Reading Reviews for The Art of Small Talk
19 Reviews Found

Review #1, by ImaRavenclaw Valentine's Day

26th October 2016:
(HPFT Team Werewolf Review)

Hello there, I’m Lily here to review this lovely story (duh).

This was a nice story with a sweet message about fighting for those you love, and it was a nice break from all of the INCREDIBLY fluffy things I’ve been reading. I like those fics with just enough reality that they’re credible and still give you some hope/are good. Your story definitely delivered.

Scorpius’s confidence in Lysander getting better is so great. I know that a lot of people have trouble supporting their partners or friends in recovering from eating disorders. They’re a tough thing in life. The way Scorpius sticks with him, and (even better) notices all of his progress, is definitely an indicator that they have a strong relationship.

This is an interesting pairing too, one that I don’t see around much. I liked it, it was refreshing.

Of course we know what the issue that they’re not discussing is, but I feel like there could be more hinting at it. It doesn’t matter, because the story is great anyway.

Oh no, I guess I better go read Your Life, Your Love *leaves quickly to go to that*

This was wonderful, and I loved how it discussed a sensitive issue that is hard to talk about, but that we should be more informed about.

Yours sincerely,


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Review #2, by 800 words of heaven Valentine's Day

28th July 2015:
Hey, hey, hey! I'm here to shower you in some review love for being such a lovely person during the HC 2k15!

Strangely, I think I've only ever read one story of yours. How is that even possible? Hmm... I must rectify this as soon as possible!

Okay so this was adorable. I loved the way you wrote about Lysander's eating disorder. I felt it to be quite poignant and honest. And as it was written from Scorpius' point of view, it added this extra layer of complexity. I'm just so impressed because you achieved something here in less than 1000 words that I couldn't do if I were given 10 000 words. Just. Gah.

I'm a sucker for Valentine's Day stories, so that this was set then is just an added bonus for me. Everything is just so much more intense on that day for some reason. It's a celebration specifically designed to satisfy the needs of a writer for drama!

Thanks so much for this wonderful story! Don't be surprised if you find me sneaking around on your page in the nearish future :)

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Review #3, by merlins beard Valentine's Day

18th March 2015:
You have weird taste in story topics. And i LOVE IT!
Scorp and Lysander come across like an old married couple who doesn't talk at all, yet the opposite is the case. Scorpius watches closely to pick up on any changes in Lysanders behaviour, he just doesn't want to adress the problem if it isn't necessary...

Author's Response: I'm sat down and wrote this all the way through without stopping and none of it was planned at all. They were kind of talking in circles because that's just what came to my mind at the time :P

These two were so fun to write, I ended up incorporating them into a lot of other stories too because I wasn't ready to let go of them. Thanks for the review!

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Review #4, by milominderbinder Valentine's Day

23rd January 2015:
hi hun!! so because i've been ridiculously off-the-ball i've only just gotten around to reviewing all the challenge entries, ahah! so sorry for the latness :P

this was just amazing though. i have completely never thought of this pairing before but you've pretty much sold me on them! i absolutely love how solid you showed their relationship. that despite all the other issues going on, scorpius wasn't doubting their love or wanting to break up, but being so supportive.

i loved the tone this had just from the fact that you chose to set it during the recovery process. that made it seem somehow so uplifting even though the topic was dark, and so poignant. even thought it was just a tiny slice-of-life you conveyed so much information here, but none of it felt forced or cramped - so well done! this really was great.

~Maia x

Author's Response: hi Maia!

don't worry i've hosted a challenge before and the reviews are such a chore, i understand!

I'm so glad I was able to convince you of this pairing! I wanted to write a relationship that's healthy despite having such important issues. I definitely wanted to show that people can have lives even if they have stuff going on.

I'm so glad my slice of life approach worked and I managed to make a story centered around this topic uplifting in a way. I really thank you for this review, it means a lot that you liked it :)

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Review #5, by AdinaPuff Valentine's Day

20th January 2015:
Review swap!

Awe Joey this was such a cute little one shot. It was great how they talked around everything, but you made it very clear to the reader what the elephant in the room was. I don't think I've ever even considered writing something like this. It was wonderfully formatted.

Scorpius's concern for Lysander was perfect. He was thinking about him the whole time, about how he was and how he was getting better, but he was still concerned. But he never cornered Lysander into talking about it, because he knew it would upset him. And it's Valentine's Day!

Such a cute little one shot you have here. I loved it so much (just how I love all of your writing!)

-Leigh xxx

Author's Response: Hi Leigh!

I'm so glad you thought I did a good job having them kind of talk around the issue. It was pretty difficult to write this sort of thing because small talk is more difficult to think of than important dialogue apparently :P

Scorpius was definitely not about to corner Lysander into anything. He understands that he's trying and doesn't want to discuss such heavy issues on a day like Valentine's Day. He was concerned but he also knew when to take a step back.

It's always so great to hear from you. Thank you for the review!

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Review #6, by EnigmaticEyes16 Valentine's Day

17th January 2015:
Hi! I am finally here to give you your Hot Seat reviews!

You know, I just read this not too long ago and I wanted to review but I didn't know what to say... I still don't really know what to say, which probably has something to do with the fact that I've always had an issue with eating disorders. I don't have one and I don't say that to demean anyone who does, it's just for some reason always been an upsetting topic for me, like the way some people can't handle to sight of blood, when discussing it or watching the movies about it, it just always makes me feel sick and uncharacteristically sad.

But on to your story! I thought this was a very interesting little snippet (it's so short) of Scorpius' and Lysander's life together. They seem very cute and normal, even though we already know Lysander is not exactly normal. But at least he's trying, and is getting better. Although I'm kind of wondering how he could run an apothecary all by himself with such a strict exercising regimen, but I guess being your own boss means you get to work your own hours. I loved the comments about Rose's Senior Healer and how Lysander, being on the other end of this, now understands maybe why his assistant seems to hate him. I thought that was really funny.

I also really like how Scorpius has stuck with Lysander for two years or so with his condition, and seems to be at least partially understanding of it, and attempting to help him get better. But I really love how the eating disorder doesn't change Scorpius' view of Lysander, he knows he's flawed but he's worth it, because that's what love is really, being with someone even with their flaws and bad habits, because dealing with the bad is worth it when there's also so many good things about them, too (I've reworded that sentence several times now and it still doesn't sound right but it will have to do because I have more reviews to give).

I did think this was a great little story though! I like how you focus on the small things, the small talk, things writers typically leave out of stories because they aren't the most exciting bits, or only put in as filler here and there. I like how instead you took it, and made it the story itself. and just kept it fairly simple.


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Review #7, by casual_chaos Valentine's Day

12th January 2015:
Hey Joey!

Wow. This was a beautiful story! I'm always so impressed when people manage to characterize their characters so perfectly in so little words. And you did characterize both Scorpius and Lysander so perfectly. I love how they keep talking about nothing in particular while the, as you said in the summary, elephant in the room is shown only through Scorpius' careful glances and worried thoughts.

But he's not being dramatic about Lysander's ED, he's just being there for him, because that's what you do when you love someone. And the purity of his affection toward Lysander was so obvious here, with no pomp or affected declarations of love. It felt genuine and I'm so impressed and so happy to have read this. The fact that the story is centered around Valentine's Day makes it even more ironically amazing! :)

You've written about this subject with a great amount of care and it's clear you've put a lot of thought into the tiniest details. I just want to shake your hand or something. *shakes hand through the internet*

Keep up with your awesome work! :)


Author's Response: Hi Andy!

I am so glad you thought I characterized them perfectly, that means so much! These two are pretty near and dear to my heart, so any compliment about them makes me so happy. You really understood everything I was trying to get across, from the purity of their love and the absence of grand romantic gestures to the fact that their Valentine's Day was remarkably quiet.

I definitely made sure to approach it with as much tact as possible and while I had previous knowledge enough to forego any real research, I just kind of gave it some thought beforehand to make sure I get everything right. Thank you so much for this review!

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Review #8, by Maelody Valentine's Day

12th January 2015:
Hey there! Me again.

So this one was a little different, in all the good ways different can be. Eating disorders are one of those shifty topics to cover because they can go either one way, or the other. They're sensitive, that's for sure.

I like how this one brings it up, and it's particularly the main focus of this neat little one-shot, but yet it shows it from the point of a loved one. He's not necessarily better, but yet he's not as bad as he could be (or had been). You cover so much time in just a few words that it's nice to see that your words are chosen very wisely. I like that.

Ooh! I spotted the similarity between this story and Your Life, Your Love! I was going to bring it up and ask about it, but you confirmed it in the author's note in the end. Way to not give me the chance to feel special ;).

Personally, I think it's really cool when author's do that. It's like a shameless plug, AND it's a wonderful Easter egg for those who have already read the mentioned story. Maybe it's just me, but I take a lot of joy in those moments haha!

Back to the sensitive topic, because I can't keep my mind to follow one simple track, I think you covered it very well. Not only did you bring it up to bring awareness, but you also showed it going through a character that, in society's eyes, you don't normally see. A boy having a eating disorder is practically unheard of! At least, in my part of the world it is. So this is a great refresher. It doesn't exactly solve anything though, other than he's better than he used to be. That may be just a bit discouraging, but it's also honest. Not everything is resolved. Especially not right away. What's important is seeing someone beside them and willing to help along the way.

You have another great one here on your hands. Great job!

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Review #9, by Lostmyheart Valentine's Day

12th January 2015:
Hi fellow Slytherin!

Came here to give you some reviews, and congrats on your first week on the Hot Seat! Yay!

I really loved how short and sweet this story was, I rarely read slash fics, and this was a really nice change. But I did read some Bellatrix/LadySheFancies stories a few days ago, but honestly, it's been YEARS since I've read a boy/boy fic.

Yours was intriguing, it was so nice to see this side of Scorpius, how loving he was towards Lysander. He seemed extremely thoughtful, with how he decided to drop the issue, but still thought of how Lysander was during their conversation. He really did want the best for him.

I loved the ending, it made me sort of root for Lysander, "please let Scorpius help you get better"-kind of.

I'll read some of your other work during this week, so don't be surprised if I drop by again some time :)

- Avi

Author's Response: Hi Avi!

I LOVE writing boy/boy and my author's page pretty much lives for it these days, not gonna lie. I'm so glad you felt that Scorpius was so loving and thoughtful, I definitely meant for that to come across.

I certainly wanted readers to root for Lysander here, he's pretty easy to get behind :)

Thank you so much for this review!

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Review #10, by Roisin Valentine's Day

6th January 2015:
Scorpius/Lysander is like, one of my FAVORITE pairings that doesn't exist! (For some reason it can't be Lorcan--it HAS to be Lysander!)

What I really like about this one-shot is what a unique take on EDs it is. There isn't endless description of physical wasting (which can be problematic), and you focus on less discussed realities (the kind of weird pickiness people develop, and how others try to accommodate). Most significantly, it's a major issue--confirmed in the story as a major issue--but it's something that can stretch on for so much time, it isn't the ONLY thing about a person, and those around them kind of adapt and learn how to handle it without major breakdowns or whatever. What I mean is, YES, anorexics can have relationships and conversations and do small talk. While their ED is major and ever-present, they don't just Cease Being because of their problem.

Anyway, a really fresh and welcome take on this problem, and one I think you handled with incredible tact and grace. Eating disorders are often handled inappropriately, inaccurately, or downright offensively--it's really satisfying to see someone be so on point!


Author's Response: Scorpius/Lysander is developing into one of my absolute favorites!! And I'm so particular about it not being Lorcan and there is literally no rational thought process that leads to that but it just must be Lysander.

I wasn't even planning on writing about an eating disorder, but it just kind of happened. Like, I knew this was a Valentine's Day dinner and I needed some way to make an entire story set during a meal have some sort of symbolic purpose and then I realized that it was already for the RTD challenge and I might as well reset two defaults while I'm at it.

I certainly never wanted to linger on the physical side of things because I really wanted to dig into the mental aspect of it all. And, like you said, I wanted a bit of normalcy to be shown here because I don't really like the idea of people with mental health issues as 'sick, and that's it.'

So so happy that you think I've handled this with tact, I was all sorts of worried. Thank you so much!

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Review #11, by Dirigible_Plums Valentine's Day

3rd January 2015:
Hi, I'm here to do my part in the review swap. No piece was specified so I hope it's okay that I chose to review this :)

First of all, I would like to say that Scorpius and Lysander seem so sweet together. Personally I'm a fan of Scorose, but there's no way to dislike this pairing when portrayed in this way. They're simple and understated yet their love is still brought across effectively in such a small word count. Kudos to you for that; I would never be able to do the same.

Lysander's situation is an upsetting one and one that I can kind of empathise with. Last year I was headed to the place that he was in, feeling as if I couldn't sit down because I needed to burn calories. It's almost refreshing (?) to have it feature within the story because you've managed to make him seem so human from the very beginning. I think that's what I like about this: everything is so ordinary. The struggles that are shown aren't heroic, but they're not any less important either. You've done a great job with this :)

I think that there are only two criticisms that I can make. First of all I would change 'picking at his food' in the first line to 'pick at his food'. Second of all you accidentally changed tenses in the final paragraph. Instead of 'there is no doubt' it should be 'there was no doubt'.

All in all, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to do a review swap with you since it gave me the chance to stop by :)

Dirigible_Plums xo

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Review #12, by mymischiefmanaged Valentine's Day

27th December 2014:
Joey! I'm here (late, sorry sorry) for our review swap. Hopefully this review will be typo free, but I think that might be too much for me to hope for so forgive me if I make any major errors. I seem to have very bad luck when it comes to reviewing your wonderful stories :)

Hmm, Scorpius/Lysander. I like the pairing a lot. I think Luna would be much more relaxed about her child going out with a Malfoy than any of the Weasleys would be, so you get a very different dynamic to stories that match Scorpius with Rose, Lily or Al. It's especially good here because it allows you to focus on your Lysander and his struggles rather than having irritating family drama coming in at the same time. Good choice.

Your Scorpius is just lovely. He's so thoughtful and demonstrates the kind of tact that is required in circumstances like this. Opening with his offering to make Lysander another plate says so much about his character before we've even really seen who he is. It's such a carefully thought out piece of dialogue. I really like it a lot.

And I'm glad you've made Lysander's eating disorder confusing. You're writing with a lot of sympathy, showing that it's his own struggle, rather than trying to fit him into some mould of what somebody with this kind of problem is like. He's a complicated character with complicated needs, and you don't try to simplify it for the sake of drama. You've written him very carefully and respectfully.

The glimpses you give us into the other characters's lives are sweet. Albus as a poet is a lovely idea, and I'd be interested to see your Rose. You've not drifted from Scorpius and Lysander's relationship at all but you've still managed to give us some information about the others which is really clever writing.

And then ending with Lysander leading Scorpius upstairs is just perfect. You're clarifying that he's more than just his illness, and showing a very real side to his relationship that isn't just Scorpius acting as his minder. Plus Lysander being the one to drag Scorpius rather than the other way round shows that they're still equals in their relationship. You give them a very healthy relationship even in a difficult environment which is refreshing.

Finally, although it's not the story, I really appreciated your note at the end. You're all round fab as a person, and it's really kind to offer people support for the kind of problems you're writing about. Just thought I'd mention it :)

Lovely lovely story, Joey. I'm so glad to have read it. Thanks for the swap!

Emma xx

Author's Response: Hello Emma!

This pairing was chosen on a whim kind of, but I immediately knew who I was writing about once I started. And then I realized that the fit into a universe that I was already developing anyway.

I really wanted Scorpius to play the part of the supportive partner. I wanted to explore the disorder, rather than relationship problems. So, I made the conflict beneath the surface, rather than explicitly in their dialogue.

I certainly didn’t want to fit Lysander into a set 'eating disorder character mold.' I wanted to really get across the nuances that can apply to this wide range of disorders. I think far too often media only focuses on the most convenient type to right. (That's a huge problem with OCD as well)

Poet!Albus wasn't going to be mentioned in this story at first, but then I realized that this is obviously in the same universe as the Albus I wrote in 'Your Life, Your Love' and I just had to mention him. And then I planned out a few more stories in the universe because apparently I hate giving myself a break. Rose's story will be a fun one as well. They're an eccentric group of friends.

So glad you saw the significance of Lysander taking Scorpius upstairs! He may not be in total control over himself during mealtimes, but there are areas of life where he is completely normal, of course.

Oh wow, thank you! I just wanted it to be perfectly clear that I'm writing from a place of support, so I offered some one-on-one if needed. Just thought it may be necessary, just maybe.

Thank you so much for this review!

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Review #13, by Infinityx Valentine's Day

25th December 2014:
Joseph. ♥

I love you for writing about an eating disorder. Really, I am in awe with the way you portrayed it here and it's just so amazing. I deal with so many people each day who tell me about their problems - a lot of them with eating disorders - and it pains me to see how many of them are misunderstood and don't have any real support. I am so so happy that you chose to write about such a delicate topic, and you've done tremendous justice to it in such few words.

I don't even know what to say. I apologize in advance if this review is going to be all over the place. I'm a huge wreck of emotions right now, this just strikes really close to home for me. Your writing is so powerful and every word in this is just packed with so much meaning and subtle subtext that I'm just overwhelmed right now.

The kind of eating disorder you've described here isn't a common one. It seems to go a lot deeper than just an obsession with burning calories. The way he requires a certain set texture and portion of food indicates that there's some kind of compulsive behaviour and attitude that may have been caused by some other incident in his life. I love how you haven't directly stated anything for certain in this but leave all these hints and details that paint a holistic picture of what he's going through.

Before I start gushing about how wonderful Scorpius is in this, I have to commend you on writing this particular pairing. It's not one I've read before and I haven't come across it much. I also know ScoRose is your OTP but the way you've written these two together makes me unable to picture them with anyone else. It's incredible how there are so many details about their relationship, Lysander's problems, his past actions and experiences, Scorpius' supporting nature - all written in such a compact manner. I am completely impressed, Joey.

Scorpius is just perfect. He understands Lysander. He understands that this isn't something that one can just snap out of and he's able to adjust to Lysander's lifestyle without having any kind of irritation about it. The kind of love he holds for Lysander is so pure, so unconditional, and it's so powerful in this. I love how it just stays on throughout everything that happens in this scene and nothing is stated outright. It's just... wow.

The final line. I can't even. Joseph, you are brilliant and I can't stop the tears now. This one's going into my favourites without a doubt. I've had to read it multiple times already before I could bring myself to write a review because every line seems to reveal a whole lot more every time I read this. I'll definitely be coming back to re-read and this is just perfect and just, wow.

You are amazing. ♥

Author's Response: Hey Erin :)

I am so glad that you think I wrote about it with tact. I wouldn't want to mess up anything. I didn't do any research for this, as I already know about the topic, but I was still really nervous about it.

Having my writing called powerful is a really great feeling. This subject does strike close to home for a lot of people, myself included. This was one hundred percent unplanned as a story. Before I started writing, my plans said 'slash story,' so not exactly outlined. This is one of my favorite split second decisions I've ever made.

It's definitely not a very common one, no. Lysander was a couple of different problems, kind of wrapped up into one. I like to speak out about lesser known symptoms of disorders, like, as a way to say THE STUFF YOU SEE ON TV IS NOT THE ONLY WAY TO HAVE *SO AND SO*

The pairing came about really weirdly. I've never even considered it, but then it just started making sense to me as time went on. They both fit into this rapidly growing universe that I'm cultivating and will resurface in upcoming stories!

Scorpius really is lovely here, isn't he? He truly does give a pure example of unconditional love. I had to throw Lysander a bone after putting him through all of this :P

The fact that you reread and added it to your favorites means so much!! This review is just amazing, thank you so much!

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Review #14, by bittersweetflames Valentine's Day

23rd December 2014:
Hi, Joey. Here for our review swap and I am super glad because I had been meaning to read this story and now I can and who says work has to be done? (It doesn't. lol)

So, I love the way you write about Scorpius and Lysander. I've not really read a lot of Lysander fics but I love the way you wrote him in this one. I think the way you handled their relationship (not just the romantic and/or sexual one) but the way they interact with one another in a casual situation is just precious and lovely to read.

Even with the fact that we're dealing with a huge problem like an eating disorder I love how Scorpius sticks with him (people who do always get my VOTE. WOO) and it's beautiful how obvious it is that they're thankful of each other, of life, of just the every single day. :)

All the little nuances of their relationship is beautiful. Like, the words they speak to one another, the little gestures, the smiles and the looks. It speaks of a bond that was made over time and would last beyond it. I just really love your writing - there is an ease and pleasantness to it that makes it easy to read (and reread!) what you write.

Thanks for sharing (and for the swap).


Author's Response: Hi Carla!

I haven't read many Lysander fics either. I'm not sure what it is that makes me favor him as a character, but somehow he seems more interesting than Lorcan to me. Even though I know nothing about either. I have NO idea.

I am so happy that you thought their conversation was well done and picked up on how much they truly care for each other. And your compliment about my writing is so appreciated!! Especially the re-read part because I LOVE when people do that so much. Thank you for the review :)

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Review #15, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Valentine's Day

23rd December 2014:
Hey, Joey!

So when you gave your little warning, I admit I was even more intrigued. I wouldn't say sensitive topics are my area, but they are always a warning in my stories because I tend to write my fair share. So this wasn't a weighty topic for me, but it did still bring all the feels. Seriously. The feels are strong with this one.

Two of my favorite characters in the Next-Gen world and to see them go through hard times like this may have gotten a tear or two. And not because it was sad or anything, but because of how supportive Scorpius is. It's a hard thing to go through or witness and, while the thought sucks, he could have left. BUT HE DIDNT AND THEY ARE TALKING AND IT IS NICE. HOPE FOR ALL!!!

Sorry. :P

Anyway. I love how... not easy, but... natural their relationship seems to be. That even though there's the elephant in the room and it's not something they're talking about, it's not quite defining them either. There's still smiling and making small talk and even flirting a little. Gah, I just want to hug them close and never let go. *does so*

Loved this so very much!


Author's Response: Hi Sam!

I'm the same way. I just tend to add in something that constitutes a touchy subject into most of my stories. It's probably my obsession with realism that does it.

It really is a difficult thing to go through while dating someone and the fact that Scorpius stayed throughout is a huge testament to what he's like as a person. I definitely could not have stomached writing Scorpius leaving in this story, that'd be truly hard to write without feeling guilty.

I'm so glad that their relationship came off as a natural! There's certainly that elephant in the room, but they have lives too, ya know? I wanted to show them acting quite normal despite everything. So happy you liked this, thank you for the favorite and the review!!

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Review #16, by Veritaserum27 Valentine's Day

22nd December 2014:
Hey Joey - here for our review swap.

Ok - I'm going to start by saying that I know I cannot write a review to do this story justice. It is too... amazingly full of perfection and imperfection and beautiful love and I know I'm gonna write all of this and then post the review and look back and say - ugh! I wanted to also say... or - that didn't come out the way I wanted. So I'm sort of apologizing in advance.

There is so, so much packed into this in so few words - it is truly a work of art. It's like a fabulous painting that you could look at for hours or a book that you re-read over and over again, finding a new tidbit every time. You led me to a place that broke my heart completely, and then gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, things will be alright.

I'm going to confess and say that I did read the other reviews for this and kudos on 5 reviews in about 24 hours. That's powerful. This story has obviously hit home with a lot of people and I can only imagine the people that you've touched with this that couldn't bring themselves to write a review. And another confession - I almost skirted over this one as well - but you deserve to know how great this is - and how wonderful and amazing you are.

On one hand, it pains me to know that so, so many are affected by the reality of eating disorders - whether being the one who is suffering from the disorder itself and never being able to explain to anyone (or even yourself) exaclty why it's happening. Or being one who reaches out with every fiber of their being, trying to make everything okay - and never knowing if your next move will be the one to make or break...

Scorpius is the embodiment of unconditional love. He doesn't know what will happen next - not even in the next line of conversation, so he plays it as safe as he can. I love the line about how he was proud that he'd helped Lysander get so far. You have to count all victories - small as they are.

The line "He couldn't tell you exactly when things changed..." was a huge, huge line. I think it exemplifies the emotional state that he's living in. He doesn't even know when things were ever different.

I love that you chose to write about someone who is along the journey of healing. It's easy to write the absolute low point, combined with an epiphany and a turning point. Or even someone who was at the pinnacle of their recovery, looking back on their trials But life is what happens in between all of that other stuff. It is mundane. It is exhausting. It is the small talk.

It is so brilliant that you wrote about exercise-induced bulimia. It is rare to see a story address a lesser known eating disorder. And I really love that you highlighted the fact that it made it so much harder for others to realize something was wrong.

And your author's note. You're so, so kind and I know this is one of those stories that is going to help people. You've done a fantastic job - it is really on another level.

I can't help but hear that the ultimate message here is love. It is written for the Valentine's Day challenge, isn't it?? (I think you might've ruined anyone else's chances though - haha!) But Scorpius is the embodiment of love - and that was J.K.'s message as well. The message that being able to love and understand is so much more powerful than anything, anything else.

So you already know that I think your writing is brilliant and amazing and incredibly unique - but this is so far, the best thing you've ever written that I've had the privilege to read and review.

♥ Beth

Author's Response: I've taken a week to respond to this because it was just too impossibly great to approach. I'm going to try to address what you've said, but keep in mind, I am still jumping for joy as I do.

Even before you started the review, you've already got me reeling. You did write a review that did this, and every other story written justice, trust me.

Comparing my writing to a painting!! Especially one that you could look at for hours. And it's funny you say that, because I totally write my stories for the rereader. I always want to tuck things away inside of the words that you may miss the first time to reward those that look a little closer.

I do hope that I've touched people with this. I am happy to write something that isn't easy to read (or write) if I think it needs to be said. If I can help someone through a story about someone like them (shone in a positive light for once), I've accomplished what I wanted to. Even if they don't leave me a review, I've accomplished what I set out to do.

Scorpius' dialogue was very studied and measured. Of course, mealtimes are a little stressful for both of them, but he manages to keep things under control because he knows that's what Lysander needs. I really do tend to write very idealistic love stories, regardless of what else is going on around the love.

There have been plenty of times in my life when I couldn't remember when something began, (that something being something bad, typically) and that feeling is truly disorienting. It kind of feels as though you'll never get better. Like, you literally cannot remember a time when you were OK. That's kind of the space that Lysander is still in.

You've practically summed up my story better than I could have. "But life is what happens in between all of that other stuff. It is mundane. It is exhausting. It is the small talk." I may pm you about using this as the chapter summary because this review is beautiful.

I always like to bring attention to subsets of these things that people may not know about. I think that a lot of times if someone doesn't fit into the stereotypical systems of a disorder that they see in media, they assume that nothing is wrong. That could be even more dangerous than having a more well known one because they might never get help. This stuff isn't exactly my field, but I do have a vested interest in starting a discussion of some sort about it.

It is written for the Valentine's Day Challenge! I am so glad that you understood what I was trying to get across and said all of these amazingly kind things. And the fact that you called it the best thing I've ever written makes me happier than you even know. You've made my entire week, thank you so much.

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Review #17, by pointless_proclamations Valentine's Day

21st December 2014:
ARGH! [bashes head repeatedly on desk]

This will be an angry one.

I suppose I really should be used to it by now, but WHAT IN MERLIN'S PINSTRIPED, PASTEL BLUE TWEED JACKET?! Seriously, what did I just read?

I must ask now, Joseph, is it your goal, with every piece you write, to inspire some form of insanity? Loads of frustration? General emotional confusion? It's not very nice of you.

You know, how I've said that you create these beautiful characters that are too easy to care about? Well, it's nice to see that that hasn't changed in the slightest. WHY DO YOU DO THIS, JOSEPH?! I immediately feel the raging need to hug/comfort Lysander and bow down in all of Scorpius's glory. He's so sweet and kind and patient. They make the loveliest couple! I despise that because it adds to the torment.

It was all so easy to understand that Lysander had an eating disorder, yet, I had to read it over to believe that you never explicitly mentioned it. You use such complex writing techniques that are beyond my comprehension. Your writing renders me with the temporary inability to form proper sentences, I can only stare and gawk. It's a lot to process. As I scratch my head, I realise that you just wrote about something without writing about it.

Yes, I admit, you write extremely well, the words create aesthetically pleasing images, the story flows supremely well, everything seems so effortless and natural, but that all only contributes to the emotional efficacy of this story. Which is to say that it only fuels my anger. I'm VERY angry right now.

Reading it as many times as I have, I realise that you've used what looks like a very casual conversation when put out of context, but, Joseph, IT'S ALL SO INTENSE! All these things that aren't said and all these things that are found only in-between the lines. HOW DO YOU CREATE SO MUCH SIGNIFICANCE FROM SPACES?!

As for your last lines, because it's always the last lines with you, WHAT?! HOW CAN YOU WRITE SUCH A THING?! I mean, ya, it's beautiful and all, but now I've been inflicted with the most severe case of 'feels' (that's a pop culture reference, I believe).

By now, I think 'crestwood' effectively acts as a warning label to such stories that promise to torment readers with abundant frustration and emotional wrecking in all it's genius.

[proceeds to bash head on desk in rage]

Author's Response: I'm gonna tell you the truth...this was originally supposed to be an attempt at "fluff" I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT FLUFF IS.

"Haha, Valentine's Day? LET'S MAKE IT AS SAD AS POSSIBLE." - me, probably.

I basically feel the same way as you lol I did not actually want to even do this to Lysander actually. He informed me that he's been having a hard time, I had no idea. I have less control over these characters than a piece of space debris has over the Earth's orbit.

This whole story was based on a premise of not explicitly stating anything, so I decided that I wouldn't even say it. I wanted it to be obvious, but unsaid, because OF COURSE I DID.

Aesthetically pleasing images?? Effortless and natural?? If only you knew how impromptu this story was haha. I really like writing Microfiction because it allows me to get things closer to what I want them to be because there's just less to worry about.

You know I love when people read my stories more than once!! And seriously I put in so many tiny little things that I'll proceed to expand upon in further stories. It really helps to have a universe planned out when writing stories like this. It practically wrote itself. And utilizing idle space is actually a concept I borrowed from music. This is my idea of a stripped down story. And just by chance I sent you three very stripped down songs yesterday that totally have nothing to do with this ;)

HAHA I AM SORRY ABOUT YOUR FEELS. I basically cannot resist writing sad last lines on my one shots. It's just built into my psyche or something IDK

Love this review so much you make me laugh and also totally flatter me you're the best!!

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Review #18, by marauderfan Valentine's Day

21st December 2014:
Saw your update on the forums and had to stop by!

Wow, this was really spectacular. I really like the way you paced the story. It's small talk between a couple on valentine's day, and it's really sweet, and in between the things they say (like... in between the lines) there are hints made to Lysander's eating disorder. And the way only a tiny amount of information is given with each bit, but they add up to a whole. But at the heart of it, they are in love, moving on with their lives after struggles, and they fight for each other, and Scorpius wants to help Lysander through just by being there. Gah, the whole thing is just so sweet.

I also really like that you chose to write this about men. Most often when I read something about an eating disorder (and this is probably due to the media-inflicted pressure particularly on women to be thin and beautiful) it's a girl who has the eating disorder. But of course, it's not only girls who that happens to. So I really appreciate that you took that angle as it provides such a great perspective.

I thought you treated the subject matter with a lot of care, as well. That's a difficult topic and you handled it tactfully and didn't sensationalise it, or belittle it. You wrote very honestly and I appreciate that.

Also, omg I love that this is in the same universe as YLYL. I totally look forward to seeing more stories in that 'verse :D

Well done, Joey!

Author's Response: I just love it so much when someone stops by on their own time, it really means so much :)

I am so glad that I managed to give weight to that 'in between the lines' premise because that was kind of my idea here. There's a lot left to subtext here that I didn't want to outright have the characters say.

I originally conceived of this as a Scorpius/Lysander story and then when I got the idea of also addressing eating disorders, the thought of changing it to a hetero love story crossed my mind--so as to not 'reset too many defaults at once'--and then I promptly got that thought right out of my head because it was wrong. And while women obviously have way more pressure put on them to stay thin and youthful forever, I definitely didn't want to make the completely wrong assumption that eating disorders can only happen to women. I certainly want to dismantle the myth that men are too 'mentally tough' for this sort of thing. So, I made a man with a 'female problem' and I didn't draw attention to it. Honestly, everything I write has some kind of political motive behind it. Don't mind my ranting :P

I am so happy that you thought I handled the subject matter well. I wanted to find a way to make it seem like a Bad Thing, but not make Lysander seem like a Bad Person. I always try to write with a bit of nuance when it comes to things like this.

The YLYL verse is actually getting kind of massive haha. The characters that have been mentioned in either story are going to appear again. ie--Lysander, Scorpius, Rose, James, Al, Destiny and their daughter Faith. So, there's a lot expanded upon and a lot of new stories explored. I really need to stop connecting everything I write haha.

Thank you for this wonderful review!!

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Review #19, by Unicorn_Charm Valentine's Day

20th December 2014:
Hi there! Just continuing on with my whole "I-must-review-everything-Joseph-writes-ever" thing haha. I adore your stories and just cannot help myself. :D

So this made me cry. Right from the beginning, it made me cry. The line that got me started was, "Some would call his entire adult life a rough patch." I haven't read anything on here that I relate to more than that line right there. Actually, this whole story hit a little close to home for me. It was wonderfully done and beautifully written, like always, but the subject matter hit a bit hard.

I can't even tell you how much I love that Scorpius accepts him and is patient with him and still loves him, despite his illness. To see him stand by Lysander and still be with him. I just loved that. You can tell Scorpius worries for him and knows that he's not completely together, but he did not abandon him. That was wonderful to read.

Lysander broke my heart. It goes a lot deeper than just wanting to be thin and wanting to look good. There's a bit of a control issue element that goes along with an eating disorder, and I think you touched on that very subtly by mentioning how he runs an apothecary by himself. Obviously he would have control at work as well, if he runs his own business. I may have read too deeply into that though.

I do like how this is all taking place in the same universe, as you stated in your A/N. So does that mean we should be expecting another one-shot, or longer story, taking place in this little world? Possibly a Rose one dealing with her miserable boss? ;)

I adore your writing, Joseph. I know I've said it dozens of times, but you're one of my absolute favorites on here. I think you handled this whole topic realistically, delicately and respectfully. I especially love what you offered in your A/N. You're an excellent author and, more importantly, a wonderful person. Thank you for sharing this!

So much love,
Meg ♥

p.s. I apologize if most of this review was rambley. I was still half-crying when I was writing it. So it's a little all over the place. :)

Author's Response: Hi Meg! Seriously the fact that you've reviewed everything I've ever written is the most flattering thing ever. I'll never have enough thanks for that because I totally would not be as confident in my writing without you!

I totally understand why this would make you cry. It wasn't exactly the easiest for me to write. That line was paraphrased from what I typically say about my own life when people ask if I'm going through 'tough times' or anything similar. The subject matter was something that I wanted to tackle, because I think art really should imitate life, but at the same time I was super on edge while writing it. So, the subject matter was pretty heavy on me as well.

I don't even know if I'd be able to physically stomach writing this story in which Scorpius is less patient. I only wish everyone could be so kind!

I'm so glad you caught that!! Even the assistant he hired being kind of ticked off with him led back to this! He has no idea why she would be, but he micromanages and controls everything down to the fine details. You absolutely did not read too deeply into it. When it comes to these microfiction length pieces, I tend to fit a lot into subtext and it certainly was not lost on you!

Oh yes, you should expect more! There will be a Rose story dealing with her boss and a story about Faith, Al and Destiny's daughter from YL, YL!! That's all I have planned at this very moment, but there could be more in the future. I'm starting to really love this universe and it's getting expansive in my head.

It means so much every single time you say that! I am so relieved to hear that I handled the topic well because I couldn't deal with the thought of having written it callously. Thank you so much! If I help one person feel a little better about themselves or convince one person to confide in a loved one, that's reward enough for me to approach topics that affect people so much.

I loved your rambley review style! Thank you so much!

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