Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Secret Agent #18

TITLE: Unknown
GENRE: Contemporary YA

Kyle Garrett has been the love of my life ever since the sixth grade when he drew a heart around my left boob. The problem is, after three years and too many enhancement lotions to count, that same heart still fits.

I’ve spent the last hour in front of my dresser mirror willing my boobs to finally realize I’m a girl and sprout, which is totally useless, because per genetics, I’m screwed. I’m pretty sure my mother owns stock in Wonder bras. I could go grab one of hers and wear it under my bathing suit.

I can hear my sister mouthing something from her room, and then she’s coming my way. “Annley, we’re going to be late.” She abruptly stops, catching herself on the door. When she’s back insight, I see she’s giving me the look. “ Why are you wearing a one-piece?”

Because it’s my favorite. Because I don’t want a string up my you-know-what, or my nipples showing every time I jump in the water. Because unlike you, I wasn’t built with hips, or a butt, or boobs any guy would love to lay claim to mounted on my chest. In fact, I’m still trying to decide whether or not my sister was adopted. She contradicts the whole Foster family body type. My mother and I are boxes—waist the same size as our hips. Even my Aunt Susan is square.

Because it’s what I want to wear.” I tell her, cupping my chest. I take my hands away, pretending to watch them fall.


  1. Awww... I feel so bad for your MC. Good job making us empathize with her. The only caveat is make sure you get to the story in the next page or two, but this is a good first page.

  2. Excellent portrait of a sympathetic main character. I'm hooked and interested to see where this story goes.

  3. While I was reading, another great story popped into my mind: Are You Their God It's Me Margaret. I think you captured the feelings every young girl has at some point in her life. Would love to read the entire piece.

  4. I really like this. I think you did a great job of capturing the adolescent angst most girls have over their bodies, and therefore endearing your MC to us. Only issue is that it's not a very specific conflict, but I would assume we're coming up on that, and since this is so well-written I'm hooked and would want to read on to find out.

  5. I enjoyed this. Body obsession is definitely an issue that's still alive and well, and you captured that. I'm trying not to read the other comments first but I keep seeing glimpses when the page loads! So, I do agree with the first commenter that I would keep reading, but make sure a hint of your larger conflict is apparent on page two. I'm sure your story is more about her body image.

    The only thing that gave me pause was: "or boobs any guy would love to lay claim to mounted on my chest." This didn't sound like a teen voice to me, I would loosen the language a bit; the "lay claim to" feels much older. Even just to say "boobs any guy would notice." This MC seems like a younger teen to me and I don't know how graphic you want to get about what guys that age want to do with girl's boobs... especially since she may not be wanting that anyway; many girls (in my experience) just want to keep up with their friends and be NOTICED. Anyway, nice work :)

  6. Excellent first page. Good voice, pacing, and setting.

    In the next page, I'll expect the writing to confirm what kind of story this is (it's looking to shape up into a teen romance thus far) and to give me some clues about what's at stake and how badly the MC wants it.

    As long as those show up, I think I'll be in for the long haul.

  7. Definitely hooked. I'm thinking confidence is an issue with MC, something a YA reader can relate to. I'd read more.

  8. You're missing a " before Because in the last paragraph.

    I'd read on - it's funny and cute and lots of genetically screwed girls can relate:)

  9. I like the voice of this a lot. Poor girl. ;)

    I agree w/ someone who commented about the "lay claim to mounted..." sounding off for YA. Also all I can think reading this is, how in the world did a boy draw on her boob in the 6th grade? Was it on her shirt or her skin? If the skin, how did that happen? Awwwwwkaaaard lol. I, personally, would probably like to know if it was on her shirt or straight skin that he drew a heart on her.

  10. This is a fantastic contemporary YA. That opening paragraph was perfect, and I really feel for your MC.

    I do kind of wonder how someone drew a heart on her boob, though. Raises some squicky questions.

  11. I'm still not sure about this one. I like the writing/story, but the way this is set up makes me think the whole book is about body image and I think I'd get bored of that. I mean, I guess the potential is there for her character arc.
    What I want to know is what else is going on with this girl. xx

  12. Caveat: I hate the word "boobs." So it's hard for me to like a sample that pretty much focuses on them. And I couldn't get past the creepiness of a sixth-grade boy drawing a heart around a girl's breast (see, I can't even make myself type "boob" there.) If he drew it on her SHIRT, maybe, but that's not clear, and even then ... if he did it in the third grade, maybe. Otherwise I'm just creeped out: Boy on edge of or in puberty does highly inappropriate, sexually suggestive act that makes girl, who is obsessed with the size of her chest, decide she loves him forever.

    See why I wouldn't keep reading?

    But as I noted in a different review, I am old. Very old, it seems.

  13. Thanks everyone for the remarks. Yes, MC has self-image issues--I would like to title this book Perfectly Flawed. It's what Annley realizes about herself. But there are other strong issues (sexual assualt, HSV-2) involved, with a huge love strand. So it's not ALL about confidence, or lack of. You guys are awesome for sharing your's means so much to me as you all well know!

  14. Best thing about this: you write really well, and I enjoy the voice. To me, it is perfect.

    Worst thing about this: I'm sorry--as a previous poster wrote, I can't get past the word "boobs" either! Don't kids use any other word for a girl's chest these days? Well, and the idea of a 6th grade boy drawing a heart around another girl's chest bothers me too. Maybe this is something that could have happened when they were younger?

    Still, good job!

  15. @the author: I think Sara Zarr handles emotional teenage girl issues amazingly well in her books. The conflict in her books are often more internally focused; worth checking out if you haven't read any of her work.

  16. I really loved this. I felt so bad for your character and I think you nailed her voice (apart from the one line someone else has already pointed out--the boobs to lay claim to one). Other than that I think your voice was pitch perfect and I could definitely connect with your MC standing in front of a mirror wishing she looked a certain way.

    Oh, just the one tiny thing: it seems weird to me that she says she doesn't want a string up her "you-know-what" but in the same paragraph says butt. I might be missing something but that struck me as a little odd.

    Other than that I just really, really loved this, and I would definitely read on!

  17. The first paragraph confused me. A boy drew a heart around her boob? Literately? I can't figure it out. Not the strongest way to open. You don't want to confuse your reader right off the bat.

    After that, I got really into it. I feel like the mc is going to be really relatable. although this might be an upper middle grade as opposed to a YA.