In Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn, Gemma had her summer all planned out, but it takes sharp turn when she gets dumped and finds herself back in the Hamptons after a five-year absence.
Being there puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend (that is, before Gemma ruined her life). But people don't hold grudges forever. Do they?
Gemma intends on making amends, but a small case of mistaken identity causes the people she knew years agoincluding Hallie and her dreamy brother Joshto believe she's someone else. As though the summer wasn't complicated enough already.
Can Gemma keep up the charade? Or will she be found out by the very people she's been hiding from?
About the Author
Katie Finn is the author of the Top 8 trilogy. She's never plotted revenge on anyone (who didn't deserve it) but has been known to assume another identity. To this day, she and Morgan Matson have never been seen in the same room. She lives in Los Angeles, in a house she wishes was a lot closer to the beach.
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Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend
By Katie Finn
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2014 Katie Finn
All rights reserved.
The Wednesday afternoon that it all started, I was thinking about how great my life was going.
Actually, to be totally truthful, it didn't start that Wednesday. It started earlier than that — five years earlier. But I didn't know that then. I was just wandering around the aisles of the Putnam, Connecticut, Target with no idea what was coming, like the blond girl heading down to the basement in horror movies. I was blissfully unaware that disaster was looming, and thrilled with the way everything was working out.
After all, I had made it through my sophomore year with decent grades — including a passing grade in Chemistry, which was in itself a minor miracle. (I'd been against Chemistry since the first class, when I noticed the safety station at the back, complete with chemical shower and eye-wash station. These things didn't seem to be necessary in Algebra.) School was over for the year, and the whole summer was stretched out in front of me. I had a wonderful best friend. And most important of all, I had an amazing boyfriend. Everything was perfect.
Well, except for the fact that I'd made the very grave mistake of wearing, to Target, a red tank and khaki skirt. I'd forgotten that all the employees there wear red shirts and khakis. And so every few minutes people were coming up to me and asking where they could find the toothpaste, because they thought I worked there.
"Okay!" I said, tracing my finger down the items on the list. "Let's get started." I smiled across the aisle at Teddy Callaway, my boyfriend. Of all the things that were currently good in my life, Teddy was number one. We had started dating my second week of ninth grade at Putnam High School and had been together for the past two years. Teddy was older — eighteen to my sixteen — and would be starting his senior year in the fall. He'd been sophomore and junior class president, and had been elected senior class president for the coming year. He was consistently being featured on the front page of the local paper, the Putnam Post, looking serious and humble, as a result of all the service groups he had started and all the good he was always doing for the community. And Teddy's altruism was actually the reason we were at Target together. We were leaving in a week to do volunteer work in Colombia, and we needed supplies.
Teddy swallowed hard, cleared his throat, and said, "Gemma?"
"Yes?" I asked as I looked down at the list and tried not to wince. When Teddy had first told me about this volunteering program, I had assumed it would mean doing things like planting gardens and maybe teaching children to sing, until my best friend, Sophie Curtis, pointed out that I was actually thinking of The Sound of Music. I hadn't realized until I got the application forms that this program involved things like building houses and digging latrines. The five-page list of supplies included items like work gloves and first-aid kits (extra gauze) and antimalarial pills. But I wasn't going to let that dissuade me. I had been on board to go on this trip ever since Teddy told me about HELPP (Humanitarian Education Learning through Progressive Programs).
Well, technically, I had been on board once it was clear he was going with or without me. My parents had only agreed to let me go after I'd shown them the literature, proving that there would be supervision and that guys and girls stayed in separate cabins. I needed them to agree, because it seemed there were actually a lot of costs involved with volunteering. We'd had to pay for the program, something my dad hadn't been too thrilled about. He said that if I really wanted to learn about construction, he would happily let me work on the addition to his house, and for free.
But I pressed hard to be able to go, because this way Teddy and I wouldn't have to spend three weeks apart, even if we were staying in separate cabins and digging separate latrines. We hadn't been apart for that long since we got together, and I didn't see any reason for us to start now.
"Okay, we need gauze," I said, grabbing some from the shelf and dropping it into my basket. "And ..."
"Gemma," Teddy said again, a little more loudly this time. I looked down at the list and saw what he must have been pointing out, and dropped in another roll, trying not to think what we would need gauze for. I glanced over at Teddy and noticed that he looked a little pale.
"Are you okay?" I asked as I looked for the Band-Aids. In the two years we'd been together, I'd learned to read him really well, and I could see that he had something on his mind. Possibly he'd been wondering the same thing about the gauze as I had. After all, we were usually on the same wavelength.
And, okay, if we sometimes weren't on exactly the same wavelength, I let him think that we were.
It was actually how we met. I'd spent the first week of my high school experience wandering the halls, bewildered, going to the wrong classes in the wrong classrooms, sometimes not realizing this until the class was over. My sense of direction had never been great, and Putnam High, with two thousand students, was huge compared to my middle school. I had been getting through the first week by basically clinging to Sophie like a bivalve. One day after school, I'd somehow gotten lost in the warren of classrooms and was just looking for a quiet one to duck into so that I could text Sophie and see if she could come and find me. It wasn't until I'd shut the door that I realized I wasn't alone.
"Hi," a voice from the front of the room said. I blinked, surprised, as a guy who looked older than me hopped off the desk he was sitting on and walked forward. "Are you here for the Warbler meeting?"
I just stared at him. The guy standing before me was incredibly cute, with bright blue eyes and blond hair that was a touch long, a lock of it falling over his forehead. He had such an air of confidence and authority about him that I felt a little dazed.
When I realized he was waiting patiently for an answer, I nodded, even though I had no idea what he was talking about. "Yes," I said, hoping he would tell me what this meant. I was hoping the Warblers wasn't some kind of a cappella group, as I had a terrible singing voice. But this was the most dazzling guy I had encountered in a while, and I would have said anything to get to stay in his presence. "I am."
"Great," he said, nodding. "I'm so glad you care about this. Too many people at this school are apathetic."
"I know," I said fervently, as though I hadn't been one of those people until a few seconds ago. "But it's something I've always been committed to."
He looked at me appraisingly for a moment, and his smile widened. "It's nice to meet you," he said. "I'm Teddy."
I later found out that the Warblers was a group dedicated to protecting the environment of the Marsh Warbler, a rare species of bird that wasn't even found in Connecticut. But that didn't matter, because after a while I really did come to care about the Marsh Warbler, even if I also secretly thought it was kind of ugly. Because as far as I was concerned, it had brought me and Teddy together, and so I would always have a soft spot for it.
Teddy and I became a couple almost immediately after that. And overnight, I went from being an anonymous freshman accidentally attending the wrong classes to Teddy Callaway's girlfriend. I was no longer just Gemma Tucker, not particularly special or memorable. I had an identity. His causes (and there were, I soon found out, a lot of them) became my causes. His friends became my friends. Teddy was my first boyfriend — though not my first kiss, which was a fact he didn't necessarily know. He'd been in my life so long now, and was such a part of it, that I really couldn't imagine it without him.
I smiled at him across the aisle, and he gave me a weak smile back. He opened his mouth like he was about to say something, when a harassed-looking woman, pushing a toddler in a cart, rolled into the aisle. "Where are the paper towels?" she demanded of me.
"Sorry," I said, wishing for the umpteenth time I'd worn blue that day. "I don't actually work here." She glanced at Teddy, and at my own basket of items.
"Clearly," she said, rolling her eyes and pushing her cart away as she muttered about shoddy work ethic these days.
"Oh," I said, leading the way to the gardening aisle to look for bug repellant as Teddy trailed behind me. "Sophie and Doug wondered if we wanted to see a movie this weekend. I told them yes, okay?"
Sophie and I had stayed close, moved out of our bivalve stage, and my best friend had morphed into a class-A heartbreaker by the end of sophomore year, leaving besotted guys and a string of exes in her wake. Doug was her latest victim, but he'd actually lasted a whole month, which was a record for Sophie, who tended to cycle through boys in two-week increments. I'd said yes to the movie without checking with Teddy, because when you've been together as long as we had, some things were assumed, like the fact we'd always have a Saturday-night date. It was one of the million reasons I loved being with him. I didn't have any of the anxiety and stress that I saw Sophie going through with all her various boys. Instead, I had Teddy, who was constant and brilliant and wonderful.
"Gemma," Teddy said, shaking his head.
"I know," I said quickly. "Doug is kind of a meathead. And I know you think he's insensitive to the plight of the, um, worker. But they promised we could pick the movie this time, so I thought about that documentary you wanted to see. The one about the ... plight of the worker?" I mumbled the last part. I could never remember the details of the documentaries Teddy wanted to watch. All I knew was that they were never the ones I wanted to see, which were mostly about penguins.
Teddy shook his head again and took a big breath. "Gemma ..."
"But we don't have to have dinner with them again! It can be just the two of us. What do you say?" I picked up a citronella candle in a glass jar and gave it a cautious sniff.
"We can go to that raw vegan place that just opened, and —"
I stopped talking when I realized I'd been interrupting, smiled at him, and thought, one last time, about how wonderful our summer together was going to be. How everything was falling into place. How great my life was.
Teddy looked at me, right into my eyes. He seemed to be struggling with something, and let out a long breath before speaking. "I ..." He paused, then took another breath and said in a rush, "I think we need to talk."
"We are talking," I said. Then the impact of his words — and the tone of his voice — hit me, and I noticed again how pale he looked. The world seemed to wobble for a second, and it was like I was suddenly having trouble catching my breath. "What ..." I started, haltingly, hearing how shaky — how scared — my voice sounded. "What do you mean?"
"Gemma," he said, his voice choked, "I think we should break up."
I dropped the candle I'd been holding, and the glass shattered into pieces at my feet.CHAPTER 2
"And then what happened?" Sophie asked from her seat at the kitchen table, eyes wide.
It was two days later, and Sophie had shown up that afternoon, bearing tissues and chocolate and her "life coach" — otherwise known as Cosmo — clearly believing that I would be in a desperate, sobbing state. Which couldn't have been further from the truth. I was fine. This was just a temporary situation, and as soon as Teddy realized he'd made a mistake, we'd get back together. It was as simple as that. In the meantime, I was baking.
I'd always liked to bake, but I'd gotten much more into it over the last two years, and had started providing the refreshments for Teddy's various clubs and meetings and protest marches. Baking calmed me down, and I liked the order of it — the idea that when you mixed certain ingredients together, chemical change occurred, and you ended up with something else. And ever since I'd come back from Target, baking was the only thing that had appealed to me. If I wasn't baking, I found that I kept reaching for my phone, either to check if Teddy had called or to start to call him and try to find out what he'd been thinking. And since I knew that neither of these were good options, I'd been keeping myself — and my hands — occupied. My mother and stepfather, clearly understanding that I was on a tear, had been staying out of my way in the kitchen. And so far, I'd made three kinds of muffins, four kinds of cookies, a coffee cake, and an iffy batch of snickerdoodles. I had just put my double-chocolate-chip cookies into the oven when Sophie had shown up at the door, despite me texting her repeatedly that I was fine and that she didn't need to come over.
"Gemma?" Sophie prompted.
I looked up from the flour I'd been sifting for the next batch — white chocolate macadamia nut this time — and tried to focus on my best friend. Sophie and I had looked a lot alike when we were younger — it was uncanny, actually; people were always asking us if we were sisters, which we loved — but puberty had changed all that, and Sophie had gotten curvy while I'd gotten tall. We both still had brown hair and freckles, but Sophie tended to cover hers with makeup, and her hair was cut in a stylish, choppy bob while mine was kind of long and shapeless. We no longer looked like the doppelgängers we'd been when we were kids, especially after I broke my nose last year. When the doctor fixed it, he shaved off the bump that had always been in the middle. He just assumed I wanted it that way, but I actually missed it, especially when I saw the identical bump still on Sophie's nose. It seemed to have more character than my perfectly straight nose now did.
Setting us apart even further at the moment were our outfits. I was wearing jeans and an oversized pink T-shirt that had once belonged to my stepfather but that I'd appropriated years ago as an apron. SALMON FESTIVAL! THE KICK-OFF OF SPAWNING SEASON! was emblazoned across the front.
Sophie, on the other hand, was decked out in her go to summer style — flip-flops and a sundress that hugged her curves, her sunglasses pushed up through her hair like a headband. The only things we currently had in common, looks-wise, were our necklaces. We'd splurged on them together last year. Sophie wore a gold G charm on a chain around her neck, and I wore a gold S on mine. We thought they were much better — and more unique — than traditional best friend necklaces. The two of us had promised never to take them off, and I knew it was a promise I'd keep.
"What?" I asked, trying to get myself to pay attention. "What did you say?"
"I just wanted to know what happened next," Sophie said, leaning across the table. "After Teddy said he wanted to break up and you dropped the candle."
"Oh," I said, as I set the flour aside and started measuring out the white chocolate chips. I really didn't see why I had to go through this whole recap; when Teddy called — which he would, of course, any minute now — it would all be moot. "Well, then this manager came up and handed me a broom and told me that the candle was going to come out of my pay."
"No," Sophie said, shaking her head. "What happened next with Teddy?"
I looked away and started chopping the macadamia nuts. "He just said that he thought we were getting too serious too young, and that we should slow down."
Sophie snorted. "That's a new one."
I knew what she meant. Slowing down was something Teddy had never seemed to want before. Quite the opposite, in fact. He was always telling me that it was crazy we hadn't slept together after two years and never seemed impressed by my argument that Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI didn't sleep together for seven years, even after they were married.
But it wasn't like this had even come up recently. Things between us had been great ... or so I'd thought. I'd spent the last two days — when I wasn't measuring out nutmeg and softening butter — trying to figure out why Teddy would have done this. It was a mistake, of course, and it would all be resolved soon, but something must have happened to make him think we needed to end things. I'd finally come to the conclusion that maybe I'd taken our relationship for granted, and maybe expected too much of his time when he was so committed to different projects.
Excerpted from Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn. Copyright © 2014 Katie Finn. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn begins with Gemma and the explanation of how she came to be Teddy's girlfriend, then his ex-girlfriend. To overcome her sadness over the breakup, Gemma gets a hair makeover, courtesy of her friend Sophie, and goes to stay with her father in the Hamptons. Gemma goes through a case of mistaken identity because of her hair change and the fact that she hasn't seen some of these people in five years. She tries to tell them that she is Gemma, but they insist on calling her Sophie since she has her friend Sophie's name written on her cup. The more I read, the more I enjoyed the story and characters and understood the struggle that Gemma was going through because of her guilt from causing the sabotage of her father's relationship with another woman while her parents were separated and the frustration and concern of wanting to make things better. This book is thoroughly enjoyable with no swearing, clean romance and a bit of humor. The story doesn't have complete resolution and will continue in the sequel, Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold.
The past four, FOUR, contemporaries that I've read (my favorite genre) have all been huge disappointments. I think three of them were 2 star reads and the last was 1.5 but no more! Katie Finn (Morgan Matson) wrote a five-star read that broke my streak and is still putting a smile on my face. To be honest, I was crazy nervous about this book because I haven't heard the greatest things about it but I should never have doubted Morgan because she's incredible. Morgan has said that her MM books are character-driven while her KF novels are plot-driven and I think that sums it up perfectly. While I do prefer the character-driven stories, I loved this book so much; it was a plot-driven book that never felt too ridiculous and crazy. It was well written book and a fun journey, the best of both worlds. Now, on to the story. Gemma Tucker is... human and as a human, she's made mistakes. As an eleven year old, she wrecked a lot of havoc that she still hasn't moved on from; after pushing it to the back of her mind and trying to be a better person, our story finds her coming face to face with the person that she hurt the most. Of course this doesn't happen until after her boyfriend of two years dumps her out of the blue at Target; as you can imagine, Gemma isn't her "best self" when this reunion is going to take place. Through a (plot-driven, convenient for the story) set of events, when the reunion that Gemma is dreading finally comes, a miscommunication of sorts is born and Gemma is introduced as Sophie. Gemma decides that this is a perfect opportunity to make up for her past and prove that she isn't that terrible kid anymore. I really loved Gemma, she wasn't the most likable character at the beginning but throughout the book she is growing; she is finding herself and beginning to understand that she isn't her past. The plot was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed all of it. That ending though... I saw it coming and I was literally freaking out ALL DAY about how it was going to come to pass. It was great, much lighter than what Matson typically writes but it was OUT OF THE PARK! Basically, I loved it. Also, the series had a cover redesign but I bought the old cover which is why I pictured it above.
The story starts out with Gemma at Target with her boyfriend, Teddy, who promptly dumps her within the first chapter. Harsh. Instead of wallowing, Gemma has convinced herself that Teddy is confused and will come back to her apologizing and they'll laugh it off. Poor, sweet, delusional Gemma. (Unfortunately for Gemma, this statement pretty much applies to her throughout the entirety of Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend and not just this situation.) After returning to the Hamptons to stay with her father over the summer, Gemma finds herself face-to-face with a terrible act she committed as an eleven-year-old and a strong desire to make amends to those she wronged. However, instead of saying "Hey, can we talk about how I was an awful kid five years ago?" she jumps on the mistaken identity opportunity and runs with it. While I liked Gemma as a whole, this is such a major flaw in this character. She re-friends Hallie and Josh under her new identity in an attempt to show them that she's not a horrible person. She was eleven and she made a huge mistake - something she regrets - and she just wants to make things okay again. How she thinks lying about it is going to help, I don't know. But it did make for a good story! The romance with Josh is cute and innocent - with the exception of Gemma's boldfaced lie. I like Josh; he comes across very genuine and cares for Gemma and I feel bad for him. This is another instance where I wanted to shake Gemma and say "This is going to blow up in your face!" I would have liked to see more of Sophie, Gemma's best friend. Gemma kind of blows her off a bit while dealing with the whole Hamptons thing and while she does make more of an appearance in the end, I'm hoping to see more of her in the subsequent books. Overall, Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend is a fun and quick read. While there were moments where I couldn't help but roll my eyes and Gemma's naivety, I'm hoping she'll wise up in Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold.
MY THOUGHTS I admit it. The main reason why I picked up this book is because Katie Finn and Morgan Matson are the same person. As Morgan Matson is one of my all-time favorite authors, I just had to read a book by her alter-ego! This book is about Gemma, who was planning on doing charity work over the summer with her boyfriend of two years. The boyfriend who decides to dump her right before the trip. Gemma's mom and stepdad were planning on going to Scotland over the summer and Gemma can't go with them. The plan: Gemma can stay with her dad in the Hamptons. The problem: Last time she was there, Gemma ruined a girl's life. When Gemma gets to the Hamptons, she runs into Hallie, the girl she was cruel to. But with her new makeover and a cup of coffee with the name Sophie on it (her best friend), Gemma is a completely different person. Gemma decides to take up being 'Sophie' while trying to make up for what she did to Hallie, but karma is out to get her and she just keeps running into trouble. This is a fun read, but not a fun read. The synopsis describes it perfectly "Filled with summer sun, boys, and friendships gone sour". This book has many fun, light-hearted aspect, but with Gemma's past at the Hamptons, her mishaps, and her lies, it brings out the sourness to the story! But I did greatly enjoy reading it, even if it was predictable at times. Gemma is a great main character and she does have her flaws, which I actually appreciate in a character. She regrets what she did to Hallie and, while what she did was horrible, I can see why a kid would do that considering her circumstances. She really wants to make things up with Hallie and even when things hit the fan, she still tries and I really appreciate that. I don't exactly like how she lied though. I can see why she did, but it was just a disaster waiting to happen. I did have issues with the ending. The last 20 something pages are the climax and a lot of interesting stuff happens in those pages. There was no cliffhanger, but I felt like the book ended right at the end of the climax. IN CONCLUSION This was a really great read! It was enjoyable and fun, but also very drama-filled. It was predictable at times, but it didn't take away from the book. This is a great start to a new series and I can't wait to read the sequel!
New to me author Katie Finn offers up a story that reminds us that honesty is always the best practice. Gemma Tucker is your average high school student who has just been dumped by her boyfriend, Teddy, and suddenly finds herself without the summer she had planned out. At her mother’s insistence, she goes to the Hamptons to spend the summer with her father. Being back in the Hamptons stirs up less than pleasant memories for Gemma as the reader learns that Gemma did some not so very nice things to a girl that she was friends with five years prior. She decides that she wants to make things right, but a huge case of mistaken identity puts her in the position of trying to start over. First of all, the terrible things that Gemma did to Hallie that ruined her life was done when they were eleven years old so I really didn’t understand the extent of animosity that Hallie had for Gemma and the reader is never enlightened as to how Hallie’s life was ruined by what Gemma did. Granted, what Gemma did was cruel and mean, but she feels really bad about it and is trying to make it right. It’s not until the end of the book that the reader is given a glimpse of just how much Hallie hates Gemma and though I understand why Hallie feels the way she does, I am hoping that Gemma will prevail. I don’t expect Hallie and Gemma to become best friends again, but I think Josh and Gemma would be a great couple. My Final Verdict: I usually get annoyed with stories that drop a cliffhanger at the end instead of tying up loose ends, but this book was an exception. I found the plot interesting and the characters likable and easy to relate to. My interest in what happens next has been sparked enough to want to read the next book and find out what Gemma will do next. This book was a good start to the series and I am hoping that there will be more closure in the next book. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Broken Hearts, Fences, And Other Things To Mend from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the top 8 seried by katie finn, so i wasnt hesitant to buy this book anf im glad i did! I loved gemmas point of view and the plot of the story. The only thing i did not like wad the ending, it really left me wanting more, like there should be another chapter...but im excited for the next book! I cant wait until it comes out!!! Overall i would highly recommend this book as a great summer read :)
This is an entertaining start to a new series. The cover and color scheme for this book are super cute and a great fit for the overall theme of the story which is well written with entertaining characters. Gemma is going through a rough patch when we meet her, but when she finds herself with an opportunity to fix things with her ex-BFF, Hallie, she takes it. What begins as a much needed "do-over" quickly turns into a disaster, leaving Gemma to wonder if her efforts were really worth it at all. I didn't like all the choices that these characters made - the ones that resulted in *innocent* people ending up hurt, but I did like that they were made to face the consequences of their actions both past and present. I'm always hesitant to read revenge books because having dealt with plenty of girl drama in high school myself, it's not a topic I like to revisit often. However, I thought Finn did a good job of infusing humor into this story and it will be interesting to see where she takes these characters. This is an entertaining start to a new series and because it's fairly fast-paced, I read it in one sitting, it also makes for a great pool or beach read.
One of the best books I have ever read!
This entire story was full of second hand embarrassment and laughs that made people give me dirty looks when I read in public! It starts out light and fluffy and turns into something crazy with a twist that you'll never see coming! This one will have you laughing out loud with no regard for where you're reading. I can't count on my hands how many times I laughed out loud while I was reading this. Katie Finn definitely has a great sense of humor. But of course, with that laughter came some second hand embarrassment... I also can't count on my hands how many times I had to put the book down for a little because I was so embarrassed by what happened to Sophie/Gemma. (You'll understand if you've read it lol) There were so many things that made even me blush. As far as the writing style, there's no complaints at all for me there. As everyone may now know, Katie Finn is indeed Morgan Matson. And we all know how I feel about her. I once called her the Queen of Realistic Fiction. She's an amazing author and can write realistic fiction as if you're a fly on the wall and you're watching everything play out. But the pacing of the novel in this one was a little weird. It seemed long and drawn out, but I think that was just my anticipation on wanting to get to the part on how they found out about her. But otherwise, there wasn't anything I'd change. The only thing I DID have a problem with, was the freaking main character. Omg she was soooooo selfish. I didn't realize that was it until the end when she started wondering why the real Sophie was being accepted by other people. She wanted that from the beginning but then when it happened she was really iffy and wanted her all to herself. And then, she was soooo spiteful. I can't believe she did that to that chick and didn't understand the consequences. Did you really think that doing something like this would be ok? Yeah, not even a little bit. But the ending was a killer. It definitely made me flip pages backward and re-read it again just to make sure I had read it right. I was definitely thinking things would go an entirely different way. Now I'm thinking if that's only book one, what will it be like in the rest of the series!