Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Are You Hooked? #13

GENRE: YA Paranormal

          Matt Flaherty’s heart pounded in excitement as he ripped open his Study Abroad confirmation packet. Moving his laptop to the foot of his bed, he flipped through photos of smiling students in front of lush landscapes and ancient buildings.

          “God, this itinerary looks awesome.” The Irish summer program offered hiking, city pubs and kooky mythology–his perfect idea of adventure. He couldn’t wait to see the Blarney Stone, and climb the Cliffs of Moher.

            At the Galway page, a surge of energy ran through Matt’s hands all the way down to his bones. The aftershock left a warm tingling up and down his limbs.

          Holy shit, that was weird.  

          He focused on his next move. The fact that he’d forged his dad’s paperwork and created a fake parent email hadn’t bothered him then. Now, he had to face the fireworks.

         Matt hurried down the hall to his father’s office with the packet. Barely stopping to knock, he rushed in, holding the brochure over the massive desk. “Hey dad, look at this.”

         Making his face as guiltless-looking as possible he raised his eyebrows. Like when he was ten years old. Back then, it was the three of them: his mom, his dad and Matt. Life was halfway decent, even when Flaherty Sr. rebuked him for the smallest misconduct. Instead of timeouts or swats, Matt’s childhood was filled with humiliation and rejection. His mom always got between his dad and him, like some blinged-up Rottweiler. She kept the balance; kept them civil.


  1. I like the concept, but I think it may need a few more sentences to flesh some things out. For instance, "at the Galway page..." was it the turning of the page, or the image on the page that sent a surge of energy? It sort of jumps out, but not in a good way.

    I was also a bit confused about the fake parent email thing. Maybe it's explained later, but I didn't understand how he planned on going to this trip without his parents knowing/paying. In which case, what was the point of the fake email?

    I think it has a good premise, just needs a bit more detail/explanation to draw me in.

  2. This feels like an interesting premise and I like that there's obviously conflict with his dad in addition to the fantasy aspect, but right now, it's happening too quickly for me. Take more time revealing why Matt wants to go as he flips through the pages (this will bond readers to him) and then slow down the weird surge moment on the Galway page. You say back then it was the three of them, which makes me think now he has siblings or that the mom has died. Provide some clarity on that.

  3. I like the concept, but I agree it needs some tightening up to blame it work. I after that a lingering at the Galway page needs to happen.
    I like that I can see some family conflict and fantasy mixed together. I agree with the others that it needs clearing up about his mother, whether she is still there with them or not.

  4. I think you're starting in the wrong place. I'd like it to be later. Either that, or pull me into the scene more.

    The tone seems a little more MG than YA, even if the language and context is older. And some lines feel too adult (e.g. 'rebuked him for the smallest misconduct')

    It's tough to find the perfect voice, but I think you need to play with this a bit more.

  5. I was captivated by the Galway moment and would have liked to see it expanded. One thing seemed out of place for me: depending on whether it's the older or younger YA group the story is aimed at (& I can't yet tell), the "city pubs" comment might not be appropriate.

    Being of Irish extraction myself, I was taken aback at the reference to Celtic mythology as "kooky". This might be enough to turn some readers off.

    Overall, I like the idea and was eager to see how Matt's father reacted. I would read on.

  6. I liked this, but I'd suggest slowing it down so that the Galway page that zaps him happens at the end of tbe page. That's a oage turner for sure.

    I'd also suggest cutting that last parg. You're giving us something exciting and a bit spooky, and then you take it away to give us backstory. The excitement instantly dies.

    Perhaps when he goes to talk to his father, you can work in the backstory without remeniscing. Maybe there's a picture of Mom on the wall or his dad's desk. You can show dad's attitude toward him by how he treats Matt now. Matt can think if mom was alive, she'd stop him. Use action and dialogue to get the backstory in rather than stopping the story to do so. But don't put it on the first page.

  7. Hooked for now...I am curious about Matt and I like him. However, I think the whole Galway thing was very quickly glossed over. Something really freaky happened and he just shrugs it off.

    I am curious about what will be the interaction between him and his dad, but I don't think that was the place for the reminiscing about his childhood.

    All in all, I hope he gets to go to Ireland and I think the adventure he has will be interesting.

  8. I am hooked with the story premise--paranormal Ireland, take me there!--but I agree that you might not be starting in the right place. I also was pulled out of the story with the blinged Rottweiler image of his mom.

    I'd love to see a revision.