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for Playing with Fire

12/2/2018 c20 sonder this
At first, right from the beginning - I had been thrilled to see how pensive Leah seemed to be when she was thinking about her relationship with her brother (and their mutual best friend at the time). Obviously from your author's notes, they came from a pretty personal place. As the chapters went on, it became apparent that Leah was a very insecure girl who just passively let people control nearly every facet of her life. Alright, no problem, great room for character development there. But the thing is, I didn't see any major developments until almost 20 chapters in. I actually became very frustrated with the things she did "choose" like why did she want to go out with Adam in the first place? Because every other girl wanted to? Why didn't she think Adam is the type to cheat on his girlfriends, specifically herself? Because she did acknowledge that she didn't even know him that well. Even in her thoughts, she never really questioned her relationship with him - just merely wondered why he hadn't reached out to her during the summer. This mindlessness showed particularly during their first "date" when he just had her sit in the car as he ran his errands and she just simmered in the heat.

As for Lindsay... the moment you described her as "beautiful and competitive" - I already had an inkling of where you were going with this. From a technical standpoint, that description read more like a profile - when describing characters, don't feel the need to put their whole appearance in one block of text. Sporadically tease the reader with what they look like throughout the chapter or story. If you prefer not to do so then do the text-blocking in a way that feels more natural because this is how it had read: "Lindsay is my best friend. She's beautiful and competitive […]" See how that comes out as awkward wording? When I had read that, it made me wonder... 'if she's so competitive that that's one of the first adjectives you mention then why is Leah best friends with her?' but I gave it the benefit of a doubt and read on to see in what sense she was competitive. Instead, I was disappointed to see that it was mostly just more words about her looks and her penchant for snagging guys. (Notice how in any romance story, particularly high school ones, the female characters are described only to the extent of their physical appearance and male-catching skills? We girls are much more than that. Please break the status quo.) But moving on, this relationship had to be the most irksome creature I've read in a while. Over and over (and over) again, Leah mentions how Lindsay never listens to her, forces her to do things she doesn't want to, and makes her feel unwanted pretty much throughout their whole "friendship" (I've yet to see any positive remarks) and yet - she repeatedly calls this girl her best friend. When she invited her to the national park instead of Jamie, I almost had to face-palm because really... I know you did it for plot device's sake because you were using her as a way to instigate the conversation between Leah and Cameron but by the gawds, it became extremely difficult to feel any sympathy for Leah at this point. For someone who had seem so introspective from the first chapter, I was astonished by how she didn't give the same amount of thought to her relationship with Lindsay. In fact, just questioning what a 'best friend' should mean would have been a great start. I wished you had bigger plans for Lindsay (as in, being more than just a one dimensional character) but she became like every other cardstock female antagonist in the stereotypical high-school romance.

Now jumping to Leah and Cameron's relationship. So, many chapters were spent building up to the point where Leah finally admits to herself that she likes Cameron and here, Cameron drops the bomb that he's actually in love with her and suddenly, she says she's in love with him too? What - how did 'crush' suddenly become 'love'? Yeah, she's known him for a while but she's only become infatuated with him just recently so how did love come into the equation?... I feel like she felt obligated to say that only because Cameron had said it - especially when she was thinking about how she felt bad for not returning his feelings sooner. The moment that thought crossed her mind, I knew Leah still has much to learn about self-worth because she should never feel obligated to return someone's feelings until she's certain of her own thoughts and feelings toward them. But after the Adam and Lindsay fiasco, unfortunately, I just feel she's still easily swayed by the people around her.

Usually I'm all for hetero shipping but I actually low-key ship Leah with Jamie. Cameron may have shown Leah what respect looks like but Jamie brought the best out in her in a relatively shorter amount of time. And isn't that what a good partner should do?

But speaking of Leah's character, when she was giving Cameron the third degree burn of the Spanish Inquisition during their resting stop on the cliff, I had to do a double-take there because I thought that was Lindsay talking. The lines of "Not really?... What does the 'really' part mean?" or emphasizing how she did see him hold Callie's hand - the whole time up to that point, Leah never once showed any actual initiative to question those around her out loud so for her to do so, to her crush no less, seemed out of the left field for her. I know you tried to back her questioning up with 'she couldn't help it' and so forth but if you wanted to run along those lines, reinforce her anxiety more through either her thoughts or physiological reactions.

Lastly, I understand that high-school hierarchies exist but the amount of repetitive emphasis on how 'he's a godly senior and I'm just a lowly junior' made me stare at the screen in complete stupor on what Leah had considered as one of the biggest obstacles to her relationship with Cameron. Not to mention how often she and Lindsay would mention 'senior' this and 'junior' that. It's okay to bring in this highschool hierarchy but you brought it up to a point where it just became overly dramatic that it was hard to take these students seriously. Yes, for them it might be a big deal but to hear it in every chapter without any actual mental dissection to what's so wrong with a senior dating a junior had made those chapters excruciating to read.

I took the time to write such a thorough constructive critique because I believe you have potential as a writer. I know this story has been written years ago so your mentality may have changed since then but since this is the only 'recent' story I can go on then this is the only feedback I can give.
4/28/2018 c27 Guest
Wow. Amazing story. I absolutely loved it till the very end! Definitely one of my favorite stories here on FictionPress. Thank you for sharing it with us :)
5/15/2016 c27 Guest
great story! loved it
1/14/2016 c26 Serpentskirt
Hey, I know it's been a while since you wrote this, I just wanna say it was a great read, and I couldn't put it down. I loved Leah and the premise of the story. 3 3
4/7/2015 c15 guest
Is there a female version of the word "asshole"?
Well, that is the only way to describe dear(!) Lindsay!
12/28/2014 c1 Guest
What I find creepy, is that my name is Leia, but is pronounced as Leah, and i was named after Princess Leia from Star Wars (Luke and Leia, get it?) and the love of my life is named Cameron...
8/10/2014 c1 Melissa
Hey there! This is Melissa from A Drop of Romeo here to let you know that your original review for this story has been rewritten by me. Here's your review rewrite:

Melissa Thinks: Leah is a year younger than her popular brother Luke who seems to overshadow her at every opportunity. It isn't until his senior year that Luke begins to take an interest in his sister's existence again. With him comes Cameron; the caring best friend who's always had a soft spot for Leah. How will the two handle their attraction to each other without letting Luke find out?

Those who liked So Much to Learn will find this story delightful and fulfilling. The author has a natural, smooth, and funny voice which helps add to the believability of the characters. Leah and Cam are adorable and their character development over the course of the story makes everything ten times more interesting. There's enough drama in the story to keep you utterly engrossed in the story, but it never gets to a point where you're annoyed.

The "brother's best friend" plot device is a cliche that never gets old, so Playing With Fire fits right in with the other fantastic stories in the category.
7/12/2014 c27 Niamh
This story is so awesome and amazing! I love, love, love it!
7/10/2014 c12 Niamh
In response to 3- i would use a rusty, old, push pin!
5/20/2014 c27 71AlysonSerenaStone
I must say that I loved this story! I really enjoyed the last chapter, well all of them for that matter. I am so happy that everything worked out for Leah and Cameron. I still want to know if Leah and Lindsay ever became friends again-oh, well, I really didn't like Lindsay to begin with. Anyway, great story!
5/10/2014 c15 AlysonSerenaStone
I really don't like Lindsay. Leah just needs to hurry up and get rid of her. I am also hoping that Leah and Cameron get together soon! I really am liking this and I can't wait to read the rest!
4/26/2014 c1 AlysonSerenaStone
Great opening chapter! This is really a hooker. I already love your main character, in fact I really like all of this. This is certain to be a good story and I can't wait to read more!
2/20/2014 c16 MusicGurl8129
Cameron was talking about her! It's obvious! :)
2/20/2014 c27 MusicGurl8129
Thank you for the Story, it was wonderful!
2/5/2014 c27 19Selena Jade
Loved this!
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