Thursday, October 16, 2008

7 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

GENRE: Young Adult Urban Fantasy

I suspected something was up when I came home and every light in the house was on. "I shouldn't have come."

"Relax, Annie. Cesar's there. She's fine." But Jamie's voice was tight. "You can't take care of her all the time. That's why we hired—"

"I know why we hired Cesar," I said, pulling the visor down to check my eyes. Too worried. The real problem was, Jamie's were too. And Cesar's car wasn't in the driveway.

We didn't have to vocalize any more worries. The tension just rose naturally as we both got out of the car. My anxiety turned to shock when I opened the door and entered an empty kitchen. Living room, empty. Hall, empty. Dining room, empty. And spotless. It must have taken a full-blown cleaning crew to pack and clean the entire bottom floor during a movie.

"Mom?" I called, setting my purse down on a sparkling countertop. My stomach swirled with the cookies 'n cream I'd just eaten, but Jamie had a calm look of determination on her face.

"Oh, hello dear. How was the movie?" Mom stepped off the last stair and moved into what used to be our living room.

"What's going on?"

"We're moving."

I felt like I'd been punched. "Moving?"

"Yes, very soon I hope."

"Why? Where?"

"Montana. I got a very good job offer."

Job offer, my right eye. "Whatever, Mom. What? Did you get a steady job with the Podunk Times?"


  1. The opening sentences don't have the punch they need, IMO. But I do like the tension you build and the conflict. I'd read a couple more pages before making a decision.

  2. It took a second read to know what was going on...maybe I'm slow. I had thought Jamie was a guy, 'she' was a child, and their house was robbed.

    The tension is there, but after realizing they were only moving, I lost much of my interest. I would pass, but I'm probably not your target audience.

  3. I would read on. I am interested to find out why Cesar was hired and why they are having to move so unexpectedly.

  4. I'm a bit more confused than hooked right now. Four characters are mentioned in 250 words, and we're not really given anything to grasp onto to fix ourselves in the story before moving forward. So, sorry, but it's a no for me.

  5. I also thought Jamie was a guy, perhaps a boyfriend... is she her sister? Perhaps make that a bit clearer.

    Other than that, this worked for me.

  6. I got a little confused when you mentioned the movie. It sounded like someone had watched a movie in the house at first. I get it now that I reread it, but my confusion prevented me from being hooked.

  7. The first line of dialogue confused me. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to write "I shouldn't have left" instead? I also think Annie pulling down the visor to check her eyes feels unnatural. Do people really check their own eyes for worry? I think you'd be better off just commenting on Jamie's expression.

    For some reason, I thought Jamie was a brother or a boyfriend until the fifth paragraph. Perhaps make her gender more obvious from the beginning?

    I also assumed, I think because this is a YA book, that Annie and Jamie were worried about their sister. Their worries disintegrating into irritation that their mother wants to move threw me for a loop. I'm afraid I'm too confused about the characters to be hooked. With some clarifications and a plot blurb, I might read more.

  8. Sorry, but this left me too confused to be curious. Too much names and unclear dialogue and references in just 250 words.

  9. No...I'm sorry. This just feels too rushed.

  10. I thought Jamie was a guy too...I'm not quite hooked yet but I think this story's got a lot of potential

  11. Unfortunately, I'm not hooked on this one. Who is Cesar, and who are they taking care of? I also don't buy a surprise move, unless there is something going on that we don't yet know about (I noticed this was an urban fantasy, but only from the description). I'm afraid I don't have enough to go on to be hooked.

  12. I'm hooked - what a way to kick-start your story.

  13. The beginning confused me more than hooked me (it could be I'm just tired :P) and a lot of names were thrown in right away, which didn't help.

    Gonna say not hooked as I had trouble following it, although depending on the blurb I might go on a bit.


  14. Not quite hooked. I was a bit disoriented by the first few sentences -- I wasn't sure at first who she was talking to, or what about. The moving to Montana thing doesn't intrigue me -- I'm rather wary of characters who complain about moving to the middle of nowhere, and of characters who move and get dropped in the middle of some sort of magical conflict -- just personal preference, I guess.

    If you cleared up some of the confusion, I'd be willing to overlook the Montana thing and keep reading.