Hey! This is one I never read or had when I was younger. This should be interesting!
Lissa is all alone and thinking about how she'll die in just a few short minutes. While stroking the head of Bird, her pet bird, she realizes that Bird is just about the only thing she might miss other than Josh. Though she thinks she might be wrong about who is outside and coming for her, she knows in her heart that her time is up. She slowly begins dying and realizes that it's nothing like it is in the movies and that she doesn't see her life flashing before her eyes.
Lissa flashes back to her early life and remembers her mom warning her not to disrupt her dad. She recalls her mom grabbing her arm and snapping at her to be quiet before calming down and saying they should read a book together. Her dad enters the room and demands to know what all the commotion was about earlier. She then remembers swinging on the playground and thinking about how Josh always teased her about her elf hair before reminding herself that she promised not to think about him.
The Beginning Part II.
Lissa then remembers when and how she got her hair cut so short. Her mom was braiding her hair one day when her dad walked in and immediately started bitching about how his life was oh so hard. Seeing his wife pay attention to someone else put him over the edge, and he demanded that his wife cut his daughter's hair off. When she refused, he grabbed the scissors and slashed off her braid. The stylist had to cut it even shorter because of what he did. Lissa then remembers feeling Josh touch her hair and how he looked at her for the very first time before he introduced himself.
Now, onto the story.
While still trapped in whatever room she's in, Lissa starts remembering other moments, like when she met her best friend Abby. Abby was a little girl with an inquisitive mind. She demanded to know what Lissa's dad did and that they follow him to the barn one day and watch him. Abby also arranged to come over to her house and actually followed through with her plans, which led to them finding out that her dad was a painter.
She also remembered her mom sharing big news with her dad and seeing him light up for the first time ever. Her mom later announced that he just booked a big show and that they'll all get to go to NYC together. Her dad threw a fit about taking her with them until her mom pointed out that they had nowhere to leave her because he didn't like them having friends. They went, but he spent the whole trip screaming.
Lissa also recalls how much she loved drawing until her dad found one of her pictures. He scoffed at her, says the guy who spent decades trying to be a painter, and threw it in the trash. She didn't draw for a long time but started one day in school. Josh saw and stole it from her before telling her she did a good job. Worried that he didn't really like her though, she ran from him when he tried to talk to her after class.
Josh was so worried that he offended her that he brought her flowers the next day and held up class until she agreed to forgive him. She then remembers some other moments with her dad. He once got interviewed for a major magazine and charmed the reporter so much that she couldn't stop fawning over him. She went on and on about how he was so sweet and charming and how her mother was so lucky, while her mom just tried to not burst into tears. That same night, he screamed at her for an hour after she dropped food on the floor.
Despite getting perfect grades, her dad just rolled his eyes when she brought home a report card and complained about how she was so young that grades didn't matter. One day, a girl from school showed up with her mother. Nicolette, the girl, wanted to be an artist, so her mom thought it was perfectly fine to just show up on their doorstep. Her dad actually looked at her lame work, seriously lame since one was a drawing of a unicorn, told her she showed promise, and recommended she keep working on improving her skills.
All this led Lissa to believe that her dad didn't love her and probably didn't love her mom either. Her mom sits her down and tells her the story of how she first met him. Her mom was a computer science major in college and had to take an art class. She ended up with Lissa's dad as her TA. He rode her constantly about how bad her work was until she finally went off on him for being a bully. She eventually spent some time with him and ended up cleaning his apartment for him. How romantic.
After a summer break, she came back to school and ran into him on campus. He told her that he missed her, she joked that he only missed her cleaning, and he completely blew up at her. They then started spending time together because she was a total pushover. Even though he never proposed to her and she admits that they never actually dated, they somehow decided to get married. She graduated, they moved, and she vowed to stand by him no matter what. This is seriously the worst love story of all time!
The story goes back to Josh. He offered her a ride home, which she refused because she didn't know what her dad might do. Josh gave her a ride to one of his favorite places instead, which was a wooded area. He told her all about how he loved climbing trees there when he was a kid. When she smiled for the first time, he got a kick out of it and thanked her for showing him her smile. Aw.
One night, she's daydreaming at dinner when her father asks her a question. He demands an answer and refuses to ask it again. When she can't answer, he tells her to go to her room and get our of his face. After she slammed her door shut, he stormed upstairs, grabbed her by the arm, and demanded that she go downstairs, walk back upstairs, and shut her door properly. There was a fight, and he basically threw her down the steps.
Even though she clearly broke her leg, he demanded that she get up and walk. When he saw her leg, he rushed back to the barn. Her mom took her to the hospital and begged her to tell everyone it was an accident. She went along with her mom's wishes, came home, and noticed that her dad would never be in the same room with her. On her 16th birthday, her mom suggested they go and pick her out a birthday gift. Despite her being in a lot of pain and having a massive cast, her mom still thought shopping would be fun.
Though her mom said she could get whatever she wanted, that isn't true. Her mom keeps wanting her to buy some new clothing or a piece of jewelry. When Lissa found the pet store, her mom claimed a dog was too loud for her dad and that he was allergic to cats. That's when she found Bird. Though her mom eventually bought the bird, she made it clear that they would have to bring it back if her dad wasn't happy.
Loving her drawings, Josh asks her to draw a picture full of animals for his grandmother's birthday. She did, he loved it, but she refused to sign it for him. She also refused to go out on a date with him or even meet his grandmother. Josh then jokingly suggested that they run away together and have 14 kids. Laugh all you want, but that sounds like a hell of a better life.
Her mom then tried to explain to her why her dad is the way he is, as is why he's such a massive douche bag. He came from a working class background. His mom was a store clerk and his dad worked in the mines. They never fostered his “amazing” artistic abilities, and his dad accused him of being gay when he found him drawing. Her dad enlisted in the military, went to Vietnam, and never talked to his parents again, even though his dad is still alive.
Cut to Lissa sitting outside with Bird. Her dad stormed out of the barn one day, she tried to hide from him, but he sees her and suddenly realizes there is a bird in his house. He grabbed the bird and tried strangling it to death. When she intervened, he wrapped his hands around her neck and told her she was already dead. Hours later, her mom found her curled up in the fetal position on the lawn and asked what happened. Even after seeing the massive bruises on her neck, her mom refused to believe her dad did it.
When her dad came rushing out of the barn and took off running, her mom finally believed her. She packed up their things, drove to a new town, hooked up with a real estate agent, and rented a furnished house on the spot. That is when Lissa started at her new school and finally met Josh. Since her mom was as much of a psychopath as her dad, the women went to talk things through with him and eventually started sneaking out of the house to meet him.
After walking into homeroom one day, Lissa's teacher gave her a note. She opened it, freaked out, and ran to the principal's office. His secretary told her that the note came from an attractive man who brought in her transcripts. Though she says she didn't give him any private information, the secretary then realizes that he saw her class schedule, which included her address. It really annoys me that they don't tell us what the note she got said.
Lissa rushes to Josh and asks him to drive her to the end of her street. Though he offers to drive her all the way home, she refuses. All she can think about is getting home before her dad can find Bird. When she does get home, her mom is gone and the house is completely silent. All she finds is a note on her bedroom mirror that says, “You're Dead.” And this is why you don't go out with the man who tried to kill your daughter!
After realizing that Bird is missing, she runs outside and thinks about running for help but then hears him in the woods. Lissa finds him and then hears someone threatening her, which leads her to run and hide in a tree hollow. The voice eventually leaves, but then she hears a bird that sounds just like Bird. It turns out to be Josh.
Josh helps her out of the tree and takes her to his car. He tells her about how he felt weird leaving her alone and decided to come back. Some strange man had a bird in his hand and was walking through the woods. When the bird bit him, the man cursed and took off. He then mimicked the bird call to find her after making sure the man was gone. Josh keeps asking her who the man was, but all she can do is cry.
He takes her to his grandmother's house to recuperate while they call the cops. She tries to get in touch with her mom but can't find her. The police finally show up and go to look for her father. Her mom promises to stand by her from now on. The cops find her dad, ask her mom to come to the station, and Gran demands that Lissa stay with her.
We then get to hear what happened. While her dad was in Vietnam, he and his soldiers saw an approaching group. They though they were fighters, her dad shot, and he wound up killing a teenage girl. Her mother threw him what he thought was a weapon but turned out to be a drawing of a green bird. Having a teenage daughter reminded him of what he did and it got worse when she brought home Bird.
Lissa then reveals that her dad has PTSD and went into therapy. Her mom agreed to let her stay with Gran to finish school while she worked on herself. Lissa believes that it's best for her and her mom to be apart and that she and her dad will get over what happened. In the end, Josh tries to hold her hand and she finally lets him.
What the fuck? No seriously, what in the actual fuck? Okay, so your dad tries to kill you multiple times, but it's okay because he's just traumatized. A few months of therapy and you can all go back to living happily together? Her mom was a huge bitch too. This book just totally pissed me off.