We start off this chapter with a healthy dose of self-doubt and confusion. It’s Sunday and Blue is supposed to walk her dogs on Sunday. Remember, the girl we met who worked three jobs, didn’t lie to her mother, and hated every Aglionby boy on sight? Yeah, Blue doesn’t remember her either. But she’s guilty and broke, so she’s on her way to go walk some dogs when the phone rings.
It’s Gansey, voice dripping with old money, asking if Blue is there. Thank God she waited a couple more minutes to drink her apple juice (Steifvater goes out of her way to tell us it’s “cloudy,” meaning it probably has pesticides and it is not the same quality apple juice as the kind Gansey drinks). Otherwise the whole jig could be up, and Blue wouldn’t be able to go with Gansey to explore the church while Adam is at work and Ronan is at non-dilapidated and still functioning church with his brothers.
“I have to walk dogs.”
“Oh,” Gansey replied, sounding deflated. “Well, okay.”
“But it’ll only take an hour.”
“Oh,” he repeated, about fourteen shades brighter. “Shall I pick you up, then?”
At this point all of this nervous adorable shit is getting annoying. Or, that’s the angle I’m going with to sound like a Tough Critic™ who isn’t actually total trash who would think that Blue’s history homework was cute if they read it. So Blue is excited, if not nervous, to explore with Gansey. She wants to know more about the ley line and its energy, and so does every reader ever, so we’re all excited for her to go to the church and maybe fall in love a little bit more.
Enter Maura, stage left.
She calls for Blue in this weirdly menacing way, where she makes a one syllable name into a three syllable warning. It’s some very impressive mothering that most women can only accomplish with the use of a middle name.
“Bloo-OOOO-oooooo, my child, my child, come in here!”
This was Maura’s voice, and the sing-song rhythm to it was highly ironic. With a sinking sensation, Blue followed it into the living room, where she found Maura, Calla, and Persephone drinking what Blue suspected were screwdrivers. When she walked into the room, the women all looked up at her with indolent smiles. A pack of lionesses.
Basically, Blue’s in deep shit.
The three women spend some time talking about the cocktails they’re drinking at 10am, because Calla is already finished with hers and Persephone made them with too much vodka (think the two shots of vodka vine, but slightly more clairvoyant). The conversation only thinly veils the fact that Maura is furious. She knows Blue is sneaking around and she’s hurt and angry and worried, that Blue will kiss him and/or that she will get her heart broken. Blue tries to say that she and Gansey are nothing alike, but Maura sees right through it.
“I wasn’t sure if driving an old, loud Camaro was the male equivalent of shredding your T-shirts and gluing cardboard trees to your bedroom walls.”
(Note: the trees, as Blue is careful to point out, are not cardboard. They are repurposed canvas, which is much better for the environment).
They try to keep arguing with each other but they’re bad at it. Blue is too ashamed for disappointing her mother and Maura has absolutely no idea how to discipline a child, so they sort of agree to disagree and move on. Calla sums it up better than I ever could:
“This is what you get, Maura, for using your DNA to make a baby”
Persephone tells her not to punch someone with her thumb inside her fist, which everyone basically ignores, and then Calla reminds Blue of their movie night on Friday. They’re watching “Even Dwarfs Start Small” in the “original German,” which is code for helping Calla touch Neeve’s stuff so they can gather dirt on her. Maura says that’s fine, because the movie sounds terrible and she’ll be out anyways.
She won’t tell Blue where she’s going, instead gives her some petty answer about not sneaking around with boys, and we’re left feeling like nothing at all got resolved. Maura is still keeping secrets. Blue is still going against her wishes. It’s all very fraught, and we wish it weren’t, because we love Maura and Blue as a mother-daughter team.
But I have a feeling it’ll only get worse, once Calla and Blue snoop through Neeve’s stuff and Maura’s principles catch them in the act. Oh, well. I’m just going to have to live with the teenage drama.
Thoughts and Feelings:
Every young adult novel needs a good fight between the teen and their parents, and I’m glad it was Maura fighting with Blue. I mean, it kind of had to be, because Ronan’s parents are dead and/or sleeping, Gansey’s parents can only do “respectful debate over paté,” and Adam’s family situation shouldn’t be joked about and is, needless to say, not a place where you can have witty banter. Close parental relationships are kind of thin on the ground for the Gangsey, so I’m sad that Blue is fighting with Maura but I’m 100% positive that they’ll figure it out.
I did miss hanging out in Fox Way, if only because I missed out on scenes where women are mixing drinks at 10am. If every scene could be started out by Maura singing to Blue and Calla taking a shot of vodka I think I’d have to bump the books to 6/5 stars, because you can literally never go wrong with a tipsy Calla.
And I think it’s important that we were able to see that this new way of being for Blue, this discovering magic that see can see and not just amplify, has consequences. She’s going out and finding her own adventures, but that means leaving someone at home. And Maura seems like the type to have been presiding over Blue’s adventures for a long time, so it makes sense that she would chafe at being left behind. If this part of the book had been left out, Maura’s character would be lacking and it would make it seem like Blue didn’t really have a mother figure, and I love that Stiefvater is taking care to show us the opposite: Blue may lack for Gansey’s old money and Ronan’s stolen BMW, but she doesn’t lack for love.
This chapter also does a nice job of hinting both forward and backwards, to the other problems Blue had before she started exploring every day with her boys, and to the snooping they’re going to do. I hope they dig up some weird irrelevant dirt on Neeve just so I can make fun of her more and tell everyone why I ship Neeve and Barrington Whelk. They’re the real anti-power couple, and it would make for some good content™.
Best Character Moment:
“If you don’t tell me not to see them, I don’t have to disobey you,” Blue suggested.
“This is what you get, Maura, for using your DNA to make a baby,” Calla said.
Best Turn of Phrase:
“I’m not your dungeon master,” interrupted Maura. “I’m not going to bolt you in your room or send you to a convent, for crying out loud. So you can just stop all the sneaking around stuff right now.”
Action: All this talk about dogs, and we never even got to watch Blue walk them. 4/10
Magic: The magic of motherhood? Maybe? 5/10
Comic Relief: The women of Fox Way are drinking and it’s 10am. Get wild! 9/10