Time to judge my own writing again! In this feature I judge the book I started when I was ten years old (I finished it when I was eleven or twelve). It sets place in a school for spies and it’s bad. But also really funny (though obviously it wasn’t supposed to be funny. The meant to be funny parts are not funny. At all).
So we’re now in chapter two: tests and teams. As mentioned in the previous chapter, they’ll have to pass a test in order to enrol. This chapter starts with one of the main characters, Laila running outside: Oh no! I forgot where we agreed to meet! Thankfully she has her trusty phone with her and she calls Zoey. Who’s annoyed with her because she’s so stupid and forgetful. Wow. #friendshipgoals
They agreed to meet at the Veluwe, which is a forest in The Netherlands, near Arnhem where the story takes place even though I’ve never been there and have no idea what the town looks like. They have no idea where the school is though, but no worries! Zoey just decides to ask a passerby where ‘Pearl Academy’ (this is how the school is known as to the public) is. If you’ve read part two, you may notice that the spelling is different all of a sudden.
Thankfully this passerby knows where it is! Wow. No one is supposed to know about this school. But apparently random passersby know where it is! Such a well kept secret.
And of course as soon as they arrive at the school, they are immediately greeted by Melinda (one of the creepy teachers they met last chapter. Okay, she’s not actually creepy. But she’s kind of creepy). Melinda takes them to the gymnasium for the test and explains to them what’s going to happen. It’s also very clear that at this moment I decided that they’ll be sleeping in dorms, because the girls find out at this moment. Gee, if only someone send them a letter or something.
No worries though! Some sketchy people are gathering everyone’s things right now. That’s not anything to be concerned about at all. Seriously, only just now they’re finding out that they’ll be attending this school for seven years. It’s not like it would be useful to know these kind of things beforehand.
Of course I didn’t write the test itself, just the aftermath in which the girls tell Melinda that they’re in. It’s not like it would be interesting to find out how they got in right?
Okay so one of the teachers is a dwarf? He’s tiny, has a beard and wears what sounds like a dwarf hat. STAY CONSISTENT TEN-YEAR OLD ME, VISIONS (see part I) AND DWARFS ARE FANTASY. THIS IS NOT A FANTASY STORY.
Anyway, the teacher shows them around the school and this is where it gets…odd. They’re in the central hall where the walls are covered in paintings. They can read all the nameplates beneath the paintings though, even the ones way up high. Because of a projector.
The teacher finds it very interesting that this is the first class who figures this out (maybe no other class figured it out because it makes no sense??) and he utters the cryptic words: ”Maybe I’ll believe that old Lillian after all!” Naturally someone asks him what he’s talking about. They are spies in training after all
Of course this only introduces a new mystery! I say new, because none of those idiots have realised yet that they’re now attending the school literally of Zoey’s dreams, even though Zoey should’ve recognised some parts of the school by now from her dreams. Who is Lillian? And what is it that this teacher now believes?
After the tour it’s time for the ‘TeamSorting’ (yes this is how it was spelled, except in Dutch). Basically the first years are sorted in teams of three (I wonder how I decided on that number. Probably has nothing to do with Totally Spies), but this was already decided beforehand, probably on random. They don’t have to sit on a stool and put an old talking hat on their heads. But the room where that happens (where they’ll also have their meals) is called the ‘Grote Zaal’ which is the Dutch term for the Great Hall in Harry Potter.
No. No it’s not.
There are some new main characters introduced in this chapter: Bryan Matthews, who’s on the same team as Zoey and Laila, and Tim Boektoe (Dutchies: yes I know my sense of humour at this age was terrible. Non-Dutchies: Timboektoe is the Dutch name for a city in Mali. 10-year old me thought that Tim’s name was hilarious. Current me is questioning 10-year old me’s sanity). Oh this is also where they receive a pretty cool watch, but more on that later.
Zoey and Patricia, along with a few others, get badges with TL on them, which stand for Team Leaders, because they’re the leaders of their respective teams. No this was not inspired by the Prefect and Head Boy/Girl badges from Harry Potter. Pfft. Where did you get that idea?
They’re also told that they have to spend all of their time with their teammates. Which sounds really oppressive. But okay. Then Zoey is once again a horrible friend to Laila by taking another jab at Laila’s forgetfulness even though Laila hasn’t forgotten anything at this point. Laila does get a bit angry this time, but it’s quickly forgotten. Consequences. Pfft. Who needs them
Not much later Zoey is once again annoyed by Laila, because she’s taking so long to unpack. Maybe instead of complaining, you could help? Why did I write such an unhealthy friendship. They discuss the school rules, of which one is that they’re not allowed inside the
Forbidden Forrest forest.
If you’ve read part two, you might remember Laila’s unfunny ‘Super Laila’ joke, which she makes again in this chapter. Oh boy. Please tell me I didn’t make this a running gag.
Meanwhile Reane subtly asks Tim why his parents decided to name him Tim, who after sixteen years finally realises that he’s called Timboektoe. He cleverly yells: ”I’M NAMED AFTER A COUNTRY?”
It’s a city.
Zoey quickly decides to distracts him by telling him about the chef who’s eating all of the desserts. This is when another new main character is introduced, by randomly appearing.
”Really? I might like her.”
They turned around and saw a fat boy with brown hair (I want to gouge my eyes out at reading this sentence)
And this is where it gets incredibly offensive.
”Hi, I’m Ricky, and I-”
”Like to eat?” Reane finished his sentence.
And it gets worse.
”Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude-” Laila started (so just keep your mouth shut. Saying ‘I don’t mean to be rude’ doesn’t make your next words not rude). ”How can you move?! Shouldn’t you follow a diet?!”
@Laila, not Ricky
And get this. Ricky asks if it’s okay to join them, even after Reane and Laila treating him horribly. He tells them that his teammates don’t want to hang out with him, so they ask if they can help. And that’s how it ends. This is such a great piece of literature.
Next time: Chapter Three – The deal with Door. No they’re not dealing drugs. They’re dealing food #thebestkindofdeals
Have you ever found an old piece of writing and realised how offensive it is? I’m so disgusted with my younger self, though also glad that I’m disgusted, because if I didn’t see how wrong it is how Reane and Laila treat Ricky now, then that would be even more disgusting. Anyway, let me know in the comments!