When Cath was in the waiting room at St. Richard’s, waiting to see her dad, she was worried, of course. She was anxious to know how bad things were, she was upset that she hadn’t been able to stop it, but she wasn’t scared. She knew the drill; she had seen it before. And she had Levi, who stayed when she needed him to and left when she asked him to. Here at St. Elizabeth’s everything is different. She’s never waited in the hospital because her twin sister has alcohol poisoning. She has never been the person who couldn’t answer simple questions about her sister’s friends and routines. And she’s waiting with her mom, who is there when she doesn’t want her to be and leaves when Cath asks her to stay. The nurse tells Cath that Wren only had a scare and suggests that scares are valuable, allowing someone to realize that their behavior is destructive and needs to be changed. Here, it seems that the scare is valuable for Cath maybe even more than it is, at least immediately, for Wren.
Cath makes sure her feelings are heard so much in these chapters, maybe more so than in any other chapters in the books. She has honest conversations with her dad and with Wren. And I’ve never been more proud of Cath than when she yells at her mom. Finally, she’s not letting her silence speak for itself — she’s looking her mom in her eyes and telling her how wrong it was to leave. She makes sure she understands how wrong it is to leave now, again, when her once-abandoned daughter is still in the hospital.
Cath decides, in the dark hospital room as she crawls into bed with her sister, to not stay mad. She was scared at the prospect of losing her sister, of, even worse, losing a sister that she had already let slip away. I love the conversation between Wren and Cath the next day. Cath doesn’t have to forgive Wren — some relationships are beyond the act of accepting an apology. The apology is always already accepted; the bond is never not in tact. Not only does she want Wren back into her life, but she wants to start actively caring for and looking out for Wren, to not respond to being pushing away by drawing back. I spend most of this novel swooning all over Levi, but in these chapters, I realize that the relationship I care about most is the one between Wren and Cath. I feel so relieved when they decide to be back in each other’s lives.
What else? What else!
- I love how Rainbow shows the similarities between Wren and their mother in these scenes — the clenched fist, the way they sway their hips when they walk — after Cath described her own similarities to their dad through the novel
- This novel has many funny lines, but one of my favorites is when Wren and their dad are first talking about what’s next and Wren’s only defense is that she’s eighteen: “I’m eighteen!” Wren shouted. Cath thought this was probably a bad strategy. (354)
- Lest you think I wasn’t swooning all over Levi in this chapters: He was in the waiting room! He texted Cath to write dirty fan fic about them!
- I love the small scene when Cath realizes that Wren is still reading her fanfiction. My heart breaks and melts all over it.
A Recommendation: Perhaps because my dad works in the drug and alcohol field, I’ve always been pretty interested in addiction and alcoholism, what it means to drink alcoholically (as many college students do), and how drinking so quickly becomes part of one’s identity, especially in college. In between my freshman and sophomore years, I read Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas. It’s a memoir by a 24-year-old, after she has decided to quit drinking, about her relationship with alcohol from when she was 14 through the present day. I loved it and find myself still referencing and contemplating many of the issues it brings up, especially with the relationship between girls and drinking, specifically.