Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Secret Agent #25

GENRE: Multicultural YA Thriller

No one ever suspects the nerdy brown chick. That’s one of the top ten reasons I kick a** at this job: junior-investigator-in-training at ACE—Action, Confidentiality, Excellence—PI Agency.

I take a sip of my chai latte and look over the well-gelled heads and blown-dry locks of the business casual set crammed into Starbucks. It’s the middle of the week, but summer means casual Fridays don’t just happen on Fridays.

The PUS—party under surveillance—runs a finger along the collar of his pale blue button up. He’s a good-looking guy for someone who’s almost thirty. He glanced my way when I came in but hasn’t looked at me since. He doesn’t see me as a threat. What kind of threat has frizzy hair—I don’t blow dry let alone use the round brush when I head out on assignment—wears oversized glasses, baggy jeans and a T-shirt three sizes too big, and lugs around a five-ton calculus textbook in the middle of summer vacation? He probably figures I’m too engrossed in maintaining my four point oh to get into a great college and then an awesome med school. Or a crappy med school in the Caribbean. Who cares as long as I wind up a doctor, right? Isn’t that every brown kid’s dream?

Um, no.

But whatever. Keep believing the stereotype, folks. As long as you don’t pay attention to me paying attention to you, it’s all good.

I flip the page of Calculus Made Simple and doodle a smiley face in my Mead notebook to look like I’m studying.


  1. I love the voice on this! I also love the setup, the amount of info we get about the MC without feeling like we're reading a bio sheet, and the tension that's built while waiting in line at a Starbucks. Bravo!

    Since I haven't read your Manuscript yet, I don't really have enough info to be certain on this: I hope there's more that makes this "multicultural" than just that your MC is a "nerdy brown chick." I personally cringe at the Multicultural Label because I feel it can unnecessarily segregate great fiction if it's misapplied (which happens so often when a book's MC is a person of color). Still, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt on this.

    Good job!

  2. Good voice and set up.

    I hope it's the setting that identifies this as mulitcultural rather than just the MC, but either way I would enjoy reading more.

  3. Great first line! Great voice! I like this nerdy brown chick all ready. I had to re-read the second line a couple of times. (I'm slow like that.) But you might want to re-work it by explaining the acronym after. Like, "That's...I kick a** as a junior-investigator-in-training at ACE PI Agency. The ACE stands for..." You could even tease us with a name of the person who is training her. ("Marla says the ACE stands for...)

    Also, I'd like a little more description of the PUS besides what he's wearing. Hair color? Height? Buff? Pudgy? Skin color? But if you do add that, you may want to break up the third paragraph.

    Overall, I liked it and would keep reading. : )

  4. I really like the character's voice. The set-up for the rest of the novel is clear and intriguing. I would definitely love to read more.

  5. I love the voice - great first line. I don't think you need the rest of the first paragraph though. I loved to just SEE her kick a** and realize she's excelling at a job as she's doing it, instead of being told in the first paragraph.

    But that's nit-picky. I totally want to read on.

  6. I think you have a lot of good things going on. The character is great--you'd want to spend your time going where she's going.
    I will say I'm a bit skeptical about teenage PI agents, but I'd suspend doubt to read further.

  7. Woah. You smacked me in the face with your character voice and I LOVE IT. Snarky nerds FTW. And, of course, I love that your heroine isn't white and is a bit sassy about it. Love.

    I'm a little skeptical about the teenage PI thing, but willing to suspend my disbelief for the voice. I would read this.

  8. First, I love the first line. I suggest you leave the genre as YA thriller since I don't know that you need to say it's multicultural. I personally think it's better to leave that off the genre heading and just show that your lead is a minority character.

    I suggest spelling out Private Investigator the first time around instead of abbreviating to PI. It looks strange at the end of such a wordy sentence anyway and gives more context.

    I like the voice and I can suspend disbelief that she's a junior PI for the sake of the story -- especially if we find out later it's a family business or if she's doing it against the wishes of her parents, something to give it a little context.

    I would work on trimming some filler words to make this a little tighter. But I like the concept and the voice a lot!

  9. Awesome. I'm hooked. I love this girl and the undercover summer job sounds like so much fun! "As long as you don't pay attention to me paying attention to you" is a great line.

  10. Good voice. Agree that some of it could be tighten, though I think the PI acronym is fine. I think most people get that and if you tighten the rest of it, it would read smoothly. Also hoping to see a good reason for her being a PI, but the fact that she's a 'junior-investigator-in-training' gives me hope that you've thought of this. Would read on. :)

  11. Wonderful concept. A story that involves a PI is bound to be interesting. And she is good at her job to boot. However, while the description of her job clothes give a very clear picture of her, maybe shorten it a little bit so we can see more of her in action.

  12. Love it. Love it, love it, love it.

  13. Love the acronyms, attitude, energy and insight.
    And then you throw in 'Calculus Made Simple' and a smiley face.

    Well done!

    I would definitely read on.

  14. This sounds like fun! Agree that I hope the mc isn't multicultural for gratuitous reasons (trendy), but I like her voice and hope the whole package plays out.

    As I am a science/math nerd, I was looking for PI to be a play on pi=3.141 etc, not P.I. I "think" I usually see the periods in that abbreviation, but since I don't read many books of that genre, maybe I'm just wrong!

    Anyhow, great voice. I'd definitely read on - I'd love to find a fix for missing Veronica Mars!

  15. I feel like this may develop into a really overused plot-line. Also... how is this accurate: "No one ever suspects the nerdy brown chick"? It seems like a really odd way to open this up.

    Your MC has a great voice, and this could turn out to be unique. But the young spy thing has been done so many times before.