Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February Secret Agent #25

TITLE: Frosty
GENRE: Contemporary YA

My ears tingled from the biting wind and the swirling snow, but I stayed outside to smoke. The caseworker thought I was nuts, but I liked the cold. It numbed me… relaxed me. Besides, I couldn’t smoke inside—those were the rules.

After finishing a second cigarette, my nerves were calm. Jim pulled up in a dark Mercedes. Cool—none of my former foster families were wealthy. I met him and Lana a week ago, but not their daughter Brooke. This time the caseworker suggested placing me in a family with a teenage girl. As if me and Brooke would be close friends and my senior year would be the best ever. I was smart enough to know that would never happen. I just needed to get through these last six months with the Claytons and I’d be on my own.

The light spilled out of Jim’s car and he opened his mouth to say something. Instead, he shook his head and laid his hand on my shoulder, guiding me inside.

“Good evening, Sydney,” he said once we reached the door.

Um, not really, Jim. Kind of crappy outside. Didn’t you notice the blizzard?

We sat down to do some paperwork and Jim wrinkled up his nose. He must not be a smoker. I checked out the bare gray room while the caseworker shuffled through a stack of papers. Why did these meetings always take place in dark and dreary rooms?


  1. Oh my goodness. I love how you've used the setting as a reflection of the emotional place the character is in. I just want to give her a hug - even though I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, and I know she'd probably punch me for doing it.

    Good luck!!!

  2. This is a great set-up. I love the voice and the imagery, and right away, I get a picture of Sydney. She's a tough girl who can take care of herself, but not so hard-edged we can't like her. Good work!

  3. Very nice!

    You let us know SO much in the first page without outright telling. And you set up a fantastic conflict--the rich foster sister and the MC.

    I'm hooked!

  4. I love this! I agree that there is so much said without actually saying it! Great job!

  5. Yes, a lot said but I think there are a couple problems. She starts off by saying how much she likes the cold but then later protests in her mind that it is so crappy outside and there is a blizzard. So, that seems internally illogical and inconsistent. Also, if you want her to have a reaction to Jim's speaking then I think you need to have him say something other than "good evening" which we all know is not a comment on the goodness of the evening - just a time honored greeting. So, for her to react like she did to such an innocuous line really makes me think this is someone I don't want to spend a lot of time with. Also, I think it interesting that she thinks it's "cool" that he is wealthy - so much so that she notices the make of his car - not something every girl does when she probably feigns a contempt for wealth and accomplishment. It would seem to me to be more consistent that she would not think it "cool" at all and think it rather threatening. After all, how is she to fit into that world.

  6. Great title. I agree with Generation 1980 that there's some inconsistencies in here that make it confusing. Give MC some positive trait so we want to hang in there.

  7. I'll be the odd one out here and say that I actually enjoy unlikeable characters. Sydney comes off a bit rough and embattled so I wouldn't expect a person like that spew rainbows and glitter, especially if there's a soft core that she's wanting to hide.

  8. Good character development in very few words. And great voice too.

    I didn’t understand why Jim wouldn’t say something about the smoking though. He’s taking her into his home and he clearly isn’t a smoker. Good opportunity for Sydney to use that fabulous sarcastic voice.