Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July Secret Agent #9

GENRE: YA Paranormal

I never should have left the house. I debated this even as I sat shivering on one of the stone-cold benches planted along the perimeter of the fair.

It was the last weekend of July and too cold to be considered summer. Or maybe it was just me. No one else seemed bothered by the weather. They all wore dresses and board shorts and faded t-shirts. Only I looked like I was ready to go camping in the Himalayas with my overstuffed jacket and frayed gloves.

“You okay, Callie?” My best friend Jai asked in his too-concerned voice as he sorted our ride tickets. He glanced in my direction with a lopsided grin. “You look like you’re going to puke.”

“I’m not.” I fiddled with the ring around my thumb, and watched the reflection of the strung lights flicker in the puddles on the street.

Normally, I loved the food on sticks and games no one ever really won, and the way people raced from one ride to the next. I loved the smell of barbecue and spun sugar. I even loved the awful music pouring from the house of mirrors and the roller coaster that creaked and whirred around bends and loops.

But this year, I hardly saw any of it.

I only saw the colored flyers on every wall. Flyers with the word MISSING and a photograph below it. Because whenever you heard a story about eleven girls gone missing in your town, you tended to think about it. And I did.


  1. I love that's she cold in July! The descriptions if her clothes and everyone else's are great. But I'm confused. It's just not clear if she's cold because there's something different about her or cold because she's scared to death. I love the ominous feel of all the flyers. ^_^

  2. I really liked how this one ended. I like that you've juxtaposed something that's familiar and normal to the main character (the fair) with something very out-of-place in her world (the missing girls)

    I was also thinking about the cold in July. It makes me intrigued about where she is, but also a little confused. Is there anywhere that it would be cold in July? I might be wondering about that fact a little too much.

    All-in-all, I enjoyed reading and I would definitely read on since I want to know what happened to those girls.

  3. Yes, I'm very intrigued with this but also wondering about the cold part. Since this is paranomal, I'm not sure if that has something to do with it. Either way, if no one else seems to notice the cold - if it is just her experiencing it - wouldn't her friend comment on her wintry outfit and ask if she was sick or something?

    Otherwise, I love the change in mood when the flyers come up. What is also unique is that it isn't like just one person missing - such is common for a best friend or sister, etc. But this clearly states 11 girls. I want to know did they all go missing at once? Is there someone kidnapping girls left and right? This is a great thing to have readers curious because that means they will keep reading. Good job!! :)

  4. I like this one too. I did notice the cold winter clothes and figured the friend would say something only if it's only to comment on them. "Still dressed for December, I see." Or something similar. This reminds me a bit of 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma who had missing girls as her premise too. I like the paranormal aspect of it and would keep reading! Good luck!

  5. I had a hard time with this opening only because it was hard to picture the end of July as cold in any way. August is really the hot month, so I never got a sense of why this mc would think the end of July isn't summer anymore. In this opening, I have more of a sense of the surroundings than the mc. I have no idea why this character is so cold (except for the title about dead) and why the friend doesn't ask why the mc is so bundled up in July.

  6. I pretty much have the same issue as everyone else. I feel like the winter clothes should be a lot more suspicious to everyone else, especially her friend.

    Also, some of the descriptions around your dialogue tend to run long. Be careful they don't drag the pace of the scene. Maybe read them aloud and see if you notice having to take a breath to keep up with them.

    Overall though, you have a wicked good ending that definitely keeps me interested

  7. Wow! This was really good and totally sucked me in from the opening line! Your writing is solid, and I loved how you dumped the missing girls at the end; a real hook after giving a good description of setting through your mc's eyes.

    I've noticed a lot of comments regarding the cold, and having lived in MN I know that it can get cool in the summer, like sweatshirt weather. However being bundled up like the Himalayas with gloves - I don't know that it ever gets that cold, so maybe there's a paranormal element to why she's cold? Only you, the author, can say. However, I did not find the reference to the cold distracting. I guess to sum it up, if it's just a typical cold front during the summer up north, maybe have her wear a jacket, without the bundling up. If it's something paranormal that you want to stand out, have her bundle up.

    Excellent writing and I would read on.

  8. Sorry, but this didn't do anything for me. Nothing happened here. A girl sat on a bench and thought.

    Also, she's dressed for winter wearing a heavy coat and gloves in the middle of July, and no one questions her or gives her strange looks? She's with a friend, and he never brings it up? If it's because of some paranormal issue, I would expect him to know about it, since he's her best friend. Perhaps that info needs to be gotten out.

    You did catch my interest at the end with the disappearance of the 11 girls, but for me, it came too late. Perhaps instead of using that as your ending hook, use that as your opening hook, and then go right into your story instead of preparing the reader for the story.

  9. I’m very intrigued by the idea of eleven girls gone missing and would read on to learn more about that. It seems odd to me that she’s the only one who’s affected by the missing girls; even if everyone has decided to go ahead with the fair, I’d guess that she wouldn’t be the only one distracted by this information, so that seems off-kilter to me, but otherwise, interesting!