Just As You Are
Cover + Title: 3/5
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Not the most unique, the title draws me a lot more than the cover, which considering the title is normally the first thing you see isn’t necessarily a bad thing but the cover could be more eye-catching. It is a picture of a teenage girl but considering it’s a romance/drama I feel like it could relate to the romance part more.
You are introduced to the characters but I’m not sure what the plot is and who’s interested in who and who has drama with who.
First Chapter: 7/10
I’m am drawn in by Lucifer and Zel’s chemistry as siblings and Zel’s fixation on Mika and belief that if she is in his life something bad will happen to her. I’m not sure the prologue is necessary or makes sense, you could just start with first chapter. Each character is distinct in their own way and description of Lucifer and Mika are unique and I can envision the scene and characters.
It is clear who likes who and that the characters are growing and changing. Kiki is becoming more open and social. Zel and Mika have acknowledged their feelings for each other but not the reasons why each other might want or not want to be together. I don’t know where the psychic powers storyline is going but I feel it does add to the characters and story. I think it’s interesting that Zel sees himself how Ian thinks of him at the beginning, I feel like Mika does a complete 180 when she says Zel needs to love himself or get out of her life, I mean it’s a healthy boundary but it just seems really sudden and unrealistic in a teenage relationship. I’m not completely sure where either the romance or drama or psychic power storylines are going at this point but that might keep the story on its toes, although I’d still feel like there could be a little explanation on its origin or why it’s vital. I also feel like Ian needs to stand up for himself and tell Rachel he doesn’t like her or her advances are just going to continue, since she can’t take the subtle hints she might need a clearer one. Rachel is really scary, I’m surprised she didn’t hurt Kiki more physically with the knife considering the opportunity and emotions. She does feel like a realistic and good villain in this plot line along with Zel’s mother.
I feel the main points of the story were wrapped up nicely, the characters’ past trauma, their growth to become better people and change. The only thing I’m left wondering about is the twins’ father. The mother was concerned about them meeting him and they nothing ever came of it after that conversation, why bring it up if nothing is going to become of it or the worry she had about them isn’t going to be mentioned again? I feel like we need more of an explanation of the psychic powers the twins have as well, does their father have a similar sense? Is that where it comes from?
Writing Style: 13/15
The characters are all distinct, one thing I have to mention though, why is Mika called both Mika and Lilliam? I know it’s her middle name but one or the other should be used, not both, I also understand only people close to her use it, like Zel, but in that case he should use it all the time not interchangeably. The scene from chapter 10 where Zel collapses in a bed of flowers and Mika tries to bring him back to reality reminds me of a panic attack or PTSD flash back. I think it helps us understands Zel’s trauma and why he fears harm will come to Mika. I feel like the way Ian also sees Zel, I can understand his fear, but most people who get hurt by someone normally don’t take it out on innocent people, I know we see mass shooters and serial killers on the news and we think of those people because normally those people were hurt by others but there is a higher statistic of people hurting themselves when they abused or just staying in that situation until the person that is abusing or hurting them ends them. Mentally, physically abused people or mentally ill people, (because Zel obviously has trauma) are not always dangerous, I am happy Kiki is attempting to make Ian understand this.
World Building: 11/15
I can imagine the physical people and buildings but a certain place isn’t mentioned. Descriptions about people and the school and the scenes are good and unique. I don’t mind that a specific location isn’t mention, I don’t always specify a city or town in my stories, as I feel more may able to relate in the sense that you don’t have to imagine living in that specific location or country or someplace similar. One issue I have is how are these students just able to run off, out of class without the teachers complaining or parents being called? I feel like the name of the school should be mentioned more, I still couldn’t fully remember the name by the end of the story.
Personal Enjoyment: 6/10