Hi Kayla! RvG and the Magical Menagerie.
So, I really thought that I'd reviewed this when I read it ages ago, but apparently not. I'm an awful person *hides*
(*GASPS* YOU DIDN'T WRITE ABOUT SIRIUS???
Oh wait, no, he's still a main character xD
I'm kidding, I'm kidding.)
This was so amazing! Kind of heartbreaking to read at points, but also really poignant and hopeful towards the end of the piece. And I loved the way that you built up the story with each of the different sections, and different parts of Marlene's character emerged in each one so that we got to know her better, mostly at the same time that Sirius does, and it's like we're being let in on the secrets of the friendship with them.
I had suspicions of the reasons that Marlene was asking Sirius to pretend to be her boyfriend from very early on in this piece, and they were right, but I thought the way that you didn't actually reveal those reasons immediately was really effective, because it showed the way that Marlene was trying so hard to deny her sexuality even to herself, let alone to her parents or friends. Her characterisation in this was brilliant, and the angst and anguish that she experienced throughout this piece was so heartbreaking. I can understand why she would be so terrified to admit anything to her parents but I really hope that she gets there at some point and that they're accepting.
Sirius was such a wonderful friend in this! (Totally knew the person he had to ask would be Remus haha, SURPRISE.) I loved the way that he was so understanding and helped her so much, and then the way that he opened up to her when she needed someone to talk to, and it was his feelings for Remus that told her that there was nothing wrong with how she felt about other women - that was just such a special moment and it was really, really lovely to see him in this role, helping someone and being in a place where he can give advice, rather than being in torment.
I'm really rooting for Marlene in the future - I'd love to see you write more about her, and I'm sure she's got Sirius (and probably Remus) as a wingman if she needs one, now!
Hi Kayla! So confession time, I read this fic months ago and have been meaning to review ever since. But I've finally gotten around to it and all i'll say is this was as amazing to read this time as it was the first.
Let me start by saying that the way you've written your Marlene is incredible. She really goes on a journey over the course of the story, starting where she doesn't accept herself and almost acts as though ignoring this part of herself will make it go away and ending in a much better, healthier place.
I also love that it was Sirius and his feelings for Remus that got her there. He has experienced something awful with his parents but it doesn't stop him fully accepting who he is. He is almost the complete contrast to her and it's through spending time with him that, subtly at first but then more as he comes out to her, her confidence and self assurance grows. The whole fake dating element to this is a brilliant, unique twist on the old Sirius/Marlene pairing. It's a beautiful friendship you've written there and I could just keep reading it!
"He looks back up at the moon, and Marlene sits back and thinks, there's nothing broken about that smile." Kayla, this line is beautiful. Everything about it, from the fact he's looking at the moon and thinking of Remus and the way that its this moment and this smile that make Marlene stop thinking of herself as broken. It's so well written, honestly you are a wonder.
There are moments here that are actually incredibly empowering to read. I can feel this so strongly, partially from my own experiences but also as a reader simply because of how well you have written the subtle emotions and changes in Marlene. I could just feel the change in her and it was incredible!
This was seriously well written. I only wish there was more!
All my love
(Review left for Team Leucrocota and January RvG)
Stopping by to leave a review for your Wishlist. I noticed that you said you were nervious about this story, but I wanted to tell you that I absolutely adored it! I think the first thing that really struck me was how well you wrote the characters. They're entirely believable as seventeen year olds - just figuring out themselves and life with the unassuredness, but still blissfuly naive. It was spot on for these two and I'm forever in love with how you write Sirius any day of the week! :D
I also really appreciated you highlighting the different journeys of two LGBTQ+ characters. Sirius is much more sure of who he is than Marlene. While some of that confidence likely comes from the fact that he's in an established relationship and has a solid group of mates that would accept him no matter what, I also think that's just his nature to be himself and unaplogetic. I don't doubt that his parents' shunning was hurful, Sirius Black was always going to live life to the fullest, especially in the troubling times of the First Wizarding War.
Marlene, on the other hand, seems to have a really hard time accepting herself, and I was so happy to see she was finally able to come to terms with it. But I really love that you didn't try to tie everything up into a neat little bow and have Marlene come out to her Mum and have it all end perfectly. This is so much more real. She has reached a turning point, but still has a long road in front of her, but it seems passable now.
Okay, so I don't know if you did this on purpose (but I suspect that youd did) . I noticed that Marlene recignized the phase of the moon (waxing gibbous) right at the end of their trip. It's about seven days until the full moon and I'm sure that Sirius needed to make sure he wasn't away from Remus in his time of need. My heart just squeezed so tightly when I realized this.
So, I'm a huge Goo Goo Dolls fan and your story reminds me of one of their songs, titled "Not Broken." If you haven't heard of it, give it a listen. I think you'll like it! In fact, the lyrics are so perfect, this story could be a song fic! Thanks so much for writing it!
I thought I had reviewed this already! I remember reading this and loving it though. So I'm here for a proper review. yay.
I thought this was a wonderful piece of writing, you've created Marlene so beautifully. She is obviously such a strong character and carrying a lot of doubts around with her but she also has such a vulnerable side to her. I love how your Sirius appears in this, Marlene and Sirius have such great (friendship) chemistry in this. They bounce off each other so nicely but have those deeper conversations. I must just say 'aww!' about Sirius checking with Remus if he could go.
I like the reoccurring 'I am..' within the story, it's obviously very difficult for Marlene to admit it to herself but like how that is running theme until the question is answered as such. The coming out scene to Sirius was brilliantly written, she was clumsy and awkward but it felt so real because emotions aren't easy. One of the hardest things is getting to know yourself, I really like that she is able to acknowledge that she is still a bit unsure but there is a lot of hope there for her. I loved Sirius' reaction here too! He was firm but reassuring. There is a lovely mix of emotions in this piece.
- Abbi xo
RvG - Team Gold
Well, that's not a tear in my eye. Nope, not all. This didn't make me happy cry at all.
I love, love, love this one-shot; mostly because it's so well written and I love how you take a bunch of the usual plot devices and turn them on their heads, with Sirius and marlene not getting together, but partly because you communicate so well what it can be like questioning yourself on such a level here.
All of your characters are fabulous. Marlene is incredibly well written from start to finish and I can't help but admire her strength through all of this, as well as her ability to make up and carry through her plans; your Sirius (And Remus, even though he's only mentioned!) is very well done, and I love the brand of bravado you give him, as well as how much of a giant dork he turns into over Remus.
Also, this line at the end: "She’s not sure she believes all of it yet, but it does spark something in her chest. And she realizes suddenly that she’s smiling - widely."
It's absolutely beautiful, and makes it more ehartbreaking, because we all know what's coming for them.
Great job, and thanks for sharing this!
Written because you're fantastic, and for the RvG Challenge.
Hello, dear! I'm here for your entry review to the Prefect's Challenge! Be sure to get a hold of me on the Forums or on Twitter to let me know where you'd like your two bonus reviews to go!
I love the fake dating trope. I also love that Marlene is a lesbian and has lied to her parents, which backfires, so she's come up with a plan to get Sirius Black to fake-date her. It's perfectly hilarious. I also found the comment about not being as subtle as she thinks when Sirius believes that she's trying to ask him out to be really funny, too. Somewhere deep down inside I know that Sirius will be checking with Remus to fake-date Marlene ;) . I freaking love the entire idea of this.
They're both tip-toeing around the fact that they're gay, which I also find funny, because if there's anyone who can understand what the other is going through it's each other. I'm also excited to turn up the fluff with some hand-holding and cuddles for pretenses, haha! I do feel extremely bad for Marlene, worrying so much about what her parents will think if they find out. And worry about what everyone else with think, too, so much so that she won't even tell her fake-boyfriend why he is fake-dating her.
One thing that has stood out to me in this is that Marlene can't even think the word 'gay' in her narrative. It's like she hasn't really, truly accepted who she is.
Poor Marlene. She's trying her best to put on airs, with her mother so excitedly trying to get her ready for her 'boyfriend' to arrive. :P I can imagine it must be hard to pretend to be attracted to someone that you're just not. And her father's reaction to hearing Sirius' last name was amusing, mostly because he's so starkly contrasting Marlene's mother, here. But I feel so bad when she starts to wish so hard that maybe she can force herself to like Sirius -- to be straight. My heart positively aches for her.
And then at the climax, I can feel the tension positively rolling off of Marlene while Sirius confronts her about why he's there. She finally admits out loud that she's attracted to women, and not to men, and it's a beautiful moment. What's even more beautiful is that her confession is to Sirius, who completely understands her and is able to comfort her. I also love that she first thought of James when Sirius tells her that he's gay -- haha! AND HECK YES HE SHOULD TELL HIM HE'S IN LOVE WITH HIM!
Also, I love that this ties into your Sirius Universe! I picked up on little things (Sirius being disowned for being gay & James being in India, etc.) that tie this to it. That's some great minor detail that you didn't fail to leave out. I feel like Marlene and Sirius are going to have a lovely friendship after this! I just hope Marlene can come out to more than just him.
Anyway, lovely job! Thanks so much for entering <3!
Here for the Gryffindor story of the month voting.
Wow! This is such a neat Marauder-era fic! I usually picture Marlene as a total spitfire (who happens to be pansexual in my own headcanon), and you capture her in a uniquely vulnerable way that still embodies her strength.
Marlene's internal struggle throughout the summer is gut wrenching. I can tell how hard she tries to live up to her parents' expectations--to society's expectations, but somehow she isn't meeting the mark. Sirius truly shines in being the cover up she needs but then also as the recipient of her coming out. He handles it in such a moving way, and the way he relates to her through his own struggles with his sexuality is powerful. I got goosebumps when he confessed that his parents threw him out because he's gay. It adds such a chilling twist to the canon world we know.
Anyway, great writing. I can't wait to read more from you!
Hi Kayla! I'm here from the staff review thread with your requested review!
I'm already filled with such sympathy for Marlene's situation, and though I haven't been in her exact situation, I think a lot of people know what it's like to have a tiny, seemingly innocent lie spiral into a big situation. Tbh, Sirius would be my first choice for a fake boyfriend too :P Also I'm sorry I used 'situation' three times in that paragraph.
...she is suddenly startled by the sound of pebbles against glass... This was just so Romeo + Juliet-esque to me, and I thought it was really cute!
I like that she has this connection with Sirius in that they both know what it's like to be different and rejected. I think this makes him the perfect person for Marlene to open up to about her secret. And it's so sad that she finds it so hard, that she's so sure it's going to be met with all this negativity, but I guess that's true for most people coming out for the first time. And it's a nice twist that he is gay, too.
He looks back up at the moon, and Marlene sits back and thinks, there's nothing broken about that smile. This is such a beautiful line!
I think your characterisation of Marlene is really good, and that there's no reason for you to be so nervous! She's smart, works hard, cares deeply about what others think of her. I find her to be really relatable, and also really sweet, and I would honestly read more of her if you wrote it! Your writing in this has such a smooth quality to it that is really pleasant to read. It made me smile at the end. I really, really enjoyed this - good luck in the challenge!
Hey! I’m here with your requested review. :D
When will you introduce us? Actually, there’s room for one more on our trip this summer, why don’t you invite him to come to France with us,
You know until I dated my last boyfriend I never thought parents were actually like this. My mother is the complete opposite. She doesn’t want to be involved in my dating life. Doesn’t want any details. Doesn’t want to spend quality time with my significant other. But my ex-boyfriend was very in your face and involved—and so was his family. They would invite me on trips and other excursions and I always felt weird because it was something I was not used too.
but she likes him, and she trusts him (she thinks), and so it’s Sirius she’ll ask first
They’re not close, they’re sort-of friends and she trusts him (maybe). Makes perfect sense to pick him as your pretend boyfriend. I’m not knocking her by the way. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
You’d think they’d want you concentrating on school instead of boys, wouldn’t you?”
He’s so right. My mom was the latter but I remember when I was in high school and my best friend, her mom was always focused on the boys she dating, or wanted to date, or was just crushing on mildly. Dating shouldn’t be the focal point and yet it’s 2018 and while times have changed some things have definitely stayed the same.
“I’m cool with hand-holding and all the other cuddly shit, but I’m only okay with kissing if it’s absolutely necessary.”
I love how cool Sirius comes off here. Marlene is a bit of a wreck—but not over the top—she’s more of a…wallflower in a way. Sirius though is so nonchalant like this is something he has been asked multiple times before. Fake boyfriend? Sure. Let me just check in with the rest of the guys and then I’ll give you the o-kay.
She can’t help but think how disappointing she is, how crushed her mother will be if she ever finds out that Marlene is…
That’s incredibly sad. Given her status I understand she wouldn’t be able to come out without being burned, which sucks. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live every day without being able to be yourself. To speak your truth. Two of my cousins are gay and and while our side of the family is fine with it, the other side of their family is not. I’ve read some disgusting and earth shattering comments and I’ve heard some awful things that have been said to them and that just hurts my heart. Everyone should be able to love with they want to love. And be with whoever they want to be with.
She seats herself on the pink-tinged sand, her legs crossed under her, and lets a handful sift through her fingers like an hourglass.
Your imagery is outstanding.
“Longest week of my life,”
UH. VOMIT. Couples. VOMIT. Why is this so relatable? Gosh, I’m getting flash backs to past relationships. Uh, why! Why! Why! I’ve heard that line too many times and I’ve responded the same way as Marlene.
except there’s always the heat of Sirius’ body and the weight of her parents’ eyes reminding her that it’s real - that she’s walking a tightrope with no safety net.
You’re killing me here. I just feel so sad for her. She’s living out this fake fantasy with the wrong person. Sirius means well but gosh, from the outside looking in this entire chapter is just riddled with sadness.
“You aren’t broken,” Sirius continues, his voice softening into something gentler. “And you’re not alone. I know it feels as though you’re both, but I promise you’re not.”
I have actual tears in my eyes. I don’t know why I’m getting so emotional but god the pure power in his words and the strength she has to find within herself to speak her truth. It’s just gut wrenching and incredibly moving.
And he’s in love with Remus. My heart can’t take much more.
This was wonderful. From the beginning until the very end you had me hooked. I wanted to stop midway with my review because I needed to know what was going to happen next. Everything just flowed perfectly. Nothing felt forced, none of the conversations or the revelations. I could feel her pain in the very beginning, understand her confusion but then once she said it out loud, the relief and the joy. Everything might necessarily be okay for her but I feel like she was able to get a sense of peace and I think that’s more than enough for her right now.
Wonderful job. Seriously, I really enjoyed this story.