This plot...reminds me of manga. And okay, I get why you would do all that timeline hopping (kind of) - because you want the story to unfold beautifully at just the right times in just the right way - but damn if it didn't make my head spin a little. I don't even know what time "present day" is anymore @_@But damn. I had moments when I had chills because it was so impactful. I don't quite understand how Brooke could be such a tool. I'd thought that she'd have been more in tune with the situation regarding Chase. For a supposedly conniving bitch, she really wasn't all that conniving. There is so much gut-spilling to Mattie going around that every time it happens, it comes off as contrived and random. Well...maybe not random, but it certainly did not endear the characters to me any more.What I mean specifically is the Brooke-gut-spilling session. I thought that was tacky and superfluous. Not every character needs an immediate redemption, you know. You can't keep castigating her if you characterize her as able to reach this epiphany. I think more effective is if the author had kept her as still catty, but of the deserving-of-pity sort. Having her still trying to play up her old role would have made her garner more pity, actually, than having her come to this unfeasible epiphany. She needed to be more subtly pathetic because she DOESN'T have everything (or arguably anything) figured out yet. And that should have shown.The author found a different way to refer to a proverbial elephant in the room that wasn't altogether tacky, so that was cool.Anyways, it really is manga-y. The focal of the fencing thing. The whole jazz with how mystified and solidified the whole "alter characters" thing (you know, Chase's acting personas) became. I'm not sure how to explain it...It's like a Special Ability...Like in Skip Beat when those peeps can get so into acting that the personas almost take on a life of their own. Something like that...The declarations of love were interesting. When they happened (don't pretend to be surprised; of course they were going to happen), I actually found the "I wouldn't choose anything/one over you" very believable. It wasn't the melodramatic declamations so often employed by authors. I'm not sure what exactly makes it so, but that's the impression I get.I was actually quite pleasantly surprised. Other than the couple of elements that were really manga-fied, I thought it was really believable in a down-to-earth everyday common sense goodness sort of way. It kind of drags here and there, especially towards the end, but hey. C'est la vie. Life can't be incredibly interesting all the time.