Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #16

TITLE: Nolie Blue, Offline
GENRE: MIddle Grade

I stare at my phone in the dark, waiting.

One second, 7 LIKES.

Five seconds, 12 LIKES.

Ten seconds, 24 LIKES. All for a photo of the night sky I just posted on Snappypic. On my screen, the moon glows like a pale egg as it rises over our backyard fence. I love the moon. I love LIKES even more.

But…wait. I’m only up to 67 LIKES after thirty seconds. Only 67 LIKES? Are my followers in a coma or something? I refresh the page. And…


I gasp. I feel dizzy. I may fall out of bed. Maybe I’m sick. I might as well be. Less than five hours ago, I told my parents I was sick after they asked me to clean up the ENTIRE kitchen by myself. But now I’m sick of Snappypic.

Stay calm, Nolie Blue.

15 seconds and only 22 more LIKES.

I shake my phone as if that might help.

Still nothing.

This is tragic.

Maybe I need to turn it off and on? A yawn escapes me. It’s almost midnight on a Sunday. I bunch up my pillow. Yank my comforter. If my parents find out I’m up, they’ll take away Floyd (that’s my phone’s name). I’d die of total frustration and absolute hopelessness.

I listen for them. Ugh. They’re still downstairs. They should be asleep, too. Which means they’ll probably check on me soon. Which means I should turn off Floyd.

I text Ella Fuentes: Did you see my photo? I add a smiling emoji.

No response.


  1. You can definitely hear the youthfulness in this character which is a plus for YA. Plus you capture the social networking site junkie obsession for likes.
    Still, I can't say I'm hooked because all we learn about MC is their current worry about how many LIKES he or she will get for their photo and the worry about the parents taking away the MC's phone. As I read this I say, "Yes, that would be unfortunate" but I can't say I am so concerned about it that I want to find out what will happen to the MC. I'm thinking the MC needs a bit more building on their character rather than the lines reflecting on his or her likes. For example, why are those likes so important to the MC. Overall, I enjoy the social media angles because they are the thing of this generation.
    Best wishes on your story!

  2. I thought this was great - great title, and great premise. If I log into Facebook and there are no little red flags, I feel like no one loves me.

    That being said, since this is the only thing we know about this character right now, if this is as central to her as it seems, it would be helpful to get a sense of urgency, so we feel the tragedy instead of her just reflecting on it. Maybe her excitement builds with each one in a visceral way. Maybe she's never broken 100 likes and every time she misses it, the knife digs in deeper. 89 likes isn't small potatoes.

    The end adds a nice touch of foreshadowing. There's clearly something wrong with her relationship with Ella.

  3. I'm sorry but this feels like it should be farther along in the story. Beginnings need to ground readers in the story: who, where, when. Give us someone to root for and some goal to reach.

    The only thing we know about this person is they are shallow and bratty and their goal is to reach 100 hits in 5 seconds. Not much to root for here.

  4. This is written well but there isn't much to draw me in. A girl wants to get a lot of 'Likes' on- line for her photo. There's no hint of conflict or tension, there's not even a particular interesting or mysterious photo behind it, so unfortunately, it doesn't hook me.

    Perhaps you could get her motivation in, the reason she wants all these likes. Perhaps her reason for doing this might be your hook?

  5. I "liked" the beginning -- up until she starts freaking out about not getting enough likes -- which she gasps and becomes dizzy. I think I might have enjoyed it more if she was thrilled -- this was her first time with so many! But either way, after a cute start, I think she obsesses too much about this one thing. I'd love to learn more about her in the few precious first 250 words. As is, she seems really shallow and stops being interesting. When she texts her friend, I start to feel for her again - this neediness for her friend's response elicited more sympathy from me.

  6. As much as I want to give you a "like" on this one, I'm afraid it didn't hook me. I think exploring social media addiction is interesting but I think it should be something that happens in the book and not what the book is about.

    With this start, it feels like this is going to be an "issues' book, about social media addiction. It might be that at all, but that's what it seems like to me in this short passage.