Previous chapter here.
Summer spent the next evening trying to figure out her heart's desire. As a 12-year-old who has to spend all her time looking at books....
"Summer had read a great many books about magic and animals and changing your shape. Summer’s mother believed that books were safe things that kept you inside, which only shows how little she knew about it, because books are one of the least safe things in the world."
I love this. Anyway, Summer eventually realizes this is impractical because if her mother found out, she'd never get to leave the house again. You'll notice this is a trend...she thinks of something fantastic, realizes it's impractical, and then her mother gets offended because Summer wasn't speaking.
"I wish I was an orphan, thought Summer, and was so immediately horrified at her own thoughts..."
And then this is another thing that's super familiar to the likes of me in some respect: Summer's mom has another crying night because her job sucks, and Summer knows what she has to do. Again. There, there. Performs the role over and over again.
Then later that night she wonders: does she really want to be an orphan? No, no, she doesn't...she just wishes things could be different.
The next day, Summer finds the house again after school and the skull doorknocker warns her that while Baba Yaga is in a good mood, she's excellent at loopholes. Summer goes in and ...end of chapter. Grrr.
I find myself relating to this kid all too well. Kinda scarily well in some respects. I probably didn't have it as bad as she does, but the whole "My precious baby, I just worry about you!" and the "performing the role" every time the same kind of emotional breakdown happens stuff is pretty deja vu to me. Except Summer does her half-mindedly and I do mine in the "if I don't do this exactly right I'm going to make it worse" sort of way.
Yeah, I'd say Summer's heart's desire is to make her mother less of a helicopter parent/stage nine clinger. Though one wonders how Baba Yaga would execute that. If this is gonna be a portal fantasy (we're warned that it is), you've gotta get rid of the mother. Maybe make her forget she has a kid? I don't think it'll go full murder, but some kind of parental amnesia is necessary, because mommy can't follow her daughter to Orcus. Or wherever this is going. Kids with mommies can't have adventures, after all.
I'm going to give this three stars. Giving me the chills on a personal level, but short!