Wednesday, January 13, 2010

14 Secret Agent

TITLE: Skylar's Story
GENRE: Contemporary YA

My birthday unravels in Madison’s backyard.

The sun burns my eyes and grass tickles my back.

Madison twirls, showing off her gymnastic skills. She raises her arms and moves her hands outward, stretching her fingers, ripping apart the sky with her blue-taloned fingernails.

When she cartwheels, I catch sight of her lacy pink lingerie. I choke back a laugh. Madison doesn’t laugh at my obsession with top hats. Not laughing at her choice of underwear’s kinda obligatory.

Vertical again, she says, "Did you hear? Bollywood man tried to kill himself yesterday."

The words float in one ear and fly out the other, disappearing into the hazy summer air. I stand and move over to Madison’s trampoline. Beneath my feet the stretchy black material shifts like a stormy sea. I jump, the fabric bouncing me back up again. Bollywood man tried to commit suicide.

The news hits me. My feet lose their grip on the slippery black sea of the trampoline. I wind up bouncing on my butt. "Ravi did what?"

Madison narrows her eyes. "That was a slow reaction."

It was, but Bollywood man – Ravi, with his Indian movie-star looks – tried to commit suicide? The same guy who sat next to me in art class last year and never failed to bring me a paint brush?

"Are you in shock or something?"

"No," I say, but I swing my feet over the edge of the trampoline and kick them through the humid summer air. Way less turbulent than the trampoline. "What happened?"


  1. Great opening line!

    I'm not normally a fan of first person, present tense, but I like this. I'd want to keep reading.

    good luck!

  2. Hooked!

    I enjoyed the vivid descriptions and the lovely writing. In particular, I really liked how you described Madison doing a cartwheel---especially her "blue-taloned fingernails."

    I'm definitely intrigued to learn more about Ravi and his relationship to the MC.

    Good luck!

  3. I really like the voice and writing. I would suggest you give the MC's age (ie, My 14th birthday unravels...). I had trouble figuring out how old she was. The gymnastics and trampoline made me think she was 10, but the lingerie comment made me think more like 16-17.

    Also, you need to add "the" before "grass tickles..."

  4. Delicious voice! Love the opening line, the way you showcase the characters and then move right into conflict. Mention of 'blue talons' made me think supernatural, but that's a small thing. Would definitely read on.

  5. The opening line made me think the mc was young and having a birthday party. Other than that, strong voice and interesting details. For me, the delayed reaction threw me off. If she cared about this guy attempting suicide, would she really take that long to react?

  6. I, too, also thought there was going to be a birthday party. BUT, that said, i really liked the opening and i really liked the whole piece. Great voice. Good job!

  7. Definitely hooked! Loved the voice. Great job.

  8. I really like this MC's voice as well. The only line that caught me off track was the blue talons. I thought her friend was some type of supe, but then as the story read on, I went back to thinking they're just *normal* teens.
    I'd keep reading.

  9. I didn't like the first line. It didn't seem to have any bearing on the rest of it. She's not celebrating her birthday in any way, so how is it unraveling? Perhaps he life will unravel, but it didn't seem her birthday was.

    You might mention that Madison is doing cartwheels on a trampoline, and when your MC goes over to it, you might show her getting on.

    The dialogue was excellent. Madison drops the bomb in a such a nonchalant way, just the way so many teens do. I had a hard time buying your MC's non-reaction to the news. Perhaps if we knew why she does that it would be more believable for me.

    All in all, I'd keep reading.

  10. I really liked the voice in this. Nice descriptions and nice flow to the writing. I'd definitely keep reading. I agree with the comments that you should mention Madison is on a trampoline right away and also that you need to indicate when the MC climbs on. Right now it seems like something's missing between her moving toward it and feeling the material beneath her feet. I liked the first line and it didn't bother me that what followed wasn't a birthday party.

  11. I'm definitely hooked on this one and would read on.

  12. Great voice--But I felt you describe Madison more than the MC. I would consider bringing the conflict sooner, or maybe describe the MC's feelings more than describing Madision's action. But, you get an A+ for voice and compelling storyline.

  13. Am I the only one who thinks the MC is a boy? I think it was the top hat me top hats=boy. I like this quite a bit. Yummy voice and I'm already intrigued by Ravi. Great job, I'd keep reading!

  14. I thought the writing was lovely and it poses a nice question to keep the reader interested. I'd keep reading.

    I question the description of "Bollywood man" though, since it's YA and they appear in HS. Is he a fellow student? Would they refer to him as Bollywood man, then? It sounds like a reference older girls would use. (To me at least.)

    Good luck.

  15. I would completely keep reading and enjoyed this. The only thing that had me glancing back was looking for an age of the mc. By calling the guy Bollywood MAN, but then putting him in her art class, I was confused to her age.

    Great job otherwise.