Stop. Before you do anything else, perhaps visit the ITunes store (or some slightly less legal music site) and consider the following playlist:
“Add It Up” Violent Femmes, “One Love” Bob Marley & the Wailers, “Shadow Play” Joy Division, “Tainted Love” Soft Cell, “Boys Don’t Cry” The Cure, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” Cyndi Lauper, “Tricky” Run D.M.C., “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” Wang Chung, “Bad Reputation” Joan Jett, “Lips Like Sugar” Echo and the Bunnymen, “Teenage Labotomy” The Ramones, “I Melt with You” Modern English, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?" The Clash, “Cool for Cats” Squeeze, “You Shook Me All Night Long” AC/DC, “Holding Out for a Hero” Bonnie Tyler, “Paradise by Dashboard Light” Meatloaf, “Red Red Wine” UB40, “I’m a Believer” The Monkees, “No One is to Blame” Howard Jones, “People are Strange” Echo and the Bunnymen, “Lean on Me” Club Noveau, “Superman” R.E.M., “The One Thing” INXS
Does this list make you want to find your Rubik’s cube, slip on your jellies, and jam out to the days of summer or what?
Above all other reasons, the reason I chose Add It Up is that the time period is beyond fitting for our favorite bunch of Cullens, without being too intrusive to their characters. You might be tempted to believe that a story set in such a raucous decade would take over the story, but the author’s careful balance of character and cultural milieu hits a sweet, amusing note that makes me smile and nod my head in reminiscence of days gone by. For whatever reason, it isn’t hard to see the gang as young adults in the 80’s, and in my head, Edward absolutely rocks a Flock of Seagulls haircut.
But the heart of this story is in how well Lila (Lion_In_The_Land) manages to express the college atmosphere of constant change and evolution in a decade that is truly all about evolving. Her Bella is calmly analytical and charmingly practical as she tries on various personalities and beliefs, while questing to find a place in which she can comfortably exist and still experiment. And as she changes her hair and clothes, she also tries on different types of boyfriends.
This brings me to my absolute favorite part of this story. The characterizations of Emmett, Jasper, and Edward respectively are mind-blowingly different, all while being insanely attractive and edged in the hints of different eras of the 80’s: Jasper, the dirty, deliciously aloof punk bad boy is every girl’s secret fantasy, Edward, the forward-thinking, alternative innovator, and “Big E”, is the mainstream All-American boy who is basically Jake Ryan, except with Kellan’s body (swoon). This Emmett is my favorite incarnation of Emmett to date, and that is unlikely to change. Throughout the story I simply cannot choose who I want Bella to end up with the characters are so well-written and yet so believably flawed, just as Bella herself trips over some of her preconceptions and hang-ups. The author allows Bella to stumble and find her feet repeatedly, showing rather than telling her audience that in the end it is the way we hold ourselves accountable that makes the difference and adds up to the person you eventually become.
Other highlights include chemistry between Bella and Edward that is seductive, mature and wherein Bella holds Edward accountable for his actions, despite his innate ability to be the person in the story who takes your breath away with his dedication, thoughtfulness, and just general dreaminess. Also, an extremely realistic characterization of Jessica, Angela, and other lesser characters from Twilight that are not in any way stereotyped, and portray the often uneven balance of females friends true to form. And finally, saving the best for last, Bella is determined NOT to orgasm with anyone other than the man who will be her husband; which is probably the greatest twist on smut that has ever existed, considering Edward is her first lover.
So take a little time to sit in the sun, turn on the tunes, and rewind the VCR back a few years to experience the amazing-ness that is this story. Lila told me she’s going to be getting back into writing and I am eagerly awaiting her next venture into the world of Twilight. But until that happens, I’m going to carry my boom box over one shoulder, stack and curl my bangs, and remember all the good times.
FateofGabriel is the author of the amazingly twisted fic, The Elite. If she isn't winning us all over with her Alice, then she is most definitely coming up with some other machination to entrance us with.