Hi Chiara, dear!
I'm here to review for you as a thank-you from the newsletter crew for nominating for the monthly 'Puff awards...a while ago. I'm really sorry for the delay, but I definitely wanted to come by and let you know how grateful we are that you took the time to recognize your fellow 'Puffs!
So, let's get to reviewing!
This story was lovely.
Honestly, I don't read enough Hufflepuff stories, and I really need to. Especially if anyone else writes as wonderfully as you do here about Justin, Susan, and Hannah. Your characterization of them really is stunning. Despite us not knowing them well from canon, I got such a clear picture of them and their friendship, especially as it had evolved and changed over the years. I could feel Susan's embarrassment after the Yule Ball, and Justin's conflict over not telling Hannah how he felt, and Hannah's pity but acceptance when she finds out about his feelings.
I love that you didn't demonize Susan for being with Hannah. After all, Hannah is a person. She's not a prize to be won, and she chose to be with Susan. Yes, Justin likely sees this as something he "lost," but Hannah is happy, and I like that she doesn't suddenly doubt her relationship with Susan because of Justin's admission.
The scenes you showed us throughout the years of this three-way friendship were so poignant. I really felt like you gave readers a good mix of moments that defined the relationships between Susan, Hannah, and Justin. The only CC I might offer would be in the descriptions of the settings/scenes. It was occasionally difficult to visualize the characters and their surroundings.
Anyhow, this was honestly fantastic. I really enjoyed it and am so glad I took the time to read it. Great job!
Heya Chiara, I'm here judging for the Say Goodbye challenge ♥
I loved the format of this; the way it balanced between seven years of Hannah, Justin, and Susan, but nothing felt rushed or too slow. You're a master at manipulating time in fics, y'know that?
Anyway. The relationship between the three of them is very complicated, but I love how it wasn't really overly dramatic. Everyone just sort of accepts everyone, which I would expect from a trio of Hufflepuffs :P
This story just felt very soft to me, a quality I definitely enjoyed. And I loved watching the three of them grow up together, and how the war affected them -- we don't often see the war from Hufflepuff's POV, and I really enjoyed the scene where they were all celebrating the Quidditch victory in their third year.
It was really sad watching Hannah and Justin have their final interaction, though semi lifelong friends like them would see each other again, right? RIGHT?! I certainly hope so, anyway. Also, I loved the bit about Justin's father being a physician & that he would've studied math if he didn't go to Hogwarts. It's something people don't often put in fic -- what muggleborns would've done if they never got their letter.
Anyway, all ramblings aside, this was very cute, even with the bittersweet end! I really enjoyed reading it, and thanks for entering the challenge! ♥
You need to step out of your comfort zone more often, because this story is honestly so beautiful. I love the way you handled the first person POV, which also sounded a little like second person POV. Honestly, the entire style of this story was so fresh and new, and I really liked reading this!
Before I begin, I want to commend you on how you somehow managed to combine three challenges into one. That has to be a record or something haha. (And good luck in all three of them! <3)
I am a huge fan of the Susan Bones/Hannah Abbott ship (which I believe is largely Sam’s fault haha), so seeing that the two girls ended up together made me very happy. However, the path in getting there was long and complicated, and, well, love triangles are messy. (One thing that I was unsure about was, did Susan cheat on Justin in that very first scene? I couldn’t tell if they broke up beforehand, because though Justin expressed being distant from both of them in Justin to Susan – Year 5, I wasn’t sure if he’d actually broken up with Susan at that point. If Susan did cheat on Justin, shame on her.)
Okay, but let’s talk about how beautifully you created this piece. Your characters are all stunning, your writing style is just so natural and wondrous, and the development of the three characters’ loves for each other is heartbreaking and sweet at the same time.
I think my favorite character of the three has to be Justin. You’ve given him so many personal traits that I never would have thought of, and I think that really gives him a whole new depth that I’ve never seen before. His love for math and Arithmancy really comes through, and you obviously know what you’re talking about in that department. Most of all, I love that Justin (and you, by extension), manages to make math sound beautiful and wondrous, instead of the droll boringness that schoolteachers make mathematics into.
And honestly, if I were Susan and Justin, I would be in love with Hannah, too. She seems just so sweet and wonderful, and I can’t imagine how awkward their mutual love for her must have been. Justin’s conflicts regarding the matter, and Susan’s hidden feelings, just really make for such a beautiful story to tell.
(I realize I have used “beautiful” at least ten thousand times throughout this review, but it’s the most accurate word haha.)
You’re such an incredible writer! I can’t even begin to imagine how beautiful your words must be in Italian.
Chiara!! *hugs* I made sure that I would have time today to review your (WONDERFUL) fic because you said you needed snuggles today and I thought "What's the best way to give snuggles?? Leaving a review!!" So here is your review!!!
If anyone is looking at the reviews before reading this, err... spoilers below so don't read past this point here (but go read the fic because it's very very good!!!)
Okay, so this was so good. I loved it. I really like the story structure and how you chose to do the narrative. It's really different and I find that refreshing? I guess is a good way to put it. I mean, obviously I love the classic narrative styles - but the way you structured this fic is different from what I'm used, and I think it worked perfectly!
And since you have your one-shot broken up into little sections, I'm just gonna split my review into little parts because that's how I roll *shrugs* And when I say review it's more like just all of the thoughts I had whilst reading this. :p
Justin to Susan - year 7
Aww! This opening part was so sad! I really liked how you started this out - with the "You kissed, and everything came crumbling down" I am biasedly a fan of the simple one sentence paragraphs, especially for an opener. And then that sentence coupled with the whole imagery of the crack in the wall and the debris and dust separating Justin from Susan (and Hannah).
And then Susan being all daring when she's looking at Justin. I can just see her being like that, it's so in character for her I think.
Susan to Justin -year 1
Ah!! *screams* This part was so cute!! As minor of a detail that it is, I loved that you added the detail that they had shared their compartment with Hermione and Neville. It was so cute how Justin and Hermione were excited about the magical world and talking about all the books that Hermione had read over the summer, and how fascinated Justin was by everything.
I really liked Susan's thoughts in this part. Also, Hannah's laughter being infectious is just like, so in character. I always imagine her as being like the happiest ray of sunshine. 😊
Hannah to Justin - year 2
This scene with Hannah, Justin, and Susan was so sweet. I think the only reason I didn't find it too sad is because I know he gets revived in the end. But I still found this so sweet since we don't really get to see any of the Hufflepuff's reactions to Justin getting petrified. And I LOVE Susan being angry that this happened to Justin.
And the interaction between Hannah and Susan was cute. I love them!!!
Justin to Hannah - year 3
Nawww, Justin realizing that he has a crush on Hannah. I feel like I'm over using this word in my review, but again I just thought this was so cute; with the way Justin was just watching Hannah dancing and having fun during the party and his reaction to Hannah smiling to him.
I also just really like that minor detail you added about Justin not really being into Quidditch and preferring tennis over Quidditch. Also, Ernie being all knowing and "Hannah, eh?" and Justin is just like, "what????? Nah, what???" even though Ernie is right :p
Susan to Justin - year 4
This was so bittersweet! On the one hand I thought that Justin and Susan were pretty cute (even though they didn't like each other as more than just friends) and I thought it was cute that they went to the Yule Ball together! But then they kissed and that pretty much ruined their friendship which made me sad!!!!!
I just want everyone to be friends ☹
Justin to Susan - year 5
Uh, same thoughts as the above part. I feel really sad for Justin here. He has feelings for both of them, but now he doesn't have either of them anymore?! Also, Justin comparing his real life to Arithmancy and wishing life was as easy as that - in regard to having a solution. WOW, that hurts. Thanks
Justin to Hannah - year 6
See, now things are getting real. This hurt - less because of anything to do with Susan and Hannah, but more because Justin knew (or thought) that he would never get to see Hogwarts again because of the coming war. This just hit me in the feels I think because (again) we don't get to see that in the books with how Muggleborns would have been feeling after Dumbledore died. And, also, Hannah trying to be optimistic even though she also knows Justin won't be able to come back next year!
Hannah to Justin - year 7
And the most bittersweet part of them all!! *cries* So, like, I'm glad that Susan and Hannah are together because I think they're so cute and perfect together, but I also just feel so sad for Justin. He's had feelings for Hannah this whole time, but he doesn't get to be with her. This ending was so good, I mean - yeah it was bittersweet so kind of sad for Justin - but also it had that slight hope of at least they could be friends again in the future?
So, there's all my (incoherent, probably) thoughts about this. I really liked this. A lot, which I said before, but I shall say it again!!! So, I personally (I'm obviously not the judge of any of the challenges) think you did a fantastic job fulfilling each of the challenges. I like that for the say goodbye challenge you went this route and didn't kill anyone off - because to be honest, when I first read the title I thought you were going to kill of Justin and I was like "NOOOOO!!!!"
I also really like that for the Love Triangle you had it end with Hannah/Susan, but ALSO what I love was that - for the most part - it was written from the point of view of the person that doesn't wind up with either of the two-other people in the triangle. I really liked that because it felt different you know? I feel like a lot of love triangle plots in movies are always from the point of view of the person that's torn between the two and ends up with one of them (if my sentence makes sense)
I really enjoyed this and loved reading it. *hugs*
Yayayayayay it's up and I can leave a real-life review! :D
So putting the characters and the year before each scene works wonderfully, and I love how it starts at a really pivotal moment in their seventh year and then works backwards from there. Especially since the first scene raises so many questions and I'm eager to learn more about the relationship between Justin and the girls.
Having the three of them become friends from the very first day is so cute, they all sound so adorable and I love how they hit it off straight away. And of course they were all sorted into Hufflepuff, YAY!
Aw, I'd actually forgotten that Justin was petrified :( It's amazing how even in that short scene, I'm already becoming familiar with the girls' personalities, and I'm beginning to see how they mesh well together. Susan is fierce, while Hannah is a bit softer and emotional, and I love it so much.
Hufflepuff party WOOHOO! Although I wonder why Justin asked Susan to the Yule Ball and not Hannah. I love the Yule Ball scene though. Susan must be so confused, having to hide her true self out of fear of her father, and then feeling like it was right to kiss Justin. And then to have both of them thinking of Hannah. It's a mess but so human.
Susan had been just a comet into my sky, while you had always been the sun. - I love this line so much!
Wah such a bittersweet ending. If only Justin had told Hannah how he really felt, I wonder how differently things could have worked out. I'm glad Hannah and Susan are happy, but what about poor little Justin? I hope he finds happiness soon <3
I really enjoyed this little Chi (if you couldn't tell :P) and I hope you do well in the challenges! Good luck! <3
Thank you so much for the review and for your encouragement, as always! You are the best, I will never stop telling you! Love thee!
Good to know that putting the characters and years at the start of each section helped. I always like to keep readers guessing, but sometimes it's too much, so thank you for suggesting me this solution, I do agree it works much better. :)
And well, I like non-linearity and circularity in stories... I think you knew that... I'm glad you liked the way I started the story. :)
Ahahah! I have a thing for childhood friendships developing in something else. And they are Hufflepuffs, so how wouldn't they immediately click together? :P Glad you found them cute!
I will be honest, I stole Hannah and Susan's characterization from Sam... :P Glad you like them and that you could get a sense of their personalities from that scene in the Hospital Wing. And yes, poor Justin... :(
Hufflepuff parties are the best, aren't they?
Oh, I dunno why Justin asked Susan? Because Hannah had already been invited by someone else? Or simply because he was too embarrassed to ask her? Or because he'd started to feel some attraction for Susan as well at that point? I'm so glad you liked that scene, though. Yes, it was quite messy...
I love that line, too! :P
Yes, if Justin had expressed his feelings earlier things might have gone differently. Or maybe not, who knows? Either way, I'm happy for Hannah and Susan and I'm sure he will find happiness too! <3
Thank you so much for the review and the help, you are the best!