Omg. Renee. Why haven't I read this story sooner?! This was so sweet and adorable and amazing. And I absolutely loved it!
So calming down a little bit. You said in your request that you're just craving general feedback, and I'm more than happy to give you that. The first thing that comes to mind is that I really love the writing style you have here. The story isn't overfilled with description, but you have such a talent for making it seem like there's a lot more description than it actually is. Or to say it better, you have a talent for describing things amazingly in few words when others would need paragraphs to do the same. And here it really, really helps the story too, because too much description would've ruined the flow of this story and the affect of the repetitive lines. And to me this story is almost like Alicia is describing what happened to us, and with her being so confused as she is, it just wouldn't make sense for there to be long paragraphs of description. So I think your writing style is just perfect here.
And I really love the repetitive counting lines (first time Alicia kissed a boy, first time Alicia kissed a girl). It ties the story together neatly (cause with time-jumps the story can sometimes end up being confusing), and also helps show the difference between Alicia's first kiss with a boy and her first kiss with a girl. The reaction to those kisses are so different. With boys she's not feeling anything, with Katie she clearly is. And the counting lines really help show that.
I also love how relatable this story is. Alicia is this sweet, innocent, shy and insecure girl, and I think most of us has been there at some point. Her confusion when it comes to love and her just kissing someone because it's what she thinks she's supposed to do.... I mean I can definitely relate to that. And I think most people can relate to feeling like you're behind your friends, especially when you reach my age and higher and all your friends start getting married and having kids. I honestly think everyone feels like that sometimes. So yeah, this story is just super-relatable.
And also, you capture her confusion so well. And you know I think confusion is such a difficult emotion to get right too, because when the characters themselves haven't quite worked out who they are, it's obviously difficult to write them too. But you're like an expert at writing complex and complicated characters, like Alicia and Petunia, so I'm not at all surprised you do it so well here too. I love Alicia and I have surprisingly enough (because now I feel like an idiot for not thinking about it sooner) never thought of her and Katie dating before. It makes total sense though, and I'm definitely shipping them now.
So I know you asked for some cc too, but to be honest I don't have any. I think the story is amazing, and you could not at all tell that this is your first story in a while. You should be really proud of it. I mean I'm ashamed to say I haven't read a lot of your one-shots, but I honestly think this some of your best writing. So good work! Again, I absolutely loved it! Thank you so much for requesting! :)
This story is wonderful! I adore this ship and it's slowly becoming headcanon for me. I really like the slow way this story develops and how you drop little clues throughout - like Katie's panicked glance during truth or dare, how Alicia and Katie spent Valentines day together after Alicia's date with Oliver ended (I know it was platonic at that point, but the way it was set up in context, and talking about other couples afterward, was like a subtle hint :P )
You have an incredible talent for writing characters who are sort of figuring themselves out and overcoming insecurities. This story just felt so real and honest. The part where Alicia is wondering if she's broken - while this is heartbreaking to read, I can totally relate to her. You've captured that sense of how society says there's a certain place you're 'supposed to' be at various stages in your life and to not have reached a particular milestone makes you inadequate - it's frustrating of course that that idea exists, as humans are individuals and we don't all live the same life, but it's a pretty universal concept I think, and poor Alicia to be in that position and feeling like she 'had to' kiss a boy or like a boy just because she felt that it was required of her in order for other people to take her seriously. ugh. poor thing. but I thought you captured that really well.
I adore her and Katie, though, and I'm so glad things clicked for Alicia.
It was cool and vacant, like arriving at an empty house. Nobody home.-- this is such a perfect description.
Katie had a set of teacups charmed to never go empty, so the room smelled of Earl Grey and firewood. -- This sounds amazing. Both the refilling tea charm and the smell of the room.
Another amazing story! Great work and I have no idea what you're talking about being 'rusty' at writing - no way. This is beautiful writing. :)
Hi Renee! I'm here to celebrate you writing something new with a review!
I love Alicia. I love how shy and insecure she is, and I love how quickly you made that come across in the story. The painful awkwardness of her first kiss is perfect, but I think it's important how you've written that Alicia feels like she's behind all of her friends in life, and that kissing boys will bring her up to date with them and make her feel normal. This feels very much like a journey for Alicia to me, to find out who she is. So I love how kissing boys for her is just blah and then kissing Katie has so many sensations and emotions. It's beautiful.
I love when the story title came up!
I have a few favourite lines. First, this sounds AMAZING:
Katie had a set of teacups charmed to never go empty, so the room smelled of Earl Grey and firewood.
And then I really loved Alicia's thought here:
Like it was nothing. But kissing wasn't nothing. Kissing was something.
HERE FOR THIS
I love both Lee and Oliver, but they are both so blatantly wrong for Alicia (our headcanons or not).
Having a first kiss during a quidditch after party makes me think of Harry and Ginny’s first case in HBP, and though this kiss is quite different, it’s a nice nod to that.
I like the ambiguity you used to describe Alicia’s awkwardness around Lee in the beginning. It’s not totally clear if it’s because she likes him or because she doesn’t, or a mixture. I think that works really well, because the root of those feelings isn’t totally clear to Alicia either.
There is a great simple evocativeness to a lot of your lines, like “She’d just leaned over and done it, no trouble. Like it was nothing. But kissing wasn’t nothing. Kissing was something.” and “prayed they’d forget the question so she didn’t have to say not yet out loud.” These lines work really well because they feel very earnest and genuine.
I’m really glad Alicia ended that kiss when she knew she didn’t like it.
I’m not sure if the timeline of this lines up with My First Date(s), but in my mind the stories are part of the same universe. Not actually the Polyverse, because I don’t think that Oliver has ever considered kissing a girl in his life, but maybe a little bubble universe. Polyverse AU.
“She could have a crush on Oliver” This is so real, kill me now. That wanting to be normal. Wanting to like a boy not for the sake of the boy, but for the sake of liking a boy. Deciding to have feelings that aren’t there. This really gets me.
“It was cool and vacant, like arriving at an empty house. Nobody home. They pulled apart.” WHAT DO YOU MEAN THIS ISN’T ALL THAT GREAT, IT’S PERFECT
Did Oliver think it was a date or not? His behavior when asking her to go seemed like it, but not during. I’m applying my He’s Super Gay headcanon to this story.
One thing I really like about this is that Alicia doesn’t necessarily spend a lot of time anguishing about her sexuality, but more that the factors that she would anguish about are underlying anyway. It’s very real. Obviously
I enjoy your characterization of Katie. “Always sweet, and kind, and deceptively fierce” is a great description. Gryffinpuff?
I know I said Polyverse Katie doesn’t have partners other than Alicia, but she might test that for one night with Angelina. Those three girls together…. It needs to happen at least once.
Oh, Katie has a secret crush? I would expect the truth or date to focus on Alicia, so that was interesting.
“Someone turned on the wireless and why hadn’t they already been dancing? Dancing was brilliant. The Weird Sisters were brilliant. Other people joined them on the dance floor, and that was brilliant.” That line is brilliant.
All the hugs for everyone who needs them for the end of that section.
Omg the three girls hanging out is so intensely beautiful and nostalgic. How did you make that so magic.
I was surprised with Katie being so bold in “Alicia lifted a finger and traced the outline of Katie’s form.” Or did she mean that in a platonic way? XP It read as incredibly sensual, so I was a bit confused about how sensual the characters both thought it was.
Face touching. How are they still making words. XD
“and oh, god, she had never considered this.” Mic drop.
That ending. The last eight paragraphs. Chills and tears.
I really really love this. And, you, obviously.
Fun fact, the first time I saw the title I accidentally read it as “Skewered By Truth.” Kinda different.