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She doesn't know what I do...
...but she knows who I am.
I don't know if I've ever told this story here but today I am going to tell you the story of my first experience with the Bronte sisters.

So, I'm nine years old and it's all very exciting because I get to go to the movies with my parents and Caitlin doesn't get to come. We're going to see Jane Eyre, which I'm very excited about because it has Anna Paquin in it. I like Anna Paquin because she is in my all time favourite movie, Fly Away Home. We go to the Rialto Cinema, which is a little arty cinema near the Wellington waterfront that has closed down now. The Rialto does the best chocolate-dipped ice creams in the universe.

The movie is very good, although I get bored in some of the Jane and Rochester bits. Then, Jane is woken by mad laughter from the attic of the house she's at. Mad, cackling laughter.

I am quiet when we go home from the movies and go to bed without a fuss. But I cannot sleep. Because there is a mad woman in my attic and she is laughing at me.

My mum and dad are asleep when I go into their room. "I can't sleep," I sob. "There's noises in the attic." So I spend the night in my parent's bed and Mum sleeps in my room with the mad woman's laughter.

I've never been good with scary movies, but you'd think that I'd be safe with Jane Eyre.


Oh, also, I realised I haven't actually posted much about what has actually been going on in my life.

1. I got a first class honours degree, which, in Kirsten terms, means I have won.

2. In two weeks I start Teacher's College. I think I haven't posted about this because I wasn't really sure if I'd got in. I found out so quickly after my interview that I'd been accepted that I half-thought it was a big mistake. It wasn't, so hurrah.

3. I've been working fulltime at my workplace since November, which has been exhausting. Fortunately, I am finished now.

4. I had Christmas with my flat. It was excellent. I am so pleased I will still be living here next year.

5. I rang in the New Year, singing nineties pop songs and playing Articulate, which was very nice.

How are you all?

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Current Music: Doctor Who 'Journey's End'

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So Kirsten and I went to Sherlock Holmes last night (which, by the way, was excellent, mostly because of the banter between Holmes and Watson) and when we were in town there was an unusual number of unicycles.

"Is this a new trend?" Kirsten asked me, as we walked along the waterfront in the early evening sunshine. "Like, are unicycles the new Miley Cyrus?" I told her I thought it must be a convention of some kind. "You could go and ask one of them," I suggested. "There are many unicyclists around." But Kirsten was too embarrassed. "What if it is the new trend in transport?"

Turns out the unicycling world champs are in Wellington at the moment. Good times.

There are many things I don't understand about customers who come into my work. However, number one of my list is customers who come in to buy curtains without having actually measured their windows properly. How is this actually possible? Because I know that people don't have such a high opinion of retail workers to think that they are mind-readers. Do we even have minds?

"Oh, the window is about this wide," they'll say, while I resist the urge to roll my eyes. "It's just a standard size window," they continue. "There is no such thing as a standard size window," I respond. "Maybe about six feet?" I smile politely, greasily, and try not to tell them that New Zealand converted to the metric system over thirty years ago. And then they get snarky when we can't actually help them.

Christmas was very nice. I am the proud owner of a Penguins Classics Pride and Prejudice mug, because my family know me far too well. Also, books and teapots and soap. My family are pretty neat really.

I have read many books in the past few days, including Nation by Terry Pratchett, Just Henry by Michelle Magorian and The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aquiar. Michelle Magorian has taught me everything I know about World War II (which, disturbingly, may come in handy next year) and I cried reading Just Henry. Curse you, Michelle Magorian, and your loveable, flawed characters who get everything they want at the end but have such a tragic path to take. And I will NEVER forgive you for Zach.

Perhaps because I had just read Nation, where the treatment of gender and colonialism was so excellent, but I didn't enjoy Aquiar's novel as much as I had been lead to believe I would. It just wasn't as smart and there were aspects of the depiction of characters like Helix and the Cloud People that I found slightly troubling. Also, I thought some of the gender stuff (you can tell I have a first class honours degree) was problematic. I am so sick of motherly girls and actually thought Penny (the baby) was pretty much unnecessary to the story. There were some comments characters made that were never problematised about girls and their ability to do things, which I felt Maya could have maybe struggled with. Also, it was very episodic and a lot of plot points weren't resolved by the end, which I thought needed to be. Even if it's sequel bait, I don't think the appropriate ground was laid for any sort of resolution.

Anyway, enough of that. The weather outside is frightful but I'm about to curl up in bed with a good book (potentially with The Hunger Games, which I haven't started yet as I was told that once I started I would not be able to stop and all my reading is happening in fifteen minute breaks) and drink tea.

NEXT WEEK ON AIMEESWORLD: Anne Bronte and my big, embarrassing crush on Mr Weston from Agnes Grey.

PS Liz and Lee game me a 'Grow Your Own Unicorn' for Christmas. My plans for sparkly world domination continue apace.

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So my favourite story about Alexander the Great (or, as I fondly think of him, Big Al) is the story of the Gordian Knot. So basically, there was this prophecy, which was all 'The one who unties this big-ass knot will rule over Asia'. So Big Al's hanging out in Gordium and he decides he can totally undo the knot.

So he tries and he tries and he tries. But the knot refuses to budge. Everyone's all like, "Give it up, Al." But he refuses because he's Big Al, damnit! And eventually he cuts the knot in half with his sword and is all, "Oh yeah, who's the king of Asia now, bitches?" And Everyone is like, "You are, Al," sort of shuffling their feet and looking awkwardly at the ground.

Anyway, I spent a lot of time thinking about this at work this afternoon as I tried to solve a reverse Gordian Knot. By which I mean a complexly tied tieback had fallen apart and I couldn't reknot it. I was tempted to get out the glue. Eventually Megumi succeeded, so we have crowned her queen of the store.

Basically, this just made me think about how much less exciting my life is than Alexander the Great's. I would have been a totally excellent conqueror of Asia because I wouldn't have got drunk and burnt down the most awesome library in the world (which is my second favourite story about Big Al).

In other work-related news, I have accidentally acquired a High School Musical: Senior Year duvet cover and pillow case set. The temptation to actually use it is almost overwhelming, but I will resist and give it as a Christmas present to someone.

A spider has moved into our flat. Once we worked out (via google) that he was not a Whitetail, we've become rather fond of him. I have named him Larry. He hangs out in our kitchen mostly, but enjoys long walks along the ceiling and lying in the sun in Hannah's bedroom.

Also, I was writing Slightly the other day. Basically, am at a point where a weedy enchanter has tried to kidnap Slightly and Sean but has been knocked out by Slightly's sister's copy of Harry Potter. So Maggie is tying him up so he doesn't escape. Except, I apparently do not proof-read carefully late at night:

AIMEE: Oh, Maggie. You are enjoying tying up Gareth the Enchanter just a little too much.
AIMEE: MAGGIE. Why are you tying up Slightly's love interest?
AIMEE: ...
AIMEE: This is a somewhat different novel from the one I was originally writing.

Sometimes I contemplate writing about more serious things, but then I get exhausted thinking about them so instead I tell stories and make things up. I think it's probably better that way. My Serious Thoughts are not in any way coherent.

In final news, I am writing a Christmas story.

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Dear livejournal,

Some sucky things have been happening (the world really does not want to make teaching easy for me) and some lovely things (Rose and Gabi coming to visit) and some exhausting things (see previous brackets) so instead I shall do a meme, because that's a surefire crowd pleaser and also I need to write this entry before Anne comes over to watch repressed British romance films.

You know how sometimes people on your friendslist post about stuff going on in their lives, and all of a sudden you think "Wait a minute? Since when were they working THERE? Since when were they dating HIM/HER? Since when???" And then you wonder how you could have missed all that seemingly pretty standard information, but somehow you feel too ashamed to ask for clarification because it seems like info you should already know? It happens to all of us sometimes.

Please copy the topics below, erase my answers and put yours in their place, and then post it in your journal! Please elaborate on the questions that would benefit from elaboration. One-Word-Answers seldom help anyone out.

I should add that I plan to answer this in a combination of lies, fantasy and bizarre truths. See if you can guess which is which.

You know how when you're at high school and teachers at the beginning of the year ask you to correct them if they're pronouncing your name wrong? I think I told my classics teacher that I was spelt 'Aimee' but pronounced 'Cynthia'. Yeah, he didn't like me much.

21. How long have I been 21? A long time.

I'm currently sitting on my couch in my living room, drinking coke zero and watching the view outside slowly turn from sunny to rainy. It is more interesting than watching paint dry.

What you don't know is that actually I am a spy. I'm surprised you hadn't guessed it already, my entire wardrobe is trench coats, fedoras and dark glasses.
So I guess you could say I am a spy from the 1930s.

Tim's a plumber. The story goes that he came to unblock my shower drain and instead unblocked my heart.

Lately I've taken to seeing babies on the bus or at work and thinking 'I want one of those'. I am hopelessly amused by small children. If I ever have kids, they will grow up reading Jane Austen and wearing lime green dungarees and will have ridiculous names like Iphigenia.

I have a baby sister. She has her nose pierced and a wonderful sense of style and has about a million more cool points than me. Until you discover that she still finds farts hilarious and cries just talking about Aurora's death in Outrageous Fortune.
There's also Sandy, but we don't talk about her.

I have a snooty, disagreeable, black cat called Mr Darcy. I am not even kidding. I have actually developed quite a nasty allergy to cats so hope one day to own one of those hairless demon cats, which I will call Willoughby.

1. I am going back to work tomorrow, where I will sell people curtains and make fun of my workmates.
2. I am waiting to find out my final grades (the science students have theirs back. English Literature, you are letting the side down)
3. I am re-reading Sunshine, which is a lovely antithesis to Twilight.
4. I am potentially going to learn to be a history teacher, despite only ever having taken one class in history in my life.
5. I am singing along to Sweeney Todd and Chicago.

You know how when you were a kid, you wanted cooler parents. Like, your parents were actually deep space explorers and had left you with this weird maths teacher and children's writer because deep space exploring is kind of dangerous when you're three?
Yeah, true story that one.

I only realised this year that is kind of weird that I have the same best friends as I had in kindergarten. Hannah, Katie and Kirsten especially are the coolest people I know so I suppose if I'd met them any later we wouldn't be friends.
I flat with Hannah and Lem. We write haiku and talk about science a lot and have drawn-out conversations about penis-placement.
Liz and Lee are my favourite nerds. Anne is all right I suppose. She doesn't seem to mind when I whine at her. And I quite like Jen and Renee.


In other news, this video of Noel Fielding doing the Rolling Stones on Buzzcocks is the best thing ever.


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So Liz and I traveled to Auckland on Wednesday to see the Maidment Theatre production of The History Boys (Alan Bennett), which is pretty much my favourite play of all time. I have seen the film many times and read the script and own the radio play with the original cast, but never seen a production of it, so this was a chance we couldn't pass up.

Liz has written a wonderfully in depth and photo-filled review over at her blog, which I cannot begin to compete with. I'll give it a try though.

The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.Collapse )

The coolest thing happened after. I have stolen the conversation directly from Liz. We were walking down from the theatre and this guy walked past us who looked awfully familiar.

LIZ: Um, were you Rudge?
CHRIS TEMPEST: Hah, yeah. You guys just come from the play?
LIZ AND AIMEE: *obligatory (and well-deserved) gushing compliments*
LIZ: It's one of my favourite plays, we came up from Wellington just to see it.
Is it a bit naff to say that you were my favourite? (Yes, I actually said that >_<)
CHRIS TEMPEST: *Laughs* Thanks, although I think that Rudge is a really sympathetic character, the most relatable, cause everyone else is so ... clever. *laughs*
LIZ: *swoons*
CHRIS TEMPEST: Are you staying nearby?
LIZ: We're at a hostel on Queen St.
CHRIS TEMPEST: Oh, well, I'm going this way. It was really nice talking to you!

LIZ: ...I love you.


So, in other news.

1. We went on a field trip for English on Monday, which was great. Good film version of The Champion (wasn't expecting much because, you know, 1980s TV NZ), delicious food paid for by our lecturer and a lot of laughs.

2. My interview at teacher's college went all right. Am very nervous and will find out my doom by the end of the month.

3. When teaching speech, I told my student to sell me a pen. "Pretend I write with a quill and have never seen a ballpoint before. Make it amazing." The results: "Tired of using scratchy breakable feathers and ink? This pen will never break." [Aimee's bung pen colapses in his hands] "Oh crap."

4. I now have one exam until I am free on Honours forever. And potentially academic English, which makes me sad.

5. I made pizza for tea and it was delicious.

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1. Why did I decide to insert stuff about gender roles in His Dark Materials into my thesis, two days before my draft is due to my supervisor?
(As a side point, can I talk about Will's "bad-ass" knife in my thesis? I have already called Odysseus the Lone Ranger and mistaken Metatron for Megatron.)

2. There are a lot of bolded sentences throughout this saying things like NEEDS MOAR WORDS and INVISIBLE PARAGRAPH IS INVISIBLE. I really must remember to cut these out before I email my supervisor.
It's just like all the footnotes I had to cut out after I'd sent it to Anne for editing. I cannot put footnotes saying "Land of the Dead Population: 2 Batshit Crazy Monks" in my SRS BZNS research.

3. I wrote about the Harry Potter Septology in one chapter. On reading this, my supervisor looked it up in a dictionary, where it did not exist. Then he googled it. I have been exposed as one of those Internet Fangirls.

4. I am most proud of my paragraph about Valiant by Holly Black. Why did I not write my actual thesis on her? It would have been more coherent.

5. I still haven't got to grips with Joseph Campbell.

6. Hannah gets to put acknowledgements in her thesis. Am bitter. Acknowledgements are my favourite things ever. But then, Hannah is going to be at university until the last bus home every night for this week.

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I had Kirsten and Katie over for dinner on Saturday evening. I had lent Kirsten my copy of Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon and she had enjoyed it a lot.

Spoilers for The Demon's LexiconCollapse )

Kirsten is very amusing when she is outraged over political issues. She stops being able to talk in full sentences.
Also, I have three-quarters of a passionfruit cheesecake in my fridge if anyone wants to come and eat it with me. Hannah is, unfortunately, lactose intolerant so the flat garbage disposal is no help.

(No seriously. Hannah is our garbage disposal.
EMILY: Hannah, I have some left over carrot from my lunch. Want it?
JACK: Just get rid of it.
HANNAH: Well, if you're throwing it away...)

In other news, I am reading Dracula for the first time. I did not realise how hilarious this book is. I feel very sorry for Van Helsing and kind of want to give him a hug.

VAN HELSING: Now we have given Lucy a blood transfusion from her strong, handsome fiance, she should survive. Please watch her every night.
SEWARD: *fails to watch Lucy every night and tells maid to do it, who then falls asleep*
LUCY: *is pale and bloodless in the morning*
VAN HELSING: *sigh* She needs blood again. Seward? You are a strong, handsome man of the world, who is coincidentally in love with Lucy. Show up some vein.

VAN HELSING: Now, I am garlanding her room in garlic. Do not remove it.
LUCY'S MOTHER: Oh hi, Van Helsing. Lucy's room was very stuffy so I removed the garlands of garlic and opened her window.
LUCY: *is pale and bloodless in the morning*

VAN HELSING: Now, Seward. Surely you have guessed why Lucy died.
SEWARD: Clearly it is some sort of rare congenital disease.
VAN HELSING: You know how in some countries there are stories of bats that drink peoples blood and leave teeth marks on their victims necks...
VAN HELSING: It was a freaking vampire, you BIG BIG LAME.

There was also the wonderful moment where all the lady vampires are sexually harrassing Jonathan Harker before Dracula comes into the room.

We got our new shirts at work. They are beige. My feelings about this can be summed up by the following very articulate phrase: YUCK. And on Sunday I broke my name badge and got all excited about the prospect of being nameless for a weeks on end. Then Mere fixed it in like twenty minutes.

When researching Anti-suicide trends in Young Adult literature, I accidentally ended up on a website that accused John Green of pushing porn. Can I just say, the sexual incident in Looking for Alaska is possibly the least arousing thing I have ever read, and I have read Virgin Mistress, Scandalous Love Child.

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The Word programme on my computer seems to have deleted spellcheck. I suspect I may have actually had some hand in this. This makes doing assignments difficult because I am quite spectacular at doing the who typo thing (as you may have noticed from my drunk typing, which is essentially just slightly worse than normal but I lose by ability to edit and figure 'Asghrevd' is close enough to 'Agrieved').*

Anyway, so I will type in something like 'grsffgl' just to test Word and Word replies by saying. 'That's right, Aimee! You're an individual! I like the way you think!'

My Word Programme speaks in exclamation marks in my head. This is why, sometimes, we don't get on.

Other stories of my life.

HANNAH: What's a word for 'stuff that didn't quite work out'?
AIMEE: Random Pieces of Shit?
HANNAH: For my research project. That I must hand into my lecturer.
HANNAH: Also, Aimee, you are an English honours student!

Also, there was that time when I made an offhand remark about using magnets for torture and Emily and Hannah had a half hour conversation about how it would best work.

AIMEE: When I grow up I will write a thinly-veiled novel about this flat and your utter inability to LET THINGS GO.

I file this incident under 'The Time Emily and Hannah Had a Half Hour Conversation About Whether Half Banshees Would Give People Cancer' in my mind.

On Thursday, to celebrate hitting the 'hand in' point in my essay, I made Chocolate Chilli Fudge. It was delicious.

Also, I have fondly entitled my research essay 'SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE: Death and Dying in Children's Fantasy'. I am tossing up whether to tell my supervisor this, but I suspect he already thinks I am a fruitcake and does not need further evidence. Also, I was talking to Shirley after class on Tuesday about her research and she asked what mine was about and I told her and she said 'Oh, you're that person! I've been talking about you with Geoff'.

I have spent most of the past week listening to Billie Piper. It's like I told annemjw, "I am so trendy, I like Billie Piper AFTER she was popular". To be fair, I liked her at the time too. I just haven't grown out of my Billie phase.

Liz has been teasing me about my thing for BBC!Caspian. I may have named one of the villains in my novel Samuel West after him. To which I can say, at least my Caspian was never in a Boy Band. My love for David Morrisey is greater, however, because he is a total sexpot.

Anyway, more research and then more sleep and then more working on minimum wage at the fabric store from hell.

* When I was a bitty fourth former, I had a livejournal fight with devilcactus about the appropriateness of typing Lyk ThIs in my journal. Can I just say, all those who had to deal with my fourteen-year-old self, I am SO SORRY. It should never be appropriate for me to write: "And this entry should have no typo's whatsoever (except normal ones like ppl instead of people.)"

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I am sitting here with a glass of beer and celebrating a week well done. Better overall grades than I have ever had (straight A minuses) and a research supervisor who, despite everything I have done (or not done, in this case), does not want to throw me off a cliff. My introduction apparently "shows promise" so I no longer have to read every single YA or children's novel with my Underworld Goggles on. Which I enjoy. It was something of a stretch reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Demon's Lexicon with the caveat, "I am reading this for my research essay".

Have had some lovely coffee dates this week, farewelled my baby sister to the mean streets of Otago again (I will quite possibly not see her until November now sob sob) and discovered that I write about characters in novels as though they are not only real people but that they are still alive today and we hang out regularly. In my head, all characters from literature live at my grandparent's house.

Our flat decided to institute a Dick of the Week system, wherein the person who did or said the stupidest thing would have to wear Hannah's scottish beret to the supermarket. I, of course, kicked off this week by melting the toaster cord. I feel this system is not working to plan: Hannah is supposed to do the stupid things. The girl who serves us at the supermarket thinks we are completely idiotic already.

Currently, I am reading Melina Marchetta's Finnikin of the Rock. Kirsten lent it to me, calling Finnikin the anti-Edward. This is a concept I approve of. Actually, it's quite funny. He tries so hard to be all protective of Envanjalin, and she goes and stabs people and steals shit from slave-owners. I kind of adore her.

So to finish, I told Liz and Lee I would write a list of my Top Five Least Favourite Pieces of Punctuation Ever:

5. The Semi-colon (;)
My dislike of the semi-colon is based around my lack of understanding of how to use it. I am a postgraduate English student, it has started to become embarrassing. Also, it is the bastard cousin of the comma.

4. The Hyphen (-)
This is a tricksy piece of punctuation that will only lead to my doom when I try to hyphenate the entire universe.

3. The Ellipses (...)
Spawned from reading too much bad writing, the ellipses is over-used and unnecessary. Also, it makes me incredibly angry when people use more than three dots.

2. The Comma (,)
When I was at high school, I went through a stage where I refused outright to use commas in my (bad) poetry. And at times, my prose. Which makes for really amusing reading where I tried, through any means necessary, to avoid using commas. I love my seventeen-year-old self. She was such a dickhead.

1. The Exclamation Point (!)
I believe my hatred of said piece of punctuation has been spoken of in this blog before and everytime that I do, people respond with multiple exclamation points. When you do that, a fairy dies. This is the lesser known way of killing fairies, the one Peter Pan never told us about. Part of my dislike of the exclamation point lies in my inexplicable desire to make a noise and hand gesture whenever there is one at the end of a sentence. It is embarrassing, people stare and annemjw refuses to do crosswords with me anymore.

On the other hand, I am fond of the fullstop and the question mark.

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This is my list of YA girl crushes.

1. Cassandra Mortmain from Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle

Cassandra is a wonderful mix of Bronte and Austen, of Elinor and Marianne, of all the spunky, attractive, intelligent Shakespearean heroines, and more than a pinch of her own marvelous qualities. Cassandra is an observer, the sane one in a family of dramatists. Her narrative is beautiful, with the best first line in literature. And she gets things wrong: she falls in love with the wrong person, she treats Stephen abominably sometimes, and she doesn't always know how to deal with situations.

I love her relationship with Rose, stemming from my love of sisters in novels. There are too many wonderful moments in this book for me to pick my favourite, but one of them has got to be her first meeting with the Cotton men - where her arms are dyed green and she's hidden by clothes while in the bath. And the ending for Cassandra is magnificent.

2. Sophie Hatter from Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle

What I love about Sophie is that she starts off so shy and retiring, and when turned into an old woman she gives up on it. She's nosy, impulsive, bossy and forthright. I pretty much adore her. She's in the two sequels as well, and is equally as awesome in each. I love how unromantic she is, and coupled with Howl, this makes the pair of them one of my favourite romantic couples.

And her magic is magnificent.

3. Ilse Burnley from L. M. Montgomery's Emily of New Moon and sequels

I am an Anne girl through and through but Ilse is my favourite secondary character. She's Emily's best friend and couldn't be more different to Anne's bosom friend, Diana. Ilse is beautiful, an orator and actress, and has the worst temper in the world. She wears outrageous clothes beautifully. She also has the best insults in the world.

4. Sisi from William Nicholson's Wind on Fire trilogy

No longer my favourite fantasy series of all time, but I still adore Sisi. She began my infatuation with characters who have scars, by disfigured beauty. Sisi begins as a beautiful but spoilt princess on route to marry a man she has never met. She learns to want more from life, journeying with the Manth people to the promised land and falls in love with Bowman.

My favourite part of her is her absolute security that she and Bowman are going to marry and live happily ever after, despite all Bowman's insistence that he must die. She is focused and simple and her development as a character, I find more interesting than Kestrel and Bowman.

5. Deeba from China Mieville's Un Lun Dun

Deeba is the archetypal sidekick thrust into the position of heroine in the novel and not terribly impressed with the whole process. She is fearless and has a fantastic sense of humour and is not going to be bound by the stupid rules of the fantasy quest.
I have less of a crush on Deeba and more of an overwhelming desire to hang out together and train to become extreme librarians.

Honourable Mentions:
- Laura Chant from Margaret Mahy's The Changeover
- Justine Kalinsky and Tara Finke from Melina Marchetta's Saving Francesca
- Mae from Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon
- Ginny from Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes
- Isabelle from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments trilogy
- Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley
- Tom from Mrs George de Horne Vaizey's Tom and Some Other Girls
- Millie from Diana Wynne Jones' Chrestomanci series


ALSO I am ill, my grades are still not back and I have not done nearly enough work for the next half of the year due to this.

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