“They were the screams of riders torn apart by the twisted reflections of their own inner selves.”
“Who am I? The sum of your dreams, the thrill you refuse to grasp, the unknown you fear.”
“They say you never know who's the real hero and who's the real coward until you're looking death in the face. I've always been afraid of plenty of things, but fear isn't what makes you a coward. It's how depraved your heart becomes when fear gets pumped through it.”
“The rides are different for everyone. I'm convinced of that now. I mean, sure, there are some we ride together. Either we find ourselves drawn to some common experience, or maybe we're pulled in by the people we care about. Our friends, our families can drag us onto coasters and Tilt-A-Whirls that are really meant for them. But in the end, no matter whose rides we find ourselves on, the experience is all our own.”
“Like everything else in his life, he crashed forward, caution the first casualty.”
“So much of my life had been under tight control. So much of Quinn's life had been wild insanity. What we needed now was both: a directed burst of controlled insanity.”
“Here, it seemed muscle wasn't made of flesh and blood, it was made of will and anger.”
“It wasn't just that he didn't see the big picture, sometimes he saw a different picture entirely.”
“His life was a festival of excess that could not be contained. Deafening music, eye-popping bright colors, sugar added to almost everything he ate. Quinn's life was a bullet in a barrel ready to explode.”
“To be completely helpless in the face of life―powerless to do a single thing―that's what I'd always feared more than anything. It was like I'd been keeping all the edges of my life neat and clean, pretending the neatness was all that mattered, pretending life could somehow be controlled.”
“I guess we all can't help peeking at our own imperfections, just like we can't help scratching a scab that keeps itching. When those imperfections are pasted across your face like that, exaggerated and magnified, it's hard to find all those good thoughts you have about yourself. If you believe those distorted reflections too deeply, you'll never get out of the maze.”
“I don't want to be empty on the inside.”
“Then his eyes glazed over for a second. 'I go places sometimes,' he told me, his voice as thready as his eyes. 'Don't know why I go places... I just do.”
“Beautiful machines from 1920s and '30s, when automobiles were both monstrous and sexy at the same time.”
“No mirrors in the real world had the ability to reach inside you the way these did. You could tell yourself that the mirrors were simply telling lies, but you'd be wrong. They took tiny truths, swelling them out of proportion―and the fact that there was a kernel of truth in what they reflected made the effect devastating.”
“Carl was just saying good-bye," Mom said.
"Really," I said. "He must speak in tongues.”
“Apparently Quinn had woken up a short time ago and immediately asked for ice cream, knowing that kids in hospitals got whatever they wanted.”
“I hadn't lived a real life―I'd had just a model of a life. Everything I did, everything I thought, was suspended safely by strings, too high up for anyone to damage. Zero contact, zero risk. Now those strings had been cut and I was going to die, never having had a chance to live without them.”
“Carl was just saying goodbye, Mom said.
Really, I said. He must speak in tongues.”
“in the end you’ll have to cede to Lord Mersey. He’s too much of a peer, you understand? And a bit of a prick as well.”
“Real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you," said the Skin Horse. " When you are real you don't mind being hurt.
It doesn't happen all at once. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen to people who break easily, or who have sharp corners. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose and very shabby. But these don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.
Once you are Real, you can't unreal. It last forever”
“You swear you’ll never become your parents. You listen to edgy music, you dress young and hip, you have sex standing up and on kitchen tables, you say “fuck” and “shit” a lot, and then one day, without warning, their words emerge from your mouth like long-dormant sleeper agents suddenly activated. You’re still young enough to hear these words through the ears of the teenager sitting beside you, and you realize how pitiful and ultimately futile your efforts will be, a few measly sandbags against the tidal wave of genetic destiny.”
“He kissed like heaven and made love like sin.”
“The set of her chin suggested she might have slain a dragon before breakfast. The look in her eyes suggested she might, in fact, have eaten it. The”
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