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Cara: Throughout these chapters, Iíve noticed sometimes things get a little wordy. Not in an overwhelming way, but thereís details that seem unneeded and detract fromÖ er, the flow of what Iím reading. Like sometimes, when Iím following Ivyís thoughts, some of them seem repetitive. I mean, itís real, because sheíd obviously be thinking exactly that but as a reader, itís strange because I know thatís what sheís gonna think [ . . . ]

And sometimes the story begins to ramble on a little two much.

You end the chapters pretty well. In some books, the chapter endings are really awkward and stuff and I just remembered how much that bugged me. And you donít have that. Yay!

You make really likeable characters. I mean, really likable characters.


I do so love it when Ivy kicks Thomasí ass. Oh, and when she pranks people! [ . . . ] I really, really like it when Ivyís contemplated her ďnew foundĒ singing ability. The scene where Ivy tears up the mall. Itís a scary scene but itís also very powerful.

I have a friend who is the same height as Ivy but about 25 pounds heavier. But sheís thinóI used to call her Stick girl, but that was mean of meóI can just imagine her at Ivyís weight and thatís when I realized just HOW skinny Ivy was.

[ . . . ] I love Ivy messes around with assholes. Anyone who reads these books would cheer her on silently, or like me, not-so-quietly.

When Ivy runs away from everything, itís the most powerful and emotional scene in the entire book. (Weird. I just read an entire book, twice! Haha!) I almost wanted to cry.

Her interactions with Zeke always intrigue me. If Ivy wasnít so uninterested in lovey-dovey shit, Iíd like them to be each others romantic interests. But thatís Ivy for ya!


Michael-Thomas: You really have done a fine job on this first chapter--everything came along smoothly, as you have shown many of the characters in their "natural habitat", doing those things of the everyday. Seeing into their routines, they are alive; and I think it shows you are comfortable with the characters, and obviously know them intimately. Believability is what counts; I entered their world as though I were walking amongst them...Forgot I was reading.

I like how you opened the chapter with dialogue. Most people would think that narration is a better set-up for Ivy's day--but honestly, by using dialogue, you have thrust the reader into the story immediately. The reader becomes immersed, is forced to give attention to the situation/scene. Dialogue is an assertive form of writing; it is more important than narrative description, and is more precise for setting mood and denoting action. Even better, the dialogue you used is an exclamation, and is all the more effective, as an exclamation shows importance profoundly. Dialogue can "make or break" a scene...You used it to your advantage.

The timechange is shown well. We know it is later in Ivy's life, for Bill isn't a new friend anymore, but is now a basketball tutor...Bailey is set in her ways around the house, pulling pranks without hesitation...Keenan's book is coming out...Perry's group is getting signed...Zeke is friendlier and more feisty than ever...Ivy visits Nina, but feels routine about it...Frances is different somehow. These things forward the notion of time passage, and they are spread throughout the chapter.

Things I find myself wanting: More with Bailey! And it looks like I'll get my wish, what with this prank war--and I will savor it...I think it is an opportunity for hijinks and humor. Oh yes, I will savor these moments =). More with Weaver (of course); I've an affinity for the little guy! One thing I'm glad you went more into, was with Neptune...She is very real to me. And something else: If Ivy knows Zeke will get fresh with her, why does she wrestle with him? Is it a hint of things to come?

Lastly, this... I detect a "competition" theme throughout the entire chapter. Basketball with Ivy&Bill, gin with Neptune&Zeke, chess with Zeke, wrestling with Ivy&Zeke, prank wars with Ivy&Bailey, who speaks first with Keenan&Perry, and a few "meeting of the minds". Just an observation; all in all, I eagerly look ahead to seeing where your book is going...I'm so proud of you, and as always, I believe in your creativity. You're special that way.

The first interest I have here is in Ivy's reignition of that whole Nina & Adele issue. This time, it is manifested--more than ever--as not just a feeling of inadequacy, but Ivy actually seems to feel inferior to Nina! And certainly, Adele's resistence to any new missions at the present time is a "nag" to Ivy that she has nothing to contribute to the group...Ivy is now demoted to "another mouth to feed", and feels dunced that at least Nina can open the pool--a child with more figured potential and helpfulness than Ivy [for the time being]. So I'll be expecting to see this as a major issue throughout the book...

However, with no missions, I am more anxious to see what Ivy will do with all this freetime (what will the theme of this book be?). I can see that if she is to spend ample time with Bill, her use of teekay may diminish, and she may actually become more physically active...This is a nice insertion of Ivy's evolution. She'll change, I'm sure, and I can't wait to see how she manages [as Ivy herself would say] "to do things unnaturally", instead of with teekay. You've tipped me off to this already, so I am expecting it, as I can see the path it's taking.

Also, no missions is driving Ivy in directions of learning...She ponders school, and math in particular. Will Ivy find a new purpose in life, through learning? Is that the theme of this book: Ivy discovers herself? Will she?! I see many possibilities in the crystal, and they all involve Ivy's growing up some...Ivy might build a personal cottage =).

I thoroughly like the explanations of how teekay works; maybe you should stick a flashback in there, where Ivy is thinking over how her sleep affects her teekay power? Think back about how you explained about Ivy's first mission in book 1, that type of flashback explanation, but on a smaller scale. You could have commentary plus insightful yet unexplained plot plus dialogue...So just refer to book 1.

And explanation of Bailey's teleportation is rather good. Giving her that whole sickly, frightened role is very nice. The only suggestion here, is to get a psychology book--look up first-hand accounts of the feelings of people with phobias: open spaces, spiders, heights, etc. I think you could better serve up Bailey's performance with knowledge on such apprehensive behavior...panic attacks.

Now here's my real bitching: The fair scenes seemed to drag on & on =P. For all the explaining you did, the scenes didn't seem to capture the atmosphere of a carnival-type environment...Where's the description of the fair? Such things are thought of as colorful, bright, cheery...Try setting it at night, with the pretty lights, and the smells of the greasy food & candies, and people squealing in delight on the rides, and the carnies giving their lingo ("come on up, knock down the bottles, win a stuffed monkey"..."get a prize for your date, try your toss of the ring"). I know not all fairs are like this, so revert yourself to fairs of yesteryear, and circus especially... The pranks weren't bad, but they weren't emphasized enough. Maybe Ivy ought to buy a balloon, start floating away? And the Gravitron prank needs more gawkers, more of something, more spectacle--and humor. Bailey's prank was just annoying, you're right. [ . . . ]

i will start with what i found lacking in this chapter. Only 2 things, none of it serious! First, there seemed to be an awful lot of explaining at the beginning of the chapter...And i think that's a deceiver, because it follows the monotony of the previous several chapters by being (forgive me for saying this) boring. But that's okay, i can see you've recovered from that quickly, and the chapter turns out quite lovely. Second, i found it hard to believe that the basketball guy would try to embarass Ivy by challenging her to a game...Seems to me that he should rather be inviting her to a game of one-on-one, instead of acting so belligerant--THEN getting his ass kicked.

Now for the raves, girlie ;). Let's face it: Social situations are most everything in high school. And i think you handled that very well. i like how Ivy's new friends talked--all that "girl talk", the gabbing, the planning around social situations and teenage viewpoints. You captured the reality of high school. (Girls just wanna have fun) Next, i loved the insanity joke Ivy played on the ledge! Deal with the devil/no legs/dancing around...i was magnetized to the floor in fits of rolling laughter! That's the best prank by far. Last, and mostly, there's finally some info on Ivy's past. The whole Miss Margaret scenario has me spooked into ecstacy...Ivy's past is relived, and you do it so well, and she has pics now, and new characters introduced, AND you have FINALLY introduced a vein of gold into the storyline. Back to what i love--Ivy discovering herself =).

Fred: Well, I finished off book 2 tonight :) What a book it was! It was quite a journey, and it covered many things... Ivy even brought in a couple more roommates... I am still mentally digesting the whole book... but what struck me was there is *such* a change in Ivy... Not just from book 1--but like you mentioned, even from the beginning of this book to the end. Looking at the big picture, the school experience seems to have confused and confounded poor Ivy.. But it was inevitable, really. Its as if she really wanted to try and find out more about herself. Which is a very universal thing to try to learn, actually.

But the main reason I am so stunned and spaced and contemplative right now is that I am looking at the flow of events from chapter 23 or so to the end. It is really freaky.... Ivy goes through a traumatic event, then goes through some serious depression and *major* loneliness, and then, at the end sings in the concert and is so happy--and different. This is like a death-and-rebirth mythological motif. Like the autumn, or "fall," then the darkness of winter, then the rebirth in spring. Or like the crucifixion, the 3 days in the tomb, and then the resurrection of Jesus Christ... It is so weird that I am connecting this biblical story with your story... In fact you mention "angels" a lot in the later chapters...and in the concert it is as if there are actually angels *with* Ivy. So symbolic--I love it!

And even from the beginning of the story, how Ivy tries to fit in with the humans and gets "persecuted." Sort of like the "Son of Man/Son of God;" how Jesus Christ lived among humans. You even write about how Ivy hates being persecuted even though she tries to be nice. Very Christ-like, and a very sad commentary of humanity...

Anyway... After Ivy's trip through the dark night of her soul... she really seems to have *changed* somehow, and it is really hard for me to describe in words. Just from what I observe, she seems more confident in herself--and more accepting of herself. I think she still doesn't know who or what she is... but she knows more of what she is not. She realizes that there is more learning to be done, and it is not to be done at school. She has a much more mature understanding of herself by the end of the book.

I think the main difference is that she realizes she is not and cannot be a baby anymore. She realizes this fully when Zeke blows up at her. After Zeke insults her, its like she feels bad, but at the same time she realizes what Zeke is saying is true, and deep down I think she thinks its kinda cool that she is learning this stuff. Ivy learns she must be responsible for *herself* and, at the same time, must not be *selfish* about it. Now, all do not live happily ever after at the end of this book, but Ivy definitely has grown, and is prepared to grow some more and learn more neat, cool, personal-growth stuff.