Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Are You Hooked? Young Adult #21

TITLE: Desperately Seeking Normal
GENRE: YA Contemporary Fantasy

After sixteen years of yearning to escape her tiny trailer and maniacal mother, Thomas Miranda gets her wish.

“Thomas Miranda Little, did you steal my cigarettes again?” my mother squawks like a hungry pterodactyl.
That’s me.
A sixteen-year-old girl.
My mother found it a fantastic idea to name me after her father. When I complain she says, “Just be glad your sperm donor and I split before you were born, or you could've been a Eugene.” But Eugene is my favorite. Unlike Grandpa Thomas he doesn’t enjoy whiskey with his breakfast, and he sends a birthday card on the 18th of every month, just in case - he nails it in July.
I am Miranda to my friends and Randi to my mother when she is not in breakdown mode from quitting smoking, which happens twice a month.
Three years ago my school signed me up for freshman football because they thought I was Thomas Lawry. I got flyers in the mail with suggestions on what size sport cup to buy.
They say a soul chooses its family. I challenge whoever came up with that theory to live for a week in a 500-square foot trailer in small town Ohio with one absent parent and one who creates dead bug jewelry for a living. Every day I dream of teleporting to a magical land with dragons and fairies and hot sword fighting men on shiny horses, or at least a normal family with a mother who doesn’t enjoy singing old Doors songs with her unemployed hippie friends at two in the morning on a Wednesday, surrounded by cockroach carcasses.
Or preferably no parents at all. I’ve basically raised myself, anyhow.
I shuffle out of my room and step into a scene from a disaster film as it seems my mother has tornado'd through the entire trailer searching for the cigarettes she hid from herself three days ago.
With a sigh I turn around, lifting the lid of my music box with the one-legged ballerina - a gift from my father before she drove him out of our lives.
“Looking for these?” I dangle the little red carton.


  1. The voice pops off the virtual page for me. Love this girl. Love that she was named after a man. Love her crazy mama and all! Very curious to see where this goes. I'm not super crazy about the middle of this all being outside our immediate story, but the details are gold. Maybe put it back in on page 2 or 3? Just my 2 cents. Great start!!!

  2. Super strong voice! I like the wry humor and love the oddly specific little details (two in the morning on a Wednesday, the one-legged ballerina).

    In the second sentence I might say, "Thomas. That's me." And I'd like a tiny bit more detail in the logline, since you've got some word count to play with: "Thomas Miranda gets her wish when..."

    Overall, though, I'm hooked. I'm fine with starting with setup/background like this as long as something else, like establishing a great narrative voice, is also being done.

  3. I loved the voice and how the narrator's attitude put us right into her universe. We get a lot of info and context but it flows like as if Thomas is right there talking to us, telling us about herself for the first time. I was hooked.

  4. It seems like only the beginning and end are part of the story, the whole middle section is just explaining the character's backstory to us. Although I did like the "he nails it in July" part. And the logline doesn't really hint at any conflict so I don't know what the story is. I would be on the fence if I am hooked or not.

  5. Good writing but needs to be reeled back in just a little.The logline I think should be amped up a bit eg.She gets her wish...and what happens?