Chapter Five – No Trespassing

Picture of a scary-looking fallen tree that looks like a giant hand.

Maya finds Joey and is very relieved. He’s looking at a sign that’s almost rusted away, but they can still make out that it’s a standard government-issued no trespassing sign that states violators will be prosecuted. And this next exchange is so amazing that I’m not going to just quote it, I’m going to scan the page, because otherwise you’ll never believe it actually exists:

Right. So I have to say this is the first book I’ve ever seen that’s marketed towards 8-to-12-year-olds that involves the young hero calling the young heroine a ‘dumb shit’. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it’s further proof of Gloria Tesch’s incompetence – you don’t put things like that in children’s books, not if you want to be successful – but at the same time, this has just become my favorite quote of the entire book.

I’m also going to point out, for the only time in the book, how annoying it is when Tesch lives out the comma before the second quotation mark in dialogue.

Of course, this is immediately followed by my second-favorite quote of the series, which is amazing, but it also has the side effect of deepening my hatred of Joey. If Tesch was setting him up to be a villain, or to be messily killed, this might be tolerable, but he’s supposed to be one of the heroes. Maybe she’s setting him up for a Eustace Scrubb-like transformation.

Anyway, Maya climbs across the tree which has fallen across the fence and is acting like a bridge. They walk around for an hour and a half and find nothing. It’s very boring. Then they see a hill in the distance. Joey takes off for it and Maya follows. When she arrives, Joey is gone again, but she sees seven doves looking at her. Immediately she flashes back to the hotel guard (doorman, Tesch) who told her that she’s very special to the birds. Now, if a bird, or some random mysterious stranger had come up and told her that she was special, I might buy it, but a hotel doorman? Please, he has no reason to think that, nor should his opinion be considered valid.

Maya suddenly realizes that her brother has vanished, so she stops thinking about the doves. Then she looks at the horizon and it’s so pretty that she forgets about her brother. No, seriously, these two things are a sentence apart and happen within seconds of each other. I wonder if Maya is ADD?

Apparently there’s a narrow opening somewhere around here, Tesch describes it poorly enough that I have no idea what this place looks like. But Maya squeezes through it and finds herself in a cave. She screams for Joey and he’s there. Maya wants to leave, it being a dark and scary cave, but Joey wants to come back the next day and explore. But they’ll be prepared then. So they head home.

I’m adding a drink for each punctuation error a chapter contains, because they are really starting to piss me off.

Drinks: 6

Chapter Six – Friday Morning

So they wake up Friday morning and start getting ready for their excursion. Per the preface, it’s November, and both of them are in school. Why do they have the day off instead of being in school? This is something that should be explained and it’s just ignored.

Maya tells Joey she doesn’t know what to pack. Joey looks at her like she’s an idiot and asks if she’s serious, and for once, I’m on Joey’s side: I’ve packed many a backpack for epic adventures, and it’s never hard to find things to bring with you.

Joey tells her to bring an extra pair of clothes and a blanket. Maya asks why she needs that, as they obviously aren’t going to stay in the cave for days.

“You never know what can happen”, Joey said, “Maybe something ‘big’ will happen and if we are not prepared, we might be in trouble or maybe we find some treasures or underwater rivers. Who knows where this adventure can lead us?” (page 32)

I’m guessing that Tesch calls this ‘subtle foreshadowing’. And yes, she really does put the commas and periods outside of the quotation marks, and yes, it’s very annoying to read.

Maya goes back into her room and packs…a change of clothes and a blanket, proving she has no imagination. She stops in the kitchen to make some sandwiches and grab a bag of apples, they tell their parents they’re heading to the beach, and head out the door.

So they go to the beach and cross the fence and reach the hill and see the doves and go inside the cave and take out their flashlights and reach a hall filled with stalagmites.

Drinks: 6

Chapter Seven – The Stalagmite Statue

Tesch misspells Joey’s name. As ‘Joeys’. Yeah.

Joey starts talking about how in science class he learned how rocks are formed, and they talk about the differences between stalagmites and stalactites, and honestly, it just feels like Gloria Tesch masturbating with her science knowledge. I don’t care. I really don’t.

They go further into the cave and find a number of tunnels and choose to go into the middle one. Without marking their way. These kids are just asking for death.

There’s a crack in the ceiling and it lets in a beam of light that illuminates a stalagmite statue. This reminds me of Balin’s Tomb in Moria. But it’s very bright and the statue is of a mermaid. Joey is ecstatic.

Joey yelled, “This could make me rich! I told you so that we will find a treasure, a chamber or a door to the ‘unknown’!” (page 37)

He didn’t say that, and I rather doubt that a stone statue is going to make him rich.

Joey grabs the statue and pulls on it until he breaks it free from the rock. Sorry, but I don’t believe that a statue that has been carved out of solid rock would be able to be broken free by a snot-nosed fourteen-year-old. Also, from the picture and the description, it sounds far too big to carry, but I’ll accept that both of those could be inaccurate.

As soon as it breaks free the ground starts shaking like an earthquake and a hole opens up in the wall. Maya tells Joey to put the statue back in a bit of horribly written dialogue, and finally he does. The walls stop shaking. I’m really not sure how removing a statue can trigger an earthquake and then putting it back will stop said earthquake, but science has never really been my strong suit.

That was an absolutely incredible and a mysterious event which both of them could not explain (page 38).

No shit, Sherlock?

Maya turns towards Joey and he’s vanished through the hole in the wall.

Drinks: 10

Chapter Eight – Eyes, Ears, and Voices

Maya goes through the hole and sees Joey. They’re not on the coast anymore, they’re in a prehistoric jungle. I think Tesch has been reading Journey to the Center of the Earth a bit too often. Then again, the back of this brick states that they find a “World between the Worlds”, so it’s also possible that they’re not actually beneath Florida at the moment, they’ve already been magicked over to the new place.

A voice suddenly asks her why she wants to step on it. Maya thinks it’s Joey, which leads to some momentary confusion, before the voice speaks up:

“Every living creature in this world has a soul and everything what lives has eyes and ears and a voice!” (page 40)

Except for moles. They don’t have eyes. And, y’know, worms. Cave fish. Cave crickets. I could go on but I think I’ve made my point.

But they look around and Joey spots a grasshopper. Then Maya falls down. Randomly. Not for any reason. Didn’t trip over anything, wasn’t pushed, didn’t slip, just fell.

‘F L O P’ … Maya fell down to the ground right on her face.

“Ouch…” and when she looked up there was a huge grasshopper sitting directly on her nose (page 40).

Maybe she has inner ear problems. And yes, ‘F L O P’ is exactly like that on the page.

The grasshopper jumps down. Maya and the grasshopper converse. At first she things it’s Joey playing one of his tricks, because Joey has a side job as a ventriloquist. But eventually she realizes that she has entered a place where grasshoppers can talk with wisdom and understanding. I’m not sure why she thinks this, because the grasshopper hasn’t displayed any wisdom or understanding, or anything beyond what a parrot could do. Then again, Maya isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. She might not even be a spoon.*

Drinks: 10

*Terry Pratchett quote. Credit where credit’s due.

Chapter Nine – The Grasshopper

I haven’t mentioned this before but I really hate the length of these chapters. This last one was two and a half Tesch pages, which makes less than one real page. And there’s no reason for all of them.

“This grasshopper is even smarter than my science teacher. He has a lot of wisdom,” Maya said (page 42).

BULL. SHIT. Not that I think that high school science teachers are anything to brag about, but this grasshopper has said maybe six sentences and he has displayed a complete lack of knowledge about the physical world. Unless we come to find out that in Maradonia worms have eyes. And souls. Somehow I doubt it, though.

Joey blinked his eyes several times in disbelief but when he understood that this grasshopper in his hand was real, he smiled and he was happy that he found a pet, a companion, who liked it to sit on his shoulder…constantly talking to him (page 43).

See, I have a problem with this. You’ve just gotten through saying he’s smarter than your science teacher, that he has a soul, and he’s immediately been delegated to pet status. He’s not a real person anymore, he’s a dog. It’s extremely insulting to treat someone with humanlike intelligence as a pet. But I’m sure this grasshopper won’t have any problem being Saphira’d. Thank you, Christopher Paolini, for giving us a name for this.

Also – the grasshopper hasn’t given any indication that he would like to be a pet, likes to talk, likes to sit on anyone’s shoulder – nothing. Does Tesch really not read back over anything that she writes? Does she honestly not even think about the words that she’s setting down on the page?

Maya went through a shock situation! She was not sure if this was the real world of the dream world (page 43).

I….there are no words for this. I dunno. Make fun of it yourself. She went through a shock situation? Sorry, I understand what each of those words individually means, but put together like that they don’t make any fucking sense.

Maya looks around and sees trees and then she sees the seven doves. She points them out to Joey, who is ignoring her and talking to his grasshopper familiar, who he has named Hoppy. Which is a really fucking stupid name. If I had a grasshopper familiar, I would name him ‘Brian’, or maybe ‘Guinevere’ if it was female. Hoppy? That’s just unimaginative. Also, the fact that Joey has named it means that he didn’t have a name before, which doesn’t really sound like an intelligent, soul-carrying creature to me.

Incidentally, the dialogue over the next few pages is absolutely atrociously written, I could just quote all of it and let it stand on its own, but I won’t. It sounds awkward and stilted and like it was lifted from ‘Dick and Jane’ if the author of ‘Dick and Jane’ enjoyed raping the English language.

To summarize: Hoppy says that there’s a lagoon in the center of this land. Lagoons are typically at the edge of the land and next to the ocean. Anyway, Hoppy tells them that they ‘must’ to go the lagoon, because it ‘might’ be their destiny. I’m getting conflicting signals here. Also, I really hate Destiny. Really, really, hate it.

Joey can tell what time it is by the position of the sun in the sky. Quite the Boy Scout. He whips out a compass and says that they have plenty of time to reach the lagoon. Which doesn’t really make sense, because they have no idea how far it is to this lagoon. It might be a month’s journey or more. Also, I would really like to see the compass not work properly for navigation, because this is a totally different world, and there’s no reason why our tools would work there. But I’m about 100% certain that Tesch has never even though of that. Being 13, and stupid.

Hoppy wants to come with them, and Joey says that he can come along, and stay in Joey’s pocket, or ride on his shoulder. Very benevolent of him.

Time passes. They walk along. The sun remains in the same spot. Hoppy explains that the sun always shines, even at night, when it’s just slightly dimmer. Also in this place you never get really hungry or tired. So I’m guessing that the two sandwiches and the apples they packed will last for their entire journey.

Drinks: 4

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Comment

  1. dragonarya on 10 May 2010, 08:41 said:

    Maybe she’s setting him up for a Eustace Scrubb-like transformation.

    Nah, she’d never pull it off successfully.
    And that scanned quote… I don’t know whether to scream my lungs out or laugh myself silly.

    And yes, she really does put the commas and periods outside of the quotation marks, and yes, it’s very annoying to read.

    I can imagine, after my years of reading fanfiction. Still raises the same ol’ murderous rage.

    And yes, ‘F L O P’ is exactly like that on the page.

    Last time I checked, ‘F L O P’ is not an onomatopoeia for falling down.

    I hope you have a good supply of drinks, though your liver is going to need a transplant by the time this book brick‘s over.

  2. falconempress on 10 May 2010, 10:40 said:

    Also in this place you never get really hungry or tired.

    Why. WHY. That is so nonsensical, so random and so incredibly plot convenient it is causing me physical pain.

  3. Inspector Karamazov on 10 May 2010, 10:49 said:

    You’re very brave for putting up with this. I can’t get over how bad it is…

  4. Galdethriel on 10 May 2010, 11:41 said:

    The grammar and punctuation on the page you scanned is just horrible. Then again, given that you’re sporking Maradonia it really comes as no surprise.

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert at writing myself but “replied back”?

    …“Replied BACK”?

    Why replied BACK? Why not just ‘replied’ or ‘said back’ or something?

    …replied back…. >.O

  5. Danielle on 10 May 2010, 12:20 said:

    So I have to say this is the first book I’ve ever seen that’s marketed towards 8-to-12-year-olds that involves the young hero calling the young heroine a ‘dumb shit.’

    Uhh….I thought Tesch was supposed to be a Christian? I mean, just look at the prologue. A villain named Abbadon, which is also one of the names for Satan. A pool of blood that makes everyone who swims in it invincible to Abaddon’s power. Sure, her theology is off (way, WAY off) but I thought she was trying to say “Look at me, world! I’m a Christian author and no one can stop me!”

    Now, I know that people have different values and whatnot, but when I was younger, I said the s-word. My mom heard me and promptly washed my mouth out with soap. Why is Tesch’s mom letting her get away with this?

  6. Puppet on 10 May 2010, 13:10 said:

    Now, I know that people have different values and whatnot, but when I was younger, I said the s-word. My mom heard me and promptly washed my mouth out with soap. Why is Tesch’s mom letting her get away with this?

    “Because, Gloria Tesh™ is a so ‘mature and grown up.’”

    Gloria Tesh irks me to no end.

    That needed to be said. You will have my never ending respect if you finish this entire book, let alone series, without losing your sanity, Kawnliee.

  7. TakuGifian on 10 May 2010, 20:58 said:

    That’s interesting. The scanned quote… is not the same as in the “excerpt” that was ‘leaked’ on her “website”.

    I’s still unbelievably stupid, though. Perhaps more so.

  8. Puppet on 10 May 2010, 21:30 said:

    I can’t seem to find a word count for any of her books. How convenient for her arguments of why she is the world’s youngest novelist:

    “Although Nancy Li Fans novel Swordbird was published when she was 13 years old, Swordbird contains in her book only about 150 pages or so. Yes, she was younger than Gloria Tesch when she completed her short story, but she did not defeat the battle of the pages to officially make a novel. Because of this she cannot claim the title: the youngest novelist, based on her 200 page story compared to the 800+ page novelist: Gloria Tesch.”

    Quantity does not equal quality.

    And anybody who is a real writer will agree that books are counted by their word count, not by their page count. I could write a 3000 word novel if I used 36 size font, page count means nothing.

  9. Puppet on 10 May 2010, 21:36 said:

    Wish there was a edit your comment button….

    But, Swordbird written by Nancy Yi Fan at age 13 is around 150 pages. From my NaNoWriMo experiences that would be well above 50,000 words. And according to this Wikipedia article on lengths of novels, Swordbird should qualify as a novel. Thus making Nancy ‘The World’s Youngest Novelist’.

  10. Kloof on 10 May 2010, 21:43 said:

    “A Shock Situation” XD
    That’s just so bad…. I’m going to start using this phrase all the time now…

  11. Snow White Queen on 10 May 2010, 22:11 said:

    That quote Puppet enclosed has atrocious grammar. It’s about as bad as the book itself. My hat’s off to your fortitude, Kawnliee.

  12. dragonarya on 10 May 2010, 22:22 said:

    @ Puppet: “Battle of the pages”? What kind of nonsense is that?

  13. Puppet on 10 May 2010, 22:32 said:

    What nonsense is this?

    “but she did not defeat the battle of the pages”

    Just read that a few times and think it over.

  14. fffan on 11 May 2010, 02:27 said:

    “Although Nancy Li Fans novel Swordbird was published when she was 13 years old, Swordbird contains in her book only about 150 pages or so. Yes, she was younger than Gloria Tesch when she completed her short story, but she did not defeat the battle of the pages to officially make a novel. Because of this she cannot claim the title: the youngest novelist, based on her 200 page story compared to the 800+ page novelist: Gloria Tesch.”
    PLEASE tell me Gloria didn’t write that herself.

  15. Kawnliee on 11 May 2010, 02:32 said:

    Who else would have have the shamelessness to write that, coupled with the lack of understanding of the English language?

  16. Spanman on 11 May 2010, 11:16 said:

    Unbelievable.

  17. Danielle on 11 May 2010, 12:37 said:

    And I quote:

    Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

    Take THAT, Gloria!

  18. Thea on 11 May 2010, 18:04 said:

    “Maya went through a shock situation!”

    The exclamation mark just makes that sentence. At least I’m laughing.

  19. Rayquazakid on 11 May 2010, 19:24 said:

    I actually read through the scan. Before I was even done with it, I absolutely had it. I started to scream. At my computer screen. I’ve never had to do that before.

    What the hell is this farce? This is an affrontary to the english language. headdesk

    But the sporkings are great. I’d love to see more (if you can survive doing so, that is).

  20. Charlotte on 11 May 2010, 20:55 said:

    This is so bad I almost feel bad for the poor, deluded girl. Why haven’t her parents given her a talking to yet?

  21. sakuuya on 11 May 2010, 23:46 said:

    From what I understand, her parents published it. Someone needs to alert Child Protective Services.

  22. RandomX2 on 12 May 2010, 18:59 said:

    From what I understand, her parents published it.

    What the hell? They should have at least read it before getting it published.

    Unless they themselves didn’t pick up on the lack of grammar and logic. But that’s crazy talk.

    … Right?

  23. Puppet on 12 May 2010, 19:46 said:

    I suspect they were the kind of parents who did this:

    OMG MY DAUGHTER WROTE A BOOK AND SHE’S ONLY 13!!! SHE IS SO SPESHUL AND TALENTED AND SUCH A CHILD PRODIGY!!!”

    Or something like that.

  24. clockworkraygun on 30 May 2010, 11:19 said:

    Just… wait a sec. So first she says that the Joey kid could tell the time based on the sun’s position, and then she says that the sun never changes its position? Good job, Tech, good job.

  25. swenson on 4 June 2010, 19:29 said:

    …I had some incredibly witty comment I wanted to make about halfway through, but reading the rest completely drove it out of my mind. THIS IS SO STUPID! Who would ever pay for this kind of nonsense?! I hope you didn’t have to, Kawnliee!

  26. Tony on 21 June 2010, 22:49 said:

    After getting my hands on a used copy of the “Seven Bridges” I read across the pages — could not bring myself to really read it. What sprung into my eye are the many German phrases, sometimes translated, sometimes “quoted”. For instance, “Tarnkappe”, “Schwarzpulver”— I happen to know these words but does anyone else?? Big Bertha is in German “Dicke Bertha” and meant as a put-down. Also, the pseudo-Greek Names of characters point very much in the direction of Dad having written the script but using young Gloria, the “youngest novelist on earth” (I’m having fun with the “quotations”!) to sell this junk. With a little research it was quite easy to find out that Dad needs money badly (home in forclosure!)— Investors beware!

  27. omgwtfbbq on 23 July 2010, 23:50 said:

    Ohhhh dear. As much as her writing can be criticized (believe me, I would love to mark this book up in red ink and send it back to her), I really believe it’s the parents at the root of it all. I’m usually not one of those “BLAME THE PARENTS!” types, but really… what is with this generation of people in their 30s and 40s thinking that their children are so GIFTED!? Gloria’s parents are probably the type of parents whose children could be wiping snot on the walls, and they’d consider it a masterpiece and call all their friends. Maybe they could set up an art gallery in their house!

    That said, it’s not only her terrible grammar and syntax that bothers me, but also the GAPING F*CKING HOLES in the story, as pointed out in the sporking above. I might be able to forgive such a young girl if she wasn’t so damn annoying… all of her “marketing” strategies (I use that term VERY loosely) simply revolve around mommy and daddy throwing money around to say how great she is, and Gloria’s got a huge ego because of it. Her parents have done her a great disservice by allowing this to go on long enough for her to become completely delusional about perceived “success”. Oh look, I’m “Using” quotations “a bit” like “Gloria” does! Isn’t that speshul!?

    BTW, about your personal name choice for “Hoppy”… my pet rat’s name is Guinevere, she’s on my shoulder as I write this. It IS an awesome name, but not for a Gloria Tesch character :P

  28. Kytescall on 22 August 2010, 04:01 said:

    Nice spork, but one problem: Moles actually do have eyes.

  29. Jacob on 25 August 2010, 03:58 said:

    Oh my god.

    She did not just…

    SHE FUCKING WROTE IN HER OWN JIMINY CRICKET?!

  30. L on 28 November 2010, 18:30 said:

    Oh me gosh . . . She tried to put down Nancy Yi Fan and she couldn’t even spell her name right? Good grief.

    Awesome “spork”—honestly, I’m in love with this website. And I’m too lazy to write about the awesome (yeah, I use that word too much) community of intelligent people here.

    I’m just stunned at how BAD this is; Y!A has better writing than this. I wrote stupid things when I was, what, eight? But never as bad as this. Pshaw.

  31. Aldrea945 on 1 April 2011, 10:39 said:

    “Maya went through a shock situation!”

    …I swear she lifted that from a really bad roleplay game…

    “Maya just died! Would you like to restart this game?”

    No.

  32. Tim on 23 March 2012, 05:05 said:

    Just to point out: there is absolutely no reason for a compass to not work in a fantasy world, and having things not work just because it’s a magical world is silly; unless you have a damn good reason for the planet to not have a magnetic field (which, you know, stops solar flares killing everyone) it would have one.

    The real problem with that scene is that, if it’s as you describe, Tesch has no idea what a compass is or how you use it. A compass just tells you which direction North is so you can derive a bearing based on landmarks, it’s useless if you don’t know which direction you’re trying to go in and it can’t possibly be used to gauge how long it will take you to get somewhere.

    Also, the examples of things that are living but don’t have X need work. Moles do have eyes. Trees, however, do not. Neither do plankton or fungi or etc.

  33. TB Tabby on 24 November 2015, 05:27 said:

    Finding a sapient creature and just deciding to declare it your pet reminds me of a particular scene in One Piece, where the Straw Hat Pirates all receive bounties. Pirate bounties are typically in the millions, and the high amount is considered a great honor among pirates. SO when Tony Tony Chopper, the half-human half-reindeer doctor (yeah, it’s that kind of manga), gets a bounty of only 50 (not 50 million, FIFTY) because the authorities assumed he was just a pet, he’s understandably upset: “I’M A PIRATE TOO! I FOUGHT LIKE A MAN! I’M WORTH MORE THAN FIFTY BERRIES!”

    I doubt Chopper would be amused if these little shits decided he was their pet…though it would be amusing if they tried to do so and got introduced to his Kung-Fu Point.