slow but rewards gift. I especially liked the scene with Isobel and Laurel, the two of them were dealing with addictions that seemed different but were actually quite similar.

The analogy that you gave for "feeding the beast" was actually pretty damn clever. I don't think there would have been a better way to explain it and seeing Isobel slowly getting back to herself and taking control of her body was wonderful to read. She also got her boobs back and that's always nice too! I think another section of this that I liked was Laurel's realization that she could be whoever she wanted. Fashion is a type of magic for someone like her who was never allowed to be herself and I hope she continues to discover it. ;__;

I was also happy to see that Emily and Tristan's relationship had started to grow. I feel like Emily is right when she said that her feelings with him will be different than they would have been with anyone else. It actually proved a good point with girls who people seem to see as "loose" because having many partners for a girl means something completely different for men. Now, I'm all about women owning their sexuality and doing whatever they want (No pun intended) but the important thing here is the emotional connection. Emily, I hope will cherish that and although I'm not sure if she and Tristan last, I really hope that they both learn something about truly being close to someone. All those kisses will be sweeter. :3

Ugh, I'm just so overcome with feels! I've been on a wild journey with these kids and now they've all matured and grown up. It's worse than watching babies grow and lose their plumpness!

*Ahem*

I think that you've truly created something special here. My preciously broken group is whole again and they'll be heading towards their sixth year with happier things, I hope. I am glad though that they all managed to pass and while I'm not sure what they'll do after they leave Hogwarts, they've got each other. Ah, I'm so cheesy. Hahaha.

Well, this was a great novel and I could go on and on and on and on and on about how much it meant to me to read this but I think you understand. Thank you SO much for this and I will now be slinking over to A Study in Silver! I'm so excited!

Much, much love,

Gabbie

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Review #7, by water_lily43175 

4th October 2015:
Okay, so I read this chapter last night and wanted to be able to review it with a fresh(er) mind than the one I was writing with last night. I've absolutely loved reading this fic, and it's been wonderful to see its popularity explode, especially on the forums - although that's made me feel even more guilty about having left it so long to actually read and review it myself. How dare real life come along and get in the way.

As for this chapter, it's just the perfect way to end the story. There's this sense what while things aren't perfect, they're okay. And I think that's a really lovely way to end. It's realistic, and very teenage-esque.

I love that they're going round all of Britain on the Knight Bus. Yay Knight Bus! Also props for the Doctor Who insertion, and it's now got me thinking about how WEIRD that programme must come across to wizards.

The Muggle clothing bit, and most specifically that sense of self-identification, is AMAZING. It's something I'd never even thought of before, but witches and wizards wear black robes ALL THE TIME, and I think it's easy to imagine them wearing Muggle clothes in their downtime (and perhaps the younger guys do) but actually in the books the adults really do wear robes the whole time, and if they wear Muggle clothes it's for an exceptional circumstance (or they're visiting Muggle Britain, which I suppose isn't all that exceptional, but it's certainly not COMMON). Maybe it's a generational thing. But either way, at Hogwarts it's all about dem robes, regardless of how much the films try to corrupt things. And it's actually nice to see Isobel and Laurel having that opportunity to express themselves through clothing for perhaps the first time ever. This line - "She'd never before been given such a straightforward opportunity to decide who she was" is just ... lovely. Sad, but lovely at the same time.

Isobel ... guh, I could gush for HOURS over her. Like I said above, the nice thing about this ending is that it's not one of those "everything is fine" endings. It feels RIGHT that Isobel still has those niggles about herself, because you don't become fine just like that. But her head's in the right place, and that's the important thing.

I just adore Laurel, as well. Giving the sort of body image advice that every girl and woman should hear. IF YOU FEEL SEXY, YOU ARE SEXY.

I'm not a Tonks/Lupin fan. Can't see it. Teddy Lupin sort of makes it worthwhile. But I'm the world's biggest Charlie/Tonks shipper, so AWESOME POINTS TO YOU for that little insertion!

Fair play, animation is pretty damn sweet. Us Muggles are so clever.

Emily/Tristan makes me happy. HAPPY, I tell you.

And they all dun good in their exams, WELL DONE KIDS. THE END. They're going to be okay. Sob. That last line = perfection.

So I initially thought I'd like this fic because I like fics about OC characters during Harry's time at Hogwarts. I think it's a really fun, original way to explore the world of Hogwarts and magic without having to have Harry and Voldemort at the forefront. But this fic has been SO MUCH MORE than just that. It's about the focus on those issues which most teenagers struggle through at some stage, and it really is incredibly realistic. We don't get this sort of focus in the books themselves - mind you, let's face it, poor Harry had enough on his plate without having an existential crisis thrown into the mix - and this is a wonderful mix of HP canon and teenage angst and a bit more besides. I think Tristan's journey of self-discovery and self-identity is just so wonderful, how he started out feeling so lost, only to realise the thing he'd been looking for was never there at all, and the person he was looking for was there inside him the whole time.

I think Isobel is probably my favourite of the four, and it's been sad to see her crumble as the world around her falls apart, but her total love and adoration of her friends and selflessness towards them is just the most amazing thing. Also it's been lovely to see Laurel blossom - and become her normal self, I guess - as things have gone on. Even Emily, who seemed the most open and innocent of them all, has her own demons which serve to explain how she's the way she is.

I've loved this. In case that hasn't been made clear by my utter word waffle. THANK YOU for writing Year Five, it's been an absolute pleasure to read. Even if it has taken me centuries.

-Ellie

Author's Response: ELLIE!!! I'm SO sorry it's taken me SO long to reply to this FANTASTIC AMAZING FLAIL-INDUCING REVIEW. (Basically, I had this really long to-do list and used "responding to reviews" as a reward for finishing it.)

SO HERE I FINALLY AM. GAH THANK YOU FOR THIS REVIEW! AND ALL YOUR REVIEWS! XOXOXOXOXOXO

This story has been such a crazy experience because I NEVER thought it would get such a positive reaction. I just CAN'T EVEN with my feels. You were one of the VERY first people to read and review, and you just have NO idea how much that encouragement means to me. For the longest time is was just the same three people reviewing new chapters (including you), and that's THE reason I kept posting.

I'm SO glad you thought the ending was satisfying. I didn't think it would fit to wrap a big bow on things, and a big part of that is that they're all still so young. Like, this isn't THE ending of their story. Just AN ending.

Hehe, my notes for this story included the words "KNIGHT BUS AT SOME POINT!"

And dude, right? Doctor Who would be cray to wizards.

"But either way, at Hogwarts it's all about dem robes, regardless of how much the films try to corrupt things." Yes. This.

BUT YEAH. Self-identification through clothing is SUCH a big part of the teenage experience. Even "not caring about how you dress/just wanting to be comfortable" is a STATEMENT. And with ALL DEM ROBES, that part of teenagerhood never got explored in canon, so I really wanted to at least touch on it in this story. I think a lot of people write the preoccupation with clothing and style as, like, teenage vanity, but I think it's a really important part of exploring your identity. And Laurel could definitely use some of that about now!

Isobel's arc is something I wish I had done better, and sort of want to go back and tweak in places, so I'm really happy you liked how it went here. I feel like TV shows and things tend to follow an eating disorder for an episode or two, then the character faints after like three days, "learns his/her lesson," hugs it out, and BAM IS CURED. In reality, recovery is a long process that doesn't happen over night. But there are a lot of little victories along the way, so this is one for her.

IF YOU FEEL SEXY, YOU ARE SEXY. This is the truest thing that has ever thruthed. EVERYONE MUST KNOW THIS.

There is just no way that Charlie/Tonks never happened (unless Charlie is gay, which I'm also down with). BUT YEAH. CHARLIE/TONKS. They had to have AT LEAST been biffles.

I'm really really really absurdly proud of that last line and I'm SO GLAD YOU LIKED IT YAY.

It's funny, because when I first got the idea for this story, I thought it would be this kind of lighthearted romp about Hogwarts' stoners. Like you said, just a fun exploration of the universe from another POV. But yeah, just as soon as I started writing it, something happened. I think I'd kind of glamorized my own teenage experience in my mind and was viewing it with rosey glasses (I was almost 23 when I started writing this). But once I started writing this, ALL these memories of my teenage life and friends and stuff came back. Like, I really remembered the FEELING of it. All the angst and confusion, and good people not being as good as they should be because they're YOUNG and just have their own stuff going on.

It was honestly HARD to write at times, because I pushed myself to explore what SHOULD happen rather than what I WANTED to happen.

BLAGH, at the risk of just totally repeating myself a thousand times, I just CAN'T overstate how much it's meant to me that this story has resonated with people. It was such a big project, and reviews like this make it SO worth it.

THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING.
Love,
Roisin









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Review #8, by moonbaby11 

6th September 2015:
AND HERE WE ARE. THE ENDING.

YES EVERYONE DID WELL ON THEIR OWLS I'M SO PROUD IT'S LIKE THESE CHARACTERS ARE MY OWN CHILDREN WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN???

I guess I was right about Isobel finally accepting herself. She's eating without too much worry about what's going into her body and that makes me feel a sense of relief for her. She's finally going to become healthy and that's exactly what she needs. Laurel being there to comfort and encourage her through all of it made me smile and realize how far these characters have come -- Isobel was encouraging Laurel before and now the roles are reversed. I think it's a true testament to how strong these friendships are.

AND HELLO TONKS. I was hoping she'd make another appearance at some point and I wasn't disappointed! (Also bonus points for the Charlie/Tonks reference because, no lie, that's one of my favourite ships).

Isobel and Laurel's reaction to animated movies is just pure gold. I mean, I kind of have the same feelings because to me animated movies will always be sort of magical, but I love how difficult it was for them to grasp that muggles can do that with simple, muggle technology. That part honestly made me laugh out loud.

YES! EMILY AND TRISTAN! FINALLY! You know, I'm happy that they're still taking things slow. After everything they've been through (together and separately) I think it would be too difficult on them to go faster in their relationship. Plus, the image of the two of them just lying in bed, sharing innocent kisses, is too cute for me to pass up!

I think this chapter effectively wrapped everything up that wasn't finalized in the previous chapter. All the characters relationships and struggles have seemed to reach an end and tie together wonderfully. The ending put a smile on my face and I feel like it was a beautiful way to finish this novel -- that last line was lovely.

Overall, this novel was like a work of art or something. You perfectly portrayed the struggle of being a teenager while managing to mix magic and the canon of the HP books into it all. I think this story is definitely a must-read and I'm glad I finally sat down to give it a go. I don't regret it at all, but I do know that I'm going to miss Tristan, Emily, Isobel, and Laurel! It feels so weird that their story is actually over??? Maybe I'll have to make up for the absence of this story in my life by reading more of your work? I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Author's Response: IT FILLS ME WITH SUCH JOY THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS ZOMG. Like, YEE. That's the actual best thing ever!

This story is kind of weird in regards to Laurel, because we never got to see the person she USED to be, and the friendships she USED to have, because we meet her when she's at her lowest. But yeah, her and Isobel have a LOT of history. During most of the story, they both have so many of their own issues that their relationship really suffers, but there is a reason they're best friends. Now, they're both finally coming BACK, and finally able to help and encourage one another. Open communication and support is the single most important thing for someone recovering from an eating disorder, so it's meaningful that Isobel has that again.

CHARLIE/TONKS! Like, RIGHT?!?!?! The ONLY way I won't accept Charlie/Tonks is if Charlie is gay (another spin I really like). But in any event, they HAD to have been biffles. There is just no way they were not biffles.

Yeah, the animation thing is another Tristan Vindication. Isobel and Laurel spend most of the story all like "oh, Tristan's talking about how amazing muggles are again." Now, with this, they're all like "WELL DAMN THAT'S AMAZING."

YEE :D I'm so glad you liked how I played Tristan/Emily! I liked the idea that something gentle and slow-burning was more of a payoff after SO much shipping.

*Flails* THANK YOU. Gosh, I am just grinning like a fool right now. This story was the first ANYTHING I'd ever written, and it means, like, a weird amount to me. Writing it was just such a BIG project, and I really pushed myself to follow the story where it SHOULD go rather than where I wanted it to go.

So yeah, having someone care about it, and really engage with it - that's just the most amazing thing. I honestly don't have words enough to say how much it means to me!

XOXOXOXOXO
(there aren't enough X's and O's in the world!)
Roisin


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Review #9, by CambAngst 

29th August 2015:
Hi, Roisin! At long last, here I am at the end. This is going to be a weird review, I'll tell you that right up front. Not sure what the mix of substance and gushing is going to be.

GryCReMo (Review #42)

You managed to get a Dr. Who reference into the story. Many HPFF'ers I know will strongly approve. ;)

Apparently, when non-magic people dressed themselves, it signified what sort of person they were, or, at least, the sort of person they wanted to be. -- Isn't that the truth. I love the idea of witches and wizards struggling with the significance of muggle clothing. When you're used to mostly wearing robes, the decisions are probably fewer and less important.

I'm so happy to see Isobel and Lauren both doing better. I'm not sure I buy the idea of "starving the beast" until it's dead. I'm not sure it ever dies. But you can definitely make it a tiny, marginalized part of your life.

Only ten weeks old, so Charlieís taking care of it until itís old enough to bring to Norway and introduce into a preserve. Refuses to tell me where he got it from, though, except that it was illegally hatched. -- Cough, cough. Sorry, something in my throat.

Ha! I love the exercise of explaining animation to the two sheltered witches. Come to think of it, hand-drawn animation was a huge undertaking.

All in all, the good times were better than theyíd ever been, and the bad times were further between. -- That's what I want to hear!

Everything considered, it sounds like they all did pretty well on their O.W.L.s. What I really loved about this scene was that there were no lingering feelings of envy and no recriminations for how anyone should have worked harder. They all made it through the year, and that was saying quite a lot.

OK, a couple of small typos before I wrap up:

ďBy way of Muir of Ord,Ē the owlish old driver muttered, annoyed, before shifting into gear. Scottland was hardly on the wa. -- on the way

his parents were glad for him to be spending time with his maters -- with his mates

Now... Whew, deep breath...

You can go a long time on HPFF without reading a story that falls very far outside of some fairly well-bounded norms. Next Gen teen romance with mismatched main characters that might or might not involve an unplanned pregnancy. Marauders-era story pairing Sirius or Remus with a female lead who's doomed to end up very disappointed or, in a worst case, dead. Missing moments stories from the Hogwarts years. The exciting lives of professional Quidditch players. Canon and non-canon characters struggling to overcome the trauma of the war. You get the idea.

What really attracts me to HPFF -- 99% of the reason I keep coming back -- is that every so often I find a story like this one. A story that parallels the books and is affected by the events of the books, but is truly, uniquely its own story. Your characters might share names with canon characters, but they are yours. You breathed so much life into them and made them so genuine and human. You made every part of them real: their strengths and their weaknesses, the good and the bad. You didn't celebrate their flaws, but you also didn't minimize them. You let them be four perfectly normal teenagers struggling with the things that normal teenagers struggle with, plus the added temptation of having magic at their disposal.

In doing this, you managed to replicate that rarest of feats that made the Harry Potter books so special: You allowed your readers to experience genuine empathy for these characters. To relate to what they're feeling and to want to see them be alright. It's no mean feat and my hat is off to you. This was an amazing story and I'm looking forward to whatever comes next!

-Dan

Author's Response: Two things: one, I use responding to reviews as a prize (because I really like responding), so I promised myself I'd get to reply once I updated things. And then that went and took forever.

Two, GUH I get SO MANY FEELS responding to reviews on this last chapter!

Lemme try and hold it together.

Of the very many Teenage Realities that were absent from canon, the intense preoccupation with how you dress was definitely chief among them. It's something I really wanted to try to involve at some point, because it really is such a big part of teenage identity. But like, yeah, it was hard to do within the main story, because all them robes.

Oh man, it's really hard to not just mash my hands on the keyboard and shout "THANK YOU." This was the first fiction thing I'd ever written, and doing it was basically a crash course on How Writing Do. It's impossible to ever explain, but this story is so important to me. And more than that, having people RESPOND to it... It's just amazing. The most amazing possible thing. I know this is a dumb thing to say, since we're all WRITERS and all, but I honestly just don't have words enough for it.

It means so much to me that people here took this story SERIOUSLY, you know? Not like "oh whatever, fanfiction, this is fun." That you've written these really amazing, analytical reviews, and really FELT for these characters, and appreciated what I was trying to do here.

Thank you so much for all your encouragement with this. You were among the first people to really engage with this story, and almost always the first one to leave really detailed reviews when a new chapter got posted. I really can't overstate how important that support has been!

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY. I LOVE EVERYTHING.

xoxo
Roisin



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Review #10, by TidalDragon 

24th August 2015:
AH FERNGULLY! I watched that movie SO MANY times as a kid!

I won't have anything crazily substantive to say about this chapter as it is an epilogue really. Toward the top I did honestly feel that it switched around a bit fast, but that's nothing major in the grand scheme of things.

One of the things I liked a lot about this post-script was that it DIDN'T tie everything up in a nice little bow. Much though I may have wanted it, though there's progress with Tristan and Emily, they aren't yet Tristan/Emily. Though there's progress with Isobel and Laurel, they don't (and rightly so) consider themselves cured. And though there's progress toward next year, and better days, there's still uncertainty lurking in each of their minds as to what exactly it holds.

The downside of an activity like GryCReMo is that I don't get the chance to be as detailed or analytical as I'd like to be. I have to be faster (especially when I'm, you know, about 70 reviews off pace), but what is really great about it is is finally getting to finish stories you keep wanting to, but keep putting off because you have to write this, or review that out of your thread, or whatever other excuses I've come up with not to get here faster.

You deserve every plaudit this story gets Roisin, because it's absolutely brilliant. The writing small-picture isn't pretentiously complex, but on the macro-level the characters and story are layered with such depth and so many nuances that it's incredible.

Truly this is professional grade!

Author's Response: FERNGULLY! I was researching which movies would have been in theaters in London at precisely this time and was SO EXCITED that that was one!

Ah yes, the switching. This is definitely ripe for editing, and I WILL take your comment very to heart as I revise :)

When I first came up with the idea for this story, I thought it would be a totally light-hearted romp about Hogwarts stoners and teen shenanigans. Then when I started writing, ALL thing stuff came back about being a teenager. Like, I'd sort of glossed over a lot of the specific feelings and things and been remembering it all as far rosier than it was (even though it was only a few years in the past).

So that really informed the thesis of this epilogue: Yes, what they all went through was harrowing and traumatic. But, BUT, even if it doesn't all get wrapped up right now, it IS a happy ending. They will REMEMBER it as cleaner and more brilliant than it really was, and that will /make it so./ What really happened then doesn't matter, because reality is just an ambiguous mushy blob of limited individual experience--and it's infinitely open to interpretation. All that matters is what you take from it.

The past doesn't exist. It's only a memory. If it is a good memory, then all is well.


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Review #11, by RavenclawFTW 

8th August 2015:
So I started reading this story five hours ago and haven't stopped once since then. I've seen it recced consistently on the forums, but I never really liked Skins when I watched it, so I thought it wouldn't be for me. For some reason today I saw a post on the forums about it (by crestwood) and I was like let's do this. And I am so glad that I did, because this is such an excellent story. Seriously. I'm so impressed by your characters, your ingenious spin on the Wizarding world, and your intricate inclusion of canon details. I love all of the details you've managed to weave in and your end notes are super helpful.

I love how you've explored what seems like teenage angst to give such believable backstories, and how the histories of each character contributes to how they behave. I especially enjoy how gray the backstories are. Well, not Tristian's. Emily wasn't outright raped, but she knows it wasn't consensual, and doesn't really know how to handle it. Isobel's control issues comes from so much around her and her family's tiny comments that begin to add up. Laurel's family problems are gradual and she just hits her tipping point. Everything is just so believable to me. Especially Tristian's story, even though it's undeniably dark and one-sided. You've also done a brilliant job revealing all of the issues slowly, over the course of the story. I had guessed Tristian's story, but getting all the details wasn't just "oh I was right"-- it packed an emotional punch and I felt so bad for him. I also very much enjoyed your inclusion of Snape in that part of the story, and it seems to be to add a lot to Snape's character. More than that, I loved Tristan's reactions to Snape's bias and how it made him as uncomfortable as it made Emily (or Harry in canon) angry.

I really love how you've developed the information from Pottermore and used all the musical references to tie everything together. I love a lot of the bands you've included in an abstract kind of way, enjoying the music but not relating to the messages as much, but seeing the lyrics woven into the lives of these characters was really amazing to me. You've really given new meaning to the songs for me and I thank you for that. I also love your spin on the Muggle/Wizard divide and how your characters reacted throughout the story to the other world.

Also just the way you explored addiction problems and the Cheering charms...it felt real and desperate, and I could see Laurel's reasonings and struggle so clearly. My favorite book is Infinite Jest, which delves deeply into the issues surrounding addiction and recovery from addiction, and this story really spoke to me as a great look at how people fall into those behaviors and the struggle to recover from them.

So I saw recently that you had a beta request on the forums for this story, and with that in mind, I'm going to point out a few things that stuck out to me as things that could be tightened up a bit. Keep in mind that these points are set against an immense appreciation and enjoyment of the story.

The primary thing that I continually wondered about in the story was what exactly Emily sees in Tristian. She's obviously had some problems in her own past and isn't necessarily as good/pure/whole as her friends continually claim, but the story just felt a bit lacking in development on the reasoning behind her crush (such as there is reasoning behind any crush). It's just kind of accepted and acknowledged by everybody that they're going to tend towards a relationship at some point. At the beginning of the story, the letters definitely provide some explanation for their connection, but by the middle of the story or even when they almost kissed, I had kind of forgotten that connection and was mostly wondering what kept them together. Dunno if that's helpful, but it could be something to keep in mind if you're going through and editing.

The other part that nagged at me was Fred and George's involvement with all of the illicit activities. On the one hand, it felt very in character in terms of their unquestioning friendship (eg to Isobel in Hogsmeade) and general cheerful acceptance of everybody. At the same time, the extent of their indulgence in drugs/alcohol as 13 year olds felt off to me. I've known kids who were into that kind of stuff that young, but usually there was a reason behind it (like the reasoning behind your core 4 characters), and that feels lacking in the case of Fred and George. I dunno. It wasn't a huge issue for me, and I thought you actually wrote their interactions with the crew very in character, but it just felt kinda sketchy. I think Emily voiced concerns about corrupting them early in the story (it's all a bit of a blur at this point), but the issue didn't seem to come up again, and it seems like it could/would have.

Okay, I think that's about all I had to say. I'm sorry if the end way more critical than helpful or something, but I just thought I'd put my two cents out there. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. :)

--J

Author's Response: COULDN'T RESPOND TO THIS REVIEW WITHOUT GOING OVER WORD COUNT. FULL RESPONSE HAS BEEN PM'D. THANX ZOMG YOU RULE.

XOXO
ROISIN


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Review #12, by greenbirds 

15th July 2015:
i cannot believe how entranced i was in this! i usually try not to read stories so quickly, but i sped straight through this, so eager to read more. i finished it in a day and a half. i'm absolutely speechless. i couldn't even leave reviews when i had such strong views and opinions and praise- i was so keen to carry on reading. so sorry about that, but hopefully this review will make up for it? alright, so...

1. i love isobel. i see so much of myself in her, it's almost frightening. thank you so much for creating her. i'm not going to ramble on about my personal life, but yeah, yeah, yeah, isobel is SO GREAT. i've sent several screenshots of her persepective to some friends and they completely agree- i think writing characters that readers can relate too on such a level must be one of the greatest talents a writer could possess. you're absolutely amazing. BUT the quirrell kiss plot line- oh my god! oh my GOD! that was so crazy! when i read his death scene when i was like, eight, i remember thinking he died quite sadly- but now i'm so happy, i really think he got what he deserved, especially as isobel never officially filed the action against him.

2. i love how you've written oliver. i'm personally a fan of the rom-com oliver/oc stories you find on here, but i feel like they 'james potter II' him too much (if that makes sense? sorry i'm exhausted), not giving him his own character. how you wrote him is exactly how the football captain at my school acts, and i like how you embodied the bad traits of gryffindor within him too. it was so great seein the gryffindor/slytherin conflict from the slytherin persepective, like obviously gryffindors aren't going to be complete saints.

3. the way you crafted this whole story about eating disorders, addiction and mental health is just awing. i'm sure everyone's mentioned it to you by now, but you handled it with such sensitive neutrality and simplicity it reads like a professional novel. this kind of reminds me of 'girl, interrupted' by susanna kaysen, especially the laurel storyline. so brilliant, so awing, so talented. again, i'm so tired so i'm probably doing a terrible job of expressing how impressed i am- sorry! you just need to know (hopefully you already do) how incredible this is! how incredible you are!

4. tonks and emily's friendship is so great! i loved that! i know it's a smaller detail compared to the other happenings of the story, but i loved it!

5. onto a longer point (sorry if i'm boring you by now)- i really admired how you handled the plot of tristan and his parentage. you could have easily given it a constant presence to keep readers reading, or just for the sake of a good cliffhanger, but you didn't, and it made the story- and the writing- all the more stunning. i read somewhere that a good writer doesn't need to rely on cliffhangers to keep their readers, and it's most certainly true. and on the subject of tristan's parents- i'm so happy (like i was physically beaming at my computer screen) that he got that closure with rabastan senior, and got better. not completely, fully, wholly better- that would be unrealistic, especially for a teenager- but he DID gain a lot, i think, from speaking to his father, and i'm so glad. i'm so glad in general that the four all got better and defeated their problems, but especially tristan.

6. your references to muggle culture of the 1990s is so great! i loved it! i JUST missed the 90s that tristan loved so much, but you know, i still went through my emo year 7 stage, i still spent itunes vouchers on nirvana and my chemical romance whilst talking about how much i hate my parents on myspace, i'm down with that. kind of. anyway- i just loved how you really embellished the details of his passion for muggle music and literature. and speaking of details-

7. your commitment to keeping this completely canon is unbelievable. i've run out of adjectives to describe your talent and adverbs to describe my reaction to it, so i'm starting to sound really repetitive here, but IT'S SO ADMIRABLE. you deserved all the praise you've been getting, and so much more.

above all, you're such a talented writer, and this was an absolute pleasure to read. thank you so so much for writing this. i really hope you carry on writing, i'm so excited to read more of your work! you have such raw talent, and such a way with not only prose, but characters and plot. you're awe me, and i can't praise you enough.

Author's Response: Oh my gosh, thank you SO MUCH! This is really something of a dream review, right here, and I'm kind of squeeing and jumping up and down and generally having an explosion of feels :D

I'm SO glad to hear that you read this story all at once, because that's very much how it was intended to be read. I wrote it all out and edited it before uploading, rather than writing and posting chapter by chapter, so it doesn't really have the episodic structure of a lot of other fics. Hence why there's never any cliffhangers :P

But thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to leave such a moving, insightful, thoughtful review. You've really made my day! It's just so encouraging and means so much to see that this story resonated with someone.

My first draft of this review response was WAY over the character limit, so I'm going to have to shorten everything I wanted to say! To try and keep myself from just rambling at you and shouting THANK YOU while I smash my hands on the keyboard, I'll reply number by number.

1. You have no idea how happy I am that you appreciated Isobel's character and arc! I've known a lot of people to suffer from eating disorders, so it was really important to me that I wrote about it as accurately and sensitively as possible. And I also didn't want to reduce her to her illness, and have her be a lot of other things outside of just sick, so it means so much to me that you found her perspective compelling and relatable. As for the Quirrel thing... UGH. That was NOT a fun scene to write :( But I've noticed a trend in teen stories where teacher/student plotlines are kind of shipped, or treated as romance. I wanted to subvert that here, and show that NO THAT IS NEVER OKAY (hence it being an assault, rather than a 'consensual' thing--although I think consent is always dubious when there's such a pointed power imbalance).

2. I'm so glad you liked what I did with Oliver! Yes to everything you said!

3. I'm really stoked that you used the term 'neutrality.' I never wanted to do any grandstanding in this story and I knew that readers are smart enough that they didn't need me to tell them what to think. And yeah i was DEF inspired by 'Girl, Interrupted' when it came to Laurel! Well spotted!

4. When I was planning this fic and realized they would have overlapped with Tonks I JUMPED WITH JOY

5. It's funny, because Tristan's backstory was originally going to all get revealed really early on (like, in Ch1). Then it got pushed off to Ch10, and then LAST MINUTE I decided to hold off the big reveal until the end. And I'm super glad you think I handled well, rather than just as a little hook to get readers interested. I also love what you said about him getting better, but not "completely, fully, wholly better." I wanted the ending to this story to be happy, but still realistic. Things are better, and their memories of the past will eventually take on an almost rosy.

Like, when I originally got this idea, I thought it would be a really light and funny story. I had really fond memories of my crazy teenage years. Then, once I started writing, ALL this stuff started coming back to me, and I remembered how AWFUL being a teenager was. So yeah, the happy ending is that they'll look back on this terrible time, and only see the good. And the past is the past--it's just a story we tell ourselves, so you can change the past by telling a happier story.

6. THE 90S! I was so annoyed that the films were set ambiguously present day, so I had a LOT of fun being like HEY LOOK, THE 90S! I was a baby when this story takes place, so I did a WEIRD amount of research to get it right :)

7. THE CANON! That was also incredibly fun in a kind of nerd way :) I really wanted readers to BELIEVE that this could have been happening in the background.

I too am finding myself at a loss for words with which to thank you! This might be my favorite review I've ever gotten, and you have no idea how much it means to me!

xoxo
Roisin



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Review #13, by Alida 

25th June 2015:
I'd just like to sincerely thank you. This piece is honestly one of the most well-written and intriguing stories I've read on this sight. I fell in love with each of the characters, and your evocative prose left me feeling deeply connected to descriptions, settings, and the complex emotions displayed by everyone, but especially Tristan. I know this sounds cliche, but you definitely have a gift for writing. I hope that, if you want, you'll be able to publish original work in the future (I would definitely read it lol.) I found it quite difficult to read some of the more intensely depressing sections, but they were so well-done. The ideas you expressed were really interesting, and I felt your portrayals of canon characters were spot-on. I love writing myself, and I definitely feel as though I've found a lot of inspiration in this story. Loved, loved loved it. Lots of love and the best of luck in the future xx

Author's Response: Oh my gosh, thank you so much! I really appreciate your taking the time to leave a review, and your kind words are making me flail and grin with joy :)

This story was an absolute beast to write and it means so much to me that you enjoyed it and felt inspired by it! The positive feedback I've gotten on this site has encouraged me to begin taking creative writing classes, which have been amazing so far.

Thanks again so much for reading and reviewing!

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #14, by Slide 

7th June 2015:
WOO LAST CHAPTER but also BOO LAST CHAPTER.

Obviously part of the issue for these characters is being underage, but I know I'm as guilty as any writer of wilfully ignoring forms of magical travel apart from Apparition. Which is supposed to be kind of unpleasant and dangerous if done wrong, so the Knight Bus and brooms and Floo are all relied on heavily. But regardless, in a story like this one, I think it's important to use little details like the Knight Bus to ground it in the Potterverse, and you always use them perfectly. It's apt, not like a tour of canon stuff.

The kids are better, but of course they'll still smoke outdoors and break the rules. Because they're still THEM. And still teenagers.

...I envy the wizarding world for having to think so little about fashion. MY BANE.

Yay, Isobel is getting her disorder under control. Laurel's advice sounds wise. And thank GOD she's identified it as an addiction to starvation instead of an addiction to FOOD. I realise that perhaps the saddest thing about this story - you know, aside from Tristan's attempted suicide and parental issues and Laurel's overdosing and addiction and Quirrell's sexual assault... ASIDE FROM ALL OF THAT the saddest thing is that Isobel's eating disorder has been kind of a footnote to those problems. I don't mean that it's not been given the right dramatic weight, I don't mean it's been a footnote in the writing, but those big problems hit all four of them. In another life, Isobel's struggles would have consumed a friendship group with worry and support. In this life, some of them didn't notice just because their own situations were genuinely too overwhelming. That's rather sad.

Just as I was thinking, 'I love Laurel,' Isobel goes and thinks basically the same thing. That's GOOD WRITIN' THERE.

CHUCK WEASLEY. That name has to stick. I love Tonks. For some reason I tend to love Tonks cameos in stories more than I love Tonks-centric stories. It's hard to keep the Tonksness of Tonks when it's all about Tonks. She should whirl in and out, being Tonks at everything. Okay it's late and I'm determined to finish but you'll just have to put up with this phase of my reviewing.

I love it when wizards think simple Muggle things are awesome. Because they ARE.

Yay, the inevitable but still delightful hookup of Emily and Tristan! You crazy kids try something healthy for a change.

Year Five: Sponsored by Weetabix.

And they are, of course, rather alright with their exam results in the end. And it IS the end. I have adored the story, but then, a story about OCs set against the backdrop of canon is right up my alley (and you make me want to brush up my old stories and make them way less... dated, by which I mean terrible). But this has had great characters and been tremendously character-driven, which I adore. Your determined adherence to canon has kept a story where magic is hardly ever a plot point (magic drugs aside) still perfectly rooted in the Potter-world. Sometimes this kind of drama fanfic can feel like you could transplant it to the real world and lose little, but doing that to Year Five would be to rip out the heart of it.

Or one of the hearts. Another's the aforementioned characters, who you've weaved and introduced masterfully. While Isobel remains my favourite, I've loved how Laurel snuck up on me as a reader, introduced far more slowly and more gently than any of the others. I still don't feel like I have a full grasp of her, but that's okay - because she's in a transition herself, so my sense of her being incomplete feels apt, as her OWN sense of herself is incomplete.

Then there's the moral complexity and messiness of issues, which always gets me on board. You neither shy away from nastiness, nor do you condemn or justify, which is just perfect. And again I must commend you on your deft touch. The big, important moments get the perfect amount of attention. You give them all due deference and focus, and don't let them bog the story down. An attempted suicide and a visit to meet one's Nazi birth-father could have had chapters upon chapters dedicated to them, but they weren't THE point, they were just SOME points. And they were handled brilliantly but not over-indulgently.

'Over-indulgent' might be what this review is in danger of becoming, so I shall start to tie it off (I also have a cat asleep on my forearms which is making typing harder). I must absolutely go through the rest of your work, but if there is no sequel, especially no continuation reaching to the HBP-DH era and Second War, I'll just have to throw a tantrum.

This has been a pure pleasure to read. Thank you so much for writing it.

Author's Response: AH this review has been so hard to respond to because I never want them to ennnd!

You know how it feels to put a weird amount of work into a story and then be like "OOH LOOK THE PERSON IS NOTICING ALL THE THINGZ (or at least commenting on them!)"

Confession: 'they all ride the Knight Bus at some point' was totally on this story's to-do list. It might have just been a pit stop on the canon tour.

Ugh, Isobel's ED. I worried SO much because I didn't want to make her arc seem unsatisfying, but then thing is... That's sorta the NATURE of anorexia. I once read an article about how it's impossible (even irresponsible) to write about anorexia at all because to write about it would be to make it seem interesting, and writing is an art so putting it in language is aesthetesizing, but ultimately the author argued, the real experience of anorexia nervosa is TEDIUM and BOREDOM. So yeah, that's tough, because I never wanted this story to seem tedious or boring, so I kind of DIDN'T go too into detail (and I think spending too much time describing or quantifying physical wasting or mechanisms of starvation is irresponsible, too). And, ultimately, it's just not that interesting or glamorous, I think. It just sucks, and then maybe it gets better a bit later, and you look over at your old friend and think "hey, there you are! Huh, you're better now! When did that happen?" No fireworks. So, ugh, I hope it isn't too unsatisfying. TOGGLING REALISM AND GOOD STORYTELLING IS HARD!

(Because my wizard story has to be realistic)

CHUCK WEASLEY IKR! Take it, have it, pass it along. I'm also trying to make "Dom" not be a thing (Nikki, Neeky, Mini, Nik--there are other options!)

That's probably the best explanation of Tonks' characterizations I've ever heard :)

Oh gosh, so I have to tell you something. When I first read your 'Weetabix' comment I started laughing, out loud, and couldn't stop. FOR MINUTES. Like, I got into that slap-happy hysterical thing where you think you're calming down but then start cracking up again. I got so rent with laughter I silent laughed (you know, the almost paralyzing mirth that shows you REALLY mean it). And then I read it again and it happened again.

BUT TO BE REAL, every time I go to London it's like all Weetabix all the time--I blame your people.

This is a very FANFICTIONY sort of fanfiction. When I first wrote this all out, I hadn't yet discovered HPFF or read ANY before, so I didn't realize how much of it was, like, really original stories that could excise the Potter and still stand. I thought it would be a pretty niche audience that would ever have any interest in this story, one which necessarily presupposed Potter nerd-dom, so I played that up and wove in as many meta and thematic references/plays/subversions as possible.

I'm REALLY glad Laurel snuck up on you, that was VERY much what I was trying to do :) And yeah, I didn't want to tie a big bow around all the characters as if they were all done cooking. 'Coming of Age' always struck me like a weird idea because WHAT age? It's more like 'Coming to Another Age.'

My original idea for this story was 'Hogwarts Stoners' and 'reluctant Slytherin Lestrange child brought up as close to mudblood as possible while remaining realistically plausible,' and it was planned as a rather lighthearted romp. But then I thought about it, and realized it couldn't possible be so light, and remembered that being a teenager SUCKS. So, erm, TADA!

AND YES THERE ARE SEQUELS IN THE WORKS. I am still sobbing about them and stressing out over it, but one day. ONE DAY.

Thank you SO much for leaving me all this amazing, insightful, thoughtful reviews. It really makes it all worth it :)

xoxo
Roisin




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Review #15, by AlexFan 

17th December 2014:
Oh my goodness! This is the final chapter! I canít believe it! Itís been such a long ride!

I loved the reference to Doctor Who that you made! And if you were to look at it from a magical perspective, the show would be absolutely boring to witches and wizards because this is the kind of stuff that they can do and theyíd probably wonder why people are so fascinated with it. ďHis police box is bigger on the inside? My cousin did that once, it wasnít that big of a deal.Ē

Oh God, 90ís-early 2000 fashion was just an adventure, I look back at some of the clothing and I just cringe because of how horrible it looks, I canít believe that was considered fashionable once upon the time.

Iím so happy that Isobel is slowly becoming a confident woman again and learning to love herself for who she really is. Thatís really great to see and Iím so incredibly happy for her! She deserves to be happy, and I hope her family never puts her down about her appearance ever again (or else!) Iím just in general so glad that everyone is recovering and becoming better people and leading healthier lives (you know, underage drinking and smoking aside).

I canít believe that the story is finally over! I know I joined the crowds a little late on everything but Iím so glad that you requested from me and that I got to read this awesome story. Youíre a truly talented writer and youíre more than welcome to come and request from me again if you want (and to let me know if you start another novel!)

Author's Response: Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for being an AMAZING reviewer, and reviewing this WHOLE THING! It means the world to me!

Ahahaha--yes, making things 'bigger on the inside' is pretty par for the course in the magical world :p

I'm still super bummed that the movies were set in modern day! Part of the fun of this story was being SUPER aware of the era (including the ridiculous fashions!)

I definitely think that the Doge-Mostafa's learned their lesson. They aren't truly bad people, just sort of inconsiderate--now that they've seen their daughter nearly starve herself to death, they just want to see her healthy and happy. They for sure learned their lesson about body-shaming!

And yeah, all the kids aren't gonna just up and be super Reformed and all--they'll still party a bit. But moderation is key!

Thank you so much for all of your kind words and encouragement! You are the best!

XOXOXO
Roisin


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Review #16, by Spyci 

28th October 2014:
The experience of reading this fic was amazing. I was really impressed with the anti-idyllic story line which so many unoriginal stories follow and I've become such a fan of your style of writing - you're really talented! Well done and thank you so much for introducing me to the making people that are Tristan, Emily, Isobel and Laurel.

Author's Response: Hello! And thank you so much!!! I definitely never felt like I had a 'style' before writing this, so it means a lot to me that you think I have one and like it :D Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review ♥

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Review #17, by Cannons 

21st October 2014:
Hey,

I read this a couple of weeks ago in about two days, you had me totally hooked. I felt like I knew all the characters personally by the end of the story. It is amazing how you have given each character so much depth and such a strong identity.

You have sculpted something incredible whilst using Hogwarts and the magical world as a backdrop. My first thought when I finished this was that you should take it down and turn it in to OF and try and get it published. I thought it really was that good.

Initially it took me a while to get around to this story but there was a lot of people recommending this story over on the forums so I eventually decided to give it a shot and I am pleased I did.

Keep writing!

Cannons (harrypotterlover1 on the forums)

Author's Response: Oh my gosh thank you SO MUCH!!!1! You ABSOLUTELY just made my day :D

I really hadn't expected to actually PULL OFF this story, and finish it, and then end up being proud of it! And then, when I decided to throw it at the internet, I didn't think it would get so much positive feedback, or that I would discover such an AMAZING community with so many incredibly talented and inspiring writers!

Just, AH!!

ThankYouThankYouThankYou for taking the time to read this story and leave a review! I appreciate it so much!

xoxo
-Roisin


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Review #18, by marauderfan 

15th September 2014:
Wow, I can't believe it's the end! This was such a genuinely wonderful story, and I'm so impressed with your storytelling abilities. Even with not much of a plot to work with (life at Hogwarts without all the Voldemort stuff), you created such a rich, engaging story. I loved your attention to details, original ideas, the additional depth to the established canon, and ultimately the realness of your characters. They were all so dynamic, with different flaws, passions, ideas, strengths, and their friendships both as a group of four and individually one-on-one were so realistic and sensitively written.You handled some pretty dark topics in there as well and did it with a lot of tact, and I'm impressed how you handled those. I really can't say enough how much I loved your characters and after following their stories for these 22 chapters I feel like they're old friends of mine, as you feel about people you grew up with, or at least were around to see them change.

And even in the end, things aren't perfect for anyone. Some things still suck, and things are still moving forward. But it's better than it was before, and hey - that's as real as it gets. Great ending.

This review wouldn't be complete if I didn't gush about your writing style. You truly have a gift - your wielding of words and subtle details and especially satire, is just fantastic. You put a lot of planning and thought into this story and it shows - there are no plot holes or things that don't make sense -everything read just like I was seeing it happen in real life. I love the narrative voice you used in his story. Also, I (as well as like 37487 other people) nominated you for the best new author Dobby Award, just so you know. Your writing is awesome! ;)

I'm so, so glad you happened to click on my review thread months ago and dropped a request, because ever since then I've been glued to this story like that really sticky glue you use to fix things when duct tape doesn't work. And now... there's no more story so I'm going to stalk your author page to pass the time until you write a sequel, or another novel, or really anything - if you wrote about a day in the life of Francis the Flobberworm, I'd still read it.

Bravo!

xo,
Kristin

Author's Response: THANK YOU SO MUCH! *sobs*

I don't even know what to say in my last author response of this story! Thank you so much for sticking with this story, and basically coming on this crazy journey with me! You were my first regular reviewer, and your encouragement is the real reason I was able to push through and get this all up!

AND JUST AGJKVFYWMBASJGW THE DOBBY NOMINATIONS. I genuinely CAN'T. I am so overwhelmed with joy and shock!

This was my first ever foray into writing fiction of any kind, and the positive reaction to Year Five has been (and I'm not exaggerating) LIFE CHANGING. I'm taking a creative writing class now, and have committed to learning more and continuing to write. I had no idea whether I'd be any good, and I've learned just a crazy amount!

Seriously, reading your reviews has taught me SO MUCH, and means more to me than I have words to explain!

And what you said about feeling like you know these characters is kind of the most flattering thing ever. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

Just overall, everything about writing this has been such an amazing experience, and it meant sososoSO MUCH to me that you read and reviewed this story!

I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS THE END! (for now)
XOXOXOXOXO
-Roisin


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Review #19, by dracoanddragons 

14th September 2014:
WOW. That's all I can say! Sorry that I haven't read and reviewed in a while, life is crazy.
Anyways... what a great ending! You tied everything up into a beautiful, messy, realistically perfect bow and I'm so impressed with how much all of your characters made an impression on me! Rabastan! What a perfect name for Tristan...His father is the coward he didn't ever want to become, and it truly shows how his characterization was intended to portray his struggle of having that dark past haunt him. Thanks for sharing your talent with me and everyone else who read this fic!
Laurel, Emily, Isobel, and Tristan forever!

Author's Response: YAY! I am SO glad that you liked it! "Beautiful, messy, realistically perfect bow" is, like, the BEST COMPLIMENT EVER!

Right?!?!?! Doesn't it just suit him a MILLION times better! I really tried to hold that name in mind while I wrote him, hoping that people would think it fit once it was revealed!

And I love what you said about Rabastan being a "coward." It's not a common interpretation of Death Eaters, but as I wrote and the idea emerged, I sort of fell in love with it!

Just thank you SOSOSO much for taking the time to read and review! This story was a BEAST of a project to undertake, and your liking it makes it all worth it!

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #20, by mymischiefmanaged 

11th September 2014:
Roisin!!

I did a bad thing. I read your whole novel and haven't stopped to review for ages. So much for reviewing every chapter as I read...I blame your wonderful story. I got so caught up in it that I just couldn't stop. So, I'm feeling guilty, but I can guarantee that I'll be reading this again and when I do I'll leave you reviews on each chapter.

But OHMYGOODNESS I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S OVER!! I've loved reading it, really truly absolutely. All of your characters are so carefully thought through and developed. You weave together so many different little plots. And your loyalty to canon is just amazing and inspiring.

I wasn't sure exactly what to say in this review, so I'm just going to give you my thoughts on each of the main four characters for now.

TRISTAN: You give him these very believable vulnerabilities and flaws while still showing that he's a very valued character and friend. His whole rejection of the wizarding world is fascinating, and some of the most creative writing I've seen in fanfiction. Tristan's preference for all things muggle makes a lot of sense as a consequence of his past, but you put a lot of thought into the GENUINE REASONING behind it as well. He's a character that thinks carefully and deeply, and it's like you've worked through all his thought processes yourself to make sure they do him justice, which is hugely impressive and gives him a lot of depth. You write his depression very convincingly, making sure that you don't dehumanise him in the process, and every aspect of his character ties together wonderfully. As a person I don't think he's my favourite of the four, but as a three dimensional character he is perhaps the most impressive. Also I just LOVE the whole muggle music obsession. All your music references are beautiful, and it captures such an essential aspect of growing up. Is the music love something from you? I feel like it might be. Either way, it's a little thing that you've managed to make sum up so much of who Tristan is, and I love it.

ISOBEL: What really struck me about the way you dealt with Isobel as a character was the TACT you gave her. You managed to demonstrate how her illness affected her mind, giving some of the best examples of unreliable narration I've seen, but you really encourage empathy with her character at the same time. I adore the juxtaposition of Isobel trying to mother her friends and look after them all while she is creating this huge problem for herself. Like with Tristan's depression, you take Isobel's eating disorder as a very real thing. It's all encompassing and devastating but you maintain Isobel as a real person at the same time as Isobel as a person with an illness. It's obviously a very difficult topic to write about but you deal with it gracefully and sympathetically and I'm hugely impressed.

LAUREL: I feel like of all your main characters, Laurel is probably the one we get to know least, but you have good reasons for that and it's effective. Laurel's problems have the biggest effect on the rest of the group, in a big way because they're all slightly culpable, and by showing less of her point of view you have the opportunity to further explore the influence she has over her friends. The whole recreational magic idea was just brilliant. I've never seen it before as an idea but now you've written about it it's obvious that it would be a thing. Of COURSE you'd be tempted to use a charm to make yourself more cheerful. I love how Laurel eventually fully admits her problem to herself and others. She accepts the addiction as a part of her but wants to develop to change it, and that's really inspiring. Also I absolutely love Laurel's friendship with Isobel. All four of them have this really intense, admirable bond, but Laurel and Isobel go beyond that. It's such a lovely exploration into friendship. I love how each of them just assume they can depend on the other, and are right to do so. That connection is one of my favourites in the novel.

EMILY: I've left her till last because she's my favourite. You've taken the characteristics of Hufflepuff as a house and then have done some fascinating exploring of what about a person makes them have these characteristics. I love Emily's caring about other people. I love how she sympathises but doesn't assume she can fix the problem (like Isobel does). She's observant and notices when things are wrong, and because of this people trust her to help them. I love how her friends need her more than she needs them. Isobel has to tell her about Quirrell because she'll understand, and Tristan clearly adores her. You've also done a really good job of giving Emily very real problems, but showing how different her coping mechanisms are than those of her friends. She's suffering but she totally refuses to collapse, and she finds the people she needs to help her feel better rather than taking the Tristan/Laurel method of self destruction. Of all the four, Emily has the most life outside the group. Also I love how her feelings for Tristan are always accepted but don't control her life. I love her writing to Tristan's mum when she's concerned. I love that Tonks and Dumbledore both took notice of her and wanted to help her, and that Cedric sees her as a friend even though she's two years older. She's just fab, all round.

Okay, I'm running out of space, so just a few more things I loved overall: the huge range of problems you tackled, how in character the Weasley twins were, PERCY/PENELOPE, the crossover of houses and years in your friendships, Oliver Wood, the absence of Quidditch, the interesting classes, how many of the teachers were understanding, guidance counselling from Sprout, SNAPE showing his thoughtful side, the different POVs, and so so many more.

This is one of the most original, creative, tactful, true to canon stories I've ever read. I've loved it and am so impressed.

Keep writing! You're amazing!

Much love,

Emma xx

Author's Response: I have been having SUCH a hard time responding to this review, because I keep writing way over the character limit!

In short: THANK YOU! This was kind of the Dream Review. Like, all of your reactions were just EXACTLY what I hoped someone would take from this story. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

I'm especially glad that you thought it was tactful, because that was probably the most difficult thing about writing this story. I very nearly cut some of the gnarlier stuff, out of anxiety that I wouldn't handle it well enough. Then again, leaving it out, I worried, might take away from the realism (in my, um, story about wizards). Ultimately, I did a rather ABSURD amount of research (thank heavens for my jstor access--which allowed me to read psychology journals).

All in all, writing this has been quite literally life changing. I never wrote fiction before, because I never had much confidence in my ability to do it. This was such a huge learning experience, and reading/reviewing other peoples' stories has given me the opportunity to think really critically about different styles and methods. And just the positive response to the story--that's HUGE for me! I am officially taking a creative writing class now, and all credit goes to HPFF!

XOXO
-Roisin


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