Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Secret Agent #38

GENRE: YA Fantasy/Fairy-tale Redux

The girl looking back at me wasn’t half as broken as I was. She was beautiful, confident, sure of herself.

My complete opposite in many ways.

With a sigh, I slammed my locker door a bit harder than I’d meant to, shutting the magnetic mirror away for at least another hour or so ... until I returned for more books between my next two classes and found myself staring at her pretty face again.

She was any magazine’s idea of perfection.

So unlike what lurked just under the surface.

I felt it. Moving around beneath my skin, waiting, calculating--counting down the days.

“Holl! Wait up!”

My heart lifted at the sound of his voice, and I turned around to see my little brother heading toward me. The broad smile on his faced pushed away my dark thoughts. With only eleven months between us, Cameron was enjoying the hell out of his junior year and I was trudging through my senior. With way less enthusiasm.

Although, this time last year I’d felt differently. So much can change in a few short months.

“You ditching at lunch today?” He asked, pulling on his black and gold lettermen’s jacket.

“No, Cam. That was just one time. Mom and Dad will kill me if I lead you down the path of destruction.” I over-emphasized the words the way our dad had so frequently.

Cam laughed and threw his arm around my shoulder, giving me a light noogie with his free hand.

“If they only knew, huh, Holl?”


  1. Okay, this is definitely interesting and the writing seemed smooth to me -- nothing really jarred. My only thing is that I thought the other girl in the mirror was too subtle. I don't get quite what's wrong with her reflection except that it's pretty -- is it the reflection that's supernatural, or her? A little more info would actually hook me more -- but just a little.

  2. I was a bit confused about the other girl in the mirror, too. I think a little more clarity on that point will make this opening sing. I love the interaction with the brother.

  3. I too was a tad bit confused, re: other girl in the mirror, BUT once I cottoned on to what you were doing + the label of "fairy tale redux," I'm incredibly intrigued. I'd love to know what fairy tale it is, and where the pretty on the outside/false reflection bit is going.

  4. The first two lines have a bit of a disconnect, more confusing than paradoxical. Assuming it's an actual mirror (and if it's not that'll confuse the reader too), it's hard to be the opposite of those things, yet show them. Not impossible, but you need to have a line about the protective shell she has put up.

    She seems a bit too excited to see her brother - I think a heart only lifts if the brother is four and bubbly.

    I like the path of destruction and want to find out more of their relationship - her being pretty but pained is less interesting a story.

  5. I'm intrigued by the mirror. Because the genre says fairy-tale I immediately assume that it's a magic mirror. If it isn't... if she's just looking at herself in the mirror, then you may want to consider a different opening.

    I also got a little confused by "wasn't half as broken" which seemed to imply that the reflection was a little broken -- a bit different from the perfection mentioned later.

    Maybe say instead:
    The girl looking back at me was beautiful, confident, sure of herself. My complete opposite in many ways.

    I think I would be more intrigued and less confused.

    I really like the whole "I felt it. Moving around beneath my skin, waiting, calculating--counting down the days." That hooked me:)

    I would definitely read more of this book...

  6. Like others have said, at first I was confused by the girl in the mirror, and feeling a little disappointed that the protagonist was so full of herself. But THEN I saw that this was a fairy-tale redux, and am now super intrigued!!!

  7. I like that bit of surprise that she's looking at her reflection. That she's beautiful, but there's something sinister underneath the surface is interesting. What is it?! WHEN will it come out?!

    The interaction with her and her brother is nice - I get tired of siblings hating each other, so that was fresh as well.

    Well written and interesting without spoonfeeding everything to the reader, I'd DEFINITELY read on!

  8. The writing was really strong, and I am definitely intrigued. Very nice beginning.

  9. I liked it for the most part. I really liked the thing under her skin and the idea that there's a countdown until it comes to the surface.

    I'm not so sure about talking about her reflection as if it's a separate person. Whatever she sees in the mirror, she's also those things, even if she's what she feels like, too. The confidence might be a mask, but physically beautiful would be the reality now matter how you were looking at her.

    If the mirror isn't integral to the story, you might experiment with other ways to get this idea across that she doesn't feel the way she looks. This set up was a little too "poor little, gorgeous girl" for me to really sympathize much.

    I'd read on for a while, though, because the writing is solid and the voice is pretty strong.