Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grab My Heart #24

TITLE: Seeking Stanley Derringer
GENRE: YA Romance

After Tab’s crush crushes her, she dreams of a boy who’s desperate to find her, discovers he’s alive, and sets off to find him. SEEKING STANLEY DERRINGER is Jane The Virgin meets the Holy Grail quest, a YA romance set in a Berkeley alternative school and a Detroit garage.

It was the end of a Sunday lunch shift at Tia’s Tacos. I watched two women linger over a shared enchilada. I tried not to stare at the one with her back to me, tattooed up to her sleeveless tee, who tenderly fed the last forkful to a woman holding a baby.

            What was wrong with me? I didn’t want a baby. What did they have that I didn’t have?
            Oh, yeah. Each other. Someone to love. A soul mate. In other words, everything.

            “May I?” I asked the couple as I reached for their empty plate. I laid the check in the middle of the table. The woman holding the baby tucked her into a fabric sling.

            “Your baby’s so cute,” I said. “What’s her name? Or his?”

            “Harmony,” the baby woman said. She eyed my thumb as my hand passed in front of her face. I could always tell when somebody noticed. My thumbs were shaped like little square paddles because of brachydactyly, an inherited trait. Mom thought I got it from my bio dad but I’d never met him so I never really knew.

           Tia watched from the door to the kitchen. Her arms strained with the weight of a full bin of mole sauce. She groaned as she plonked it on the prep counter.

           “I can do that! Sit down!” I hurried to fill bins like I was supposed to between customers. Instead, I’d been reading Parzival, about a naive knight on a quest.


  1. I like the pitch. I have to admit the Detroit garage part grabbed me! The beginning bounced between her interest in the baby, the loving couple and Tia needing the bins filled. I think in the very beginning you may want to stick with one of them to focus on as you unravel the roadblock. I detected hints of humor that I would look forward to ready more of!

    Screen name-Shelley

  2. The writing does a great job making the main character relatable quickly, especially with a motivation well-suited for the age and genre.

    This is arbitrary, but the opening line doesn't have much of a hook by itself or provide much detail. It might be worth combining it with the second or third sentence to emphasize the women or baby since they're the character's focus moreso than the setting and time.

  3. I think your heroine has a clear voice, which is always great. The line "she discovers he's alive" confused me, though, because it sounded like she had already met the guy, just thought he had been killed somehow.

    Minor note: When you said, "A woman with a baby," it sounded like a third woman was there, but I'm pretty sure you just meant there were two.

    I like how you place us in the setting right away, and let us know Tab's desire to find love right away. (I'd be careful, though, as she could come off as whiny if she has lines like that rally frequently.)

    Best of luck!