Welcome back, friends. Where last we left off, our MC, Zoey, was staring at herself in a high school bathroom mirror. She has just been Marked by a vampyre, which means she has the outline of a crescent moon on her forehead and now she has to go to the House of Night so that she can start her vampyre training.
Zoey leaves the bathroom and as soon as she exits the building, the sun starts bothering her; she’s so blinded that she nearly gets hit by a truck (hmm… a girl in a vampire novel almost gets hit by a truck in the parking lot… weird).
Heath is in the bed of the truck, drinking a beer. I don’t even know what to say about that. I hope whoever is buying him beer knows that he’s being a dumbass about drinking it, and is planning to cut him off before they both get into trouble.
“You’re drinking at school! Are you crazy?”
His little boy grin got bigger. “Yes I am crazy, ’bout you, baby!”
So they chat for a minute and since Zoey isn’t feeling well and is understandably a little stressed about the events of the past twenty minutes, Heath notices something is wrong. Instead of realizing that she’s obviously very sensitive to light and has been coughing a lot, he assumes she’s mad.
“Zo, really. Are you pissed or somethin’? Like, did Kayla say some shit about the party? You know I didn’t really cheat on you.”
Huh? Kayla had not said one solitary word about Heath cheating on me. Like a moron, I forgot (okay, temporarily) about my new Mark. My head snapped around so I could glare at him.
“What did you do, Heath?”
I don’t understand, if you don’t want to be with him, and you’ve told Kayla he’s not your boyfriend, how can he possibly have cheated on you?
Heath immediately starts denying he would ever do something like that when he catches sight of Zoey’s mark. He asks her if it’s something for drama class, which by the way is a nice piece of information wedged into the story in a subtle way, so P.C. and Kristin get some brownie points for that. Anyway, Zoey tells him it’s not for drama class, to which he as an eloquent and thoughtful response:
“But you can’t be Marked. We’re going out.”
To which Zoey replies that they are not going out, and then starts hacking up her lung again. The two idiots who were driving the truck Heath is sitting in lean out and tell her to stop smoking, and Heath follows up his previous comment with something even wittier:
“Dude! Leave her alone. You know she don’t smoke. She’s a vampyre.”
The two guys in the truck call her a freak and Zoey explodes at them, causing them to drive off really suddenly. Heath loses his balance and falls to the ground, and skins his hand.
“I want…I whispered. “I want…” What did I want? I couldn’t put it into words. No, that wasn’t it. I wouldn’t put it into words. Wouldn’t say aloud the overwhelming surge of white-hot desire that was trying to drown me. And it wasn’t because Heath was standing so near. He’d been close to me before. Hell, we’d been making out for a year, but he’d never made me feel like this–nothing ever like this. I bit my lip and moaned.
So at this point, we learn that, in the Marked universe, bloodlust is exactly that—lust. She’s horny for his blood. Interesting.
The goonies in the truck come back and pull Heath away from Zoey, so Zoey goes home. While she’s sitting in her driveway, dreading going inside, she starts thinking about what happened and uses the R-word to insult Heath’s friends, which seriously pisses me off. I looked it up, and this book was published in January, 2010. Rosa’s Law was introduced into the U.S. Senate to eliminate the use of the R-word in legal documents in 2009. The “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign was started back in 2004. So, I’m not going to give P.C. and Kristin a pass on this one.
Zoey also internally calls her brother a troll, so I’m getting a really good vibe from her. She goes inside, praying that her mother will understand.
She was in the family room, curled up on the edge of the couch, sipping a cup of coffee and reading Chicken Soup for a Woman’s Soul. She looked so normal, so much like she used to look. Except that she used to read exotic romances and actually wear makeup. Both were things her new husband didn’t allow (what a turd).
I know that the asides are, like, a quirky YA thing, but they’re pretty juvenile. Heath is drinking beer in the high school parking lot, his friends called Zoey a “fucking freak,” and later in the book, there’s some NSFW stuff. So Zoey calling her stepdad a “turd” is kind of unrealistic, to me. Maybe I’m just nitpicking here, but when I was sixteen, I was definitely using stronger language than turd.
So her mom sees her face and promptly freaks out about what her husband is going to think.
“Mama, please. Can’t you just not tell him? At least for a day or two? Just keep it between the two of us until we…I don’t know…get used to it or something.” I held my breath.
“But what would I say? You can’t even cover that thing up with makeup.” Her lips curled weirdly as she gave the crescent moon a nervous glance.
“Mom, I didn’t mean that I’d stay here while we got used to it. I have to go; you know that.” I had to pause while a huge cough made my shoulders shake. “The Tracker Marked me. I have to move to the House of Night or I’m just going to get sicker and sicker.” And then die, I tried to tell her with my eyes.
Okay, so, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t covered in the first chapter. We already knew that Zoey could possibly reject the Change, but the fact that she will definitely die unless she goes to the vampyre school is new information. Cool.
Zoey and her mother argue about how she’s been an absent parent ever since she met John (the stepdad). Zoey slut-shames her older sister and rats out her younger brother (the one whom she called a troll earlier) for playing bloody video games, and then the A-N-G-S-T truly begins:
“You think I’m the bad one because I don’t pretend–because I’m honest. You know what? I’m so sick of my life that I’m glad the Tracker Marked me! They call that vampyre school the House of Night, but it can’t be any darker than this perfect home!”
We have arrived at the precise reason why I identified so strongly with these books: I was an emo bitch. Back then, I probably thought Zoey was super Cool and Edgy and such a Bad Bitch. Now, I think that this sentence is overly wordy and could have been done better, but I definitely appreciate the overdramatic, teenage angst.
Zoey starts packing her things to run away to the House of Night, when her stepdad calls her back into the living room.
I squared my shoulders, coughed again, and went out to face the enemy.
And that’s the end of the second chapter. We’ve gotten a little more information about the Change or whatever, and we have met both Heath and her mother. Also, Zoey is kind of a jerk. Maybe it’s just because she’s had a stressful day, so I’ll wait to officially pass judgment, but at this point, I’m not sure why I ever liked her. Maybe I didn’t. Who knows?
Join us next time for the third chapter, in which we meet Zoey’s step-loser, as she calls him, and honestly, not much else happens. It’s a very short chapter.
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