A Couple of Poems

These are both pretty old but I still like them!

A Catalogue of Errors

I wake up in the morgue again.

The clean chill of the place

has knocked the summer right out of me

and I slip away shaking,

gut aching, re-tracing my steps.

I’m a bad drinker.

The stuff slows my brain

but quickens my bones, I wake

a hundred muddy miles from home

on a good morning.

I’m a bad scientist.

Treat my chemicals like paints,

my subjects like a tyrant.

I forget to feed my cell cultures.

I blow my nose in the cleanrooms.

I’m a bad mother.

Granted, there’s no other kind

these days, but it’s hard to explain

how I’ve forgotten every baby I had.

I get lost, I think, in my own work,

my own waste of time,

the way my brain likes to eat itself.

I’ve eaten so many mistakes.

Blue powders, the wrong organs of fish,

Snow White red apples

and berries that leave me for dead.

The needing to know

never stops.

Still,

the September dawn oozes

its light over everyone.

Bad drinkers.

Bad scientists.

Bad mothers.

Good morning.

Three at Midnight

It’s midnight, and I’m out looking for people to save. Some loose-limbed youngblood, drowsy with the promise of sleep. Poor girl danced herself dizzy and walks home alone. That brief, in-between age when she doesn’t belong to anyone. The night is as full of monsters as it ever was, but I stretch and stamp and ready my weapons. She doesn’t have to find out.

It’s midnight, and I’m out looking for victims. A hard heartbeat, truthful under the false promise of red lipstick. She knows her flesh is marshmallow-soft. She dyes her hair to disguise the colour of rabbits, sparrows, small things that get swooped on and scooped up and eaten. I bare my teeth. It’s a cold night, and her skin will be like ice-cream.

It’s midnight, and I’m out looking for trouble. I walk with a teasing stumble, every few steps. I sing softly, faking courage, faking a need for it. My blood bubbles with delight. I am a plain, restless, unimportant thing. But tonight I will make gods fight over my fate.

I hope you enjoyed these. If you did, you might be interested in The Problem with Magic Shows.

“Anne of Green Gables” and the Joys of Re-reading

A quick SPOILER warning – This post contains some spoilers for the Anne of Green Gables series, published by L.M. Montgomery in the early 20th century.

I never used to re-read much. There are (roughly) a bazillion books in the world, and if I’m going to get through as many of them as possible, I shouldn’t waste too much time going back to the ones I’ve already read, right? I always thought of re-reading as the lazy option -something you do when you can’t be arsed to find anything else to read.

But I’ve recently changed my attitude, thanks to a boxset of the Anne of Green Gables series that my parents bought me last Christmas. I’ve been working my way steadily through these books that I’ve already read, and have come to understand the joys of re-reading.

You’ll never read the same book twice

As Pocahontas1 said, you can’t step in the same river twice. The same could be said about books. A book is a static object, but the world changes around it, making it seem different. The subject of a novel can become less relevant or more relevant, and characters can become less or more relatable, depending on the current issues and trends of modern life.

A reader also changes throughout her life, which means that the same book could seem completely different at ages 10, 30, 50 and 70. This has definitely been the case with the Anne of Green Gables series, which I first read during primary school.

I adored the first book in the series, but got a little bored with the others. Maybe the quality of the writing declined? Nope. It turns out the later books are excellent, and I just couldn’t relate to “grown-up” Anne, who did mysterious things like getting a job and going to college.  

Now that I’ve had these experiences myself, I find the books much more engaging. Though there’s always the risk I’ll lose interest again when she gets married and has babies!

Catch things you missed the first time around (Spoilers!)

Re-reading this series has been a nostalgic experience. There’s so much I remember from when I was a kid, like the gorgeous, giddy descriptions of the Canadian countryside, and Anne’s (mostly endearing) habit of being a drama queen. But there’s also a lot I missed when I read it as a child.

For example, I didn’t realise how much the author celebrates unconventional families. Anne is an orphan. She’s raised by Thomas and Marilla Cuthbert, who aren’t a married couple but a brother and sister who run a farm together. Thomas dies when Anne is a teen, but she and Marilla aren’t on their own for long, as Marilla adopts a pair of six-year-old twins.

Then Rachel Lynde, a recently widowed neighbour, moves in with them and Anne suddenly has two mums! There’s never an implication that Anne ought to be raised in a more traditional family, and when she describes her home to a new college friend, she makes it heart-meltingly clear that she is happy and loved.

There are also smaller details I’d forgotten, like the death of Anne’s friend Ruby from “consumption”, and a shocking burst of dark humour when Anne and her housemates have to get rid of a cat (don’t worry, the cat evades their murderous intentions and becomes part of the household).

The comfort factor

Comfort reading is all the rage these days, which is hardly surprising. While I think it’s important to value books that challenge and unsettle us as much as those that comfort and charm us, literary comfort food is an important part of a balanced reading diet.

Sometimes you just want to pick up a book and know you’re about to spend some time with characters you like, who aren’t going to die unexpectedly, and will be safe and happy at the end of the story. I don’t think any author owes readers a nice and comfortable time, so the only way to guarantee it is to go with something you’ve already read.

So, what do you think of re-reading? Are there any books you can read over and over without getting bored? And are there any fellow Anne fans around?

1 Apparently it was some dude called Heraclitus who said this, but I’m a 90s child, so I heard it first from Pocahontas.

What to Expect When Writing an “Own Voices” Story

There’s so much debate, hand-wringing, and general fuss about the phrase “own voices” that it’s easy to forget how simple and vital the central concept is. The phrase was coined by the writer Corinne Duyvis to refer to an author from a marginalised or underrepresented group, writing about their own experiences or from their own perspective.

This is a very natural thing for writers to do. We’re constantly being told to “write what you know”, and writers from a marginalised or underrepresented group have added motivation. We’re often virtually invisible in fiction. And if we’re not invisible, we’re stereotyped and misrepresented by authors who don’t share or understand our identities.

So why not tell our stories? Well, just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s easy. My YA novel Other People’s Butterflies is own voices, because the main character is aromantic-asexual, and so am I. The process of writing and publishing it has been strange, emotional, awkward, and liberating.

I’d like to share my experience of writing an own voices story, and help other writers know what to expect if they decide to do the same. I’m aware that experiences can vary wildly, so if you’ve written own voices work and had a completely different experience, please feel free to share in the comments.

Step 1: Feeling very, very naked

Writing about your own experiences puts you in a vulnerable position. You can fictionalise all you like, but it’s still your own thoughts, feelings, and perhaps life events going onto the page. This can leave you feeling very exposed.

Here’s the part where someone tells me to stop being a pussy. Because this is what writers are supposed to do, right? We use our own experiences to create stories. But when writing own voices, you’re writing about experiences that most readers won’t have had. You’re risking judgement, mockery, or the reader saying “Eh, this isn’t relatable to me, so I’ll just read something else.”

You may also be writing about parts of yourself you’ve struggled to come to terms with (a common experience for queer writers) or experiences that made you feel shitty about yourself. It can be emotionally draining.

My advice to anyone struggling with this is to remember the following things:

  • You are in control, and can share as much or as little of yourself as feels right. You owe your reader a good story and nothing else.
  • You don’t have to write in a linear fashion. If you’re struggling with a particularly dark or difficult scene, write something for a happier part of the book and go back to the difficult scene later.
  • Engage with your community. Remember that your experiences aren’t abnormal, and you aren’t alone.

Step 2: Under pressure

Writing an own voices story can be a high-pressure experience. Are you supposed to provide representation for everyone in your community? What if your representation is too simplistic? Or inadvertently promotes stereotypes? Or is just plain crappy?

My advice here is simple (some would say too simple): Reject that pressure. You can’t possibly represent everyone in a diverse community. Everyone wants a different type of representation – some want it to be wholesome and optimistic, others want it to be complex and challenging – and you can’t please them all.

Write your own story in your own style, and ignore the people who tell you it ought to be a different story in a different style. Personally, I’ve written about an aro-ace girl who makes mistakes, does bad things, and still ends up okay. I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I also know that some people are looking for exactly that.

Step 3: Am I “own voices” enough?

Writers have a lot to worry about while crafting a story. Is it engaging enough? Believable enough? Funny enough? But if you’re writing own voices, you may also find yourself worrying if it’s authentic enough.

Other People’s Butterflies is a novel, not a memoir. My protagonist shares my sexual/romantic orientation, but our experiences differ in multiple ways. This is the case for most own voices authors, and it can cause anxiety when there’s so much pressure to write “lived experience”.

Also, identity can be really f*cking complicated. Just ask anyone who is mixed race, has an “invisible” disability, or is in the + part of LGBT+. This can cause confusion and worry about claiming your own identity.

My advice is to be honest with yourself. Do feel you can write authentically about this topic? If there are gaps in your knowledge or experience, can you find out what you need to know in a way that supports others and doesn’t exploit them?

Step 4: Potential bullshit from publishers, agents, etc.

Lots of publishers and agents are looking for own voices work. Some (including my publisher, Art Over Chaos) go about this in a responsible way, by advertising their desire for own voices stories and striving to create an inclusive environment. Others engage in identity policing.

Rather than trusting that a story is own voices if the author says it is, they will ask intrusive questions, pressure queer authors into outing themselves, and generally demand proof of identity.

I understand why publishers do this. There are, unfortunately, some shameless con artists out there, who will do things like pretend to be a different race in an attempt to get their writing published.

Nobody wants to be taken advantage of by unethical people, but identity policing disadvantages writers in difficult or dangerous situations who are unable to be completely open about their identity. You know who it doesn’t disadvantage? Con artists. They will always find a way around it.

If you’re not comfortable with identity policing, just try to avoid publishers who engage in it. Don’t answer questions that violate your privacy or dignity. Trust your instincts and prioritise your own safety, security and wellbeing.

Step 5: Celebrate!

Despite all the difficulties of creating an own voices work, rest assured that you are doing something worthwhile. You are creating something that will make people feel seen and understood. Be proud.

Thanks for reading this longer-than-usual post. If you have any experience of writing own voices stories (even if it’s something you’re just beginning to consider) I’d love to hear about it. And if you’re a reader, please share your favourite own voices books!

“Other People’s Butterflies” Release Day!!!

Today’s the day. My YA novel Other People’s Butterflies is now out in the world. It’s available to buy in paperback and eBook forms, and if you have Kindle Unlimited it won’t cost you a penny. Here’s the UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1735937525 and here’s the US one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735937525

Looks pretty. But what’s it all about?

How do I know it’s any good?

Well, the signs are promising! It has a couple of reviews on Goodreads and they are both five star, hellz yes! Here’s one of the reviews:

“This book has everything: gossip, mystery, an espionage sub plot, and some lovable backyard hens. Gwen Foster is a force of nature and seeing the world through her eyes is a pleasure. OPB showcases a point of view that is seldom talked about and brings it front and center. I imagine this book will be the “right book” for many readers to come.”

Thank you Kierstin Shea! If you’re wondering what she means by “a point of view that is seldom talked about”, I imagine she’s referring to the fact that the protagonist is asexual and aromantic. If you’re still looking for Pride month reads…

Trigger warnings

So, I’m frankly a bit clueless about trigger warnings, and when/where they’re helpful. I got the Amazon description for the book all sorted out, and then realised that the Amazon description is probably the best place to include trigger warnings – whoops. In the meantime, I’ll post them here for anyone who needs them:

TW – sexual assault

TW – animal death

Getting a bit emotional!

I started this blog three years ago, having tried and failed to publish my first novel. But persistence wins the day, and all I can say to struggling writers is don’t give up! There are many roads to publication, and it’s often just a matter of finding the right one.

Speaking of which, I can thoroughly recommend Art Over Chaos publishing, who have been so supportive throughout the publication process. They publish novels, novellas and poetry, and are particularly interested in #OwnVoices writing and diverse books. If this sounds like a good fit for you, keep them on your radar.

If you decide to read Other People’s Butterflies, don’t be shy about sharing what you thought. Feedback is fab, and reviews are particularly useful as they can increase sales and act as a kind of “matchmaking” service, showing readers whether or not a book is right for them.

I’m also more than happy to chat about my experiences of indie publishing with any writers who are interested. Much love to the writing and reading community on WordPress, you are all fabulous!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Summer 2021 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future weeks’ topics can be found here. This week’s topic is…

Books On My Summer 2021 TBR

Honestly, I don’t know how much time I’ll have for reading this summer. I’m publishing a book of my own in seven days *incoherent screaming* and uni is about to get super-busy again. But a girl can dream, and here are some of the books I’m dreaming of…

HMS Expedient by Peter Smalley

Summer is the time of year when I crave a good old-fashioned adventure story. I usually turn to Patrick O’Brian for nautical shenanigans, but I’m going to give Peter Smalley a go.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

It’s about time I dived into the Grishaverse. And apparently Six of Crows is the place to start if you’re a sucker for found families.

Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter

I love Angela Carter’s short stories. Her prose is so rich and so purple, it’s like scoffing a whole box of Milk Tray. I may have to read this novel in short bursts to avoid indigestion, but I reckon I’ll enjoy it.

Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery

I’m loving my re-read of the Anne of Green Gables series. I vaguely remember this one being full of letters between Anne and Gilbert, so I’m steeling myself for mushiness! Also, Ann has just graduated college and been offered the principalship of a school. Clearly a Bachelor’s degree was worth a lot more in the olden days!

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

My pen pal described this book as “an asexual Native American teen with a ghost dog solving a supernatural murder case”. So it has ace rep, spooky stuff, animals, and an amateur detective – all my favourite things!

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl was one of my favourite books of 2020 (Yes, I know it was published in 2012) so here’s hoping Sharp Objects is just as deliciously twisted.

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

I’ve only read three and a half Terry Pratchett books (I consider Good Omens to be 50% Pratchett) so I better get my arse in gear if I expect to read all of them.

Kid by Simon Armitage

“Kid” is one of my all-time favourite poems, so I don’t know why I haven’t already read this collection.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

I adore Zadie Smith but I’ve never read her debut novel. I know she writes brilliantly about friendship, and she writes so vividly about London you can almost smell that lovely sooty air. This book is all about the later lives of two wartime friends living in London, so I’m anticipating good things.

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Mum is way ahead of me with the Wayfarers series, so I need to catch up!

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share your own summer TBR in the comments. If you’ve read any of these books, what did you think of them?

Also, if you’re buying books this summer, please consider supporting indie authors. My YA contemporary novel Other People’s Butterflies is being published by the indie press Art Over Chaos, and the eBook is available for pre-order here

“Other People’s Butterflies” Cover Reveal

Here it is – the gorgeous front cover for Other People’s Butterflies!

Ain’t she pretty?! I take no credit for this cover, as it was designed by Rose Sinclair from Art Over Chaos and the sum total of my input was “Errr, maybe it should have butterflies on it?” I’m not the best when it comes to aesthetics.

The eBook is now available for pre-order here (the paperback version doesn’t have a pre-order unfortunately) and it’s only $4.99/£3.52. Slightly cheaper than a Grande Skinny Vanilla Spice Latte from Starbucks!

Yep. Mystery, intrigue, high school drama, 1940s spy drama, ace/aro representation and some serious friendship feels could all be yours for the price of a ridiculous coffee. Here’s the blurb to give you a better idea of what it’s all about:

“Gwen Foster has never been kissed. But when she gets the chance to finally see what all the hype is about, it’s with her best friend’s crush. Embroiled in relationship drama she doesn’t understand, and ostracized from her friend group, Gwen escapes the angst by using her favorite femme fatale as a role model… and makes snooping on her classmates her new pastime. 

Gwen’s detective work appears to be going well, until an unknown social media account starts spilling all the scandalous personal details she’s uncovered. Now this wannabe spy must stop whoever is behind it before everyone’s dirty laundry is aired, and Gwen is forced to finish high school without any friends.

Other People’s Butterflies is a coming-of-age contemporary mystery about not needing to find your first love – but yourself – and how to mend the relationships that matter to you.”

Readers and Reviewers Wanted!

My debut novel Other People’s Butterflies is being published next month *hyperventilates* and I’m looking for book lovers to read and review! If you would like to receive an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in exchange for an honest review of the book on your blog or other social media platform, please fill out this short form.

What is Other People’s Butterflies like?

My novel is a contemporary YA with an aromantic-asexual protagonist, so the most obvious comparison that springs to mind is Alice Oseman’s Loveless. However, I think the plot is more Harriet the Spy meets Gossip Girl. You may be interested in it if:

  • You enjoy contemporary YA.
  • You enjoy contemporary YA with some 1940s spy stuff smuggled inside it.
  • You are interested in books with LGBTQIA characters and themes.
  • You like books about friendship, self-discovery, and the messiness of growing up.

Why are reviews so important?

For a debut author – especially an indie author like me – reviews are priceless. They can build credibility and increase sales, and also provide valuable insight into what readers want. Since this is my first published novel (hopefully the first of many) it’s important to know what readers are enjoying and what I need to work on.

So, if you fancy helping out a debut author and think that Other People’s Butterflies might be your sort of book, please fill out this form to enjoy a sneaky peek before everyone else!

Top Ten Tuesday – My Ten Most Recent Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future weeks’ topics can be found here. This week’s topic is…

My Ten Most Recent Reads

Between working, studying, and preparing to publish a novel (six weeks until Other People’s Butterflies gets published!) I’ve not had much time for reading, and this list takes me right back to 2020.

Educated by Tara Westover

It’s not an easy read but, despite the brutality of Westover’s upbringing, this isn’t your average misery memoir. It’s hugely insightful, and sheds light on the type of rural, religious family that’s often reduced to a caricature.

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker

I’m a relatively “unschooled” writer, so I feel like I should be reading more books like this one. It’s an unstuffy writing guide that offers lots of helpful tips for making your writing snap. But some of the grammatical stuff is pretty intimidating!

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

I loved Anne of Green Gables as a kid, but wasn’t so keen on the other books in the series. Was this because the books decrease in quality? Or did I find “grown-up” Anne less easy to relate to than Anne as a child? Definitely the latter. Anne of Avonlea is beautifully written and an ideal comfort read. Also, it turns out that “grown-up” Anne is only 16!

Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass by Lana Del Rey

If you’re a fan of Lana’s music, this is a must-read. Her poetry explores similar themes to her lyrics, but in a slightly different (perhaps more vulnerable) way.

Desolation Island by Patrick O’Brian

Hooray for reliable escapism! This is the fifth book in O’Brian’s series and has sea battles, spies, and the ever-entertaining friendship between main characters Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin (who are basically an old married couple at this point).

Common Bonds by various authors, including me!

Obviously I read my contributor’s copy of Common Bonds – an anthology of short stories and poetry centred on aromantic characters and platonic relationships. Seriously, if you’re looing for aro representation, or heart-warming stories of friendship, family, found-family and platonic partners, this is the book for you.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

SPOILERS, but I kinda wish Little Women ended halfway through. Poor Beth! And poor Jo, marrying some guy who’s twice her age and calls her stories trash!

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein

I finally got around to reading this, and it’s not my cup of tea. I don’t mind a slow-paced story as long as there’s a lot going on inside the characters’ heads. But these guys just spend forever deciding where to walk.

The World for a Shilling by Michael Leapman

If I had a time machine, The Great Exhibition of 1851 would be my first stop. Technologies and treasures from all over the world – including a 16 foot telescope, rare diamonds, and a precursor to the fax machine – were displayed in a purpose-built “crystal palace”. The book gives a vivid impression of what it must have been like for visitors.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

A murder-mystery that wastes very little attention on the murderer and contains one of the oddest sex scenes in mainstream fiction. Come for the weirdness, stay for the heart-wrenching portrayal of loss and grief.

Okay, not a bad bunch of books. Have you read any of these? What are some of the best books you’ve read recently?

Four Quick Writing Tips from “The Sense of Style”

I recently read Steven Pinker’s excellent writing guide The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. It’s aimed at non-fiction writers and I read it for my Science Communication MSc, but it also contains a lot of useful stuff for fiction writers. Here are four quick tips from the book that fellow writers might find handy…

“Beautiful” is more beautiful than “very beautiful”

When I was a teenager, I used to cram my writing full of intensifiers like “very”, “extremely” and “exceedingly” (Exceedingly was my favourite – I thought it made me sound fancy). This is an easy trap to fall into, because we can all get a little over-enthusiastic when we’re trying hard to get a point across.

The problem is that intensifiers can actually undermine the point you’re trying to make. As Pinker explains, an adjective on its own tends to be interpreted categorically. Someone is either completely honest, or not. Someone is either entirely beautiful, or not.

If you add an intensifier like “very”, you turn this all-or-nothing thinking into a spectrum. Someone might be quite beautiful, very beautiful, extremely beautiful, etc. It muddies the waters and takes away the impact of the adjective.

Save the heaviest for last

If you’re writing a list, the longest or most important word or phrase should go at the end to maximise its impact. For example, if you’re writing about a burglar who stole a bunch of things, it should be “He stole a TV, a laptop, and 2000 dollars in cash,” rather than “He stole a TV, 2000 dollars in cash, and a laptop.”

Importance should generally be prioritised over length. For example, “He stole a TV, 2000 dollars in cash, and a baby” is better than “He stole a TV, a baby, and 2000 dollars in cash.”

Watch out for zombies!

Before reading this book, I’d never heard of a “zombie noun”, and probably used them without meaning to. It’s a noun that’s derived from a verb, such as “make an appearance” (derived from “appear”) or “put on a performance” (derived from “perform”).

When a verb gets turned into a noun, it becomes lifeless and zombiefied (yes, that’s a word). Too many zombie nouns will make your writing sound stuffy, so it’s best to avoid them.

Learn the rules, then go ahead and break them

One thing I enjoyed about Pinker’s style guide was its impatience with grammar Nazis and language purists. We’ve all been annoyed by seeing “your” and “you’re” used interchangeably for the millionth time, but someone who acts like their world is falling apart every time someone makes a small error really needs to get a life.

The book argues that language is constantly evolving. If a word or phrase is used “incorrectly” by 90% of the population, and has been used by respected writers, there’s not much point in labelling it “incorrect”.

Also, (whisper it) there are more important things than grammar. If a woman prefers the term “chairperson” to “chairman” or a non-binary person uses singular “they”, it’s a dick move to insist that the rules of grammar are more important than equality or identity.

I hope you found these tips helpful. Got any quick tips of your own? Please share them in the comments!

Other People’s Butterflies – Introducing the Characters

(I’m updating this because I forgot to include a rather crucial character!)

It’s now less than two months until the planned release date of my YA novel Other People’s Butterflies. I’m more or less done with editing and you know what? I still don’t hate this book! Usually, editing has me shaking my head and muttering “Who wrote this shit? Oh, right.” But despite my insecurities, I’m really excited to get this novel out into the world.

This is partly thanks to my excellent editor, who was kind enough to point out things he likes as well as things that need fixing. But it’s partly because I just love these characters. Maybe it’s big-headed to say that, because I created them, but I can’t help it. I have a lot of affection for them and I want readers to meet them.

So I’m doing a quick post to introduce my main characters, and I also want to hear about yours. Who are the star players in your WIP? What makes them loveable, hateable, or love-to-hateable? Introduce them in the comments!

Gwen (the protagonist)

  • Easily bored
  • Wants to understand everything
  • Understands very little
  • Makes questionable decisions
  • Aro-ace as hell, but doesn’t know aro-ace is a thing

Martine (Gwen’s bestie)

  • Shy
  • Always smiling (it’s a defence mechanism)
  • Will read every historical romance ever written
  • A dreamer
  • Overprotected

Angie (also Gwen’s bestie)

  • A tomboy
  • Boy-crazy
  • Won’t wear clothes without pockets
  • Pockets are always full of sweets and/or condoms
  • Good at sports

Ethan (a childhood friend who reappears and complicates everything)

  • Total nerd. Owns it.
  • Seventeen, and owns more toys and games than most seven-year-olds
  • Speaks slowly, which makes some people think he is stupid
  • Definitely not stupid
  • Wants to be “more than friends”

Lana Barrington (Gwen’s girl-crush)

  • Fictional (I know they’re all fictional, but she is extra fictional)
  • Badass spy
  • Very glam
  • Good people skills
  • Doesn’t like people