Sorting Hat: Scandal

Yes, this is a book blog. But my other love is TV, and sometimes the two will overlap, especially when I start thinking to myself, “Hmm, I wonder which Hogwarts House these characters will be sorted into?” (Harry Potter reference, for those not in the know.) And then my mind keeps mulling it over, which turns into a blog post.

ScandalSo for my first official Sorting Hat post on the blog, I turn my attention to Scandal, the latest soap offering from Shonda Rhimes.

The above links are pretty thorough in breaking down the houses, but, in summation, this is how I view them.

Gryffindor – mostly concerned with doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, have a deep sense of justice

Ravenclaw – super duper smartypants who love solving puzzles and just being smart

Hufflepuff – hard workers who want to be recognized for being hard workers, loyal

Slytherin – have a deep sense of self-preservation, think the ends justify the means and the means justify the ends

Of course, these are simplistic baselines. Overlap can happen. I’m basing the sorting on what I think the characters’ most obvious traits are. YMMV, of course.

Pope & Associates

1. Olivia – Ravenclaw — She’s a fixer and being a fixer means putting all of the pieces together and frequently being the smartest person in the room. Most of her cases are huge puzzles that need solving, and she’s not concerned with justice for justice’s sake. She wants the truth of the moment to speak and figures out how to get her clients the results they need.

2. Harrison – Ravenclaw — No lie, Harrison totally reminds me of Gilderoy Lockhart. He’s super smart, and the show has set him up as Liv’s second in command. Like Liv, he looks at how the pieces of the puzzle fit together and uses his wits and ability to problem solve more than anything.

3. Abby – Hufflepuff — She’s loyal and hardworking. I haven’t seen anything that indicates Abby wants more than to be appreciated for the work she does. She doesn’t always agree with Liv or have that same sense of fixing the problem (she’s fine with people taking the fall if they are terrible individuals), but she does what’s asked of her for the sake of the practice and because she believes in her friend.

4. Quinn – Hufflepuff/Slytherin — Quinn was hard to place because she came in the practice a Hufflepuff, but she/we didn’t really know her past or anything. We still don’t really know what Lindsay Dwyer was about, but S2/S3 Quinn has revealed that she’s not just a worker bee; she has some sort of agenda, even if it’s make sure she’s never made a fool of again. So I could see her in either. I get a stronger sense of self-preservation than loyalty from her (I mean, if she leaves Pope & Associates, where will she go?), so I’m inclined to say Slytherin.

5. Huck – Hufflepuff — Even in Huck’s backstory we find out that he’s a good soldier who does what’s asked of him and is glad to be recognized for his hard work. He is extremely loyal (to country, to family, to friends), which is really his downfall. I’d even call it his fatal flaw. Also, you know he just wants to have a home and a family, and that’s it. Poor Huck.

6. David Rosen – Gryffindor — David is SUCH a Gryffindor. This was such a gimme. He is basically Harry Potter in lawyer form. (Also, I consider him an honorary member of the team, even if he is not technically a member of the firm.)

The White House

1. Fitz – Hufflepuff — Fitz thinks hard work (and lots of privilege, of course!) is enough. That’s why Defiance was such a shock/so painful to him. That’s also why he needs Cyrus, Mellie, and Olivia. They do strategy; he follows directions. He also has a deep desire for home and family, and thinks that would be enough. (I am ignoring that he is slime. That doesn’t matter. He is a huge ‘puff.)

2. Mellie – Slytherin — Obviously. I wouldn’t be surprised if that mic oops from this past week’s episode isn’t all part of some scheme for her to get more press and position herself for some sort of political storm. I WOULDN’T PUT IT PAST HER.  She always has an end game in mind, and she will always figure out how/what Mellie can get out of any situation.

3. Cyrus – Slytherin — More obviously. Cyrus can also turn on the charm and fool you into thinking that he is on your side. Also, his only loyalty is to himself and/or power.

4. James – Gryffindor — From what we’ve seen of Cyrus’s husband, I have him firmly in the Gryffindor camp. He has a deep sense of justice and chases the truth. Plus, you’d have to be brave to be married to Cyrus. I mean, seriously.

5. Sally Langston – Hufflepuff — All of the power plays she’s made have been mostly because she wants recognition. If she were a true Slytherin or Ravenclaw, she would’ve seen through Fitz’s emotional manipulation b.s. or actually had a plan in place that considered what would happen to her if he double-crossed her. But, no, she works hard and wants that to be enough.


1. Rowan/Eli – Slytherin — I mean. There is no right or wrong with this dude, only power. He is cunning and manipulative and will obviously do whatever it takes to deliver his end game. He’d argue it’s for the greater good, but, again, ends/means justify each other, period.

2. Jake – Gryffindor — This dude is all about his rogue missions and saving people even if it puts himself in jeopardy. He may be a little reckless is what I’m saying. He seems more concerned with doing what’s right even though he’ll probably get himself killed.

So what do you think? Did I get it right? Totally miss the mark? What houses would you sort the characters from Scandal into?

Book Reviews: Joan Bauer and Teen Work Ethic

Then I mentioned the part about being ignored for my age and put in a word for teenagers everywhere.

“It happens a lot, Mrs. Gladstone. Our money is just as good as an adult’s, sometimes we’ve had to work longer and harder for it. Kids deserve respect when they go into a store.”

I recently reread Hope Was Here (HWH) and Rules of the Road (ROTR), both by Joan Bauer. Hope Was Here because I wanted to read a feel-good book and Rules of the Road because the book specifically mentions Al-Anon, and, well, that’s the kind of mood I was in. To be honest, though, I had forgotten I read Rules of the Road before (though it felt really familiar) until I went to rate it on Goodreads and saw that I’d already given it a rating. Okay, then!

In brief: HWH is an allegory about the positive impact teens can have on politics, while ROTR is about a girl (Jenna) who becomes an elderly woman’s personal driver after Jenna’s alcoholic father comes back into her life. They’re both good books with relatable main characters. They are also unrelentingly positive (even though both deal with heavy issues), which I really appreciate because I can get overwhelmed by reading too many super heavy books. Mainly, though, I want to talk about how Bauer features teenagers and work in both of these novels.

Jenna (ROTR) and Hope (HWH) both have jobs, and both girls enjoy and take pride in their work. The most surprising factor, though, is that neither of them have particularly glamorous jobs. Hope is a diner waitress, and Jenna sells shoes. Both jobs are in the customer service sector and are typically equated with low pay and grunt work. These are also the types of jobs I think of kids taking because they can’t get anything else and then, you know, complaining about the jobs. (Remember in High School Musical 2 when the kids all just wanted/needed summer jobs, got jobs, and then immediately talked about how much they hated working? Yeah, like that.) Not so with Jenna and Hope. They are both extremely good at their jobs and know it.

Jenna: “I am a shoe professional” (pg. 1).

Hope: “It was my fourteenth birthday, and I took to waitressing like a hungry trucker tackles a T-bone. That job was the biggest birthday present I’d ever gotten” (pg. 2).

So not only are both girls customer service aficionados (they want and can make their customers happy), but their characters are defined by the work they do and how good they are at it. The very first nuggets of character development the reader gets is all about the jobs the girls do and how well they do them.

Bauer’s message is clear: Do not underestimate teenagers, and do not think they are lazy or selfish or looking for a short cut.

These girls work hard for their money, and–more importantly–they want to be taken seriously, so they are. They have to prove themselves again and again (to customers and other employees), and each time, they deliver. Because they are serious about their work and they care about it.

That’s not all, though. Both girls get their skills (waitressing and salesmanship) from an absentee parent. Hope’s mom is a terrible mother but an excellent waitress, and almost everything Hope knows about being a waitress, she learned from her mother. Jenna’s father is an alcoholic who couldn’t keep a sales job because of his drinking, but when he was sober and working, he delivered every time. So the girls get the best parts of their parents and maintain a connection to them while still acknowledging that their parents aren’t that great at being parents. So even though their parents are not good, they do give the girls something useful: skills that allow them to take care of themselves.

I think this is an excellent way to show that almost everyone has some good in them without having to make it about the parents. Bauer doesn’t spend a lot of time having to explain that although the parents screwed up, at least the kids have good skills. The characters are able to acknowledge it, the reader is able to understand it, and the narrative doesn’t slow down or become preachy. It’s really smart writing and character development.

I enjoy Bauer’s work for a lot of reasons, but that she doesn’t underestimate teenagers and highlights that they’re hard workers are a couple of the main ones.

Other notes:

  • Addie from HWH is totally my people.
  • Jenna drives a Cadillac all summer. A Cadillac is totally my dream car. (I want an SRX. That is the dream.)
  • I love that Jenna has attended Al-Anon meetings, but I wish Bauer had included some scenes of her actually attending the meetings or talking to someone in the program (though I do understand that wouldn’t have really fit the narrative). I also wonder why no mention of Alateen is made.
  • Old people are the best, and they feature heavily in both novels (moreso in ROTR). Teens + old people = my favorite combo, for real.
  • I love that you can see Jenna’s red hair blowing in the wind on the ROTR cover. So cute!

Book Review: The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance

I just decided that life was like a farmer standing in a field and a kid racing down the road on a Kawasaki, arguing about whether the fence posts are rushing by or standing still. Each thinking the other is crazy or blind or both, neither willing to give up until the other sees the light.

The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance by Catherine Ryan HydeI decided to read The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance by Catherine Ryan Hyde because it’s about an alcoholic teenager who actually goes to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. A lot of books mention teen drinking, but few that I’ve read talk about treatment. Or, if they do, they don’t name the treatment program. So I was particularly interested in a kid who goes to AA and not just “rehab” (not that there’s anything wrong with rehab, of course).

Brief summary, avoiding major spoilers: Thirteen-year-old Cynnie has an alcoholic mom. She hates that her mom drinks and doesn’t take care of Cynnie or her little brother, Bill, who has Down’s Syndrome. One day, the pain gets to be too much for Cynnie and she does what her mom does when the pain is too much: she has a beer. And it’s all downhill from there. Cynnie is then forced to attend AA meetings after getting into a lot of trouble.

When I first started this book, I didn’t think I was going to like it. I found the writing too simplistic, and Cynnie is a really young thirteen. However, I realized that (a) all 13-year-olds do not talk and think like my daughter and (b) part of Cynthia’s character is that she avoids thinking a lot. She doesn’t really read or care that much about school. She just hangs out with a couple of the neighborhood boys and tries to avoid her mom.

I don’t mean to imply that Cynnie isn’t intelligent or that she doesn’t think deeply about things because that’s not true. The quote I pulled about the fence posts is from early in the book, for example. She thinks a lot; she just doesn’t use a lot of complex language to do so. Her voice is also pretty immediate, and I could imagine a 13-year-old kid telling a story the way she does: “I did this and this. My mom did that. I was mad so I did this. Then I went to my room and threw things,” etc. I mean, if a kid isn’t trying to feel her feelings, she’s not going to have a whole lot to say about them.

But that’s a big reason of why I didn’t think the book would have staying power. I was wary that the author was going to keep things simple and kind of on the surface.

And then Cynnie starts drinking. And I was just so worried about her, and I wanted her to not drink and find another way and to get help. And I had to keep reading to see what was going to happen to her and to make sure she was going to be okay. Because she’s just a kid who got caught up drinking and is in pain and needs help. And she’s so sad and I don’t want her to be sad.

And then! Then she has to go to AA and I’m hopeful! But it’s not easy for her, and I want to see how she pulls through and if she commits to sobriety and overcomes her struggles with sobriety. Also, I want her to believe in herself the way that I do.

So I kept reading, and I was invested in the narrative–not just how the author was going to portray a teen alcoholic in a treatment program.

As for how AA is handled, I think the program is presented in a straightforward and accessible way. Hyde doesn’t do any info dumps or long drawn out exposition of how the program works. Everything is presented through Cynnie’s experience in and with the program. Sometimes she asks questions, sometimes she explains something she’s learned, but the story is never preachy and never says AA is something any one person has to do. Hyde just shows how this character experiences AA and how it affects her life. AA is also not presented as some magic cure-all. Sobriety takes work, and the narrative shows how difficult maintaining sobriety can be, no matter how far along in the program someone is.

I know I spent a lot of time talking about Cynnie and AA, but that’s because most of the story focuses on those two things. The other characters that populate the narrative are not given that much page time, but they’re all fully realized and memorable. I understand the relationships and motivations of all of them.

I think this book would be good for teens who know someone who attends AA or who may need AA themselves because it really demystifies how the whole thing works and isn’t preachy or didactic at all.

My only complaint is that there’s no mention of Al-Anon or Alateen made at all. Even one line saying when she’s ready, Cynnie might want to consider Al-Anon/Alateen since her mom is an alcoholic would have been nice.

Source: Library