|Reviews for Adam and Evan|
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 6 . 7/2/2014
Oh wow - this is intense. And now I've been slow, but the reason is I don't want to speed-read through a story like *this* - it detracts my enjoyment, and that's not fun for anyone :). Anyhow, this was intense, and *wow* I'm not really sure what to say? O:
I mean I was expecting some awkward-bizarre dinner scene that acknowledged how strange it is for Adam and Evan to have such dysfunctional families, but this actually got far more serious than I expected. And my hats off to you - because you actually made me feel a lot of things here. So for starters, I hate Adam's Dad - I'm not saying Evan's Dad is better for hitting his son, but I feel Adam's Dad is an asshole too for emotionally neglecting his son, and not even feeling ashamed about it. It's horrible that he is smart enough to acknowledge that Adam has been involved with Evan, but will not make any effort to communicate with his son or whatever. Gawd, I actually wanted him to be throttled by Evan's Dad or something. And I must say - Evan is awesome for standing up to those adults -
Because, if you think about it, adults are often to be blamed for making things awkward or ruining their kids' lives, and I really think it was great that we finally had a *teenager* acknowledge that. I just have to say that this was an awesome scene. Anyhow, Adam's Dad is an asshole. He should fry in hell. As for his mother - hmm, I'm on the fence. She clearly means well, and she's not quite stable, I think? But I still think it's awful that she and Adam are so distant from each other - the passages about them being quasi strangers were sad and bizarre at the same time (I generally like how dark this story is, but how it seems light because of how you balance prose and introspection - it doesn't make the story any less dark though, because when shit hits the fan, it really does). I am still hoping for a reconciliation though, because I think Adam's Ma is far more willing to actually change than her husband. Besides, it's not like her husband is a great man either - I think she's just as broken as Adam and suffering just as much.
But yes, the dinner scene was great - great at the start with the awkwardness and intense at the end with all the reveals and such. I cannot say anything else, but just powerful writing all the way here :3 I also really enjoyed the reveal about Evan's uncle - it explains things, and I feel it shows that he's just as broken as Adam is. I hope they can fix each other a bit :3
OHHH. The kissing sense were lovely in this chapter. I just feel the need to comment on this, because I’ve been focusing so much on the darker aspects that I nearly forget. I like how Adam is slowly opening up to Evan, and how you can tell that he’s also most definitely sexually interested :D I love his shyness (but I feel that’s not going to last forever XD). Anyhow, I felt that the kissing/adorableness at the beginning of this chapter really helped to offset the angst later. I really liked the gentleness in the ending because it makes me hopeful that those two kids will be alright :3
| ArgentanHeart chapter 4 . 7/2/2014
Another great chapter.
I really like how you are building the characters and how Evan is pushing Adam to expand his horizons. I think Adam is interested in building a new relationship with someone real. At the same time, I get the feeling that Evan likes Adam because Adam doesn't have any expectations for him. I get the feeling Even has a lot of pressure put on him and rebels from that.
I didn't love the ending. I felt like the lead up to the kiss was very good and focused on Adam's awkwardness. The moments after felt a little rushed. Did they kiss more? Do they say anything or do anything. I thought Evan wanted Adam to come to the party, but the closing kind of makes it seem like that isn't the case... I mean I guess he was just trying to get him out and I buy that.
| ArgentanHeart chapter 3 . 7/2/2014
I like how you are building up the characters. You've build a good sense of attraction between then, with good banter, but you still manage to take a step back and remind the reader that Adam is new to this. You also build in some of Evan's back story without revealing too much.
Adam and Evan's relationship is also really interesting because you can see a massive power imbalance between then. Evan has so much more life experience than Adam and he can see right through him. Adam barely knows how to ask a question.
Another great chapter!
| ArgentanHeart chapter 2 . 7/2/2014
I don't know why, but I don't really love when stories reference specific video games too much. It makes it feel dated almost instantly (video game turn over is almost annual now) and somehow it feels a bit cheesy. I get what you're doing. And the idea that Adam can speak Simlish more comfortably than English is very telling. It just bothers me a bit. Current movie references bother me a bit too, but the Neil Gaiman and Steve Erickson references don't bother me so much (likely because of my love of them both).
The other littler thing that bothered me was that it seems like the intruder is almost a little too much of a troublemaker to seem real. Crashing a car, robbing a neighbor, and breaking and entering all in one day seems like a big deal. The robbing the neighbor makes it feel too over the top. I like that he was hiding from his father (I was kind of thinking the father was threatening him because he was gay - but that might be something later on...)
And I know these comments are a little nitpicky. I'm really liking the story and the characters, but I'm doing 4 reviews for the review game and I don't want to leave you four comments that are just like "OMG, I 3 Adam"... although I kind of do...
| ArgentanHeart chapter 1 . 7/2/2014
I really liked the opening. The description of Adam's mother is so vivid and yet totally believable. The relationship with his father, for the age he is especially, is right one. They seem like a real family is an extreme situation.
And I really love how you subtly tell the reader he is gay without making too big of a deal about it. And with a really funny line! Well done! I'm hooked!
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 5 . 6/30/2014
((I'm one half of Jitterbug, just too lazy to log out; please bear with me - I'll be reviewing you under this account.))
I'm so jealous of your writing, bb D: I mean, it's really amazing and fluid and there are so many lines I could just marry (like the one metaphor that compares something to a star about to die). There's a lot of originality to your writing, but what I like about it is that it doesn't come across as outlandish, stilted or awkward, but is perfectly coherent and perfectly beautiful. I think it's pretty and awesome, with just the right amount of description to be accessible, but that *special* flavour to stand out in a landscape of dull, bland writing and awful purple prose. Don't change whatever it is that inspires you, because I think you've got some of the most beautiful prose I've seen in a while.
Things I found especially beautiful in this chapter were the descriptions of Evan's scars, especially the huge one - I'm not much for the description of skinniness, but I found it beautiful in this case, because you described in that kind outlandish, somewhat wistful way? I found it wonderful how Adam acknowledged that Evan wasn't beautiful by common standards, but definitely gorgeous to him. I also thought that the way you described those little moments, like Adam observing Evan while he was typing on the computer were utterly beautiful - because you can see how much Adam cares, and how fascinated he is by Evan. Gorgeous material there. I also liked how you described the kiss - very tangible and sexy, without being too over the top in terms of melodrama or cheesiness (or not being either of these at all :D). I also just find that a lot of your sentences are beautiful, with the right word choice and all to create a more visible, vivid feel to it in general.
Gotta love your dialogue too, because it's realistic and recreates Adam's awkwardness so well. It's subtle and clever, with just the right amount of information to make it witty but also meaningful. I don't know, I just feel I can envision these people talking :3 I also feel it's unique in terms of tone, giving this fic even more of this wonderful flavour that makes it what it is :3
I especially like how you handle little moments in this chapter. It's wonderful how you manage to portray Adam's desire, while addressing his social problems. I like that; I also like the slow burn of this fic, even if things are progressing at the end (the hint of a handjob or more... at the end). I just feel that Adam and Evan are connecting at a very natural pace, which makes me all the more eager to care about them as characters and want to find out where they are headed.
...This is a lot of useless blabber, but I'll try to be better in my next review :3
| alltheeagles chapter 11 . 6/28/2014
For the RG EF
I do so love happy endings, I do I do I do. I like that you don’t make it too obviously ‘and they lived happily ever after’, ie there was still the awkwardness between Adam and his father. So it’s realistic enough to satisfy my inner grouch and yet romantically sweet enough (Adam x Evan) to make the me who wears rose-tinted glasses squeal with delight.
I also like that you leave the ending fairly open as well, so there’s room for a sequel, as you said. Just so you know, I don’t usually like modern-setting romances – frankly I picked this one up from the RG, but once I dipped a toe in, I was hooked. I like your writing style very much, with all its dry wit and humour. I like it so much I might go dip a toe in the sequel too, even though if I just read the summary I’d not be very likely to want to read it.
| alltheeagles chapter 10 . 6/28/2014
For the RG EF
I like how you emphasise Adam’s ‘anti-social’ (or I’d say a-social, like assexual) nature with the details about how he swears. It’s a cool technique, this turning something familiar (to some people anyway) into something alien.
I’m a little confused, plot-wise. Adam orchestrated the whole pet store thing? Well it shows that he’s intelligent and fairly resourceful, though it’s possible mom was the one who masterminded it all. Who are Kyle and Sam anyway? I don’t recall their introduction.
As I mentioned, I usually don’t like this kind of confrontation scenes. But this one wasn’t too painful to get through. I see the irony: Evan who seems to live his life to the max is actually living in the shadow of the past, while Adam who doesn’t seem to be living at all literally lives each day like it’s his last.
Typo: livong, gorrified
| deadaccount2019 chapter 4 . 6/21/2014
[Opening] Ahah! Called it, kinda, lol. :) Anyway, there wasn't quite as much build up regarding the end of the previous chapter, but I do like that you took the time to address what happened during the days since the 'trial by fire'. It worked well to keep the reader caught up and transitioned things nicely to the next plot point without leaving the growth of their relationship feel overly rushed.
[Writing] Slightly different thing regarding paragraphing, I think sometimes the use of single-line paragraphs isn't always timed well. For example, when Adam considers if Evan would understand the abandonment if their roles were reversed, I thought those lines would have flowed better if they were kept as one paragraph. You want to save the one-liners for really important moments, and I didn't feel like this was one of those moments. (This is admittedly something I'm constantly working on to improve in my own writing, hence why I probably noticed it here. :) )
[Other - Theme] I really like that even though humor is listed as one of the associated genres, the story doesn't lose touch of itself. I hadn't thought much of it before, during the initial conversation about Evan's parents' anniversary, I realized that underneath the grins and giggles, there's some serious stuff going on. What really made the drama aspect stand out to me was the little snappish moment Evan had about whether or not he should know how long his parents were together, and Adam's down-trodden response. It actually threw up some warning flags for me, in terms of relationships, but without losing sight of the other tones in the story.
[Character] Once again I find myself really relating to Adam, this time in his response to leaving the house. I think regardless of how comfortable one becomes with being in a certain environment, we all yearn for a bit of something outside of our comfort zone, if only to remain in touch with reality. His response was also a little heartbreaking in that it makes me think of how one must feel after they've been imprisoned for a sizable length of time. The simple sensation of feeling and Adam's repetition of it really shows his life has had a negative impact on him, and I really want to see him continue on into the world and simply experience.
| deadaccount2019 chapter 3 . 6/20/2014
[Relationship] It's not at all surprising to see Adam latching on to Evan so quickly. Given how isolated he's been his whole life, it makes sense that he's going to attach to the idea of another person, even if it's not necessarily for healthy reasons. To be honest, I do worry that the relationship will remain unhealthy and perhaps even be glamorized despite the dysfunction, however there are definitely seeds here and there that make me want to hope and root for these guys.
[Dialogue] I noticed the paragraph separation of action from dialogue again this chapter. On another note, you sometimes get these short spurts where there are a lot of lines of dialogue, but no associated action or narrative. It does expedite certain points of the conversation, but I feel like it gets a little too monotonous. Even adding a simple action such as quirks or ticks one in a while would help add a little more life to those moments.
[Writing] One thing that seems to be a recurring detail is Evan's eyes. It would help build a stronger picture if the reader was getting more details; cheekbones, jaw shape, freckled arms, etc? Evan's eyes don't seem to have a specific reason for being such a heavy focus, which is odd when one considers that eyes are actually usually not very discernible, particularly in what I've been imagining as a dark environment. Maybe either expand on why they catch Adam's notice before the squatting-sex-worker jab, or introduce other details?
[Ending] I think your ending would have more punch if you omitted the ["Touch the fire." So Adam does.]. There's a lot of tension built up in the last full paragraph and Adam's attention on Evan, and I find the last two lines kind of derail that tension. Without them, it would create more push for the reader to continue, because they're left with the lingering question of whether or not Adam will indeed touch it. Outside of the two lines, however, you cut the chapter off at a very good point. I think you could even do a time jump at the start of the next chapter to help push the reader further, since they're left wondering, "What'll happen? What'll happen?" In any case, though, the chapter ends in a way that at once conveys a sense of closure but also leaves anticipation in its wake. :)
| deadaccount2019 chapter 2 . 6/20/2014
[Character] The addition of Adam's fluency in Simlish was a great way of showcasing his isolation. Sure, people learning fictional languages isn't unheard of, but Sims is a relatively isolated game. I can't say how much I like Adam at this point, but thinking back to my teens, I can definitely relate to him as far as socialability goes.
[Pacing] I like that we're diving right into things, as far as Adam and Evan go. Granted, it could be fast-paced for some, but I think for something that's novella length, you've hit the nail on the head by moving along so quickly. Throughout the chapter things keep moving, which is great because on top of keeping the story going, the reader isn't given an opportunity to feel as though something is lingering too long.
[Dialogue] I noticed sometimes that you separate dialogue from the relevant character's paragraphs. It's not often, but does pose the risk of creating confusion. The best example is after Adam states he lives in the house. His actions (the shirt tugging) was grouped up with Evan's actions and dialogue. His actions are separated from his dialogue, and then in the same paragraph Evan's dialogue follows Adam's actions.
[Writing] I'm really enjoying how frank the writing is. It makes for a leisure reading that's quite light, but it also helps maintain a sense of youth in Evan and Adam. You also time the more telling sections quite well, which is part of what makes the pacing so effective. When you choose to show less, it doesn't feel like an info dump, so the reader isn't left wondering when things are going to move on.
| deadaccount2019 chapter 1 . 6/20/2014
[Opening] I like that you jump right into Adam's situation from the get-go. Although it isn't necessarily 'catchy' as a regular chapter opener, it works well for a prologue since it spares the reader a sense of 'trying' in the hook. It makes for a much smoother transition into the rest of the chapter.
[Plot] Outside of the mail-order husband comment, I like that a reader can come into this without any knowledge of what the story will entail. In a longer introduction or chapter, it wouldn't work nearly as well, but in this case we have a taste of Adam's extending conflict, which leaves the reader wondering just how much his circumstances will influence the story.
[Writing] I love that you're going with a close limited-third perspective with this. First-person is okay, but it can be limited in how you present information, where as in limited third, you can present the info necessary without sacrificing voice, which by the way shines through this chapter. I definitely got the sense that Adam's become jaded, if not cynical due to his circumstances.
[Relationships] The relationship between Adam and his parents comes across as cliche; weepy mom, "I have no son" dad, all over something he had no control over. If Adam's 16, I at least would have thought they'd be over their initial dramafests by now; at the very least functional. Granted, going with simple cliches does expedite that element of the story, but on this front I do kind of wish there had been a little more originality.
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 4 . 6/18/2014
(the last one for Depth :3/RG)
Writing: The writing was beautiful in this chapter, I think? I noticed that it was more carefully detailed in this chapter, highlighting Evan’s physical appearance and painting him as this wondrous, beautiful creature. I really liked that, because it made him appear mysterious and strongly emphasised how much Adam is attracted to him. But I’m dithering: I just think that the beautiful writing made the emotions so much more poignant and electrifying? That, and I’m attracted to beautiful things, and I will re-read this chapter just for the BEAUTY (because we need more beauty in literature, seeing how writing is all about transforming language into art). Anyhow, I like how the writing never lost its breeziness or easy flow? You could have so easily overwhelmed with us the imagery, but you kept it understated, which makes the beauty and imagery more well-embedded within the next, more natural. I think that helps keep the text natural and atmospheric. And yes, atmospheric is another thing I liked about this chapter – it just came across as very wistful but not hopeless, with the writing being beautiful-poetic but not too heavy handed?
Scene: I really liked the kissing scene, because of how you build it up. It started out awkwardly sweet, with Adam not sure how to make a move, hesitating and doubting himself, but ended in this very sensual and beautiful way. It was surprising, but also very hot. Hot, because it just broke the UST of the past few chapters, and made me think ‘yes, yes, that’s how you do it’: sometimes it’s better to just go for the kill, then wait forever. I also think that the suddenness of it made it all the more sweeter, all the more pleasing: it was nice to know that Evan wanted Adam this much too.
I cannot tell you how much I fangirled the emotion in this scene, and just how you wrote out the sensations. The short sentences helped making the sensation more tangible, more fluid and natural - I might have to rea-read it. I think it’s just important, in a kissing scene, to write out physical and emotional aspects of it, to make it all the more appealing, and not to use stock phrases. You managed to do it just right, making the scene seem fresh and also appealing by focusing on those little details and showing us just how affected Adam was. It wasn’t cliché because you avoided said stock phases, and there was no mention of fireworks anyhow. XD. Yeah, I’m dithering again.
Hmm, I also liked the scene where Adam tried to rebuff Evan, but ended up just being an adorable dork. I just thought the scene was funny and realistic, in its awkwardness. I think what really made it strong for me was the dialogue, and the short sentences here too; the short sentences just pinpricked Adam’s anxiety quite well, without being over the top. I loved how Evan just didn’t care, but simply kept asking Adam until he finally buckled :D
Pacing: I really liked that you slowed down when it came to the kissing scene. I think it made that sensation of this being a magical, special moment far more poignant. It just showed how for Adam this was a shocking, but also meaningful event that slowed down his perception of everything around him, making him focus on Evan and just Evan. So I’m just saying this aspect was well-handled. I also liked how the pacing slowed down when Evan and Adam went out, and Adam was just observing how Evan blended in with the surroundings. I somehow thought that the slowing down here seemed very natural, and emphasised how attracted Adam was? It made it seem like this special moment, where things just come to a standstill and you realise something.
Anyhow, otherwise the pacing was moderately fast, but not too fast? You didn’t dither around when it came to the less important stuff, but just made sure that the plot/happenings progressed in a natural manner? I liked that because it made the reading process natural, and I didn’t feel irritated/or bogged down by unnecessary introspection. I’m just saying that you’re really doing fine; everything is progressing naturally, and I don’t feel bored by how you’re telling things.
Opening: I liked how the opening told us what had happened to Adam’s arm. I thought that it not only linked this chapter with the previous chapter, but also gave this chapter a great intro/beginning, because you immediately lead to the next natural event, namely Evan taking Adam to his parents’ home. I thought that made the opening very good, as you immediately gave us an idea of what the chapter might be about. I also liked how in medias res it was, with it giving us an idea of what Adam is feeling. Such openings help to make the openings more natural and/or gripping for the reader; I at least feel more attracted to reading a story when it starts with an opening that’s simple yet gripping.
Dialogue: I feel that your dialogue is very natural-sounding, never coming across as too stilted or uncharacteristic for teenage boys. As this story is very dialogue-focused, I like how you use the dialogue to build up tension/demonstrate how the boys are feeling in this very natural way. It makes the story seem even more honest. What I also like is you don’t use too many dialogue tags, but let the dialogue overtake the story. Too many writers seem afraid of doing this, but I personally think it can be great, as it can enhance the humour of a scene or augment the tension. Personally, I found that’s what happened in this chapter :3 It also makes the dialogue faster in such funny scenes, as it’s not overshadowed by introspection or too much descriptions: it makes the scene easier to envision.
| alltheeagles chapter 9 . 6/18/2014
For the RG EF
I like how realistic Adam is being, and how devastated at the same time. I’ve had that same reaction myself a few times – realising a truth and knowing that it was real life, but hurting nonetheless. Whether he’s being strong or it’s just his fatalistic nature, I can’t really tell, but I’m glad there aren’t any hysterics involved.
I like mom’s words of wisdom too. What happened, she had an epiphany? A brain transplant? Or did she always know all this but never had the chance (or courage) to say it to Adam? Her transformation is quite radical, from distant housemate to living breathing connecting mum. It wasn’t unacceptably sudden, but I thought you could have eased into it a little more.
That little twist at the end was unexpected and welcome. Super-fail mom is now Cool Mom. What a change! I look forward to seeing how that works out, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there aren’t any horrible surprises waiting. Eg something’s happened to Evan... cause I won’t put that past you, the way this story has been so sad.
Typo: remind anyone OF anything
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 3 . 6/18/2014
Writing: I am actually close to being brain-dead right now, but I still managed to get through this because of your breezy writing style. It's not only breezy, but very pleasing with lovely little details that are a 'blink and you'll miss it' thing. I don't mind that though, because it makes your writing all the more special? As in, it's not simplistic, but something that is carefully crafted: I like that, I really do, as it makes your prose clever. But no really, I like the breeziness of your writing, the lack of overtelling and excessive drama: it's more poignant like this, and gives the narrative a special, unique tone. I mean that your emotions sound more genuine like this, as they are more understated. It's also a characteristic writing style that makes you stand out :D
Plot: I like this theme of friendship/bonding you are setting up - what really helps is how you're developing this in such a seemingly random, but very - for me - realistic way. People do meet by chance, and I think the randomness is actually realistic (what I do mean to say is that people just become entwined with each other by pure chance). I like too how, on a deeper level, this is about Adam finding out that there are other people in this world and that, by connecting with Evan, he is learning more about the outside world. I like how Evan too seems to be growing, as a character. Moreover, I like how the plot also seems to be heading towards 'defeat' your fears direction: it's uplifting and meaningful and inspirational. I can't wait to read more 33. I also think that what makes this plot stand out for me is the unique tone, and the refreshing honesty of it.
Relationships: I liked how you described the hint of attraction between Adam and Evan here - at least, I liked how you described Adam's attraction. It's very sensual but also emotional: he desires Evan for his body, but also seems attracted to his character. I like how Evan seems to be meeting with Adam with humor, encouraging him to be daring and not rebuffing him for his disease. I like how they're honest with each other, even though Adam seems more comfortable to talk about his issues at this point? Evan is holding back, but I respect that Adam is emotionally intelligent enough to not push him. Such things take time ): Anyhow, I think you're developing things at a realistic pace, with the relationship being already deep, but not too intimate. They still have to get know each other, sniff each other a bit more 33.
Character: Adam is very emotionally intelligent for someone who is so isolated. I find him to be nearly empathetic, not only for being able to read Adam's discomfort but being able to respect those boundaries. I like how he's wiling to open up.