What. What even? What is this? Pure freaking heartbreak? There are no words.
This is so, so lovely. You are kind of a genius, I think. I want to fly over there and steal some of your skillz, because anyone who can write something like this clearly has more than enough to share. I'll leave some biscuits in exchange, so it will be a fair trade.
I think what stands out most to me is the image of James standing knee deep in the stream in his good clothes to find the maple leaf, as if finding it will in some way keep a bit of Albus from being lost as well. The leaf - the stream itself, faded from its former glory is much the same way Albus has faded - its all such beautiful imagery. And then James finds the maple leaf that has followed him home, whole, and finally is able to cry and mourn for his brother and I just die. You've killed me, are you happy? You're a murderer now.
So much hearts right now for this.
xoxoxoxAuthor's Response: I THINK YOU ARE MARY. I HOPE I'M RIGHT.
I'm far from a genius, lovely, and you're than welcome to any of my current skillz which are verging on non-existent :P That is no word of a lie either. BISCUITS ♥
That's what I always think of too, when I think of this one, and he really is hoping, praying that he'll find something he can hold onto. And then it disintegrates and Albus is gone (wherever he has gone which is up to you) but then there is hope and Al is always with him and GOD KNOWS HOW I CAME UP WITH THIS. IT WAS ALL UNINTENTIONAL.
Anyway, I'M SORRY FOR KILLING YOU :( I guess that means you like it though? Yes?
Thank you, my lovely.
xx Report Review
There are a million things I want to say to this, and yet nothing will be fitting enough.
To give you a hint here, I'm lying in my bedroom reading this, and my entire family - extended and all - are downstairs on my first floor. My little brother, who had been sick for a long time, died three days ago. My baby brother, who was 12 months and 9 days younger than I am, is no longer here.
I very rarely read stories where siblings die, because until now the stories seemed an impossible foreshadowing. And now, today, they seem like a cruel interpretation of my life. I chose this because I'm reading you're current story about James, and you're nearly religious five day updates have been incredibly reliable in an otherwise tumultuous time. I didn't know what I was getting into when I clicked the link, but I'm glad I chose it.
I adored this. You managed, in less than 2000 words to capture all the feelings I've been unable to say recently. Being the big sister is the ing thing I know how to do, and now I'm not the big sister anymore and that's it. It's done and it will never be the same again. And I think, at least to me, that's what this story is about. Knowing that he is there and albus is gone and theres nothing he can fix now. There's nothing that will ever be the same.
I wish that I knew what happened to albus, because he's not gone the same way my brother is gone. But he is gone like my brother is gone. But at the same time, I like imagining that it could be anything and James, maybe James can save him. Maybe theres something that we don't know, and albus, who isn't dead but instead lost can be found. I know that thats probably not how you expected his to be read, but to me I don't see a total loss of hope.
You're an amazing writer, and I adore your stories. Thankyou so much for this. It was amazing and exactly what I needed.
KristenAuthor's Response: Oh gosh, I don't really know how I'm going to reply to this. First of all, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I really cannot even imagine what you're going through at the moment. When I write stories like this, I do so with the utmost care because I have not yet lost anyone close to me. I'm always scared that I've done something dreadfully wrong and this review just gives me so much hope in my instincts.
Even hearing that Losing Neverland's regularity has given you some form of stability is so beyond wonderful to hear and I feel a sort of guilt for you not knowing what was going to be behind this story when you clicked.
This is the biggest compliment I've ever received and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I've had reviews from my very favourite authors that praise me - the authors who've taught me how to write - but none of them can come close to the words you've typed here.
That is exactly what the story is about. A part of him is gone and he doesn't quite know who he is anymore and his doubt in everything that is around him now that Al is gone.
He isn't gone in the same way, in my mind. Some people have taken him to mean it like that but for me, it's something quite different, not as straight-forward. Perhaps James could save him, one day, I'd love to think that he could and this is exactly why I like writing with such ambiguity to the story. Anything really is possible and I love it when readers give me their different theories, their interpretations. Yours gives me hope in James and in myself.
Thank YOU so much. I cannot begin to thank you for a review that made me cry when I first saw it and still tugs at my heart now. I will never forget this review - the one amongst the dozens that has given me real, honest belief in myself and my ability - and I am still thinking of you, your family and your brother.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
♥ Report Review
Love, love, LOVE the repetition with all the various ages, over and over. I can't even describe what I like about it, but there's such a feeling of rhythm and poetry and cohesiveness.
And this line! I want it!:
It crumbles in his hand and he is twenty-seven and he doesn't know what to do, so he cries.
I just... ♥
There are no words. There just aren't.
MelanieAuthor's Response: Melanieee - this made my morning today, completely ♥
I'm so glad you liked that. I thought it might get overbearing but the ages are so crucial to it and people often brush over them and forget. It was really just my determination to get it to sink in!
You may have it if you like. It's one of my favourites in this too.
Thank you so much, lovely. I'm so glad you liked it.
xxx Report Review
It was so sad
I loved itAuthor's Response: Thank you so much for the review. I'm glad you liked it :) Report Review
This was so terribly sad, even if there were hints that Albus had passed away throughout, by the end when it was clarified I just felt for James. The writing was so beautiful, though, and I enjoyed how you wrote James remembering his life at seven and racing with his brother. I think that's what made it all pull even more at my heartstrings by the end, the fact he was remembering a happier moment in time when his younger brother had still been there for him when he had lost to Al's maple he had given him. It actually made me tear up a bit, which is quite rare as a piece of writing has to really be written in such a way to make me cry. So, excellent job, you far exceeded with this one-shot, Rachel. It was just the challenge for you to excel at. (: 10/10
squishes. LeslieAuthor's Response: LESLIE -squishes-
You took it that Albus had died? This is why I love writing without setting things in stone. I love seeing how different people interpret it.
That was exactly the point. He wants to remember a time when it was better, when things weren't as difficult as they are for him now that Albus is "gone." I tried to base the relationship of the kids off that of the two little boys and the baby girl who live down my street at home; they have the cutest relationship and I wanted to bring in what I see of them into this.
Thank you so much for such a gorgeous review, lovely. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and in a completely not horrible way, kind of glad it made you tear up.
xx Report Review
I'm actually in tears.
I can't leave you a proper review.
But this was incredibly beautiful, and you are a complete idiot for not realising that you are unbelievably talented and a superb, superb writer. Your prose is incredible and there was so much emotion and pain in this that it just stunned me. I forgot how much I love your writing. Don't you dare ever stop.
♥ alwaysAuthor's Response: If I realised it, I'd be an absolutely unbearable person and I'd have to slap myself constantly. My writing's not perfect and it never will be but if it keeps everyone that reads it happy, I'm happy to keep doing it. I could never give this up.
Thank you so much, lovely. I'm glad you liked it.
xx Report Review
Ooooh, my. Well... I'm not actually sure if this review is going to be coherent or not, but we'll see. :)
That was... beautiful. And I know I say that about a lot of things simply because it's TRUE, but this... this is just... I really want you to know that I thought it was beautiful. I'll try and list off some things that I liked, but above all I'd love for you to know that this was absolutely beautiful.
Do you ever get that feeling when you're stomach is kind of... knotted? Like, twisted. Or something. And I get that in sad movies all the time, but rarely do I ever feel it in stories. This, dear, gave me that feeling. Especially at the very end, and I could see the picture in my mind and see James and SEE him so clearly and... I think your emotions were so vivid that it was just... wow. Anyway, yes. The feeling in the stomach. It was definitely there.
This was heart-wrenching. Like... gut-sadness. I don't really know how to describe it, because it's so raw and real and... sad. It's just SAD, Rachel. But it's perfect.
And so original. I came into it thinking that maybe one of the little kids was going to fall of the bridge and it would be sad and then over. But this... and... with Sherlock... you... GAH. It was just really good, OK? :)
Anyway... I'm not sure if any of that made sense, because I'm still completely blown away. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
- RinAuthor's Response: Coherency is overrated, especially if this is your incoherency because it's an absolutely fabulous review.
Beautiful. Got it. Only I don't believe you, still, but there we go. You know what I'm like with people saying nice things.
Urgh, Rin, you're just too kind for it to be humanly possible. Honestly, I actually can't reply to this. I am so, so glad this was clear. It played out so well in my head - possibly because the bridge in my head is in this little wood near where I used to live that I used to go to with my brother and parents - and to know that comes across for other people too is so lovely to hear. I'm sure everyone's played this game at some point so I think there's a certain universality to it.
Raw and real and sad is exactly what I wanted; I think the style is quite bare which perhaps helps to bring those things across too.
You're the second person to say that now and I'm rather glad that I'm not predictable! I did for a moment before posting it consider going back and making Albus die in a situation like that but I like the way it is too much, with the ambiguity of what has happened to him.
Thank you so, so much, my darling. I owe you replies to a few other absolutely gorgeous reviews and I'll get on them as soon as possible. I just wanted to reply to this one first because it took my breath away.
xx Report Review
This made me cry the first time, it made me cry the second time and I'm crying AGAIN on the third reading. Honestly, you're the only person who can touch me so deeply with just words. I've said it before, I'll say it a hundred times more that you're one of the best authors ever and your talents are limitless.
Angst = perfection and this is perfect angst. You do the maths :)Author's Response: ♥
Can I just leave it at that? If I say anything else, I'll ruin it. So ♥ again and I love you and just for the sake of it: ♥
xxx Report Review
ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE ME CRY?
Knowing you, that's probably a yes.
I'd like to say, firstly, that yes, I do have to review because this is so quintessentially you and I love it. Your angst is still delicate and consuming and heart-wrenching and all of those other words and it's wonderful to see it again (although that's also a testament of how remiss I've been with your stuff).
I had to reread the beginning section because I was confused about locations and stuff, but I don't even think that's important because the sentiment is there. Yes, it's angsty, but it's also sweet because they are so young. As you know, it's rare to see children this young in fanfic and see it done well, so mental squee for that, but...
(That's how far I got to before I had to go, and now I'm upset that I wasn't first. Just putting that out there.)
But, as I was saying, it's not all fun and games, and that's abundantly clear by the way James narrates it. The repetition of "seven years old" just really got to me, I don't know. I imagine myself in his position, and even though we don't know what's happened yet, there's a dread in my heart and I have to work past it to read on.
Now, when James says that this is the moment when his whole world came crashing down, I expected Albus to drown in the river. Because I am eeevil like that. So I was pleasantly surprised that the world-crashing-down moment was so simple, so universal, and so moving as losing to his brother. Again, I imagine myself in that position and though I don't think I cried when I'd lose to my sister at anything, I'd sulk and brood and be melancholy, if a child can be melancholy. But, yeah, just such deft framing and storytelling and it makes me jealous, because I am not that subtle and would drown a five-year-old.
And then grown-up James... again, I put myself in his shoes (I rarely do that, by the way; sometimes I'll see parallels between myself/life and a story but never like this) and I feel my heart breaking for him. And I appreciate how you don't pinpoint exactly what's wrong with Albus, because that's not important in the scheme of things, either. Just... gah, it makes me frustrated that I can't articulate this better. And sad, of course, because it is so natural for James to feel like this and yet so moving.
You just get to me every single time, Rachel. This is no exception.Author's Response: Well, I wasn't trying exactly but is it a little creepy to say that it's always an added bonus?
I am so out of practice with angst that it makes me terribly sad. I think the idea of this one is lovely, the writing something else. Eventually I'll find the balance I like again, but to hear you call it all of those, quite frankly amazing, words is wonderful and confidence-filling and undeservedly ego-boosting.
I'll fiddle around with it at some point and sort that out. Kids done well? I've not been in the company of anyone of this age for about 6-7 years now so I wouldn't say I was worried about it as such, since it was more the moment I wanted to get across than the characters, but it's lovely to hear that you think it worked.
That was pretty much the point of the reference to his age; I just quite liked it and I remember being around that age and being in the upper year of the lower part of primary school and thinking everyone else was so young, especially my little brother, and that I could do everything better, because I was older. Plus, sometimes people forget the important facts so on a completely bland and unintelligent level, it was also just to remind everyone how old he is :P
Hahaha, you would not have just drowned him. You might have done like I did and thought "I could drown him but they'll expect that. Keep writing until something better comes along." And then you'd have come up with something a billion times better than this, because that's just what you do.
Writing this grown-up James actually made me a bit teary. My heart just shuddered a little when I was typing. In that line about his home feeling empty, I nearly wrote in a girlfriend just to give him something to hold onto, but I love broken James so much that I'd have been jealous of herâ¦
And your reviews make me smile like an idiot every time I receive them, because they really do blow me away. I know you said earlier that you've not read something of mine for a while but I like it like that, because it makes these reviews a million times more special to me.
Thank you so, so much, lovely. I am so glad you liked it.
xx Report Review
This is beautiful, Rachel, just like all of your work. But there was something about this piece that really spoke to me. I can't put my finger on it, perhaps it was the solemnity or the sudden, almost breathtaking shift in mood, but it really stopped me and made me think about what I'd just read, which, admittedly, doesn't happen very often.
My heart broke for poor James when I realized what was happening. You've always been so incredibly gifted at portraying a character's emotions and getting inside of their heads, and this one-shot was no different. Even though our time with James and Albus was brief, it spoke volumes about their personalities and just...good lord, it was just amazing.
I really really loved this, Rachel. You did a beyond fabulous job.
Molly ♥Author's Response: ♥
I think it was the complete abandonment of that dreamier style I'd adopted for myself, perhaps. This, when I read it back, made me want to take lots of bows and ribbons and extravagant pretty things and wrap it up in them. Maybe it doesn't need it. It's definitely a little more straight-forward in the way it's been written, though, along with a slightly complex plot that does probably need a bit of deciphering.
I was writing this and doing the 'I don't know where this is going but we'll see' thing, so when I realised what James was there for, I was a little bit 'oh, no' about it. I was telling Marina after I wrote it that this had started as a Teddy/Victoire, singing 'Five Little Speckled Frogs' before me murdering her, so the way it actually played out was far more touching than I'd originally anticipated.
Thank you so, so much, lovely. I'm terribly glad that you liked it - it really does mean the world to me ^_^
xx Report Review
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