I adore Olivia. Not only does she provide free popcorn to her friend but she is highly critical of customers who are picky beyond belief. I was one of those sales staff that mocked and derided customers that needed a reality check. I worked at a gourmet bread franchise and once a customer accused me of ruining her family barbeque because the cob she bought had an air bubble in it. Sure the bubble was larger than normal but she refused an apology, replacement or refund. She simply wanted to yell at a fifteen year old for ten minutes to make other areas of life more bearable. Wasn’t the fact that I was wearing a uniform that included maroon culottes sufficient enough a punishment for any teen? The idea of layered popcorn buttering just makes me roll my eyes. Olivia is my kind of person.
Movies and kids. Kids and movies. I rarely went to the movies as a kid as my town was too small to have a cinema. Instead I watched videos of every single musical every created. It is a thrill going to the movies when you are small. My first movie was All Dogs Go to Heaven made me cry, whether it was because of the dog’s death or Charlie Sheen’s voice I am unsure. That being said, being in a cinema with small children now just bugs me so I can understand how getting the ‘kiddie shift’ could be painful. That poor, poor mother. But sneaking food into the cinema? Everyone does that don’t they? I seriously refused to pay ten dollars for a small coke and small popcorn, that’s beyond ridiculous as both are infused with air. So basically between the bubbles and the puffiness, you’re not paying for much other than air, caffeine and a lot of butter.
“I’m not very good at accepting help. It’s an issue.”
Did anyone else think of Britney Spears when they read this line? Thankfully Olivia gives her a chance to talk and apologise without brushing aside the effort. Her highlighting Nate as crossing into friend status was an important distinction. If Ruby hadn’t realised this for herself yet then Olivia’s noting that –
“That boy drive fifteen miles to pick you up out of the woods…There’s a big difference between information and action. I gave him the facts, mostly because I felt responsible about leaving you there with that loser in the first place. But going there? That was all him.”
surely would have hit home. Yay for Nate.
I just adore this passage-
“Everyone has their weak spot. The one thing that, despite your best efforts, will always bring you to your knees, regardless of how strong you are otherwise. For some people, it’s love. Others, money or alcohol. Mine was even worse: calculus.”
This made me laugh out loud. It is absolutely true. For me it would be a toss up between cats and accounting. The former leaves me gasping for breath when my throat closes up with the added benefit of swelling. Last time I was ‘exposed’, I ended up looking like Quasimodo, don’t take my word for it, that’s my brothers take on things before he realised I really couldn’t breathe and actually showed concern. The latter, I have failed on three separate occasions, Ruby I feel your pain.
I had assumed that Nate ‘Mr Perfect’ Cross would be the saviour to her calculus crisis. I love that he barely passed it himself and shuddered at the thought of it. Even better, Gervais is the prospective tutor. I loved the way Nate handled her in this section of the chapter. He hit her with the truth, “the indebtedness thing“, and then used her willingness to assist to meet his own needs. Smart boy. I have no doubt she’ll be getting tutoring from the G-man within the week.
I find it hysterical that after my little cat rant that I am reading about a house populated by them. That cat fog would surely kill me in two minutes flat. Yet this is the scene for Ruby’s first ‘girly’ moment with Nate touching her wrist and the subsequent blushing. Again we are treated to the dissimilarity between Nate and Ruby, but instead of their differences in origin we hear their philosophical differences.
“…You don’t have to give everyone the benefit of the doubt”
“You don’t have to assume the worst about everyone, either. The world isn’t always out to get you.”
“In your opinion.” I added.
I am beginning to see a lot of myself in Ruby. I am the cynic one with negative viewpoints. I am guessing I can be a drag like her too.
A life without wheat, eggs or meat? Not my deal… ever. I once had a slice of vegan cake and it was perhaps the worst thing besides pineapple on a pizza that I have ever had to force into my gastrointestinal tract. And before you ask, pineapple is a traditional ingredient on an Australian pizza called The Hawaiian. Never mind that they don’t serve it in Hawaii, we do our own thing Down Under. Sigh.
It is just me or does Nate work like a freaking dog? I hope he’s getting paid a lot because he doesn’t appear to have a semblance of a life. Maybe that’s why he split with Heather and quit the swimming team, too much work on his hands? It would have to be taking a toll on his grades too, which he had admitted to previously as not being phenomenal. Why isn’t his dad stepping in and making him relax some more? When I started working every night and every weekend at the gourmet bread store in my high school years, my parents sent me to boarding school to get me away from there. Extreme I know, but most parents act in the best interest of the child. Except in this book. Most of the parents we have met haven’t been stellar on the parenting front. We have the irresponsible, neglectful and abusive mother of Ruby and the anger ridden, dog hater Mr Cross. Choice options.
I am guessing it is the contrast of these parents to Jamie and Cora that makes these books so interesting. Not saying Cora and Jamie are perfect by all means. Cora can be cold and distant, Jamie can misjudge situations but at their core, they care. I am not sure we can say the same for Ruby and Nate’s single parents. That being said, where on earth are the other parents? Where is Nate’s mum or Ruby’s dad. No matter the transgressions of their former partners, they should be making an effort for some kind of active role in the lives of their progeny. Grandparents too. I am feeling like this is a little Harry Potter-ish. Sure his parents were slaughtered by Voldermort but where on Earth were James and Lily Potter’s parents in this situation? It’s been awhile since I have read said books but I do wonder, is being present and horrible better than being completely absent?
Ruby’s cat scars are gone by morning. That means that either Nate has magical restorative powers (like Claire on Heroes or Chloe on Smallville) or Boyd’s Balm really did the trick. As a self confessed scarer and bruiser I want to get my hands on some of that stuff. I personally think it has more to do with Nate. His friendship is like a balm itself. Allowing Ruby to be herself and open up in her own time. He is also pushing her vies of the world and others in a way that is unthreatening. I wonder how long it will take her to realise that Nate needs support too?
A Note from Adele
I know I went off on some not-so-interesting tangents but it was a shorter chapter. Forgive me J
Okay folks I am now half way through this novel and am eager to find out what Ruby will get herself into. I thought about having a celebration but none of my friends really want to know about my book blog. I have steeled myself to their vacant gazes and obvious changes in conversation. I will have to gorge myself on Japanese food tonight instead.
Like I said last time, if you have any questions you would like to pose to Sarah Dessen don’t be afraid to email them to me. I will post the interview here after the interview is done.