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When you got to paragraph 3, I was finally interested. In fact, I think you could start with that sentence: "Beth reached for the doorbell . . ."That would immediately give me a character to connect with. Also, it's a lot more interesting than locusts and yellow twilight. A lot of the details you describe before might seem more relevant after I'm hooked.I do like the idea of visiting an old high school crush years later. Why do we revert back to our high school selves in these moments? I could relate. good work!
I like your voice, and I would definitely read on, but but I think if you cut some of the backstory (ex. paragraphs 4 & 5) your opening would have drawn me in even more.
Not much to really grab me yet. She used to have a crush on him; she has to deliver an envelope to him. She played the piano; he was in vocational ed. For me, I need more in the first page to pull me in. (First and last names this early on also throw me off, sorry.)
This reads more like contemporary romance than women's fiction. The third sentence is a major run-on with a noun-verb cadence. In the third paragraph, the "Oh, come on!" should be in italics and its own paragraph--internalization. Lots of back story--which is interesting and useful, but would be more significant if told later in the story. Consider starting this with the door opening and her blundering her way through the conversation. Good voice and I definitely felt the MC's dread. Good luck!
I have a hard time believing a protagonist that is "ten years out of high school" is appropriate for YA readers. She seems too old, IMHO.
Beth Lisick is a relatively well-known author and artist. As soon as I saw the name you chose for your MC I was thrown. Just thought I'd mention it. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=beth+lisick&x=0&y=0
I'm not hooked. I do like how you describe her piano studies. But can you put this small flashback later in the story? Your writing is fine. Keep working at it.
I think it reads too old for YA.
And I am a tiny bit confused that the main character is 28 and this is labeled Women's Fiction, when this is a YA contest ...
I agree that the story starts with the 3rd paragraph. Try to avoid cliches--her heart pounded, etc. and I don't think "screw up the courage" is quite right.