In my last review my fictional self was placed into medical experiments by Disney Princesses for giving a book more than one star on Goodreads, thanks to the (sudden and yet inevitable) treachery of my imaginary cohort Dawn Talbot. Fortunately for me, the wonder that is ‘Teardrop‘ is, shall we say, unlikely to entrap me into making the same mistake twice.
The blurb doesn’t make it clear exactly, but I’m betting mermaids, which would be new. Well, new for me. Mermaids or angels, because they follow me around everywhere and I’ll never escape! Never!
The condensed review on Goodreads is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1064662197
The subtitle tells us we are in ‘prehistory’, which must be why three sentence fragments later we’re in a prehistoric car heading to an airport.
A boy, ‘Ander’, part of a group called ‘Seedbearers’ (if you know what I mean, *wink, wink*) is waiting for some terrible disaster that he apparently knows is going to happen. They must have told him he was going to be in a YA paranormal romance novel…
The disaster is going to happen to a car containing his one twu wuv and her archaeologist mother; and needs to happen or the world will be destroyed. Of course. Ander and his buddies are going to use the power of ‘Zephyr’ (the west wind?) to craft a wave to…
Do something boring enough for the explanation to be interrupted by Ander’s reminiscing on how he’d been ordered to stalk this random girl and learn all the mindless minutiae of her life that no one cares about. Also, the wave is going to kill her and her mother, because they’re dangerous, and they know how to fix cars!
Ander’s aunt Chora is also mentioned—the closest thing to a mother Ander has, he loves but does not like her, and it’s important we get all this down here since there’s no other opportunity for it, seeing as she pretty much doesn’t appear in the novel.
Much more is revealed, through this wave (geddit? 😉 of exposition; for such horrors as ‘suspense’ and ‘mystery’ are not right for the glory that is Teardrop. And even better than that—poorly structured exposition that reveals so much I’m not even going to type it all down here; that way at least this commentary will have some suspense!
Anyway the wave hits the car and Ander loses his nerve and saves the girl. What a guy. He’s my hero.
Our heroine with the stupid name of Eureka is off to great start in YA life, her mother murdered by a stalker twu wuv who also tried to kill her. Turns out she’d already seen a million therapists for the horrific trauma of her dad remarrying, and now that something’s happened that actually requires therapy, she has decided to become a Stoic.
Yep, I’m sure that’ll work out.
She had also decided to commit suicide, which doesn’t seem very stoic.
Anyway, exposition about Eureka’s life that I’m pretty sure will have no bearing on the plot follows, including the time her track Coach didn’t believe she wanted to give up track after her suicide attempt—giving us this gem.
‘Coach’s sad smile suggested that after a suicide attempt, a girl’s decisions weighed less, like bodies on the moon.’
I think that one’s almost as good as ‘sacrifice to gravity’.
Then there’s more exposition about Eureka’s character, so we don’t actually have to be shown her having a personality later, and also her hair, which is hair. She flashes back to waking up with her dad and half-siblings who ‘smelled liked they always did, of ivory soap and starry nights’.
Anyway, the therapy session drones on as easy exposition for Eureka’s life. Ah, exposition. How Patch and I missed thee.
Wangst, wangst, wangst, wangst… wangst, wangst, wangst, wangst.
Shit, I could spork every line of this prose bit by bit, but we’d be here all year. Eureka drives away until she gets into a car accident with Ander. And we have insta-hate! Ladies and gentlemen, take your bets on how long it takes before the insta-hate turns to love!
(Me, I’m going to be out £20 if it takes less than three or more than five conversations).
Unfortunately, neither her stepmother nor her father are picking up their phone, so she starts crying. Ander wipes her tears away like a creeper. Aww.
Eureka flashes back to a long time ago when her parents were arguing during a hurricane and her mother started smashing her dad’s stuff up and slapped her, telling her to Never Cry Again. What a terrible loss to the world dear Mummy must have been!
(I’m betting the tears have some kind of magic world-destroying power, but we’ll see how it goes)
The sky goes dark, ‘maybe some kind of eclipse’, suggests Ander. Because those random eclipses happen all the time, don’t ya know? Anyway, magic tear powers; called it.
After a long passage about Eureka’s name, the local pervert rides up to see what’s happening, followed by a guy called Big Jean, who tows the car. Eureka decides to get a ride with Ander, rather than Local Pervert. I’m honestly not sure which would have been the dumber option.
They ride along, Ander brakes to avoid hitting a squirrel and acts like a weirdo, but they reach their destination intact until Ander reveals he’s on a rival track team! It’s Romeo and Juliet all over again!
We meet Cat, Eureka’s Black Best Friend with Curves in All the Right Places. (okay, it says ‘curves in places Eureka didn’t [have them]’ but still). She’s a sassy matchmaker character, so… black Vee Sky then? They have a Boring Conversation until a girl called Maya Cayce shows up; a girl who hates Eureka—a Dawn character? Ooh, I shouldn’t get my hopes up!
She’s in love with Eureka’s guy-friend Brooks, and used to be friends with Eureka when they were small. I’m sure she’ll have a huge effect on the plot.
Then a random storm starts up, helping Eureka get out of having a photograph taken of her. Yay?
And she sees Ander across the field, notes that he’s apparently impervious to water, and then he reaches out to catch her… tear…
Eureka goes home to exposit useless shit about her dad and siblings until her buddy Brooks drops by to borrow a cup of exposition about his character. In summation, he’s an absurdly perfect friend, and has hypoglycaemia.
Then there’s a knock at the door.
She asks him how he knows where she lives, and he replies by… insta-hating Brooks? He’s going to be one of those awful clingy jealous types, isn’t he.
Ugh. Teardrop, I was willing to accept him stalking Eureka, crashing his car into her and being part of the conspiracy to kill her and her mother, but now you’re starting to make him distasteful!
Anyway, he’s come to return her wallet (which I’m guessing he probably stole), but not before he starts screaming insanely at Brooks, asking ‘how long have you been with her’? Shouldn’t he already know about Brooks’ existence? What kind of a stalker is he?!
Eureka meanwhile angsts that he might have seen her embarrassing student ID photos, delves off into an inner-monologue about a neighbour, and then berates Brooks for not being nicer to Ander.
After that Eureka’s evil stepmother comes home to make sure Eureka didn’t ’embarrass’ her at the therapist’s office.
In this chapter we read Dead Mum’s will, in which it was specified that flashbacks to her and her own mother’s funeral would contain at least two pages of exposition. Also Eureka’s aunt is there, whom Eureka describes as a ‘cruel parody’ of her mother, because she commits the ultimate sin of being Not Hot, and wearing low-cut tops! The monster!
Also there’s an uncle. Soon the lawyer starts bequeathing stuff; Dead Mum leaves all the money in her account to the uncle (I’m assuming there’s a trust for Eureka, otherwise wtf?) and a mysterious letter. To Aunt Ho, she leaves some jewellery, the car that’s now under the ocean, and a mysterious letter.
Eureka gets a bag of Macguffins; a Very Important necklace, (maybe it means she has a soul mate?), a Very Important book (that ‘didn’t even register on the scale’ of carbon dating, so I suppose it’s billions of years old) and a ‘thunderstone’ (so she can turn her Eevee into a Voltreon, no doubt). Also a mysterious letter.
Which isn’t that mysterious really, just useless and sappy.
25% done already, what a breath of fresh air!
Well, the only way to respond to such a touching letter is with flashbacks, exposition and boring conversations. Eureka then notices a postscript to the letter with a mysterious instruction to not open the thunderstone until Christmas. Or ‘the right time’, at any rate.
Uncle character tells Eureka that the ancient language the book is written in is not indecipherable, as he saw Dead Mum taking notes on it one time. Cat suggests they go to her convenient polyglot boyfriend for more help, but first they try to find Ander, only to be told that, like all Paranormal Love Interests, he doesn’t really exist.
This probably could have taken about five pages, if not for Cat’s constant annoying blabber about nothing.
Eureka, Brooks and the twins go to the beach, where Eureka observes how Ander is probably a crazed sociopath, but for some reason she’s falling in love with him anyway. Guess those two meetings they’ve had, one in which he crashed into her car, the other in which he acted like a psycho, really turned her on.
Then another tidal wave strikes the beach and Brooks is mildly injured. Oh noes!
(I’m betting Ander was behind it somehow)
Eureka has a boring conversation with Brooks, interspersed as so many things are in this book with excruciating details about her room, Brooks, her feelings, her stepmother’s favourite meteorologist, everything I’ve come to expect from Teardrop really.
They take a look at Plot Device #2, which has some illustrations that look vaguely like Brooks, and he acts strangely enough that it becomes immediately obvious he’s connected to the whole… whatever is going on. Oh my. I am so shocked.
Then somehow they have twu wuv’s kiss? And Eureka has now always liked him in that way even though she’d made a point of saying she didn’t before?
And then suddenly they start arguing and Brooks gives her a Reason You Suck speech; and there are a lot of reasons, sure, but not the ones he gives—such as the not taking the Macguffins seriously enough!
Then he flounces.
In this chapter, Eureka fails to understand metaphor and analogy, saying she doesn’t need to find her way out of a foxhole because foxes can live in foxholes, and they do alright for themselves!
She calls Cat up so Cat can remind her about her Plot Device boyfriend Rodney. They go to see him, during which time Eureka spends more time flashback-ing, describing the furniture and wangsting than she does listening to Rodney.
Though that probably isn’t too bad—after failing to recognise the writing the book is written in, he tells them about an expert in dead languages he knows.
Instead of, you know—a cryptographer. I mean, I somehow doubt this book is the Voynich Manuscript or anything. And if you don’t know what that is, look it up, because it’s much more interesting than Teardrop.
The master of linguistics in question calls herself ‘Madame Blavatsky’—either she’s a kooky pseudo-academic fortune-teller, or this book is about to get very interesting!
(Spoilers: This book does not get interesting.)
Madame B fawns over her pet exotic birds, smokes, and says things like ‘There is no death, no life either. Only congregation and dispersal’. She then takes out her crazy-wise-old-person-character checklist to make sure she hasn’t missed anything.
Anyway, because she’s psychic, she’s able to immediately know exposition about the Plot Device; like how it wasn’t bought at a flea market and had actually been in Eureka’s family forever. You know, I think we may have just found out the eventual fate of Ever from Evermore…
Old Ever proclaims the language to be a cousin of ‘Magdalenian’, the people of ancient southern Europe who a minute’s search on Wikipedia reveals did not have a written language, nor even any language we can reliably reconstruct. Now, Wikipedia isn’t exactly the world’s bastion of accuracy, but in this case and combined with my own learnings, I think we can safely call bull-shite.
So Madame Fraud charges them $7.50 a page for her ‘translation’ of what we now ‘know’ is called ‘The Book of Love’ (issued by the Ministry of Love?). Incidentally, she also tells Eureka that Ander’s been stalking her for ages. I guess Eureka can trust her on that one—not because she’s psychic, but because she’s a character in YA paranormal romance, and by this time they probably just accept that that kind of thing is happening.
Then with no kind of lead in we are suddenly treated to Madame Fraud’s translation of the first bit of the book, written by a woman almost as boring as Eureka about her love for a prince or some such crap.
In this chapter, Evil Stepmother says, ‘As long as you live in my house, you follow my rules’. Eureka calls the line ‘soul-chilling’, which hardly makes her the epitome of Stoicism, to put it mildly.
She goes back to the Therapist, who manages not to be the worst therapist in YA (despite being mostly useless) by pointing out that Eureka is close to developing narcissism. However, as that’s practically a pre-requisite for YA heroines, Eureka responds by whining that no one understands her.
Then he pretty much tells her she’s going to die in a gutter, which is absurd for a therapist but pretty funny to me, so Eureka flounces, wishing Madame Fraud could be her therapist instead.
Eureka and Cat have a boring conversation, until Brooks shows up so they can have a boring reconciliation.
Then Maya drops by to give Brooks an ‘X-rated hug’.
What does that mean? Did she jump on his dick in the middle of the school hallway?
Well, on that exciting note we leave things until tomorrow, where Part Two of the ‘Teardrop‘ commentary continues.