Musings of a YA author throwing herself into the fray. Join me on the journey ...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Quick Snippet from Tempest Unleashed

I'm in the middle of copyedits on Tempest Unleashed, so I thought I'd post a quick snippet for you guys.  And since I've been getting a million questions about Kona lately .... here he is.  Enjoy ;)

Kona carried me into my suite, locking the door behind us.  I raised an eyebrow at him, but he only shrugged.  Even with the queen’s guards—and my own—I’m not sure how secure it is for you here.  Better to be safe than sorry.  He laid me on the bed, then stood behind me, hands shoved into the back pockets of his black and gray patterned board shorts.  Do you need anything?
It was the first time in months that I’d seen him look so non-plussed.  He was always so confident, always seemed to know what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it, that this sudden discomfort in my bedroom was kind of charming.  Okay, really charming, if I was honest.
I just want to sleep, I told him as I reached for his hand.  I’m exhausted.
Stay with me? 
Of course.  Though it hurt, I scooted over on the bed.  He settled down next to me, sliding his arm under my head so I could use his bicep as a pillow.  Thanks for coming for me, I told him as I traced the intricate tattoo that softly glowed where it wound around his arm from shoulder to wrist.
Don’t be stupid, he said, dropping a kiss on my cheek.  I’ll always come for you.  And thanks for staying alive.  I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.
For one brief second, Mark’s face flashed before my eyes.  Then I banished it as I had banished my feelings for him so many months before.  I guess it’s a good thing you don’t have to find out.
            A very good thing.  His other arm wrapped around my waist, pulled me even closer.  It felt so good, so deliciously warm, to be held by him that I drifted to sleep without another word.

Vampire Diaries Epi 3:3 Recap

The End of the Affair (So ominous!)

The Least You Need To Know: Stefan’s all ripper, but Elena still wants to save him. Damon says he’ll help. Klaus’s plan to create his own army of hybrids has hit a snag, while Caroline is being held in a dark dungeon by her dad.

The Setup: INT. Salvatore Home. Ring, ring. Damon’s phone says Caller Unknown. Stefan? Nope, Katherine. Calling from a phone booth (where the hell are there still phones booths?). Reveals that Klaus is super-pissed over his failed army, so she’s keeping tabs on Klaus/Stefan. Why? Still pining over Stefan perhaps? Where is she? Damon asks. Wouldn’t he like to know.

Apparently they’re in Chicago. Stefan’s been here before, in the 1920s, but he was partying hard, has big memory gaps.

Flashback: Stefan’s groping some chick in the back of a Model T before ripping her throat out. He’s at a speakeasy. Inside, prohibited booze and dancing abound. A jazz chanteuse is singing. Everyone knows tuxed-out Mr. Salvatore. He spies a new blonde flapper—she’s a vamp. He’s intrigued.

Klaus has brought him to Chi-Town looking for a girl who can help him figure out why his hybrid making is a not going according to plan.

Sagging Middle: INT. Elena’s Room. She’s waking. She rolls over to find Damon in her bed. Relax—he’s fully clothed. Guess what he knows? Stefan’s whereabouts that’s what. Get dressed and packed, he tells her. Road trip!

 Dark torture chamber. Caroline’s chained up. Daddy? Gas spews into the air from vents. Dad enters. How do you walk in the light? She glances at her Bonnie-fied ring. Dear ol’ Dad slips it off her finger and tosses it to the ground. That was Vervaine gas he tells her. Also, look up: a sun light--it’s all very Interview w/ a Vampire. He holds a blood bag under her nose, she goes vamp. Don’t worry, D o’D’s going to fix her…he opens the sun light and burns the living crap outta her.

Damon and Elena are on the road. Damon offers her Stefan’s diary for some light reading. No, she can’t. Boundaries. Fine, he’ll read aloud. It’s not pretty. Hey, both hands on the wheel, she says, and takes it, but now that it’s open…

Flashback: Flapper vamp is British. Stefan wants her name, but she’s coy. He likes.

A hybrid and a ripper walk into an empty bar (which looks so much like The Grill). Except it’s not empty. It’s the chanteuse. She’s older, but not much. Cause she’s a witch. Chanteuse is Gloria and she knows Klaus is a hybrid because everyone knows. Why can’t he create his hybird army? Gloria says you gotta ask the witch who cursed him. But, she’s dead. No worries, Gloria can contact her, but she needs Rebecca. Who? Stefan is bartending and finds an old 20s photo…of him and Klaus. What? How? He doesn’t remember.

Back in Mystic Falls, Cop Mom is leaving a VM for Caroline—where is she? A worried Ty shows up. In the dundgeon, D o’D is working on “reprogramming” her by burning her so she’ll repress her desire for blood. (The irony here, of course, is that her father is gay.)

Dalena are walking up to a crappy apartment. Stefan’s old place. There’s a secret room behind the bookcase where he stashed his blood hooch, and kept a list of the names of his victims. The list is looooooong. Because Stefan was a cocky Ripper douche, says Damon. Where were you? Elena inquires. Hey, Chicago was big enough for the two of them. He leaves to track down li’l bro.

Stefan’s trying to get to the bottom of the pic. Oh, they met. Klaus hated him.

Flashback: Vamp threeway with Stefan, Flapper and some girl’s neck. Gasp!—that’s Elena’s vervaine necklace Flapper’s wearing. It’s from a witch, for protection. Klaus walks up. Hey, li’l sis, who’s your friend, he asks. So, she’s an original, too.

In some warehouse now, Klaus opens a coffin. There’s desicated Flapper vamp with a knife in her chest. Klaus pulls it out. Wakey, wakey. Her name’s Rebecca. Dundundun

Flashback: Is Stefan worthy of Rebecca her big bro asks? Where’s the rest of the fam, Stefan wants to know. Mostly dead. Rebecca’s alive because she sided with Klaus. An angry husband stomps to their table to retrieve his wife (the neck). Stefan compels the man to watch while he bleeds her wrist into a champagne glass, then forces him to sip until the husband reveals his name. Stefan is a cocky-ripper douche (CRD). Klaus is impressed.

Klaus compels a security guard to watch over his li’l sis till she awakes and then be her food. He and Stefan are going to Stef’s old apart…where Elena is waiting!

Damon is at the empty bar and finds Gloria. He knew her, too. And, yes, she’s seen Stefan, but no, she won’t tell him where he is, so put away the baby blues, cause they’re not working.

At the apartment, Elena is curled up with the diary, reading about how Dead Vamp Lexi saved Stefan from Ripperdom the last time around. Shite! Someone’s coming. She hides—in the friggin’ closet?!? Klaus and Stefan enter, Klaus reveals to Stefan why he asked for the angry husband’s name. So, he could add it to the victim list. To be able to relive the kill, Klaus says. Stefan walks in the closet and...their eyes meet. There’s a moment, a faint smile on Elena’s lips, some longing. Stefan grabs a bottle of blood-hooch and leads Klaus away.

Damon finally returns. With a dress? Weren’t you concerned, she demands. Klaus almost got me. Yes, but it’s over now. (I think we’re supposed to surmise that he was indeed overly concerned, but he just does his buggy eye thing, so I’m not for sure.) Are you okay? Yes, she says. Then let’s save Stefan.

Stefan and Klaus are back at the bar taking shots. Klaus learned to like Stefan he says...

Flashback: Klaus is brooding, but CRD Stefan tells him to embrace his bad vampire self. Thanks. You can have my li’l sis, my new bro. But careful, cause when she falls in love, she falls hard, Klaus warns Stefan.

A toast to friendship, then. Clink.

In the torture chamber, D o’D tells Caroline how he cried when he was told about her vampirism. I can’t be fixed, she cries. She has to, or he has to put her down. So, he’ll keep trying. Outside the door, Cop Mom’s drawn a bead on him with her gun. D o’D argues to let him continue, but she’s not having it. She fires a warning shot, and Tyler swoops in to save Caroline. And her all-important ring.

Drinking heavily, Stefan asks Klaus why he should stay friends with the dude that “killed” his girlfriend. (subtle, Stefan)…

Flashback: Stefan and Rebecca are dancing cheek-to-cheek. Machine gun is fired. It’s a police raid. Everyone ducks for cover. Wooden bullets? Oh, shite, the feds know! How? Klaus and Rebecca know. Klaus grabs her to run, and her necklace falls off. He compels Stefan to forget about them until they meet again.

No wonder Stef can’t remember things. But why? Who’s chasing him? Klaus clams up. Damon catches Stefan’s eye and motions him outside. Stefan excuses himself to throw his brother against a car. Didn’t I tell you to keep Elena at home? he growls. Klaus can’t know she’s alive and the witch is about to figure it out. She has to forget him! Tell her yourself, Damon says, cause there she is…and I don’t get the purpose of the ugly purple dress that Damon bought Elena. It’s hideous.

Damon belly’s up to the bar to distract Klaus. If you’ll give back Stefan I’ll leave. Klaus puts him in a chokehold instead.

Stefan and Elena stare longingly. What do you want? Come home, she pleads, hugging him to her. He struggles not to give in. She tries to stick him with a vervaine syringe, but he’s too quick.

Inside, Klaus is toothpicking Damon. D offers to be Klaus’s wingman instead of Stefan. Klaus throws him to the floor and prepares to stake him. Guess that’s a no? Luckily, Gloria steps in.

Why should Stefan come home? It’ll never be the same. Elena concedes, but reminds him that Lexi saved him before. Yes, but it took almost thirty years. That would be half Elena’s life. She won’t give up on him. Yes, you will, he argues, because it’s over. He doesn’t want to be with her anymore. So harsh! (also a lie, as we see from Stefan’s tortured visage as he walks away). Elena tears up. She can’t believe this.

(Aside—Summer’s Eve commerical has the funniest tagline ever!)

Final Act: Elena’s waiting in the car, caressing her/Rebecca’s necklace. Damon gets in. Okay? Just drive.
Cop Mom is tucking in Caroline. Daddy will come around, she promises. Ty comes in and snuggles in bed with her while she cries…and I’m actually thinking Matt would be better in this situation.

At the Chicago warehouse, re-awakened Rebecca is missing. Klaus looks around. Oompf. Stake to the chest. Revenge.

Flashback: Post-raid. It’s time to roll. No, Rebecca’s waiting for Stefan. Make a choice, li’l sis, him or me, Klaus says. Stefan, she chooses. He stakes her for it.

Enter Stefan. Now you may remember, Klaus compels him. Rebecca? A smile--which is more than Elena got. And Klaus. Buddy!

Klaus tells Rebecca that they need to contact the original witch who cast the curse. Okay, fine, but where’s the necklace? Becca tosses the coffin looking for it because she can’t get to the witch without the necklace…which is presently dangling from Elena’s neck back in Mystic Falls.

At Casa Salvatore, Damon’s throwing back a bourbon neat and talking to Katherine. Where is she, again? Still not telling. She exits the phone booth, a Chicago bus drives by…

Flashback: In the speakeasy after the raid. It’s Flapper Katherine (love the hair!!), she sees the necklace, but then Stefan’s there and she speeds to the shadows (so she really was keeping tabs on him all those years). Stefan kneels and retrieves the necklace. A Chicago policeman-detective-fed looking man asks him if he knows the two people in the drawing. It’s Klaus and Rebecca. Nope, never seen’em.

Commentary: Y'all, I love how the writers of this show manage not to forget any loose threads. And, the characters always stay true to character. Not many shows do either of these well. But, I did miss Hot Jeremy and Alaric this episode. I'm ready for a whole cast reunion. And some romance, damnit! What do y'all think of this season so far?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Awkward Season 1 Finale Recap

Okay, there's two epic episodes to cover people, so no time for chit chat. This is a long post, so get ready to scroll:

The Least You Need to Know: Jenna and Tamara finally made up and, of course, Tamara did not author the carefrontation letter. And neither did Matty. Whew! Now that that’s cleared up, Jenna and Matty are home free. Right?

Part I:I Am Jenna Hamilton
EXT. Hamilton Home. Cute Dad is manning the BBQ and Matty’s helping out. Lacey’s trying desperately to vamp up Jenna whose not having it. Is Matty going to ask her to winter formal? Well, he asks what color dress she’s wearing. So, things are looking good. Then Cute Dad reminds Matty that if things get serious little Matty better be wearing a jimmy hat. It’s awkward.

At school, Jenna is reveling in her status as Matty’s girl. But everywhere she turns people are getting asked to the winter dance. Tamara and Ming are moaning about their datelessness. A remote-controlled truck zooms at them with a flag bearing an invite for Tamara. It’s from Resident D-bag Ricky Schwartz. She shouldn’t, but like every great train wreck, T can’t resist.

Why won’t Matty just come out and ask her already? And why’s he stashing a chinese takeout box in his locker? Hey, are you a limo girl? he asks. She demurs (but, come on, who isn’t when they’re 16?). Meanwhile, Sadist Sadie is super-pissed about coupledom in general and is determined to ruin everyone’s Winter Formal. Lissa is busy trying to stage a boy-fight over her between Jake and any guy in her ex’s line of sight. Too bad she doesn’t see that the real thing is unknowingly brewing between Jake and bestie Matty over Jenna.

Sweetheart Jake gives Jenna a CD with an invitation attached. It’s typically Jake-sweet. Oh. Awkward. She’s already going with someone else. But shouldn’t Jake know this since it’s his best friend?

On the track, Jake reveals his Jenna rejection to her supposed-boyfriend, who for whatever reason (lack of real conflict, perhaps? Just sayin’, writers…), doesn’t.say.anything.  For the love of John Hughes, man up, Matty!!

Jenna’s doing her weekly session with Crazycakes who comments on J’s upbeat appearance. She has a boyfriend, that’s why. Hey, so does Crazycakes. What a coinkydink! Sadie comes in, Jenna exits stage left. Crazycakes tells Sadie to stop with the grinching over winter formal, but then a phone call from new BF distracts her and Sadist Sadie swipes Jenna’s file. Dundundun.

Tamara is basking in the glow of her dance invite. Jenna brushes it off—it doesn’t matter that he hasn’t formally asked her, only that she and Matty are going together. (Oh, Jenna…) What’s this? Jenna has been nominated for Winter Formal Princess? No way. A boyfriend and redemption? It’s too good to be true! Lacey’s scream of excitement can be heard across town. She’s on her way to buy Jenna a dress right now. (They have a maid? WTH does Lacey do all day?)

But, it is too good to be true…Jenna picks up a ballot to vote and on the back is a copy of the carefrontation letter for everyone to see. I can feel Jenna hoping the ground will open up and swallow her right there. The bottom has been reached.

Not to worry, though, because Sweetheart Jake is there to console her. Except now she’s even more upset that Matty hasn’t told his own best friend they’re together. And then Matty tops that off by saying maybe they should just skip the dance altogether. Fine, whatever. Except it’s not fine. At all.

Tamara discovers she’s Ricky’s sloppy fourths when it comes to dance invitees. This has got to end. 

Crazycakes finally grows a pair and threatens to expel Sadie for exposing the carefrontation letter. Sadie dares her. Okay, maybe not expel, but no Winter Formal for the sadist. That’s final.

Tamara decides to put down the Ricky-crack pipe once and for all, and Jenna thinks maybe the same thing about Matty. He’s waiting in his truck for her after school. What’s in the Chinese take-out box, M? Doesn’t matter. Jenna’s had it with all the secrets. She really wants to go the dance, and she really wants him to go big with his invite—he was, b-but…but, nothing. He doesn’t even have the nads to tell his bestie about her. She calls him a pussy and that’s the end.

At home, Lacey’s bought a selection of peachy-pink dresses. Jenna doesn’t care, because a) only Lacey looks good in that color, and b) she no longer has a date.

Matty and Jake are gaming,  moaning their dual loserdom. Especially Jake, cause Jenna dissed him. Matty gets pissy, says Jenna’s not interested in Jake, but still says nothing about himself. Jake leaves. Matty opens the take-out box. Inside is a giant fortune cookie that he dashes to the ground. A super-sweet fortune invite for J-Town rolls out but it’s all too late now. (Y’all, I know he’s a dumbass, but I really LOVE Matty!)

Jenna’s blogging, crying. Tamara’s crying in a bathroom stall at school over Ricky. Stall next door, someone else is also crying. They bond in misery, except, shite, it’s Sadie. Ewww.

Matty and Jake are still on the outs next day at school. Lissa’s trying to make Jake jealous to no avail. Then when Jenna sees Matty talking to a group of girls, she makes like Lissa and agrees to go to the dance with Sweetheart Jake. 

Though back in her room she wonders was it the right move? Her heart is hurt. There’s a knock at her door. It’s Matty. He’s come to declare his love. Smoochies ensue—except then it’s Jake on top. Oh, shite. And they want to share her? And Tamara, too?? Suddenly this is all getting very menage… because it’s a dream. She wakes. Tamara’s there, reading the misconnections ads online. Wait? Could this one be from Ricky?

Jenna wonders: is Destiny chance or choice? Tamara says chance. And if that’s so, did Jenna just screw up her destiny with Matty by choosing Jake. (I’m getting anxious, this is too many shades of Ben and Noel)

Part 2:Fateful
Hair up or down? Jenna’s getting done up for the dance. Tamara really wants to go, but she has no date, so J tells her to come with her and Jake, cause they’re going as friends. (Uh, does Jake know this?)

Matty’s playing poker with his big bro and friends. Why so glum, Matty? They tell him to get off his ass and go take his girl to the dance. About time.

Yikes! Jenna looks like the bride of Frankenstein with bouffant hair. And her dress is awful. The only thing that can fix this is wearing her Nanna’s dress, Lacey declares. It’s super early 60s cute.  Lacey wore it to her own prom. There’s a sweet mommy and me moment that makes me tear up. Jenna asks if she thinks her mom and dad would have chosen each other if it hadn’t been for getting knocked-up. Lacey says there really was never a choice. Awww.

The girls arrive. Ming is taking a girl? Her parents would only let her go if she was going with a “girl”-friend. Whatever. Ding-dong. Squee!! It’s Matty in a tux with a corsage…except Jenna just left and…I swear to god I’m about to have a coronary at this point!

At the dance, Crazycakes and her BF (on the DL) are chaperoning. Jake is hilarious with his Jenna+friends posse. Dorky pix are taken, except the one of them together.

Sadie is trying to sneak in through a bathroom window with accomplice Lissa. But Jenna interrupts. Uh, oh. Crazyeyes/Jenna showdown?  Nope. Lissa concedes to Jenna, and then closes the bathroom window on Sadist Sadie. Gotcha, yatch!

Dancing commences. Wait, Ricky Schwartz did write the misconnection. Confesses Tamara is the only one for him. She forgives (is that crack smoke I smell?).

Slow dance. It’s nice. Jake’s nice. Jenna goes for the smooch, pulls away…there’s Matty. The look on his face…he’s heartbroken. (Sniff. So am I.) Hey, bestie, Jake says. Where’s your date? He effed up, Matty admits. She’s with some other guy, he says, looking at Jenna. Maybe it’s not too late, Jake questions. Is it? He pleads with his big, sad puppy eyes. Head (Jake) or heart (Matty), Jenna? She takes Jake’s hand and I die a little inside, and so does Matty.

Sadie has snuck her way into the formal. Nu, uh, says Crazycakes, and Carrie’s her ass with a bowl of punch. Gay guy wins formal princess, and Matty wins prince, but  too dejected to claim it, he slips out the door with last forlorn glance at Jenna.

Jake and Jenna, and Tamara and Ricky are the last ones dancing. Wanna hit the after party? Nah. Jake and Jenna go home. There’s more kissing. And a note—her parent’s are out for the evening. She invites Jake inside (gah!) but then reneges (whew!). She wants to take this slowly and enjoy the things she’s missed, like holding hands--and it would all be perfect if she wasn’t wishing so hard I can hear it that he was Matty and not Jake.

She opens the front door and sets off the alarm, which (luckily) kills the mood. Jake gets a goodbye peck, and then she has to call her parents cause she can’t remember the code. Wait, it’s probably in the junk drawer. Along with a box of stationery that’s an exact match for the carefrontation letter and OMG! Lacey wrote the letter!!!!

Best Quotes: Cheesetastic! Welcome to Karmageddon, b-tch!

Best Matty/Jenna Moment: Looking forward to it in Season 2.

Y'all, this may be the only episode all season I don’t watch at least 20 times. I know this is supposed to be all about Jenna learning to accept herself, but we all know it's the love triangle that keeps us up till 2 am. And the facts are these:
  1. The only reason to have her end up with Jake at the end of Season 1 is to drag out the love triangle for Season 2;
  2. If she was supposed to be with Jake, she would have ended up with Matty now—it’s a classic writer’s trick for a story series (take note, Tracy Deebs! Mark 4evah!);
  3. Jenna has found herself, now Matty needs to; which will be interesting to watch, plus now he gets to be the pursuer. Can't wait. 
  4. Jenna will not sleep with Jake because in a romance the heroine can only sleep with the boy she’s meant to end up with otherwise she becomes unsympathetic as a character (Felicity/Noel notwithstanding because that was a lame last ditch effort by the writers for ratings); and finally,
  5. Very few guys make it out of the friend zone, and while Jake is a total Sweetheart, I don’t think he has what it takes to overcome the Matty fantasy for Jenna. The heart wants what the heart wants…and I’ll hold onto that thought till next season. Hurry up 2012!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Contest Winner!

Chloe, you win the copy of Forgive My Fins.  Email me your snail mail at and I'll send it off to you :)


YA Cover Fatigue: Or No-more-emo-girls-flowing-hair-in-gauzy-dresses, please!

If thou shalt not judge a book by its cover, then I have sinned. And mightily. And not just with books. But for the purposes of this post, we'll pretend I'm not shallow and can overlook the dude-at-the-pharmacy's lazy eye that stalked me down the feminine products aisle, just as you will overlook the twelve pounds of baby fat I'm still carrying eight years after childbirth (Hey, she was a big baby!), or the woman at your office who never, ever washes her hands in the restroom, or...We're talking about books here people, focus!

Now then, it is the very function of a book's cover to entice, to seduce, if you will, and make you want to pick it up, because that's half the battle. It's a war out there, you see. So many books, so few buyers, with less and less money or time. According to Barnes & Noble's website each store carries 100,000 unique book titles. Not just 100,000 books, but individual titles. One hundred thousand! This is what keeps me up at night as an author--well, that and the eerie glow of my laptop while trying to meet a deadline (stupid procrastinating). It's every book for itself out there and it better be well-armoured for the fight. Hence the need for a well-thought out, well-designed cover; something illustrative of the (hopefully) well-written story within, but provocative enough to help it survive the tsunami of new titles flung against it each week. Something that says: "Pick me! Pick me!".

Been in the YA section lately? This is a selection on a single shelf at my local crack house book purveyor:

Now, I'm not saying they're not pretty, and I guess they're supposed to say "angsty, ethereal, tragic but beautiful story within", but really when you start looking at them (and these are just a tiny sample of similar covers) don't they really kind of say "girl in need of Prozac contemplating flinging herself into the sea"? And if they're all saying that, and I've got maybe five minutes to choose one, then which do I plunk down my $17.99 for?

Note to publishers: Get a new theme! This one has run it's course.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vampire Diaries Season 3 Epi 2 Recap

The Hybrid – Summary and Review in 1474 words or less
The Least You Need to Know: Stefan bad. Damon good(er). Elena sad. Ric sadder. Jeremy sees dead people. Matt clueless, but cute. Tyler and Caroline luvahs. Ty’s mom (aka Mayor Lockwood) pissed. And where the eff is Bonnie?

The Set-up: Int. Damon’s room. Andie Starr’s long walk off a short bridge courtesy of Ripper Stefan is tonight’s top story. Damon is all broody. Enter Elena with questions about finding Stefan again and Damon fills her in on Andie’s demise. Give it up, Elena, he’s gone, Damon reminds. No, he’s not, she assures. She tells him about the heavy breather who called her—she knows it was Stefan, it came from TN.

Cut to a bed. Pounding on door. Rumpled Ric rolls out. (Where is he? Hotel? Or is he crashing at Damon’s? Can’t tell.) It’s Elena; she wants his help because she knows that whatever Damon knows then Ric knows, too, because of their bromance. He’s out of the vampire slayer game, he says. But, we know he can't turn his back on his dead gf’s dead sister’s kids.

Klaus and Stefan are hiking in the woods, werewolf Ray Sutton slung across Stefan’s shoulders. They find a camp—it’s Ray’s pack. Klaus introduces himself but apparently there’s no need because his hybrid rep precedes him.

Mayor Lockwood pulls out a syringe and empty’s into a sterling coffee urn. (Um, who still still serves coffee in an urn and has a breakfast buffet at home?) Ty comes in and pours a cup. Yuck, what’s in this? Mayor Mom deflects, saying something about making sure he takes out his trash. Hey, Caroline is not trash, he defends. By the way where is she? Mayor Mom shrugs, but makes a call to someone for help with the vamp infestation at her house.

The Sagging Middle: Int. The Grill. Wicked Hot Jeremy tells Matt he saw Dead Vicki again. Jere wants to hold a séance or something to contact her because she said she needs help. This tears up poor Matt. Okay, he’s in.

In a booth, Ty is downloading to Elena about werewolf habits and habitats. Does he know any packs in TN? Sure. He’ll tell her where to go. Cause it’s his fault Stefan’s in this mess, since he bit Damon and Stefan had save his big bro. By the way, has anyone seen Caroline? Ric’s at the bar. Elena tells him she’s going to TN to hunt werewolves. No way, he says, it’s a full moon tonight. She’s going with or without him, though. Fine. He’ll help, but with extreme prejudice.

Back at camp, Ray wakes up. Apparently Klaus has turned him into a hybrid and all he needs to complete the transition is to feed on a human. Luckily there’s one in the camp and the feast begins, but save some for the others. Hope one dude is enough to feed an army, cause that's what Klaus is planning.

Meanwhile, Tyler’s playing pool. Matt pours him another cup of coffee. They have a moment, but it’s brief cause, ya know, the Caroline thing. Yuck. What is with the coffee today? Ty wants to know. Vervaine is the special ingredient Matt tells him—to sniff out the vamps. Mom!

Mayor Mom answers the door. It’s a guy named Bill, maybe from the council? She’s conflicted about what to do with Caroline. That’s easy, he says. Vamp=monster=death.

In the mountains of Tennessee, Elena and former boy scout Ric are looking for the werepack on foot. Ric’s armed to the teeth (pun intended). E hands him her dead father’s ring (the one that protects humans against supernatural death), the one he used to wear because his dead wife gave it to him. No, it should stay in the family, he says. E says he can borrow it. Okay. Next thing Elena knows she’s in the drink without a paddle. What the… Heeeerrrrrre’s Damon. Ric sold her out.

By now, Klaus has bitten all the werewolves at camp. He’s wants loyal hybrid soldiers. But something’s wrong because Ray starts bleeding from the eyes ala that Angel episode from Season 5 where Harmony goes psycho on Spike during their nooner.

Elena accuses Damon of giving up on Stefan. So she refuses to get out of the water because he’ll make her go home. Damn skippy. No, she wants to find Stefan and bring him home. Damon thinks she’s nuts, but okay, he’ll do it on one condition: they head home before the full moon.

The vampwolves are coming to. Ray makes a run for it. Stefan gives chase. Oh, shite, Ray takes a nip outta Stefan. This means curtains for our hero if Klaus doesn’t heal him. Wait, what sound down yonder mountain breaks? It’s his love and his big bro. He gets moving so Klaus doesn’t spy them, too. Klaus tells Stefan he won’t heal him with his hybrid blood unless Ray is brought back. Now, all the nascent vampwolves are crying blood, too.

Tyler confronts Mayor Mom: what’s with the vervaine in my latte. Well, since he’s sleeping with a vamp she thought maybe…No. He’s not. But there’s something she need to know (Methinks Ty’s going to come outta the were-closet.)

A vampire, a doppelganger and a history teacher go hiking in the woods. Ray finds them. He and Damon tussle. Elena throws a wolfsbane grenade and Ric hits him in the back with an arrow.That'll do for now.

Matt and Jeremy are digging through Dead Vicki’s things for the séance, but Matty’s having second thoughts. Jere understands; he’ll do it solo. But freaky things start happening around Matt. Vicki?

Ray is wrapped to a tree with chains. But the three hikers realize they won’t make it out of the forest before nightfall if they don’t get moving. Oh, no. Ray starts changing early. Run!

Nighttime. Bonfire. Klaus is having the vampwolves feed but it’s not working.

Everyone’s running through the dark forest. Elena falls horror-movie-blonde style and Damon tells her don’t move. Werewolf. Damon runs and the wolf chases. She doesn’t want to leave Damon behind, but Ric makes her go, cause someone has to be the adult here.

In the underground dungeon, Tyler’s all “show-don’t-tell” with his Mom. He locks her in the cell and puts on his were-chains so she can watch him while he transfigures. Look ma, canines!

Ray catches up with Damon and they fight. Ray is kicking ass. Good thing Stefan comes along to save his big brother. Again. He tells Damon to take Elena home and keep her there this time. His eyes plead with Damon to do this for him. Damon agrees.

Elena and Ric are hiding for their lives in the car. She takes the opportunity to have a heart to heart: he’s lost, she’s lost, Jeremy’s lost, so why can’t they be a lost family together, she asks? Fine. But if they're family, he’s keeping the ring. Damon comes out of the trees, she goes to him and he forces her back into the car. Time to get gone. Stefan stands in the shadows, watching her. She’s dejected they didn’t find him, but wait, what was that in the shadows? Nothing. He’s gone. (So close, sniff.)

Matt shows up at the Gilbert abode to help Jeremy with the séance. They bond. Dead Vicki shows up, but only Jeremy can see her. She needs help she tells him. Help coming back. What? But then the glass in the French door shatters, all Paranormal Activity-like, and she’s gone. Dead Anna appears instead and creepily tells Jeremy not to trust Dead Vicki. Sounds like ex-girlfriends don’t get along in the afterlife either.

Final Act: Stefan returns to camp, but all the vampwolves are dead. Klaus is pissed. He did everything right, he moans. The curse is broken and he should be able to make his hybrids because he killed a vampire, a werewolf and the doppelganger, right? Right?  (Damn, work on that poker face, Stefan. You don’t want Klaus to know Elena’s still alive, boyfriend.) Klaus heals Stefan cause he's all he's got.

Damon’s at Elena’s. He was wrong: Stefan can be saved. He knows this because even Ripper Stefan will save his big brother. So he’s going to save him back. But in a total douchebag move (IMHO), he makes Elena admit that the reason she wanted to leave the mountain in a such a hurry was because she was worried about him getting hurt, and he wants her to remember those feelings even after he brings Stefan back to her. Ric is moving back in. Yay!! But he questions all this what-the-what between Elena and Damon.

Ty wakes up, shirtless (yum), in were-chains. I am not a monster! Tearful Mayor Mom tells him she’ll fix the Caroline situation. But, wait. The wheels are already in motion. Caroline is also in chains in some dark cell. Someone’s coming. The door opens…Daddy? Dundundun.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Contest Wednesday

Hi Everyone!  I know I've been MIA these last couple of weeks, but it's all for a good cause-- I've been buried under Tempest, Pandora and IKC stuff.  But I'm sticking my head up to do today's contest Wednesday.  Since I am currently in desperate need of a cup of coffee, how about a $5 gift card to Starbucks and a copy of Tera Lynn Child's Forgive My Fins ...  Leave a comment telling me what your favorite TV show is and you'll be entered to win.

Awkward Epi 10 Recap

One of the reasons I love this show, besides the awesome snark, is that I, too, had a secret relationship in high school with a guy whose social circle, in the venn diagram of the teen caste system, only overlapped mine via distant associations. I was Jenna, a much scrawnier and less self-aware version, and he was my Matty, though, unfortunately never as sweet and charming (read: he was an ass) as the fictitious one. Which is probably why I'm shipping them soooo much. In the foggy imagination of my older brain this is how my high school love story could have been...had he not been a douche. Which is the question examined in this episode of Awkward--is Matty really a sweetheart or a d-bag in disguise?

No Doubt - Summary and Review in 500 847 words or less (curses!)

The least you need to know: Former BFFs Tamara and Jenna are still not on speaking terms after the lip-slip between J and Ricky Schwartz at the party. It sucks. But what doesn't suck is that Matty wants to be more than friends!! Hurrah!!

The Set-up: Ext. School. Jenna is lamenting Tamara's refusal to reconcile. Up ahead there's a crowd. Fight! Fight! Fight! comes the gladiatorial chant. It's between Sweetheart Jake and GF Lissa (Crazyeyes). Apparently not-so-Sweetheart Jake has confessed to Crazyeyes about that time he impetuously kissed Jenna in the hallway (See Recap for Epi 6). Why? Why would he do that? Lissa goes all Fatal Attraction in public and slaps Jenna. It stings, but at least it gets Tamara talking to her again, even if it's just for a moment. (Aside--the Sun Drop product placement on every show I watch is getting to be a little much. Just me, but am I seeing that crap everywhere? Is anyone actually drinking it?)

Crazycakes Val acts as a couples counselor (insert obvious irony here) for the feuding duo and it's clear that Crazycakes was just like Crazyeyes back in the day. Jake sees an exit sign from this effed up relationship and makes a run for it, but Crazyeyes freaks and he wimps out (because he's too nice, which is why he'll always be in the friend zone). For his lip-cheating ways he's sentenced to emasculation slavery until she says otherwise.

Ming declares herself Switzerland in the Tamara/Jenna War, but Jenna begs her to intercede and setup a treaty negotiation. Ming agrees. Matty asks about the Jake kiss--was she ever going to tell him? There was no need, it was hardly more than a head-on collision between their faces.Witty, sexy repartee ensues (so very Gable/Lombard) and Matty asks her out to dinner. It's a real date. In public!

Ming lures Tamara to the Sanctuary (a.k.a. under the bleachers a.k.a. hook-up mecca) for a convo with Jenna, who begs her forgiveness. Can she? Will she?

Meanwhile, Crazyeyes, egged on by Sadie, is running Jake into the ground. Matty tells him to man up, but Sweetheart Jake may not have it in him.

Tamara and Jenna make up. Yay! Group hug. T reveals that she didn't, in fact, write the care-frontation letter (of course, she didn't), but she thinks Matty did and lays out her evidence. Which to the casual, over-analytical observer like Jenna, is damning. Can it be? Jenna's mouth says NO!, but her inner monologue says Please nooooooo!

Getting ready for her first date with Matty, Jenna is trying to ignore that doubting Thomas in her head. Tamara and Ming arrive and find the previously torn up, but now carefully re-taped, care-frontation letter in J's room. They mean to get to the bottom of this anonymous author. Ding-dong. Matty's here. He's bonding with Lacey over Jenna's baby pictures. Too cute! Such a gentleman, he opens the car door for her and he's obviously nervous. It's all sweetly charming until they've been driving for at least an hour, to a whole other town, for dinner. Crap, maybe he is trying to hide her, afterall.

Sadist Sadie is crucifying Jenna as the anti-Christ to Lissa. Something must be done, she declares. WWS(adie)D? Lissa wants to know. First order of business: Jake must de-friend Jenna ASAP.

Jenna and Matty finally arrive at the hole in the wall restaurant. He knows the waitress? Must be because this is where he takes all his reject hook-ups (Jenna, get some confidence, puhleeze!) There's obviously more to the sitch than meets the eye. After he's pre-ordered for her, she's pissed and about to thrown in the napkin, when the manager comes out--it's Matty's uncle, this is his restaurant, and this is the first time Matty's ever brought a girl here before. Awwww. He just wanted tonight to be special. He gets a kiss.

Making-out ensues all the way home...where Ming and Tamara ambush them. Who's up for games? Okay. They all have to reveal some super-secret truth (i.e. they want Matty to self-incriminate about the letter) but he's charms the pants off of them instead (metaphorically, of course). Soon he's demonstrating his hair styling acumen and dispensing dude advice: Ricky Schwartz is a douche, because he kissed another girl in front of T and if he likes her he should have the nads to say it. Wait? Isn't he guilty of all these same offenses? Jenna starts to wonder if she shouldn't be heeding Matty's advice to be open to better guy. Steady, Jenna.

Doorbell. It's Sweetheart Jake, there to "de-friend" her per Lissa/Sadie. But he doesn't. Instead he apologizes for the kiss and for dragging her into his own hell. Is Jenna wondering what if about Jake? Noooo, Jenna! Stay the course.

Final Act: Is that a Biore strip on Matty's nose? Yep. Tamara and Ming have fallen under M's spell. Jake finally finds his gonads and gives both Lissa and Sadie the see-yas. Alone at last, Jenna decides that when all the evidence is laid (layed? still don't know) out, there's not much of a case against Charming Matty. Gavel down, case closed. Let the smoochies commence.

Sigh. God, I love this show.

Update: In my haste to get this post posted, I forgot these:

Best Matty/Jenna moments: Wow, so many! But my favorite favorite is the banter scene in the hallway. So funny and well-written and their timing is perfect. I've rewatched it about 10 times already. The kiss over the table at the restaurant--so perfect. And, of course, the last scene in her room where he casually, and oh so familiarly (is that a word, Grammar Girl?), slips his arm around her waist before kissing her. Mmmm.

Best Quote: Jacked up on Jesus (I'm already trying to figure out how to work this gem into a conversation.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall and books and me

I love fall. Yeah, spring is all flashy and green and bright, but fall invites you to slow down, curl up and revel in its golden light. Oooh, and Halloween (my fave) and pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream (mmm, pie) and college football (Hook'em!). Fall is also big release time in the publishing world, when they offer the reading public a buffet of their choicest words and savory phrases begging over-indulgence. Always more than happy to oblige and open my wallet, the following are five of the books on my ways to procrastinate reading list for the coming autumnal season: (An aside--I have developed emo-girl-flowing-hair-flowing-dress cover fatigue so I've deliberately chosen books that don't feature this. Take note, publishing world.)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: This is the jauggernaut of the autumnal publishing season, and, yes, I have bought into all the hype. But, come on, the cover is delightful and the omniscient storyteller POV so refreshing, I had to see if it lives up to its bestsellerdom-to-come. I'm on page 33 and all I want to do is sit in a quaint coffeeshop sunk into an old wingback and fall into Ms. Morgenstern's magical world for hours on end. 

Frost by Marianna Baer: Okay, this has a girl on it and a few flowing strands, but at least it's not a shot of her running away into a fairy forest or the ocean. Anyway, this looks to be an old-fashioned ghost story in a creeping boarding house in New England. Perfect! I won't sleep for a month, but this is the perfect season for a chilling haunt of a tale.

Past Perfect by Leila Sales: This premise for this book totally sold me--the teen heroine's spending the summer working at a historical re-enactment village. Personal reveal: my first job when I was 15, I worked the ticket booth at my local historical re-enactment farm. So, a) this book is right up my alley and b) why didn't I think of it?

Touch by Jus Accardo: I judged the first three chapters of this book in a contest for unpubbed writers last year and just knew it was going places, so I'm anxious to see how the story turns out.


Legend by Marie Lu: I'm not usually a big dystopian fan, but they're saying this is the next Hunger Games, so we'll see. The author is repped by uber-agent Kristen Nelson who also reps my dear friend Sherry Thomas, and Kristen knows talent when she reads it, so my guess is this will be huge.

So, I've still got room on my docket for this season, what else should I be reading in between college football games?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Vampire Diaries Season 3 Ep 1 Recap

Since Awkward's Season Finale is next week, I thought I'd start recapping my other TV fave. Be aware, this is spoiler heavy, so if that matters to you stop reading now.

The Birthday - Shellee's Review and Summary in 1300 words or less (Hey, it's an hour-long show)

The Least You Need to Know: Good brother Stefan saved bad brother Damon from the fatal werewolf bite at the end of last season, but enslaved himself to Big Bad Vamp Klaus and is totally off the wagon. Oh, yeah. Elena kissed Damon.
Prologue: Ext. Tenessee farmhouse. Night. Cute blond southern girl--you know this because she's wearing Daisy Dukes--is looking for her dog, but finds Klaus instead. Once he compels his way inside the house, he asks the roommate about a Ray Sutton. Sensing their doom, the girls try to run, but uh oh...Stefan’s at the door. After he gets the deets, Klaus has Stefan rip out their throats.
First Act: Int. Elena’s Room. Morning. But you can tell it’s not good. It’s heavy. Wake up Jeremy, you're late for work at the Grill. Guess school hasn’t started yet. Caroline calls to remind about the party she’s planning, and also with some info her Mom got about a possible vamp killing. Could be Klaus. And Stefan could still be with him. Downstairs a pretty-rough (but still cute) Alaric is crashing on the couch cause he can’t sleep in her dead parents’ room, or his dead girlfriend’s room. Happy 18th Birthday, Elena...
Cut to Int. Damon’s bathroom. He’s drinking bubbly in a bubble bath. Compelled GF, News 8's Andy Starr, is getting ready for work. He needs a refill and, fully naked, goes to get it...and comes upon Elena. So predictable. She’s all “Put something on.” He smirks. She informs about the clue in Memphis. He say, eh, probably nothing, but when she’s gone he opens up his closet and he’s got a whole murder board, ala Castle, where he’s been tracking clues. 
In other news, Jere and Bonnie are still together, but she’s at her dad's. Good thing cause her boyfriend is still being haunted by the ghosts of dead girlfriends past. Yeah, that being brought to life is a tricky b-tch, Jere. Caroline and Matt are dunzo, so she’s hanging out 24/7 with werewolf bestie, Tyler, but they're not dating or anything--just eyesexing. All.The.Time.
Klaus and Stefan have located Tom-Sturridge-wannabe Ray “Werewolf” Sutton in Florida. Since the Big Bad is now a Vampwolf (Werepire, take your pick) hybrid, he wants to find Ray’s pack. But the guy won’t spill. Klaus gives Stefan the look--gotta feeling the guy’s gonna spill something from his body pretty quick.
The Sagging Middle: In TN, bromancers Damon and Alaric pull up to the farmhouse. (Aside--Alaric, please, lose the douchebag jeans. I love you too much to see that.) Inside it’s a blood bath, and Damon recognizes Stefan’s signature vamp move: He goes into a feeding frenzy, rips their heads off, and blacks out. When he comes to, his remorse makes him put them “back together”. Stefan’s gone full-on Ripper.
Back in Mystic Falls, decorating for Elena’s bday shindig is in full swing. Tyler gives Elena sh-t about the Damon kiss, but she deflects--it was a goodbye peck. He was dying. Also, Ty’s bringing some sl-t to the party cause he needs to get laid. What? It’s a werewolf thing, he can’t help it. (Damn, I'm sure all guys wish they had that excuse when they’re 17.) Uh, it’s also a vamp thing, Caroline tells him. She’s jealous. More eyesexing.

Damon and Alaric set the farmhouse on fire, but in the process find a werewolf hideout under the floor. Ah, so that’s what Klaus is looking for. Meanwhile, Stefan is using said werewolf as a dartboard, and I can’t watch cause it’s really painful looking. But then a girl comes in to inform Klaus that Damon is hot on their trail. Stefan says he’ll take care of his big brother, don’t worry.
Elena’s getting ready for her party in Stefan’s room. Damon comes in with a present, and in the ultimate re-gifting faux pax, it’s the necklace Stefan gave Elena back in Season 1 to hide her vampire-repelling vervaine. Thanks. She thought it was lost forever. The music gets soft and violiny and they have a moment as he puts it on her neck. Snore. (I will give them this--even though Ian and Nina are together in real life and have killed their onscreen sexual chemistry, it hasn’t effected how I feel their characters should end up, which is not with each other. Usually, when I know the actors are together it makes it hard for me to picture their characters with other people. So, kudos!)
Downstairs, the party is raging, keg stands and all. This is not what Elena had in mind and it’s overwhelming. Jeremy’s rolling a j in the other room, and while Matt, who’s ignoring Caroline, lights it for him, Jere tells him that he needs it because he’s been seeing things. No specifics though--like it’s Matt’s dead sister, Vicki.
Andy’s still at News 8, alone after dark. Dundundun. A light flips on. Hello? She gets scared and runs, but wait, it’s only Stefan. Thanks god. No, she shoulda run faster.
Ty’s grinding on the skank at the party and drunk, jealous, Caroline compels her to get lost.  Then she tells downer Elena that everyone wants her to get over what happened and move on. But Elena can’t until she knows Stefan’s alive. Wait, what's that I spy with my little eye? Damon’s closet is full of clues to Stefan’s whereabouts.
Said secret-keeper has gone to pick up his GF at the station and finds his little bro instead. Let me go, Stefan says. He can’t. Elena won’t let him. Maybe this will help? Stefan compels Andy to jump to her death. Can Stefan be saved? Damon wonders.
Matt’s drunk. So stoned Jeremy offers him a ride--this is a teen show, right?--but then Jere sees Dead Vicki in the passenger seat, and Dead Anna in front of the car. Maybe they should walk home instead, he decides.
Tyler asks Caroline, What the hell? If she wants him she just has to give him a sign. So, she shoves her tongue down his throat. They go find a room. 
Damon comes back to the party, despondent--over Dead Andy or Ripper Stefan, I can’t tell. But Elena’s pissed he’s been hiding his Klaus-capades tracking from her. It’s not Klaus’s victims he's tracking, it’s her beloved Stefan’s. Noooooooo! She can’t believe it, but Damon tells her to give it up, her Stefan’s gone to the dark side and won’t be back in her lifetime. 
Jeremy and Matt have the munchies at the Gilbert house. Matt wants to know if Jere is seeing Vicki. Jere says yes, but Matt dismisses that it’s not her ghost, they just really miss her.  Because everyone knows ghosts aren’t real. Only vampires, witches and werewolves, right, Matt? 
Klaus is still torturing Ray when Stefan returns. He knew Stef would come back, but he also knows that the old, good Stefan is buried deep down still. Good thing gallons of human blood drown that out, though. 
Final Act: Alaric moves out--he’s not needed anymore cause Elena’s 18 and he needs to get his own shite together. Ty and Caroline are ripping each other’s clothes off, while Damon throws a frustrated tantrum and destroys a room (his or Stefan’s, I can’t tell). 
As for Stefan, Klaus is right--all this killing willy-nilly is destroying the good Stefan and that’s killing him. He reaches out to Elena via Unknown Caller just to hear her voice. He’s silent when she answers, but she knows, just knows, it’s him. I love you, she tells him, and begs him to hang on. Stefan weeps (God, I love it when Paul Wesley cries--is that weird?).
Caroline gathers her things for the walk of shame out of Tyler’s house. Oh, hello, Tyler’s mom--who darts her unconscious with vervaine. 

The Fall Line Up

I'm literally drooling over the new fall TV season. Not–sadly–because I'm actually excited about any of the shows (though some look promising). Mostly I'm excited because I'm sick of summer TV.
In our house, summer TV is the land of boy TV. Hubby gets the remote in the summer. Only because there are no new sitcoms. Ah ... sitcoms. I'm a fan. I'm also a fan of Castle. And Psych. And I've missed them. Dear God, have I missed them.
So what is boy TV you may be wondering?
It's the Discovery Channel. It's How It's Made. It's Myth Busters. It's thirty minutes about concrete and steel. Possibly animals. Maybe fish. Definitely crabs. Dear lord have you seen The Deadliest Catch? It's about crabbing. Guys on boats in Alaska fishing for Crabs. Seriously. It's been on for 7 seasons. Seven. I'm not making this up. My eyes roll back in my head when it's on. And it's on a lot in the summer.
Which is why the thought of scripted TV makes my heart thunder with excitement. This week and next there are some new shows on. Tonight, my palms were a little sweaty.
Here are the returning shows I'm excited about:
Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
The Office
Cougar Town
Here are the new shows I'm panting for:
Up All Night
Once Upon a Time
Grimm (I'm not committed, but curious)
I Hate My Teenage Daughter (only 'cause I love Jamie Pressly)
2 Broke Girls (only 'cause I love Kate Denning)

But rest assured, no matter how good any or all of these shows are, they will not lessen my love of Awkward.
What are you excited about this fall?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Awkward Epi 9 Recap & Contest Weds Combo Package

Today, we're mixing things up and running a two-fer with my Awkward recap and our contest Weds giveaway. Read on for a chance to win a copy of one of my favorite movies of all time.

 My Super Bittersweet Sixteen  - Review and Summary in 750 846 words or less (ugh)

The least you need to know: Jenna is a sloppy drunk who can’t keep her lips shut, or to herself. So, Matty isn’t talking to her and neither is Tamara, who may or may not (I don’t believe it) have authored the “care-frontation” letter.

The Set-up: Happy Birthday, Dear Jenna! Except it’s not—she’s nearly friendless at this point, except for Ming, but she’s got mono. (Who was Ming kissing?) To top it all off she fails her driving test. No wheels for Jenna. At school, Tamara has already moved on to a new BFF (B=band). But wait, someone has decorated her locker…stalker boy?? And then there’s Sadie, never one to miss an opportunity to kick a person who’s down. Jenna can’t take it, not today, so she begs Val to write her a note to go home, but Crazycakes seems to be the only one genuinely excited to celebrate with her homegirl and gifts her a Sixteen Candles DVD—because Jake Ryan can make anything okay!

The Sagging Middle: Int. school cafeteria. The ultimate haves vs. haves-not arena. Jenna is exiled to a table by herself, while Tamara is with the BFF pissing about Ricky Schwartz’s wandering eyes, until she gets a sexy text from the asshat and she quickly forgives him. The BFF accuses her of a double-standard, but Tamara defends that she and Ricky were unofficial, while she and Jenna were bonded for life.

Sweetheart Jake stops by to ask if she’s going to the big game this afternoon. And invites her sit as his table, with Matty. And Sadie. No, she wants to keep a low pro. Wishful thinking, because here comes Crazycakes with a birthday cake and a bullhorn. Sadist Sadie blocks her escape, and birthday rap ensues. Sweet Jesu! The cringe is palpable, even from Matty. Can it get any effing worse? Yes, yes it can—her monthly bill came early and Tamara is the keeper of the backup pants.

Forced into her gym shorts and sporting the whitest legs ever and some circa-1982 rainbow knee-highs (I had a pair just like them when I was 8), all vestiges of dignity are nil. But her mom won’t come get her yet cause she’s doing something at the house?!? Fine. Football game it is. (Uh, since when are football games right after school?)  Lucky for her, sweetheart Jake waves her over to sit by him. In the band block, Tamara has had it with Ricky’s philandering ways and makes plans to end to their “flirtationship” right after the game.

Jenna’s bored. Then Matty shows up and puts the digs in a little more by cheering on Sadie right in front of her. Sadie is super-pissed to see Jenna sitting with her friends, and means to stop to all things Hamilton. Stat.

Total tension between Matty and J in the bleachers, and when Jake asks Matty if his big (drunk) brother, a former HS football star, is still kicking his ass, Matty answers yes, but that he’s not the only one. Side-eye to Jenna. Feeling sh-tty, J tries to go, but sadist Sadie ambushes her and lays down the law about stealing her friends. She punctuates it by dumping her iced mochaccino all over Jenna. (Sadie is an irredeemable b-tch at this point, for me. I don’t care about her recessive chub gene--she deserves it.) Please, Lacey, come get your daughter!

Again, Sweetheart Jake (who’s cheerleader gf, Lissa, is strangely absent this whole epi), offers Jenna a ride to the football afterparty. But she’s not going. Neither is Matty, as Jake points out, so he can give her a ride home.  Over Sadie’s dead body. Except Matty steps up like a gentleman. (F-off Sadie!)

In his car, Jenna profusely apologizes again for the harsh words at the party. But Matty admits she was right, not about being too good for her, but he cares too much what other people think. And it kills him that she thinks so (ahhhh, sniff). There’s a cute moment with the aforementioned rainbow socks before they arrive at J’s home. Friends, again? she asks. Totally. Except her real wish was for a boyfriend. And maybe Matty wants to be?? Come on Matty, just say something!! But he pusses out. Ugh.

The Final Act: Ta da! Her mom made over her room into something from the Vegas strip complete with mirror on the ceiling over the bed for chrissake!!! Time for some Jake Ryan time. Tamara tries to put down the Ricky-crack pipe, but can’t give it up just yet. Jenna learns a lesson from Molly Ringwald: you can’t expect others to be cool with you unless you’re cool with yourself. She tears up the damned care-frontation letter. Knock at the door—it’s Matty (squee!) He forgot to wish her a happy birthday and…he doesn’t want to be friends. He wants to be more!!! Sigh. This episode lacked only a glass dining table.

Best Matty/Jenna Moment: See above, and the clenched hands on the steering wheel.
Best Line: Those spandex bastards think they own they road.

Okay, now for the contest part: A little Jake Ryan makes everything better, so tell me how you celebrated or will celebrate your 16th birthday and you're entered to win your very own Sixteen Candles DVD (US/Canada residents only. Contest end midnight PT 9/17/11).