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Literature / Finding Snowflakes

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He wished he could start by saying, "Once upon a time lived a boy who had nothing, and a girl who had everything..." but life, as it turns out, wasn't that easy.

Enter Eliott, a presumed delinquent with the face of a murderer and social life of a recluse. Enter Carrie, a happy-go-lucky girl who always seems to be surrounded by people. All that's needed now is a meeting, right? Wrong.

Set up to be a deconstruction of the happy girl/gloomy boy pairing, this story follows the lives of a socially awkward loner and a girl who hides behind a happy mask, how they met, how they grow and how they're slowly crawling out their shells.

Carrie helps Eliott make up some social skills and he becomes her confidante, but as always there's more than meets the eye. What if there's some truth to his scary reputation and what if her happiness is but a facade? A truth in life is that before accepting others one must accept oneself—and for that, we must also confront our uglier side.

Started in 2013, it is still ongoing. Read it here.

This story provides examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Invoked In-Universe when Carrie tried to get Eliott a girlfriend by exploiting this trope. It didn't work.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Eliott loves making these and he doesn't even realize it. Part of his Innocently Insensitive nature.
  • Berserk Button: Do not call Carrie fat. Ever.
  • Be Yourself: A major theme, especially for Carrie, who hides everything behind a happy mask to avoid rejection.
  • Bookworm: Eliott is never seen without a book around, even if he has to hide it.
  • Beta Bitch: Samantha, who keeps trying to climb her way up to the very top by befriending the Alpha Bitch and her Girl Posse. However, there's a certain Genki Girl standing in her way...
  • Birds of a Feather: Carrie and Charlie. Both are social, genki people hiding behind a smile. On the other side of the spectrum, both Marley and Eliott stray far from the rest of the class, have Cloudcuckoolander traits and are mostly socially inept.
  • Black and Nerdy: Subverted with Charlie. While he does have good grades, he's also pretty social and up high on the social pyramid.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Eliott and Carrie often share this routine, with the former as the tsukkomi and the latter as the boke. They occasionally flip roles, however.
  • Book Dumb: Carrie. As an example, she thought China's capital was Hong Kong. Eliott is always correcting her grammar, too.
  • Boy Meets Girl
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Eliott has quite a vast range of knowledge, most notably grammar, literature and music. His grades are still terrible, quite possibly because he routinely forgets bringing his homework and usually naps or reads during class.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Subverted. Eliott, who is usually stoic and reserved, has a relatively positive outlook towards life while Carrie, the resident Genki Girl, is actually really a closet cynic.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Somehow, Charlie manages to be a compulsive Netflix user, sleep half the class periods and associate absolutely everything with ducks whilst also being part of the student council and getting the highest grades in his class.
  • Celibate Hero: Notably averted with Eliott, who apparently dated—and slept with—a girl prior to Carrie.
  • Character Development: Presumably, one of the story's major features.
  • Character Tics: When nervous, Eliott drums his fingers onto whatever he can find. Even people.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Eliott may seem aloof and intimidating, but he's actually really insecure and has little to no social skills.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Marley. She walked around half the school give give someone a pencil despite being perfectly able to give it to him later (he sits next to her). Most of her conversations get progressively weirder as they go on, too. In one instance, the original topic was Carrie, but then she moved on to contemplating whether or not she would date herself and if doing so would make her bi. And then she said God was a potato.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The narration 'switches' according to the character it's focusing on throughout the chapter. Eliott has a sizeable amount of cursing in his. He swears out loud a lot, too.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Due to his Innocently Insensitive nature, Eliott is prone to snarking. This becomes much more present during his side of the narration.
  • Death Glare: Subverted with Eliott. While this may be his default expression, it is actually his doing more than just having an outright Face of a Thug. This comes to bite him in the ass very often.
  • Deconstruction: Of many high-school romance clichés, particularly in YA. For example, the two main leads don't suddenly turn love into their priority; they had lives before, and these do not disappear once the romance kicks in. There's a notable lack of contrived coincidences (aside from, conversely, the story's beginning itself).
    • Carrie deconstructs the Manic Pixie Dream Girl in that she may cheer the main character up, but she's rather sad herself. In fact, Eliott ends up helping her up as much as—if not more—she helps him.
    • Eliott himself is more than the typical Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold. The world did not randomly decide to turn against him one day. His loneliness has only worse over time due to his own social ineptitude and aversion to crowds. At one point, he calls it a "self-imposed isolation".
  • Disorganized Outline Speech: Most of Eliott's dialogue, when not confined to one-liners.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Eliott, though he'll insist fictional characters technically count as companions. Marley plays this straight.
  • Escapism: Eliott is almost never seen without books due to him using fiction as a way to escape from his current reality. However, this turns out to be a double-edged sword more often than not, as his real life keeps slipping away and he'd rather ignore his problems than try to fix them.
  • Establishing Character Moment: During Eliott and Carrie's first meeting, the former stayed silent—if not outright hostile—while the latter seemed to pay this no mind... at least at first. When she apologizes and vows to shut up, Eliott suddenly bursts into a rant about how he kept trying to talk to her, but didn't know how to do it.
  • Fangirl: Marley, especially present when she witnesses Paris and Eliott's interactions.
  • False Friend: It is implied that Carrie's whole group of friends is actually this towards each other.
  • Foil: Marley to Eliott and viceversa. They both are the class outcasts—sitting next to each other, no less—with No Social Skills and character quirks that could weird a person or two out, but Eliott is much more withdrawn and limits himself to using books as escapism while Marley actively tries to improve her social life, and her weirdness isn't as much of her lack of conversational skills as it is her just being plain eccentric.
  • Friend to All Children: Carrie's quite fond of them and viceversa. It's not hard to see why. Averted with Eliott, who claims to despise them.
  • First-Person Smartass: Eliott's side of the narration.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Eliott is Melancholic.
    • Carrie us Sanguine.
    • Paris is Choleric.
    • Marley is Phlegmatic.
  • Foreshadowing: The ending line of the first chapter. "And while they did begin to walk, in many ways they stayed there."
  • Gamer Chick: Surprisingly, both Carrie and her mom (which has a tendency to Rage Quit and eat Carrie's snacks if she loses.)
  • Genki Girl: Carrie, big time. This is subverted, however, as it is implied many—if not most—of her antics are due to her Stepford Smiler tendencies.
  • Genki Guy: Charlie.
  • Gentle Giant: Eliott stands at 6'7 and is generally peaceful... unless you somehow manage to get to his bad side.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Throughout the story, Carrie's main motivation—according to her—is to 'find the cure for adulthood'.
  • Guilty Pleasures: Despite himself, Eliott has a soft spot towards YA romances, out of all things. To him, in fact, the more unrealistic, hammy and melodramatic, the better.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Eliott, mostly via inner monologue.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: It's not as much as Carrie being "short" (she's 5'6), but Eliott being a giant (6'7).
  • Imagine Spot: Courtesy of Eliott and Marley, mostly. Usually, these sequences feature contrived, absurd situations in which they suddenly become popular/noticed and make a lot of friends/aren't social outcasts anymore. In Eliott's case, this fantasies usually involve Carrie in some way.
  • Insane Troll Logic: As an example, despite appearances, Marley seems to possess quite a high self-esteem, which she backs up with the claim that she would marry herself is he could, but she's straight.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Paris treats his brother like trash and hangs out with a group of people that made fun of Marley, and while he participates in trying to kick her off the cafeteria table she was "hogging for herself" (even though she was just Eating Lunch Alone as usual), he ends up defending her after one of his friends crosses the line. Even when they go away, due to him realizing she's just there because she has no other friends, he ends up sitting with her for the lunch break's duration.
  • Kids Are Cruel: At least according to Eliott.
  • Large Ham: Carrie, bigger time.
    Carrie: Did you meet the girl? How was she? Was she pretty? Did you fall in love? Did sparkles come out nowhere while the birds sang and flowers bloomed and things exploded and Frank Sinatra danced in the background!?
  • Loners Are Freaks: Subverted. Both Marley and Eliott suffer this to varying degrees, but the class doesn't really obstracize them that much. They're the ones isolating themselves. Especially Eliott.
  • Manchild: Carrie's mother borders on Cloudcuckoolander sometimes.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Deconstructed. Carrie at first glance might come across as that energetic girl trying to cheer the moody boy up, she's actually got a few issues herself. In fact, deep inside, she's much more cynical and bitter than the boy. She, indeed, is a Stepford Smiler, putting a smile up all the time to bottle everything inside.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Eliott isn't a bad person. He just really, really looks like one.
  • Motor Mouth: Carrie, during her hammier moments.
  • No Social Skills: When talking, more often than not, Eliott either limits himself to one-liners or breaks into long, confusing rambles until he runs out of breath. There is not in-between. He freaks out during phone conversations and has a distinctive lack of tact when speaking.
  • Odd Friendship: Marley, pretty much with everyone she "befriends".
  • Opposites Attract:
    • Eliott: Quiet, reserved, socially-inept. Has a tendency to rant about off-topic stuff and gets irritated with ease. Brutally honest.
    • Carrie: Outgoing, carefree, easy to talk to, hard to get mad (unless you mention her weight). A huge liar.
  • Pretty Boy: Paris, Eliott's younger brother.
  • Random Events Plot
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Carrie is red to Eliott's blue.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The snowy, 'dead' path Eliott and Carrie walk through every day, the changing seasons, and the themes of the chapter titles/quotes all symbolize character growth in one way or another.
    • This isn't always for the better.
  • Sad Clown: Carrie is implied to be this.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Eliott and Carrie.
  • Shipper on Deck: When Marley and Carrie first met, the latter told the former she'd only marry a guy with the last name 'White'. Guess what Eliott's last name is. Upon finding this out, Marley went... wild.
  • Shrinking Violet: Eliott plays this straight. In Marley's case, it's not of a No Social Skills case than anything else.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Eliott is Carriesexual.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Eliott, to the point of driving Carrie uncomfortable during his worst instances of this. After a while, he manages to tones it down. At least around her.
  • Slasher Smile: Whenever he forces a smile, Eliott usually ends up with this. It's been noted to be the only thing scarier than his usual expression.
  • Snow Means Love: The two main leads meet under a snowfall.
  • Take That Me: Usually, during Eliott's narration, he'll end up fantasizing about completely unrealistic situations (often involving him getting out of his "self-imposed isolation" in some contrived, stupid way) only to quickly lampshade it by thinking something along the lines of, "That only happens in badly-written romances, anyway..."
    • And then they happen.
  • The Gadfly: Carrie, who's not above pulling long, elaborate pranks just to amuse herself. Eliott and Marley are her main targets, mostly due to their obliviousness about social cues and the like.
  • The Philosopher: Eliott tends to think deep into things, ranging from the nature of humanity to whether zebras have white stripes and a black body or viceversa. He's also prone to giving cryptic one-liners and going completely off-topic if the topic interests him enough.
  • The Stoic: Sadly for Eliott, while he's not precisely emotionless, his expression tends to change very little, often looking like he's glaring instead.
  • When He Smiles: To Carrie, getting Eliott to smile is the equivalent of a musician acing a partiture after months of practice—as hard and rewarding.