Warning: Contains Spoilers!
The dark cabin was alive with violence and anger.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I kept having this vague sense of unease every time Jody was mentioned, and having reread this chapter, I think I understand why. Every other teen has a full character arc; they have trials and tribulations that fit them and make them who they are at this point in the book. Jody, however, has spent most of her page -time being tortured, and hasn’t been given a chance to grow and change, except in response to her trauma.
What do we know about her, other than that she had a happy, hippie-ish upbringing, that she distances herself from others, and that she has a naturally morose outlook? Precious little. This and the fact of her being named ‘Jody’ in a frankly horrific nod to Judy, the beaten and berated wife of Mister Punch, is really a bit telling. I don’t want to believe that Jody is a kind of example character, created to suffer so that we can see just how bad life in the camp could get, but unless she’s a long-dead husk holding the spores of Austerly Fellows, that’s unfortunately the conclusion I’m reaching for the moment.
Matt’s Thoughts: I am wondering, at this point in the story, whether the editors were tempted to question how much is too much in terms of suffering teenagers.
I mean, it’s all perfectly paced and doesn’t hold up the flow of the story, but if Freax and Rejex were a book for adults and all the things described were happening, it would be a pretty full-on sort of novel. To have it happen in a story for teenagers is extraordinarily brave of Harper Collins.
Also, I had forgotten this part with the assault on Maggie and then Jody on the skelter tower and so reading it, the fresh sense of horror at how bad things are really hit me.