Recap #59 – Identity Theft by Anna Davies

identitytheft

Title: Identity Theft

Author: Anna Davies

Published: May 2013

Tagline: ☠ HAYLEY has a friend request she can’t ignore

Description: Privacy settings can’t hide the skeletons in your closet.

Hayley doesn’t have a Facebook account. As a finalist for a prestigious college scholarship, she can’t afford to flood the Internet with photos of her making duck faces, or write probing, existential updates like “OMG, why is oatmeal so delicious?!” So when someone claiming to be Hayley posts incriminating shots of her online, she assumes it’s the product of clever (but seriously mean-spirited) photo editing.

But then even more scandalous pics appear, including one revealing a birthmark on Hayley’s back – something she’s never shown in public. There’s no plausible explanation, until a shocking discovery reveals dark secrets in her family’s past – skeletons that refuse to stay in the closet.

Suddenly, Hayley realizes it’s not just the scholarship that’s at stake, because her tormentor doesn’t just want to ruin Hayley’s life . . . she wants it for her own.

Nostalgia Time!


Okay, look. This is the second book in the Point Horror 2013 relaunch. I was in my 30s when this was published. There is no nostalgia at work here. So let’s talk about that description. The tagline has nothing to do with the story – Hayley doesn’t receive any friend requests, because she isn’t on social media. There’s no birthmark ever mentioned anywhere in the book. Also, if anyone has ever posted the status “OMG why is oatmeal so delicious?!” please direct me to them so I can dump the bowl of said oatmeal over their head, because that status is obnoxious as fuck. Also also, privacy settings absolutely can hide the skeletons in your closet – that’s what privacy settings are for.

At least this back-of-book description doesn’t give the whole story, twist and all, away like the description for the Kindle edition does.

So, you may be able to tell from my tone that I did not enjoy this book. Not to give all my thoughts away up front, but this is bad. Really, really bad. I mean, at first I was going along all right, rolling my eyes and groaning about how willfully unlikable the protagonist is, but nothing Earth-shatteringly terrible. Then we hit the third act, and my brain melts into a fiery hellscape. So, you’ve got that to look forward to, dear reader.

Because that’s what you really come here for, isn’t it. 🙂

Recap


We’re introduced to our annoying whiny brat protagonist, Hayley Westin, on the first day of her senior year of high school. She lets us know right away that she isn’t looking for a catch-up session with any of her classmates, because having friends is for dumb bitches who don’t want to go to college. Or something. She sees her former BFFs, Keely, Ingrid, and Emily, and tells us that they dumped her halfway through Freshman year because she quit the field hockey team. Yes, I’m sure that’s why they dumped you, and not the aforementioned “friends are for dumb bitches who don’t want to go to college” attitude, Hayley.

We’re on page one. This might take a while.

Hayley feels betrayed because Ingrid went backpacking through Europe and tweeted about it all summer. Back in eighth grade, it was her and Hayley’s plan to reenact Eurotrip, and since they’re no longer friends, Ingrid obviously doesn’t have the right to carry on with her life. You might think I’m going hard on Hayley, but her inner monologue really is this judgmental and entitled. She snarks to us about Emily’s “vapid voice” and five-inch heels (I hope Hayley is exaggerating for effect, because this chick is going to break an ankle if she’s not); then Keely catches sight of her and states to the others that girls who don’t date at all in high school are pathetic, like they think a guy is going to ruin their GPA.

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Sheldon annoys me. BBT annoys me. I would rather watch a marathon of this right now than deal with this book

Wow, yeah, good one, Keely. *yawns*

Emily pipes up that even worse is making up a boyfriend and putting him all over Facebook. They walk past Hayley, and Keely hisses that even the losers are joining Facebook. Don’t forget racist aunts, Keely. My racist aunt loves Facebook.

Hayley is both surprised that Keely didn’t insult her, and corrects her in her head – she may be a loser, but she’s definitely not on Facebook. I guess this was Schrödinger’s insult.

She walks into the school, and loves the smell of it – it’s home, where she doesn’t have to worry about snarky comments and former best friends. I guess that doesn’t extend to the snarky comments she’s making, though. Also, school is literally the only place you’re interacting with these former best friends; it hardly seems a sanctuary from them.

She looks at the trophy case, where she has ten academic trophies on display, and tries not to think about the fact that she has more trophies than friends. She goes on to be a raging thundercunt to literally everyone who tries to befriend her, so I’ll reserve my sympathy for pretty much anyone else. Do you need some sympathy, Reader? Here, take whatever this book wants me to have for Hayley.

We now find out that Hayley is in competition for the Ainsworth scholarship, which is given to ten students each year nationwide, and not only pays full tuition and room and board, it also has a $5000 yearly travel stipend. That seems like an unrealistically good deal, so behold the MacGuffin of this book!

Hayley snarks to us some more about a couple of girls she overhears having an “uptalky” conversation, Rachel and Hilary. One of them went to an epic party with college guys, and the other is complaining that she had to go to stupid Greece with her stupid parents, and they took a stupid cruise there, like oh my god haven’t they seen Titanic?!

I honestly can’t tell if this is really how these girls talk and the author has just never heard people have a conversation, or if we’re just being treated to the way Hayley hears it in her overly-judgmental mind.

Anyway, she’s used to hearing these girls’ conversations, because they’re frequent customers at the coffee shop Hayley just quit working at after three years. And, no. You have not been working there for three years, Hayley. You have to be 16 to work at a coffee shop. That would make you 19, which would mean your overachieving ass got held back at least once. We’re told later that you’re 17, so there’s no fucking way you’ve been working at the Ugly Mug since you were 14. And if you were, they need to be reported for violating child labor laws.

Hayley heads to class, repeating to herself that “everything will be worth it.” Yup, who needs friends, a job, or a life when you have grades!

She gets to AP Calculus and realizes she’s just sat next to her academic rival, Adam Scott.

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Hayley also will become mayor at 18, then crash and burn and be impeached by angry villagers

Presumably he’s also her rival for the lead in the next Krampus movie. But not Hellraiser: Bloodline, because that movie is terrible and Hayley would probably make the cenobites cry, anyway.

Adam tries to make conversation with Hayley, which she takes as a personal attack and responds with vitriol, despite thinking he looks good – shoulders filling out his shirt; longer hair than before summer break.

In other news, Hayley seems to think her nasty belittling is friendly teasing. We’re on page six and I already want to beat her to death with one of her academic plaques. Go team New Point Horror!

Hayley thinks about how much more she needs the scholarship than Adam, and thinks that she probably shouldn’t be as friendly as she’s been in the past. Is . . . is this you being friendly, Hayley? Is it really?

The teacher comes in wearing a shirt that says “Why did the chicken cross the Mobius strip?” which only a 13-year-old super genius laughs at. He makes a corny calculus joke that again the 13-year-old snort-laughs at. Despite this, he’s a serious teacher that could make or break Hayley’s straight-A average, and therefore he has value to her. Not like the other plebs that are merely her stepping stones. And because I’d rather be doing anything but this, have a song. Pretend the Monkees are actually singing about our girl Hayley.

Hayley lists off all the classes she has before lunch, then sits in the cafeteria to eat a PB&J instead of heading off campus. I find it hard to believe that this overachieving senior doesn’t have enough credits to be on half-days by now. She spends the time trying to decide who to place in charge of the class sections of the yearbook, as she is Editor in Chief. Which is a Very Big Deal, okay?

As Hayley sits in a corner of the cafeteria to go over yearbook applications (because she just didn’t feel like dealing with it over the summer, since she knew someone will be mad at her no matter who she chooses), a scared Freshman looks her way then scampers off after Hayley smiles at her. #TeamRandomFreshman. Hayley thinks that she wishes she could tell the girl that the shows on the CW are wrong; friends aren’t important and the only people who matter are teachers, college admissions officers, and scholarship officials. Like, I’m not even paraphrasing here. Hayley has some issues, y’all.

Her applicants for junior class editor are Kayla McDonough and Jessica Adamson. Kayla is a field hockey player with a modeling contract and a nose-job, who Hayley suspects only wants the position so that she can make sure all her friends’ photos are prominently displayed in the yearbook. Jessica is a fellow overachiever who somehow still has time to be popular and have friends, and who applied to be editor-in-chief but lost out to Hayley. Hayley thinks that she would have gotten the position if the students were allowed to vote for it, seeing as how people actually like Jessica. Hayley tells us she’s a “teeny bit” jealous of Jess, then goes on to complain about how she does all the hard word while Jess puts ribbons in her hair and bakes cookies to sell during halftime.

Hayley, of course, chooses Kayla, because Hayley is a jealous bitch who’s threatened by anyone who’s not a slacker.

Hayley thinks that whoever said it was lonely at the top was right, then sees some other kids walking in with milkshakes and laments that they “look like extras in a face wash commercial about how awesome it is to be teenagers,” while she feels like an overworked, underappreciated corporate attorney. But, you know, it will all be worth it.

I just realized this book is infinitely quotable, in all the worst ways.

Also, Hayley, you are obnoxious. Nobody is putting this pressure on you but yourself! You could have friends and fun and still have time to study and do Yearbook! People do it every fucking day!

Hayley goes to the guidance suite to set up an appointment about the Ainsworth scholarship, and turns down a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie the secretary offers her, proving that Hayley isn’t as smart as she thinks she is. That’s one of my top two fruit pies right there. (The other is Dutch apple.) Then she imagines herself ten years in the future, an attorney setting up a meeting with a partner. She’ll be wearing a charcoal suit, have her dark hair in a low chignon, and have her lips a sexy, subtle coral color that she just can’t achieve with her drugstore cosmetics. I’m inclined to believe that failing to achieve a certain color isn’t the fault of the cosmetics being from the drugstore; you’re either buying the wrong color, or you suck at doing makeup, Hayley. Plus, you’re being a judgmental snob again, as there’s some decent quality stuff even at the drugstore, you insufferable twat.

The secretary, Mrs. Marsted, enthuses that Hayley still writes on paper, “just like [her]!” when Hayley writes the appointment down in her pink Filofax. It’s at this point that I realize I’ve always thought Filofaxes were some type of Rolodex. I, apparently, have always been wrong.

Some Freshmen, including Keely’s little sister, giggle in Hayley’s general direction, and she takes the opportunity to tell us that she spends a lot of time telling herself she doesn’t care what other people think of her, but she wishes it were a little more true. Hayley, you strike me as someone who desperately cares what other people think of you, what the fuck.

The next day, we’re at the Yearbook meeting, which takes place at 7 am, during something called “zero period.” That’s not a thing I’ve ever heard of, but like I’ve mentioned before, my teenage schooling years were very non-traditional, so I’m all kinds of clueless about normal high school life. Anyway, Hayley is all hopped up on coffee and already annoyed at Jessica, who’s asked her if she should wait to start the meeting since hardly anyone is there. Then she looks to Libby Dorn, another senior, for . . . I dunno, moral support? . . . and tells us that Libby is nice, but she doesn’t know much about her, then goes on to name off several things she knows about her, then shrugs it all off by saying that it’s not like Libby ever invited her to sit with her and her friends, anyway.

Or, you know, maybe you could be friendly, and make an effort, and say “Hey, Libby, how’s it going, cool if I sit here?”

Somebody must have told Anna Davies that she couldn’t possibly write a character more determined to be unlikable than Trick or Treat’s Martha, and Davies’s response was an evil cackle and a “Hold my beer.”

Hayley names the freshman and sophomore editors, then is interrupted by hunky Matt Hartnett walking in. She lusts after him a bit, then tells us he’s never had a serious girlfriend despite half the female population following him around, then wonders if it’s because he, too, realizes there’s more to life than high school. Or, you know, he’s not into girls? He could be gay. He could be asexual. On the flipside, he could be a player. Stop projecting, Hayley.

Matt says he’s “mad sorry” he’s late, and . . . what the fuck, Anna Davies. Is . . . is this how you think teens talk? As much as I hate Hayley, at least she talks like a normal human being. And I suspect this is only to show that she’s not like the other, vapid, teenagers. So it’s still a fail.

Hayley makes sure to tell us she only likes Matt platonically, even though she has to edit the fuck out of his sports articles. He’s been the sports editor since freshman year, and it seems to me you shouldn’t have to edit the editor that heavily, Hayley. (Also, I was confused as fuck as to why there are sports articles in the yearbook, but then I remembered that Hayley is also the school newspaper editor, and that’s probably what she’s talking about here, even though it’s not made clear at all. It seems Anna Davies’s editor also needs an editor.) Anyway, obviously Matt is in the bubble.

Hayley names Kayla as Junior class editor before realizing she’s not even there. Way to go, Hayley, I’m sure this isn’t a decision you’ll regret. She thinks Jess is trying not to cry, while I think she’s trying not to jump up and start strangling this petty brat.

They need a theme and title for the yearbook, and again, is this a thing? I don’t have yearbooks from high school, but from looking through my mom’s (admittedly, those are from the 60s, so not exactly timely), I thought the “theme” was basically just “Name of School” and “Year.”

Whatever. Hayley suggests “Ever Upward,” because it’s classic, not like a song or movie reference, which would date the book.

What. It’s a fucking yearbook, Hayley. It is a book that encapsulates a specific year in your life. I feel you have gravely misunderstood the purpose of a yearbook.

Jess hates the idea, and suggests the theme should be something about friendship, like “That’s What Friends Are For,” or “Lean on Me.” I prefer to think she’s referring to the Morgan Freeman movie rather than the song, because this book sucks and I need to amuse myself somehow.

She pointedly asks Hayley that isn’t that what she’ll miss most after graduation? Her friendships? And Jess might be a bitch, but I think she’s my kind of bitch. She has Hayley’s number, and I’m kinda cheering her on for it.

Hayley writes Jess’s suggestions on the board (the chalkboard. In 2013.), and flashes back to when she and Keely, Ingrid, and Emily were friends. They had called themselves HIKE, an acronym using the first letters of their names, and convinced their middle school gym teacher that they were a real club and spent half a semester skipping gym for HIKE meetings before he figured it out. They also figured out that HIKE could be a contraction for “hot guys we like,” so I guess that would be written H’IKE. And, just for fun, here are some other things HIKE could stand for: “Hey, Imma Kill Everyone;” “Horrible Iguana Kite Evacuation;” “Help! I’m Kicking Ecstasy;” and “wHy did I thinK recapping this was a good idEa?”

HIKE (so are they just IKE now?) made a list of hot guys (they like) and wrote the pros and cons of each one. Hayley didn’t really like any of them (because none of them were going to get her into college, were they?) but she pretended to and copied the other girls, even though she knew the boys would never like her the way they liked Keely’s confidence, Emily’s short skirts and mermaid-like hair, and Ingrid’s sense of adventure and ability to flirt. The boys didn’t care about Hayley’s math skills or ability to quote Shakespeare. She just couldn’t compete with her friends! Because you know, you always have to be competing with your friends for boys’ attention, or else you’re a total loser.

So she started focusing on schoolwork, because academics made sense in a way popularity didn’t – you worked hard, you got a good grade. So I guess we’re supposed to ignore the fact that not everyone who works hard does get a good grade. People with learning disabilities don’t exist in Hayley’s world. Nor, it seems, do people who work their ass off but just aren’t good at taking tests. Sometimes average is someone’s best, and no amount of intellectual shaming will change that, Hayley.

Basically, fuck this chick.

Hayley began resenting her friends because boys didn’t respond to her the way they did to them, even when she copied exactly what they did. Yes, of course this is your friends’ fault. Anyway, she wanted out of the friend group, and Keely made sure she got it. But we don’t get to find out what horrible thing happened between them yet, because Anna Davies thinks dragging this out is somehow more interesting.

Jess is still snarking about the yearbook theme, and Hayley thinks of a way to shut her down – she says they’ll put it to a vote in a student survey, knowing that everyone ignores them. Because of how apathetic teenagers are, you see. Jess leaves to get started on the email blast, I guess, and Hayley tells everyone else to think of story ideas. Wait, is this still a Yearbook meeting? Why do you need stories for the yearbook? Aren’t yearbooks just, like, pictures of everyone, pictures of all the school clubs, and maybe a tribute to anyone who may have died that year? What stories go in a yearbook?

After the meeting, Matt catches up to Hayley to . . . flirt? Maybe? and she notices his lips are chapped like “someone who spent too much time kissing” and thinks it’s a good thing he was sitting far away during the meeting, because his chapped lips would have distracted her. First off, that’s weirdly specific. Secondly, chapped lips are gross, not sexy. Please offer that boy some Chapstick.

He tries to make conversation about what she did during the summer, but she just stammers and runs away before she lets it slip that she loves watching cheesy movies like Notting Hill, Love Actually, and Sixteen Candles, because God forbid she enjoy normal human things. On a side note, I can get behind Love Actually and Notting Hill, but is Sixteen Candles the one with the racist caricature of an Asian character and sexual assault, or the one with just the sexual assault? Fucking John Hughes, man.

Hayley goes to the guidance office for her appointment and sees Jess leaving. She immediately thinks that Jess was there sabotaging her, because it’s All About Hayley™. She stares at the UPenn (her school of choice) poster on the wall, and makes up a fantasy life for one of the boys in the picture.

Mr. Klish, the guidance counselor, comes in and tells Hayley he was just talking to Mrs. Ross, the yearbook adviser, and they both think Hayley might be overextending herself with all her activities. If she wants to step down from Yearbook, Jessica could take over and Hayley could assist her in an advisory capacity.

Hayley practically throws a fit about this, insisting she can handle everything and she’ll sleep when she’s dead. She literally says that. Mr. Klish goes on to say that the Ainsworth scholars will be checking the social media accounts of their contenders – their “FaceSpace” and “Tweeter” accounts. All good there, as Hayley doesn’t do social media. Except when she creeps on Keely’s Pinterest (. . . do teens use Pinterest? I thought that was just for recipes and Grandma’s quilts), Ingrid’s Instagram, and Matt’s Twitter. (He once tweeted “Psyched to make the yearbook’s sports section mad good!” and I am both laughing my ass off at the use of “mad good” again, and I’m confused that apparently he is the sports editor of the yearbook. That is, apparently, a thing. And it is confusing.)

Mr. Klish tells her the announcement of the Ainsworth semifinalists will be made in a week, so she’s not even a semifinalist yet? She cuts him off when he tries to tell her how the Ainsworth interviews are structured, because Hayley Knows It All™. Apparently they expect a spoken-word essay off the top of your head on bizarre topics such as “how the Decameron and Jersey Shore are similar,” “connect Lady Gaga’s music to Mozart’s,” and “the Ophelia trope as exemplified by Miley Cyrus.”

Look, I’m no dummy, but I could not do this. Ask for a written essay; I’m your girl. Ask me to come up with this shit off the top of my head, in front of scholarship judges and everyone I’m competing against? Nope. I would have a panic attack. (I’m not being hyperbolic. I do have panic attacks.)

Hayley leaves the office and sees Adam in the waiting area. She mocks him for eating a piece of Mrs. Marsted’s pie (NOT a euphemism) and for jiggling his knee up and down; he asks her if she’s afraid he’s going to win; she counters that she’s not afraid of anything; he mocks her by saying, “Hayley Has-No-Fear Westin. That doesn’t seem like an Ainsworth-worthy attitude.” Um. Excuse you, but what? That seems like exactly the attitude I’d expect these pretentious lugnuts to want.

Then she goes out in the hall and sees Matt with his arm around some sophomore girl, and feels betrayed because he’s not supposed to have a girlfriend! There’s a lot to unpack here, but if I keep pausing to do it, I’ll never get through this recap. I’m 4000 words into this recap and just finished chapter 2. CHAPTER 2, GUYS! *laughs* *cries*

Hayley leaves school as the sun is going down, and if this is August, when most schools start these days, that means it’s close to 9 PM. What the fuck. She’s late because she got to talking with her Debate instructor. Even though she doesn’t need Debate this year to impress the Ainsworth committee, she’s still secretly psyched about it. But she would never admit it to anyone, and tells the instructor that she doesn’t even think she’ll care about winning. THEN WHY THE FUCK WOULD HE WANT YOU ON THE TEAM, HAYLEY?!

Hayley drives home in her old car, to the ramshackle farmhouse they live in rent-free. Her mom works at a bookshop, and the owner likes her enough to just let them live there without paying rent, because Hayley’s mom has got it going on is beautiful and fragile and doesn’t know how to do practical things for herself.

Inside, we meet Sadie the dog, who is probably the only character we can root for here; Mom; and Mom’s boyfriend Geoff, whom Hayley wastes no time mocking for us. He looks more like Mom’s dad than her boyfriend, and he calls Hayley “Comet” because of Halley’s comet, which annoys her because she’s an ungrateful shithead it’s unoriginal and he’s certainly not the first to think of it. Really? I mean, the last time Halley’s comet came around was 1986, so it was well out of memory by the time Hayley was born, and also “Halley” is traditionally pronounced so it rhymes with “valley,” so can we just not, Hayley.

She’s also annoyed that Geoff insists on using business acronyms all the time, despite the fact that she continuously refers to herself as the EIC (editor-in-chief). Hayley the Hypocrite™!

Hayley mocks Geoff to us some more, wondering if what Mom sees in him is in his wallet; refuses to go get dinner with them; makes herself a PB&J sandwich and goes to her room. She boots up her old laptop, despite earlier telling Mrs. Marsted that she doesn’t “believe” in computers, and thinks about how she Googles herself constantly ( . . . how does this still sound like a masturbation euphemism?) and knows exactly what she’ll find.

Except this time she finds a link for a Facebook profile.

She figures it’s just another person named Hayley Kathryn Westin. And, sure, but those are unusual spellings of all her names. Fun fact, there are exactly four people (including me) on Facebook with my name (first and last; do people really include their middle names on FB?), and two of them are men in the UK. The other is a woman who apparently knows something about privacy settings, because she doesn’t have her location set to public. Anyway, my name is not common, and there are still four of us on FB, so I doubt this is the first time Hayley has run into another person online with her name. (Just for fun, I searched FB for Hayley Kathryn Westin. There are none. However, there are a few “Hayley Westin”s, including at least two profiles that clearly tie-in with this book (no idea if they’re official or just fan-made, and also does this book have fans? dear lord), and more than a few Hayley (and Hailey/Haley/Haylee) Westons.)

She clicks on the profile, and sees a picture of a girl who looks just like her – dark hair, slate-grey eyes – wearing a bikini and covered in whipped cream. There’s a status update from that morning while Hayley was in AP English – “Nothing better than midweek madness. Bonus points if it’s with college hotties!”

There are two comments: “I thought you were good at math? Apparently not, cuz Hayley does not equal hotties in any way.” And “More like midweek sadness . . . for the dudes who have to hang out with you.”

The second one was from Keely. No word on who wrote the first one.

Hayley freaks the fuck out, trying to figure out how this is possible. The profile is full of the Hayley look-alike having fun and “canoodling” with hot guys. This is a word a seventeen year old just used. Yup.

She jumps to the conclusion that Adam did it to sabotage her chances with the Ainsworth people, and she determines to print out the page and show it to Mr. Klish to get Adam suspended. She’s going to print out a Facebook profile. Okay.

This prompts her to think back to ninth grade, when she got her very first grade below a B. It was a C-, and this prompted her to quit field hockey so she could become a boring drone no one likes study more. IKE didn’t like this turn of events, and posted the H’IKE list on Hayley’s Facebook page to embarrass her. I guess Davies means Keely “hacked” Hayley’s page and posted it as her, because it goes on to say that Adam tracked the IP address. The way it’s written, I thought Keely had just posted it to Hayley’s wall as herself, but okay. Goddammit, Davies, your first job is to clearly communicate what is happening in your story. How are you so bad at this? Fuck.

Anyway, apparently this led to much jeering and “fuck off you fucking loser” from the guys on the list. Kay.

This further led to Hayley deleting all her social media presence; throwing out her colorful, fun clothes; and even changing her handwriting to something more serious than the oversized, bubbly script she used to use. Goddamn, Hayley. The scorched earth method shouldn’t be the first thing you reach for.

Anyway, Hayley claims she never let anyone see how much it upset her (despite very obviously letting herself be run off social media and changing everything about herself), except for Adam, whose shoulder she’d cried on. Now she’s convinced he doctored up the FB profile, I guess because he knows how to trace an IP address, and she calls and yells at him. He has no idea what she’s screeching at him about (the text literally uses the word “screeched,” almost like it’s self-aware), and she demands that he meet her at the Ugly Mug in half an hour.

She gets there; thinks that she’s going to call the cops if Adam’s not there in five minutes; then lets Percy-the-barista get her her regular order because he’ll ask all sorts of questions if she declines coffee. I seriously doubt people care that much about what you do, Hayley, but I keep forgetting it’s All About Hayley™.

Adam gets there, sparing us all an embarrassing (but probably hilarious) call to the police; Hayley marvels that someone who thinks a varsity debate jacket is appropriate attire would dare try to sabotage her; she points at Adam while screeching J’accuse!, then shrieks at him some more when he doesn’t know what the fuck she’s talking about.

Hayley finally starts using her grown-up words to explain the FB profile to Adam, and tell him exactly what she’s accusing him of. He mentions that it’s probably a Photoshop, and apparently this hadn’t occurred to Hayley? What? What the fuck did she think was –

Never mind. I keep expecting logic from this book. God knows why.

Adam points out that it’s not like a million people are Googling her ( . . . nope, still sounds dirty); she points out that the Ainsworth people are; it suddenly occurs to Adam that someone might be trying to sabotage her. Please remember these are supposed to be the two smartest kids in the school.

Hayley stops accusing Adam and instead tries not to cry; he says he’ll sit with her until her hands stop shaking, prompting her to shout, “I’m fine. Freaking amazing. Je suis tres bien!” Apparently slipping into French means she’s really losing it. I mean, at least she didn’t tip the barista off to something being wrong by not ordering coffee.

Adam points out that neither one of them even know if they’re finalists yet; the Ainsworth people might not even be Googling them yet. I would think that would be part of their vetting process before determining finalists, but whatever.

Hayley goes off about Jess trying to sabotage her with Yearbook; Adam thinks the FB thing is probably Keely, unless Hayley thinks there’s someone else who might be mad at her; Hayley accuses Adam of thinking she just has a million enemies running around New Hampshire. I mean, I’d believe it based on what we’ve seen so far. *shrug*

Adam calls Hayley intense and intimidating, which upsets her for some reason because she cares that Adam thinks she’s an intense, intimidating weirdo, even though she was just shrieking at him about Facebook. As Adam leaves, Hayely notices a comment from Keely pop up on the FB page – “God, Hayley, if you’re actually willing to be normal, then . . .”

Hayley, out loud, demands of her laptop, “Then what?” causing people to stare at her. She thinks about all the things she needs to do, including baking cookies for Key Club. Even though she was mocking Jess for baking cookies for the football game? Football game cookies are a frivolous waste of time, but Key Club cookies are a worthy and noble endeavor? Also, what the fuck is Key Club?!

(I Googled. (heh) Apparently Key Club is a very well-known service organization that I’ve never heard of.)

Hayley goes home and tries to sleep, but can’t. She tries to watch Mean Girls but it hits too close to home. She probably thinks she’s Cady. I think she’s actually Gretchen Weiners. Then she thinks about the girl in the FB profile, how her eyes were “silvery and shiny like the underside of a fish caught from a pond.” First of all, we were told the girl’s eyes were slate-grey, not . . . whatever this new monstrosity is. Second, if your eyes are silvery and shiny, you need to get that shit checked out, pronto.

Then Hayley decides she’ll sleep when she’s dead and pulls out her laptop to write an agenda for the next yearbook meeting.

Mom wakes her up at 8 the next morning; Hayley had fallen asleep on her laptop keyboard while writing her memos, and yet somehow the screen isn’t filled with the sort of gibberish you would expect from your cheek being pressed against the keyboard for hours on end. Hayley rushes around, as she’s already missed Yearbook and Calc. I hope that just means she missed the beginning of Calc and not the whole class. We’ve been told Yearbook/zero period starts at 7, so I find it hard to believe she’s already missed an entire other class, too.

She looks like a hot mess, and hopes she looks like a tired grad student, but when she sees herself in her rearview mirror, she knows she looks like Hayley Westin, tired party girl, just like the FB profile.

She parks in “her spot” in the parking lot; sees Keely and some others gathered around an iPhone and immediately imagines they’re talking about her, because it’s All About Hayley™; goes to get a late pass but is so fucking special that she doesn’t need one; runs into Matt, who tells her Jess took over the Yearbook meeting and gave everyone deadlines for September; then mentions her Facebook said she was “chillin’ at the U” with some college guys the night before. Then he invites her to hang at Alyssa’s barn that night, because that’s apparently the cool party spot for the cool party kids.

For some reason this makes Hayley gag and run to the bathroom with a hand over her mouth, but once she’s in the bathroom she doesn’t need to throw up anymore. One of the freshman girls at the sink recognizes her as “the girl who parties with frat guys at the U,” and Hayley feels sick again.

She goes to the guidance office and barges in on Mr. Klish having a meeting with Adam, and immediately thinks this was Adam’s plan – sabotage her, make her confide in him, then use her weakness to move ahead. You know, because it’s All About Hayley™.

Mr. Klish is happy to see her, though, because he was just about to announce to them that they’re both Ainsworth semifinalists. Of course they fucking are. The semifinals are next week in Concord, and Mr. Klish would take them, except that weekend is the Renaissance fair . . . would that be appropriate? The guidance counselor taking the kids to Concord himself? Anyway, Adam says they’ll get there themselves.

Mr. Klish starts rambling about the itinerary of the competition, and Adam interrupts to ask when the actual competition starts, and Mr. Klish just tells him the structure of the interviews instead, and everyone acts like he answered the question. This book is badly written, guys.

Hayley tells Mr. Klish she needs to talk to him privately; Adam helpfully volunteers to leave; Hayley tells Mr. Klish that she’s being impersonated online – there’s a FB profile with a picture that looks like her, an obvious Photoshop job, it’s not her but it looks like her. Mr. Klish can’t seem to grasp the concept of Photoshop and demands to know “How is it not you, if the photo is of you?”

First of all, what the actual fuck was that sentence? Second, she just fucking told you it’s a Photoshop, you dipshit. Learn to listen.

Hayley tries to find the profile on Klish’s computer, but it pops up with a “no user by that name exists” message. Then, in a stroke of genius that nearly gave me a stroke, Hayley mutters that “maybe it’s in another browser” and tries to find it in the Firefox browser.

That . . . that’s not how the internet works.

Again, this is one of the top two smartest kids in the school.

Hayley loses her shit and shouts “I’m sorry!” as she runs out of the office. Adam is waiting for her and asks if she’s okay; she confirms that he saw the profile last night; she tells him it’s gone now; he asks isn’t that a good thing? Adam asks if she wants to study together for the Ainsworth; she agrees to 7 tomorrow at the Ugly Mug. No word on whether that’s AM or PM; I guess they’re psychic and just know. Then Emily passes in the hall and smiles a tiny bit at Hayley, then whispers that she’ll see her tonight. Hayley realizes that Matt must have told them she was coming to Alyssa’s barn. She decides she will go, because at least then she’ll have corroboration that she was there instead of wherever Fake Hayley might post on FB.

Then she says that being surrounded by her enemies in their element would be less scary than being alone in her room, waiting on their next move.

Hey, Hayley? Maybe the reason everyone hates you is because you literally refer to them all as your fucking ENEMIES.

Alyssa lives a mile down the road from Hayley, so she walks there. Despite the impression that Alyssa’s barn parties are ragers, there are only a few kids there, hanging out. Matt spots her and seems confused to see her, asking what she’s doing there. Dude, you invited her, what the fuck.

She spots Keely and asks to talk to her, and is surprised when Keely agrees. They walk off and Keely apparently still has the habit of opening bottles with her teeth. She is apparently very proud of this ability. Well. I suppose it could be worse.

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Keely 2.0

Hayley informs Keely that the FB profile isn’t her, then asks if she created it. Keely denies it, stating that she thought Hayley had loosened up over the summer, and she even deleted the mean comment she wrote. Keely says she knows Hayley hates her because of the way she’s always glaring at her, but she doesn’t want to ruin her life or anything. Hayley points out that she did once, and Keely counters that they were just kids, and Hayley had acted like she was better than IKE and turned her back on them, so they turned their backs on her. Gee, it’s almost like there are two sides to every story and things aren’t always how they appear to you, huh?

An owl hoots and they hear a crash in the trees, but I’m sure it was nothing.

In a moment of nostalgia, they pinkie swear that Keely didn’t make the profile, and she tells Hayley it’s not a bad thing for people to see her as human. Then Hayley heads off toward Matt, who hands her two beers to hold while he roots through the cooler some more. Mortified that people might think she’s drinking, Hayley holds the beers as far away from herself as possible, which is actually a pretty funny mental image. Then they somehow smack their heads together, and Hayley thinks she sees a flash from the bushes. It’s never a good thing when someone in the bushes flashes you.

Matt teases her for constantly talking to herself. Oh, Hayley, that’s what happens when you don’t talk to other human beings. But also, it takes effort to talk to yourself out loud. Just talk to yourself in your head like the rest of us, Jesus. Anyway, Hayley is unable to come up with appropriate flirty banter, and just stands there smiling like an idiot.

Adam texts asking if she wants to come over and start studying now, and Matt mistakes him for her boyfriend. When she says he’s not, she thinks Matt says “Good for me,” but when she asks him to repeat himself, he says, “He seemed to be.” Ahh, wacky hijinks and misunderstandings!

She ignores the text, then Erin-the-sophomore runs up and demands Matt’s help with flip cup, which is a thing I didn’t realize was a thing until I saw it on an episode of Always Sunny. Hayley’s night is suddenly ruined, and she goes off home, sulking, and watches Love, Actually to remind herself that meet-cutes don’t happen in real life, and she’s a loser and everyone hates her and she’s an idiot for wanting her own meet-cute. Or something. It’s just more patented Hayley Whining™.

Apparently the study date was for 7 PM. Adam and Hayley are both wearing Harvard garb that belongs to their respective parents, and wait. Hayley’s mom went to Harvard? That’s a surprise.

They spend some time asking each other the weird Ainsworth essay questions, but mostly ones they themselves made up (at one point Hayley asks Adam “do you think it’s possible for someone to find themselves attracted to someone they’ve never noticed before, and compare the concept to the theory of relativity.”).

Then an unknown number texts Hayley: “All work and no play . . . makes Jack a dull boy it won’t make me go away.” and “PS. You give Keely too much credit.”

Hayley immediately deletes them, because fuck keeping evidence or anything.

Then Jessica walks in and shoves her iPhone (Anna Davies is apparently an Apple fangirl) in Hayley’s face, showing her that the FB profile is back, along with a new photo. This one actually is Hayley, in Alyssa’s barn holding the beers, right before she and Matt smacked heads.

Beware flashers in the bushes!

Hayley “realizes” that Jess took the picture, because sure, why not. Give her five minutes and I’m sure she’ll be back to accusing Adam. Or Keely. Or, hell, Mom’s boyfriend Geoff. Jess denies it, and says she merely stumbled across the profile and saw Hayley partying with her Yearbook staffers, which she thinks is sketchy. What the fuck. Jess, that is fucking dumb as balls. You are no longer my kind of bitch.

Moving along, all of this leads to Jess blackmailing Hayley into stepping down from Yearbook and naming Jess as her successor. It’s every bit as stupid and nonsensical as it sounds. To make things worse, Adam turns his back on Hayley and says that for all he knows, she’s the one starting all this drama.

Hayley drives home crying, lamenting the fact that the one time she’d acted like a normal teenager, this happened. She knows people don’t like her, but they had always respected her and now she didn’t even have that. Eh, I don’t think people actually respect you that much, Hayley.

The profile disappears again, which Hayley for some reason takes as confirmation that Jess is indeed the culprit; Monday morning she resigns from Yearbook and runs into the hall crying; Matt comes out and comforts her (he says Yearbook is for losers, which she mistakenly takes for him quitting); then Hayley says she’s going for coffee, and Matt invites himself along. Coffee Hut, not the Ugly Mug this time. Matt doesn’t even offer to pay for himself, and wanders off, leaving Hayley to pay the ten dollar tab. Then he tries to commiserate by telling Hayley about not making Captain of the hockey team last year.

At the end of the day, Jess approaches Hayley, who wigs out and starts accusing her again of setting up the profile. Lather, rinse, repeat. Our girl Hayley shouting in the hallway, making herself look like an asshole.

At home, Hayley smells the aftereffects of cigarette smoke in her room, even though no one in the house smokes, but she shrugs it off and opens a window. Sadie the dog is also acting strange, but yeah, let’s just ignore that, too. Then she sits down to write her Ainsworth bio, because that’s what’s really important here.

The Friday night before the Ainsworth interview, Hayley can’t find her lucky bracelet; also over the last week weird shit’s been happening – her school ID went missing; she was temporarily locked out of her email; she missed a call from a “no ID available” number. Which isn’t actually a weird thing; people get those calls all the time, what the fuck Hayley.

Mom goes out with Geoff, who for some reason from here on out will randomly be referred to as “Geofferson” which is a very odd spelling of that name and makes me wonder if Davies did a find and replace on the name “Jeff.” She gets home at 4 AM but somehow is in the kitchen making breakfast for Hayley at 6. And in case we thought maybe she just stayed up and went to bed after that, nope. She goes to work after this. I guess Mom will also sleep when she’s dead.

Hayley doesn’t eat because she’s getting sick, or maybe the bottle of water on her nightstand was drugged. Hard to say at this point, because Anna Davies is a terrible writer, and Hayley is stupid, no matter how much this book tries to convince us otherwise.

Adam picks Hayley up and they stop for doughnuts, which Davies insists on spelling “donuts” just in case I needed another reason to hate this book. Hayley picks out six pastries and the total only comes to $5.50, which I find unlikely as hell. Anyway, Hayley’s wallet is empty despite her knowing she’d had two twenties in there. Adam pays, but seems annoyed by it.

They make it to Concord, and Hayley needs to pull over to throw up. She’s desperate, but somehow has enough time to point out a gas station, run inside, ask for the restroom key, get to the restroom, unlock the door, and make it to the toilet. Mmhmm. When she returns the key, the attendant tells her he thought she’d already left, but Hayley doesn’t think anything of it, because Hayley is an idiot.

Hayley curls up in the backseat to sleep the rest of the way, even though I was under the impression that the backseat is the worst place to put someone who gets carsick. Whatever. They make it to the convention center, Hayley feels like walking death, and when she checks in, the woman there calls her the “infamous Hayley.”

Welp, that doesn’t bode well.

Inside the auditorium, Hayley flips the program open to look at her bio:

Hayley Kathryn Westin: In addition to striving to be the best at everything she does, including latte drinking and pantyhose wearing, Hayley also finds time to watch and collect chick flicks – the cheesier, the better. Her greatest ambition is to head to an Ivy League university. There, she’ll continue to pad her resume with impressive-sounding activities and acting like she’s better than everyone else.

Bahhahahahaha! I love it.

Hayley is mortified and pissed – how could they have allowed this bio to be printed?! Couldn’t they see it was a cruel joke?! I mean, personally, it just seems lighthearted and fun to me, at least until the end. Maybe they just thought you had a sense of humor, Hayley. Their mistake.

Hayley wants to explode all over the place, but she’s stuck in the auditorium since the competition is starting. A girl notices her freaking out and gives her a concerned look, mouthing “are you okay” at her.

The first girl up totally biffs her question, and some girls in front of Hayley ask each other if that’s Hayley Westin, then when they realize she was introduced as Jane, they surmise that there must be two idiots in the competition. So, I guess no one here has a sense of humor, because that bio was hardly the most scandalous thing I’ve ever seen.

Another girl finishes up, sits next to Hayley and says that at least she’s sure she won’t be worse than that Hayley girl. Naturally, Hayley is called next, and gets to give this girl an icy death stare. Good lord, do people actually put this much stock in a funny bio, or is this just It’s All About Hayley™ again?

The question Hayley gets is “What does it mean to “take” someone’s car?” And she comes up with some twaddle I don’t care about, managing to work in the fact that the bio everyone read isn’t the one she wrote, but she’ll take responsibility for it . . . but she’d prefer to take the car.

Apparently this is a brilliant response, as everyone bursts into thunderous applause. Sure. Then the lights come up, and she spots a girl who looks just like her in the back row. She rushes out after her, but she’s gone. Then Hayley decides to take a cab home instead of waiting for Adam, because friendship is motherfucking magic. While she’s waiting for the cab, the blond girl from the auditorium comes out, introduces herself as Leah, asks if Hayley is okay, then apologizes for the comment she made earlier.

Hayley is just annoyed that this pleb is talking to her; can’t she tell she’s in the middle of a breakdown?!

This is why you don’t have friends, Hayley.

Leah asks if Hayley wants to go to lunch, and Hayley brusquely turns her down, ignoring her to stare at her phone. Then a limo service turns up to take her home, because I guess Hayley is too good for regular cabs; she sleeps the whole hundred-dollar ride home; then has to go inside to get money to pay. Fortunately, whoever’s been home-invading her didn’t find this particular stash of cash.

That night Mom (whose name we find out in this chapter is Wendy) and Geoff/Geofferson (the names are being used interchangeably now) take Hayley out to the pizza place she and Mom always go to after competitions. They always order the same pizza (half mushroom, half peppers), but this time Geoff(erson) has the fucking audacity to order an entree, which freezes Hayley’s brain, leading to her throwing enough of a fit that Geoff cancels their whole order and drives them home so Hayley can chill and they can go eat somewhere without a screeching teenager bumming them out.

On the ride home, Geoff and Mom shit-talk both Hayley and the restaurant, and Hayley receives another text message: “That was a good show today. Maybe too good. Ever heard the phrase “on thin ice”? Better lace up . . .”

At the house, Hayley goes to the kitchen while Mom and Geoff stand in the doorway and tell her that Mom is staying with him tonight, because Hayley needs to rest. Sure, leave your clearly distressed daughter alone overnight, A+ parenting. Hayley sees a photo on the fridge of her when she was five or six, except it’s not her because her hair was different at that age than the girl in the photo. Instead of pointing the photo out to Mom, she wonders if she’s losing her mind.

It occurs to Hayley that someone could still be in the house, but again, instead of telling her mom, she literally pushes her out the door and yells at her to “GO!”

Okay.

Alone and in her room, Hayley looks around and sees her lucky bracelet back on her dresser. She literally runs out of the house screaming. And then decides to go to Alyssa’s barn party, because suddenly-appearing bracelets are notoriously afraid of barns.

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Bracelets are scary

At the party, everyone is thrilled to see Hayley, and Keely mentions her making out with this guy named Will the night before. Hayley starts to doubt herself, wondering if she’s been blacking out and turning into Fun Hayley in some sort of fugue state, and dear God, don’t let Anna Davies get near Dissociative Identity Disorder, okay? Some girl named Kendra comes up, asking Hayley to send her the photos she took last night so she can put the non-inappropriate ones in the yearbook, then says that god, she guesses she ought to go to a meeting, huh? Kendra apparently doesn’t even know that Hayley isn’t EIC anymore, and wait, just who the fuck is Kendra? Is . . . is this Kayla? The slacker Junior section editor? Did Davies literally forget the name of her own character? Because the text is treating us like we’re supposed to know who the fuck Kendra is, but this is the first time anyone with that name has been mentioned . . .

WHO THE FUCK ALLOWED THIS TO BE PUBLISHED?!

Whatever. Hayley thinks that her house is haunted; she’s possessed or sleepwalking or has an undiagnosed case of multiple personality disorder. Pretty sure it was being referred to as DID by 2013, and also STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM DID, DAVIES I DON’T TRUST YOU TO WRITE MENTAL ILLNESSES.

Ugh. Matt, who seemed pretty drunk five minutes ago, drives Hayley home, and when they walk in, she smells a perfume smell unlike anything anyone else who lives there wears. It’s fine; I’m sure she’s just having a stroke.

She offers Matt some flat soda that’s been in the fridge forever; the photo that freaked her out earlier is gone; they talk about Matt’s “wasted potential” (Hayley’s literal words to him) when Hayley finds out he used to have more intellectual pursuits; he extols the virtues of being able to quit something when you’re not enjoying it. This, of course, is an alien concept to Hayley.

Matt suddenly decides he wants to make pancakes, which sounds to me like he’s still drunk and definitely shouldn’t have driven; and Hayley checks her email to find a notice from the Ainsworth people informing the finalists that the girl Hayley had briefly talked to, Leah, has died. Hayley Googles it and discovers she was in a car crash and then wonders if she’d talked to her longer, or actually gone to lunch with her, if she would have avoided the crash.

Considering the type of book this is, she was definitely murdered, so my guess is no.

Matt continues making pancakes; Hayley finds his iPod (seriously, did Apple sponsor this book? I’m shocked Hayley doesn’t use a MacBook) and starts playing his Bob Marley playlist, because of course this fucking guy has a Bob Marley playlist. Then they eat pancakes with their bare hands like fucking heathens.

They get to talking about whether they’d be happy if they died right now, and Hayley thinks that she’d be stuck in an eternity of “almost.” She thinks that once she’s valedictorian, once she wins the Ainsworth, then she’ll let herself be happy. Nope. Then you’ll find something else you won’t be happy til you have, then something else, and so on until you die. Find things to be happy about now, y’all.

They spend some time going back and forth over how important college is or isn’t; Matt kisses Hayley; she invites him to sleep on the couch since it’s like three AM; she falls asleep on the couch with him. Also, she is still in her Ainsworth competition outfit, so a skirt and pantyhose, which does not in any way sound comfortable. Also, I had forgotten this was the same day. They sure got the news about Leah out fast, didn’t they.

The next morning, Matt acts like he doesn’t really remember the night before, asking if anyone else from the party is there, then practically runs out the door because he’s late for soccer practice. Hayley is relieved to see the remains of the pancake dinner, because at least that happened, and she didn’t just imagine it, because she was worried Matt was only there because she’d fainted or dragged him, or who even knows what.

Is it possible to gaslight yourself? Because I think Hayley is gaslighting herself.

Hayley spends some time outside feeling sorry for herself, then goes inside, and screams because she spotted a pink baby shoe holding down a note on the table. The note tells her she needs to get a clue, and here’s one right here, for under the note is an envelope. Hayley screams again, then the doorbell rings and she screams yet again.

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Actual video of Hayley. Not that Point Horror has diversity.

It’s Adam at the door. Hayley, by the way, is holding a fork as a weapon, because no one wants to be forked to death. He’s concerned that she might be upset about Leah dying because it pushed the Ainsworth schedule off by a week, and Hayley doesn’t like disruptions to her schedule. LOL Even Adam knows what Hayley’s priorities are.

Hayley gets rid of Adam because asking for help is for weak drama queens, then rips open the envelope her home invader left for her. It’s a letter in her mother’s handwriting, addressed to her parents. In it, she tells them that she’s giving the babies up for adoption because she’s worried what she and James would be like as parents, and she doesn’t want the children to grow up like she did – afraid to say or do the wrong thing, unloved in a big, cold house.

Hayley is like, wait, children? The girl in the photos, her, but not her. Was that . . . her sister?!

Jesus fucking Christ, Hayley, you fucking think?

SECRET TWINS FUCKING DUH MOTHERFUCKERS!

Hayley goes to the bookshop Mom works at and rummages around her office. Because she has an office. At a used bookstore. Sure. Hayley finds a book on her mom’s desk by James Thomson-Thurm, and decides this is her father because they have the same smile. Then she finds a lockbox with a sonogram photo in it – a photo with Baby Girl A and Baby Girl B labeled on it. Hayley is in shock. A sister? She has a sister?!

GEE WHIZ HAYLEY, DO YOU REALLY THINK THE GIRL WHO LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE YOU MIGHT JUST BE YOUR TWIN SISTER? REALLY? LIKE, REALLY REALLY?

Goddamn, why is she so stupid?

Mom texts to tell Hayley she’s going to Boston with Geoff and they’ll be back tomorrow. Well, it is Point Horror. Gotta get the parents out of the picture somehow.

Hayley decides to go to Leah’s memorial, which is about an hour away. Once there, Leah’s grandma accosts her and hisses that Hayley was the last one with her and heard her scream. Hayley’s brain cells briefly spark and she wonders if her twin killed Leah.

We’re kicked into the future to Hayley waking up disoriented – she slept at school. On the loveseat in Mrs. Ross’s classroom, to be precise. What the fuck, Hayley.

Hayley gets called to the guidance suite to see the school counselor, Miss Keeshan, because a friend of hers told the office she was freaking out a little about the Ainsworth. She retorts that she doesn’t have friends, but it was obviously Adam, right?

Miss Keeshan is only twenty-six, and kind of hippie-dippy, so of course Hayley is a judgmental twunt about her. She tells her about the bio and someone impersonating/sabotaging her, then babbles about stress, and overall it’s just not helpful to anyone. At least Hayley thinks being killed would be worse than being crazy, so that’s something, I guess.

Hayley leaves school and accosts her mom at the bookstore. (There’s a shop cat named Cow, which is charming and provides the best sentence in this book: “Cow meowed indignantly.”) She demands they have this conversation in public, presumably so there are witnesses when she inevitably snaps and strangles Mom, so they go to the park and Hayley demands to know if she has a sister, showing Mom the letter and sonogram. Mom finally admits it, but says the other baby died at birth – Hayley’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.

All right, since this is obviously a lie (spoilers), WHAT THE FUCK, MOM? Why would you basically tell your child she was a killer at birth? Why is that the lie you make up? This is all sorts of fucked up, fucking hell. Bad enough if it were true, but to make that up and tell your child that? Wow. Just wow.

The reaction is about as dramatic as you’d expect Hayley to be after way too many words of this recap; Hayley thinks her dead sister is haunting her; she runs Mom off and hangs out on the park bench feeling guilty for murdering her sister; she tries to talk to Ghost Twin to apologize; the cops show up and run her off because the park closes at dusk and it’s now dark.

At home, Mom left a note saying she’s staying at Geoff’s; Hayley gets an email telling her she made it to the final round of scholarship bullshit; she can’t find her phone; then a random IM pops up on her computer from someone whose avatar is the same as Fake Hayley’s FB profile picture. The message congratulates her on Ainsworth – if she can stay alive that long.

Hayley slams the laptop shut; goes to the kitchen and gets a bread knife; comes back to her room and sees another message on the laptop, but doesn’t act like it’s weird that the laptop opened up all by itself when she’d just slammed it closed four sentences earlier; after a few more threatening IMs, Hayley asks if this is her sister; Fake Hayley responds that it took Hayley long enough to figure it out. Yup. #TeamFakeHayley

Hayley asks what she wants; Fakeley responds that Hayley needs to do more research, then signs off. Hayley, for some fucking goddamn inconceivable reason, still thinks she’s talking to a ghost. How dare this book try to make us think she’s smart.

She searches Mom’s room and finds a baby photo of a calm baby – Hayley had always been red-faced and screaming in baby photos. Well, good to know her personality was set at birth. Then she sees the foot of another baby in the corner of the photo and realizes Mom lied to her – there were two live crew babies.

Hayley sleeps in her car in the school parking lot and is woken up by Keely, who says she can sleep at her place if she needs to; there’s no reason for her to be a car-sleeping weirdo, and Ingrid counters that sleeping in your car is very Euro and she did it in Spain to save money. Cool.

Matt rocks up and returns Hayley’s phone, which had fallen out of her bag in the parking lot how-the-fuck-ever many days ago that was; then throws her over his shoulder and carries her into the school so that Adam can see them and get very obviously jealous. He throws the flowers (forget-me-nots) he was holding on the floor, accuses Hayley of not giving a fuck about the party Mrs. Marsted and Mr. Klish had thrown for them, the two Ainsworth final finalists; Hayley doesn’t know what he’s talking about; he doesn’t believe her. Then he says he’s done with her; first she acted like an idiot at the interview, and today she was an asshole who could barely form a coherent sentence in the guidance office.

Fake Hayley strikes again!

Hayley finds a note in her locker from her twin telling her that whatever she’s doing is for Hayley’s own good, and she needs to go to the pep rally tonight. She goes; hangs out with IKE; gets a text from Sis bragging that she made friends for Hayley; then somehow manages to fall off the bleachers and give herself a nosebleed in front of everyone. Smooth, Hayley.

IKE rally around Hayley, so I guess they’re back to being HIKE now. Keely decrees that Hayley is going to spend the night with them at Emily’s house, and compliments Hayley for being the center of attention and looking good doing it; Emily agrees and states that Hayley didn’t flash anyone or anything. If we’re going with the Mean Girls analogy, I can’t decide if Emily is Gretchen Weiners or Karen. She seems cooler than Gretchen, but smarter (maybe) than Karen, so . . .

HIKE is back together for the next three days; Hayley convinced them to spend the night at her place last night; Keely loans her a dress she claims Hayley said she wanted to borrow for her big date with Matt; and Hayley is stunned that people actually like her ever since the pep rally, because falling off the bleachers was as far from perfect as you can get. Yeah, imagine that, people like people who let down their guard and show that they’re human every once in a while! Wild, right? *facepalm*

Matt is taking Hayley to a restaurant called the Firebird, which Keely deems “clutch,” and Hayley still doesn’t know what that means, despite Keely having used it several times now and context clues being a thing that exist. I’m guessing Hayley scored worryingly low on the linguistics portion of the SATs?

Matt and Hayley drive to the restaurant; he derides one of her favorite books (to be fair, I’m not a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, either); they flirt; he tells her he had a crush on her in kindergarten because of the way she said “animal” – aminal. Hayley flashes back for us, telling us that the kindergarten teacher mocked her for saying it that way and not being able to hear the difference, and this is what gets me in Hayley’s corner for a second. In first grade, I had a teacher who mocked my midwestern accent, and once stood in front of the class and demanded over and over that I say “banana.” It was humiliating as fuck. Fuck teachers who do this shit to little kids.

Anyway, Hayley practiced saying “animal” all weekend, then walked up to the teacher on Monday and told her that her behavior had been animalistic. Seems a bit precocious for a five-year-old, but okay, I’m willing to ride with Hayley for a split second here. But then she wonders if that’s a thing her sister would have done when she was seven, and Hayley, if you were seven in kindergarten, we’re back to you being nineteen right now, which you are not. (Also, Matt told us earlier that he moved to town when he was eight, so he absolutely was not in kindergarten with Hayley, unless he’s now twenty fucking years old.)

I get the feeling Anna Davies is as bad at math as she is at writing.

They reach the restaurant; Hayley is sad because this means the date is getting closer to being over, because Hayley is All Doom and Gloom™; as soon as they sit down, Hayley spills water on herself and goes to the bathroom to clean up; when she comes out, her doppelganger is sitting across from Matt. Somehow she can see her eyes from all the way across the restaurant, and they’re blue now instead of slate-grey or that shiny fish-belly bullshit.

Seriously, did a hamster edit this book?

Instead of running over and revealing the ruse to Matt, or demanding “what the fuck?” of her sister, Hayley . . . stands in the corner and watches. Hayley. Why. What the fuck are you doing.

Suddenly she remembers Keely saying Hayley had wanted to borrow the dress, and wonders if Sis had been impersonating her with IKE. Uh, yeah Hayley. She literally texted you that she had made friends for you. You know she’s been at parties impersonating you when IKE were around. THIS ISN’T NEW FUCKING INFORMATION YOU FUCKING NITWIT.

I can’t believe this book keeps trying to make us believe Hayley is smart.

Sis leaves the table and slips through the back door; Hayley takes her place with Matt and is put out that he couldn’t tell the difference between them. Even though Sis apparently has highlights in her hair and a slightly different dress. Men don’t notice anything! Anyway, on the one hand, I get Hayley’s feelings. On the other, you literally could have walked over and ruined Sis’s dastardly plan, so . . . I can’t really sympathize that much.

Sis ordered the seafood special, but Hayley is allergic to shellfish; Hayley notices that Sis has switched purses with her and digs through until she finds a wallet and ID – Jamie Thomson-Thurm. 167 Revere Drive. Hayley runs from the restaurant, yelling at Matt not to touch her; goes to the bus station and figures out a route to Boston; and pays with money from Jamie’s purse. (She’s clearly a rich girl.)

She searches more thoroughly through the purse and finds an old photo of a guinea pig with the words “Peanut Butter, named after my favorite thing in the world” written on the back. Hayley thinks that murderers don’t carry around pictures of cute animals, do they? Oh, Hayley. Hitler loved dogs. Hell, the Toybox Killer loved his dogs, and . . . well, please don’t Google how he involved them in his torture-killings. (If you ignore this advice, just be warned that it’s extremely upsetting.) Anyway, terrible people absolutely can love animals, Hayley.

Hayley switches buses; takes a cab; finds a note from Jamie amid the wad of cash telling her to have fun in Massachusetts; realizes that Jamie knew she would come here; and walks up to the front door of 167 Revere. The door opens before she can knock, and James Thomson-Thurm scoffs when she introduces herself as Hayley, tells her not to start this shit again, and drags her into the house.

Welp. That’s quite the way to meet your dad.

James’s wife, Deborah, comes into the room, and together they refuse to listen to Hayley; insist that she’s Jamie fucking with them again; and James says, let me quote this, because it’s all just so terrible:

“Dr. Morrison said this could happen. It’s called splitting. It’s just another sign that she’s a very sick girl. And, of course, knowing she has a twin makes it that much easier to imagine an alternate personality. That’s why Wendy and I had agreed to keep it a secret.” He shook his head angrily. “Anyway, that place he told us about up in Maine is supposed to be the best, and I think with the right therapy, and maybe some electroshock, she could resume a normal life . . . .” he said, as though I weren’t in the room.

Okay. First of all, unless there’s some behavior James isn’t telling us about, this isn’t what splitting is in a mental health context. Like, at all. Second, this isn’t how multiple personalities/dissociative identity disorder works. At all. You don’t deliberately create a new personality based on your twin; the mind splinters into different facets due to trauma. It’s . . . nothing like what’s going on here. Third, although electroconvulsive therapy is still sparingly used today, it’s nothing like this book or other media want to present it. So fuck off, Anna Davies.

A boy about Hayley’s age, named Aidan, walks into the kitchen. He is obviously James’s bio son, meaning this fucker didn’t waste any time knocking Deborah up after Wendy had the twins. Aidan also clearly hates Jamie and doesn’t believe Hayley, and Deborah mentions how horrible she was as a child, and references the guinea pig, which Aidan says was his favorite thing in the world. Hayley feels sick, thinks of the photo in the wallet, and asks, “Peanut Butter?” before she can stop herself. Aidan points out she has a good memory, considering she claims not to know who Jamie is. Which isn’t exactly fair, since she’s literally been telling them Jamie is impersonating her and trying to ruin her life, she obviously fucking knows who Jamie is, but whatever, guys.

James comes back into the room, saying “they” will be here to get Jamie soon; Hayley continues trying to tell them who she really is; they continue to not listen; she decides fuck it and tries to run, but can’t get the sliding door open and gets tackled by Aidan. And this is the last laugh this book is going to give me, because we’ve just about reached the brain-melting hellscape. So, uh, buckle up.

Men in actual white coats (I’m surprised they don’t fucking have butterfly nets, too) show up and force pills into Hayley’s mouth and drag her away to the back of a black car, where she goes unconscious. She wakes up at a “mental institution” that she describes as looking like a summer camp, with Dr. Taylor walking her into his office. She sees that everyone around her is either dressed in scrubs (nope) or has a medical wristband on (nope.)

Now might be the time to mention that I’ve been in two different private psychiatric facilities when I was 13 and again when I was 14. I know my shit here, and none of what’s coming up is realistic. Both facilities I was in were private (like the one Hayley is in), I was on the adolescent ward (like Hayley is), and I was there for . . . well, it’s kind of complicated. I was refusing to go to school, due to debilitating social anxiety and depression, although social anxiety wasn’t a thing that was being diagnosed in the early 1990s. The best the daytime talkshows could come up with was “schoolphobia,” which . . . leaves something to be desired as far as a diagnosis goes. Also, because I was so young, nobody would even consider evaluating me for bipolar, no matter how many times I asked them to, but that’s a rant for another day.

Point is, psychiatric facilities, especially private ones, especially on the adolescent ward, are nothing like what we’re about to be assaulted by in this text. I swear to God, everyone just watches One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, thinks that’s what it’s like everywhere, and writes their own bullshit, inaccurate version of that, rather than doing research, or literally just talking to anyone who’s been in that situation.

Anyway. Back to Hayley.

They walk into Dr. Taylor’s office, and Hayley spots a pamphlet titled “Frequently Asked Questions About Electroshock Treatments,” and no. It’s actually “Electroconvulsive Therapy,” or “ECT.” Any “professional” referring to it as shock treatments should have their license taken away. You seriously couldn’t do a simple Google search, Davies?

Hayley tells Dr. Taylor she’s not Jamie; he obviously doesn’t believe her but doesn’t directly say so; the “session” ends because it was just a short intake session; he tells her he’ll be meeting with her for forty-five minutes every day, and tomorrow he’d like her to bring “Jamie” with her, if that makes sense. Hayley screams that she can’t, Jamie is in New Hampshire pretending to be Hayley! He doesn’t believe her even harder, but does inform the nurse who comes to take her to her room that she’d prefer to be referred to as Hayley for the time being.

This . . . just . . . ugh. This isn’t how “multiple personalities” work. Davies might be going for some form of psychosis with delusions here, but it reads more like “mental illness grab bag.”

Also, I don’t get why no one believes Hayley. They all know there’s a twin. They all know how manipulative/disturbed Jamie is. They’ve all been worried about what Jamie will do next. So why don’t they believe there’s a possibility she found Hayley and decided to play Parent Trap from Hell?

Oh, right. Point Horror adults. Say no more.

Nurse Nanci shows Hayley to her room, in a separate cottage from the main building. Hayley thinks this facility used to be a hotel. Her new roommate, Sheila, meets her and asks where Jenny is; Nurse Nanci says she’s in a better place. Uh, is Jenny dead? Because that sounds like Jenny is dead.

Nurse Nanci tells Hayley that she’ll bring her some hospital-issue clothing, because everyone wears the same black pants and grey T-shirt. Okay, in the real world, Hayley would have been strip-searched by Nanci before settling in. Also, I’ve never heard of not being allowed your own clothes unless it’s a psych ward in a regular hospital, or a state mental hospital. Because your own clothing is a privilege that can be taken away if you break the rules. It’s not outside the realm of possibility, but I doubt this very much.

Oh, dear God, apparently there’s a security camera in the fucking room. No, no, NO. Fucking hell, why are you so fucking stupid, Anna Davies? You cannot have a camera set up where underage girls will be changing clothes; do you know how fucking shady that is?! Even “mental institutions” allow you some privacy.

Nanci tries to give Hayley a literal cupful of meds, which she says will make her “nice and relaxed.”

*long inhale*

PSYCHIATRIC FACILITIES DO NOT KEEP YOU DOPED UP FOR THE SAKE OF KEEPING YOU DOPED UP! THEIR GOAL IS TO HELP YOU BY FINDING THE RIGHT DOSAGE AND COMBINATION OF MEDS TO BALANCE OUT YOUR BRAIN CHEMICALS! THEY DON’T DRUG EVERYONE INTO A WALKING FUCKING ZOMBIE STATE!

Okay. Now that that’s out of the way. Hayley yells and knocks the pills onto the floor, and all it would take is her dancing and stomping around on them to convince me that Anna Davies definitely fingers herself while watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sheila points and announces that “Jamie” was a bad girl, because Davies obviously thinks that everyone in a mental health facility is either a zombie or acts like they’re five (or both); Nanci calls for more pills and threatens Hayley with “other measures” if she doesn’t take them.

Hayley dumps the pills in her mouth and pretends to swallow, then lays down on the bed and spits them out where the camera can’t see her. The camera. Godfuckingdammit.

Hayley asks Sheila if Jenny died, and she cackles, which makes her seem “older and more evil than seemed possible, given her appearance,” yes, this is how CRAZY PEOPLE FUCKING ACT, AMIRITE?! and Sheila says Jenny only wished she had died. Mmkay then.

Oh, then Nanci runs back in and drags Sheila out for “a little talk” while glaring at Hayley. So . . . does the camera have audio, too? Because what the actual fuck.

Hayley has been in the hospital less than twenty-four hours, spitting pills out whenever she gets the chance, and afraid the “craziness” is seeping into her pores. Oh, why don’t you seep some arsenic into your fucking pores, Hayley. Do you know who populates the majority of adolescent wards in fancy private psych facilities? Kids with addiction. Kids with depression. Kids who are rebellious and acting out. Sure, there may be some with more serious issues, but for the most part a place like this is more like a college dorm than a fucking horror movie.

Regardless, overnight the nurses strapped Sheila to her bed because she was staring at Hayley; Hayley tells us she’ll go crazy if she has to follow the facility’s routine much longer, even though I would have thought she’d love something this structured (personally, I found it comforting); she tells us that nurses make sure the patients eat everything at meals, and that, at least, is true. They want to keep an eye on/identify possible eating disorders. Then she says everyone is locked in their rooms during mandatory nap time, and

*deep inhale*

. . .

. . .

No. You know what? Fuck it, I’m going to be calm and explain things instead of blowing up.

First of all. Even if you’re not on suicide watch, you would never be allowed to lock your door. Hell, you can’t even close your door during room time unless you’ve worked your way up to the appropriate privilege level. To say nothing of being locked the fuck in your room OH MY FUCKING GOD THAT’S AGAINST FIRE CODE DO YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THERE’S A FUCKING FIRE ANNA DAVIES YOU HARMFUL, IGNORANT CUNT!

Well, this calm thing didn’t last long, did it? *shrug*

Apparently meds are used as punishment here, because why not perpetuate that harmful stereotype, too.

Hayley’s been using her therapy sessions to pump Dr. Taylor for information about Jamie, and it seems Aidan was born only a few months after them, so not only was James probably cheating on Wendy and Deborah with each other, but I guess he’d never heard of condoms, either.

Hayley tries to manipulate the doc about Sheila, because she’s got a brilliant escape plan that involves Sheila’s hallucinations, so I’m sure that won’t be a problematic, offensive, brain-melting hellscape. (Who am I kidding. This is the hellscape. This is it. We’re here. Feel the fire, lapping at your feet. See what Anna Davies hath wrought.)

Hayley convinces Dr. Taylor to let her leave the session early so she can go express her newfound protective feelings for Sheila; Hayley convinces Sheila to cause a distraction as they’re going to lunch; Sheila falls to the floor screaming that the sloths are attacking her again. Sloths . . . ?

attacksloth
RAWR

Despite being written as nothing but a one-note stereotype, I think I kind of like Sheila.

The orderlies page Dr. Taylor; Hayley slips away and sneaks into his office, which of course isn’t locked, because lock-picking is probably a skill Hayley considers to be beneath her; she sees a note on Jamie’s file stating that she’s a violent danger to others and killed her brother’s guinea pig (just in case we were too dumb to figure that one out ourselves, I guess); then she calls Matt.

Matt exclaims that he just dropped her off at Keely’s; where is she calling him from?! Then goes on to ramble about some bullshit, not letting Hayley get a word in, then goes on to say how happy he is that she dropped the shy bookworm thing, cuz that was getting old and he likes her much better now that she’s all fun and shit.

I mean, who didn’t see this coming?

Hayley gives up on Matt and calls Adam instead. He’s hostile at first, because apparently Jamie is being horrible to him and everyone involved with Hayley’s intellectual pursuits, but then Hayley tells him the Cliffs Notes version of what’s happened, and tells him she’s in Maine, in a “mental institution” (I keep putting it in quotes because this is not a mental institution, it is a swanky private psychiatric facility. There is a difference.) called Serenity Point. (We found this out earlier, but I didn’t care enough to include it.)

serenitynow
Me, reading this dumpster fire

Dr. Taylor finds Hayley in his office, but is too weary to do anything but walk her to Art Therapy, although Hayley tells us that disobedience will result in more medication and mandatory therapy sessions.

Sigh. No. Just, no. Medication is never used as punishment. What would actually happen, if Davies had pulled her head out of her ass long enough to research anything, is that Hayley would lose privileges. Both facilities I was in had similar privilege levels you worked your way up through. Orientation Level when you first come in – you have to write some sort of short essay about why you deserve to move up levels within the first couple of days, or else you’re restricted to your room. Then as you move up levels, you get more privileges – I don’t remember them all, but some of them included more common room time, and at top level they trusted you to walk yourself to meals and maybe therapy sessions? It’s been twenty-five years, it’s a little fuzzy now. Anyway, punishment would be either dropping levels, having privileges taken away, room restriction, or in more extreme cases, you would spend some time in the rooms with the padded walls so you could chill out without hurting yourself. But that one is reserved for when you’re having a violent outburst and are a risk to others or yourself.

Anyway, in no case would medication, which is meant to help you function while mentally ill, be used as a fucking punishment. So, thanks for demonizing and stigmatizing things that are meant to help people, Davies.

On an additional note, if you’re a writer and need a sensitivity reader for mental health/psychiatric facility authenticity, hit me up. I’ll help without raging at you. (My rage is reserved for authors like Davies, who look at this and think, “this is fine” and submit it to the publisher without a second thought.)

Oh, I guess I should get back to the book.

In Art Therapy they’re literally making macaroni necklaces, because Anna Davies (I’m using her full name a lot because I’ve decided I want her to Google herself and find this recap and know how fucking terrible this all is) has somehow mistaken psychiatric care for kindergarten. I made a real bracelet, with beads and wires and everything, in one of my art therapy sessions. I also made a nice woodburning, but I bet the idea of giving cRaZy PeOpLe something that will burn wood would make Anna Davies’s head explode.

Sorry, guys. I knew there would be tangents when we got to the last fifty pages of this mess.

Anyway, it suddenly occurs to Hayley that she might have gotten Sheila sent to Electroshock, but somehow it’s still All About Hayley™. Our heroine, folks. Then Hayley goes all doom and gloom, thinking about how Matt prefers Jamie; the Ainsworth interview is tomorrow; and she’ll be stuck here forever. She starts wailing, and they take her back to her room and sedate her.

Two hours later, Dr. Taylor wakes Hayley up to tell her she’s being discharged – it’s not what he would recommend; he thinks she could make real progress here, but they don’t keep patients against their will.

Excuse the fuck out of you? Yes, you fucking do. If the patient is a minor, as they all fucking are on the adolescent ward, then they absolutely cannot check themselves out. Their parents can take them out, but the patients themselves are there until an adult tells them they’re not. What the fuck.

Whatever. They pack Hayley into a car to take her home, and I assumed that meant they were taking her back to Jamie’s home, since Dr. Taylor is still fucking calling her Jamie, but no. The driver is Jamie’s family’s driver, but he takes her to her own home in New Hampshire. So, the family had her released, but didn’t tell anyone she’s really Hayley? What the actual fuck. These people should be kissing Hayley’s ass to avoid the lawsuit she threatened when she first got there, but the Thomson-Thurms are still just letting them think she’s Jamie? What. The. Fuck.

Also, how the fuck did Adam convince James and Deborah that they had the wrong twin carted away? Why would they believe some random boy on the phone, when they hadn’t believed the actual person right in front of them? For that matter, how did Adam even know who to contact? Hayley never told him Jamie’s name, or the name of anyone else in the family. Did he actually have her released himself, some magical way, and just pretend the driver was theirs?

This is all so confusing. My head hurts.

Hayley sleeps in the car all the way home, and walks into her house at midnight. She starts eating peanut butter straight out of the jar, then Jamie rocks up behind her. We’re again told her eyes are blue, so I guess Anna Davies forgot all about the “slate-grey” and fishbelly eyes. Or she’s colorblind.

Jamie grabs a knife, but tells Hayley she’s just playing; she’s not really going to kill her. Then she knees Sadie the dog in the nose, so fuck her to hell. Oh, also, she killed Leah because she was going to take Hayley’s scholarship spot. Not sure how she knew that, but okay.

Hayley doesn’t understand what was so bad about Jamie’s life; why she would want Hayley’s life, and Jamie tells her she doesn’t need to understand. But then she kind of goes on to explain anyway. She didn’t want to be the Jamie that Dad and Trophy Wife wanted; she saw Hayley at one of Aidan’s debate tournaments and realized what was missing in her life. She had just been kicked out of school, so she had the free time to hang out and pretend to be Hayley, but now she’s decided that’s not what she wants.

She wants to disappear, but she needs money for that, so Hayley is going to win the Ainsworth and give her an allowance. Uh, I’m assuming she means the stipend, but that’s only $5,000 a year and Hayley tells us she’ll be giving Jamie half, even though they never actually worked out the amount. $2,500 a year isn’t worth any of this, what the fuck. Unless she meant half of the total amount she’s getting for the scholarship, which . . . isn’t really how scholarships work.

Hayley seems to be numb, or in shock, or something, because she agrees to Jamie’s plan and allows Jamie to tuck her into bed. Yup, okay. So, is Mom at Geoff’s, or what? Why are there no parents around, and why doesn’t Mom know this isn’t Hayley? Ugh.

Oh, yes, the next morning Jamie reminds Hayley that she told her Mom is antiquing with Geoff and should be back tomorrow. We read their entire conversation, and she absolutely did not say that, but whatever. Anna Davies is such a bad writer, guys.

Anyway, Jamie hustles Hayley up and at ’em so she can go to her Ainsworth interview, bringing her coffee and laying out a suit for her. As Hayley goes in to take a shower, she wonders about trying to escape, but is worried Jamie will kill Mom or her, and for some fucking reason she thinks the situation would be impossible to explain to the cops, so why bother trying.

“Hey, police? I’m part of a set of twins that our parents decided to Parent Trap when we were babies; my twin is violent and disturbed, may have killed a girl, threatened my life, and is now extorting me for my scholarship money. Can you at the very least call her parents and have them come get her?”

Actually, why doesn’t Hayley call James and Deborah? Why aren’t they sending anyone after Jamie? They must know by now that Hayley was telling them the truth, right?

Anyway, Jamie drives Hayley to the U for her interview, and the interviewer? secretary?  Dr. Dunphy tells her it’s normal to be nervous, in fact she’d question Hayley’s sanity if she wasn’t nervous!

. . .

. . .

explodingplanet

So. Hayley is shown into a room with the Ainsworth judges, and she thinks it’s weird to be treated with such respect after being belittled at Serenity. But it was all a matter of perception – in her suit and makeup, she was an Ainsworth scholar. In the shapeless sweats at Serenity, she was a mental patient.

YES HAYLEY, MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE CAN’T WEAR NICE CLOTHES OR GET FANCY SCHOLARSHIPS, OBVIOUSLY! NO SMART PERSON HAS EVER BEEN MENTALLY ILL IN THE HISTORY OF EVER, NOW HAVE THEY?!

Fuck the actual fuck off, Anna Davies.

In the middle of the interview, which she’s seriously biffing, Hayley suddenly realizes she doesn’t want this anymore – she wants her old life back. I was under the impression that wanting the Ainsworth was her whole life, but apparently she wants shifts at the Ugly Mug, Mom and Adam, and conversations with Keely over the difference between gun-metal grey and heather grey.

She runs out of the interview and somehow sees Jamie by her car with Adam, even though she’s still inside and we haven’t been told there was a window or anything? Unclear, but Jamie sees her and raises an eyebrow, and you just know she’s about to do some heinous shit to Adam.

Hayley shouts at Dr. Dunphy to call the police, without telling her why, then shouts at Adam to stop as he gets into the passenger seat of Hayley’s car. Oh, so are they outside? God, Anna Davies is bad at writing; Point Horror must have been ridiculously hard up for writers.

Adam doesn’t hear Hayley because she’s either too far away, or still inside, who the fuck knows, and then . . . Hayley carjacks a guy with a guitar, and tears off after Jamie in Guitar Guy’s Jeep.

Hayley. Stole. A. Car.

Well, now Dr. Dunphy knows what to tell the cops, at least.

A high-speed chase ensues, which is not a phrase I thought would be necessary while recapping this book, and at some point Adam figures out that something is wrong and appears to wrestle Jamie for the steering wheel.

They end up crashing through a cow pasture (#TeamPoorScaredCows) and into a pond. Hayley really jams on the accelerator to be sure to smash Jamie to pieces, even though she’s lost track of where Adam is. Then she passes out. Then wakes up, bloody and bruised, still in the field. Adam pulled her out of the car, and sirens are wailing toward them.

Hayley has a dream about Jamie where she thinks they’re both dead, then wakes up in the hospital. She’s on painkillers for her arm and knee, and she has a concussion. Mom comes in to see her, along with James, but he immediately leaves the room because he “just can’t do this,” so I’m not sure what the point of him being there even was. Hayley says that Jamie is dead, and Mom agrees.

Uh-huh. Because you’ve never lied about that before, have you.

Mom explains why she and James decided to pull an ill-advised Parent Trap on the girls – they’d had the adoptive parents lined up, but she just couldn’t give the babies up after they were born, but she couldn’t keep them both, so James insisted that he get one and they never tell either girl about the other. So, he was furious that she changed her mind about the adoption, but then turned around and insisted on taking one of the twins himself? Seems unlikely, especially since Deborah must have been pregnant with Aidan by this time?

Whatever. I don’t fucking care about any of this.

Mom says she loves Hayley, which makes Hayley think of Adam and realize she loves him. Mostly because he’s always been there for her and liked her for her, unlike Matt. So I see it’s yet again All About Hayley™. Adam’s okay, by the way. He has a broken leg, but is otherwise fine. Hayley wants to see him, then changes her mind and asks Mom to stay with her. Then Hayley has a thought that I can’t make any sense of:

I was reminded of the glint of the knife, how Jamie had been determined to kill me. That Mom had, deep down, been right with the story she’d told herself: Only one of us could have survived.

I turned to tell Mom, but her breathing had softened and her face had relaxed. She’d fallen asleep. It wasn’t worth waking her up.

After all, Jamie was dead. She couldn’t hurt me anymore. And the knowledge that she’d inadvertently put me so close to danger would destroy Mom.

Uh, what? Do you really think Mom doesn’t know that Jamie was trying to kill you? Do you think she thought this was just a lovely country drive gone wrong? What. Are. You. Talking. About.

One year later, on the UPenn campus, Hayley tells us her mom is a newlywed, presumably to Geoff. For some fucking reason she checks her own Facebook profile (yup, she’s got one now) to see where her study group decided to meet. Yeah, that’s uh . . . not where that’s going to be posted, Hayley, what the fuck. Anyway, there’s a new status update that she didn’t write: “I’m still here.”

Instead of screaming and running away, as we know she’s wont to do, Hayley tries to convince herself it’s a joke by her roommate. Then Adam, who is five hours away at Harvard, texts her and asks her to give him a call. When she does, he thanks her for the flowers (forget-me-nots) and asks how she got into his dorm, then says how jealous his roommate is that he has a girlfriend who buys him flowers, while all the roommate’s girlfriend does is send him smiley-face emoticons. (Emoticons! This was before emojis!)

Hayley is in shock and drops her phone (no word on whether or not it’s an iPhone this time) on the pavement, where it shatters. So at least we know it’s not a Nokia.

Dun-dun-DUN!

andscene
Thank God

Nostalgia Glasses Off


sarcasticgoldstar
Grade: F-
goodomensdiealready
Please don’t ever write anything ever again, Anna Davies

In all seriousness, there’s no shame in mental illness, and there’s no shame in reaching out for help. If you need to talk to someone, or you feel you’re in danger of hurting yourself or others, please seek help, either from a professional in your area, or one of these resources:

Better Help – online counseling, talk to a therapist over chat, text, or video chat (if you listen to podcasts, you’ve probably heard of these guys by now)

Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US) – Just what it sounds like. They also include numbers for Spanish-speakers and Deaf/HoH folks, along with specific resources for youth, LGBTQ+, veterans, and many more.

Suicide.org – a list of suicide prevention hotlines by country.

Stay safe, friends. Don’t let idiots like Anna Davies get you down and make you afraid to reach out for help.

 

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