Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #25

TITLE: Buddy
GENRE: MG Contemporary

Every girl loves a birthday party. That’s what my foster mom, Miss Donna, said. She figured a big party for my twelfth birthday would be the perfect way for me to meet all the kids in her neighborhood. I disagreed. I knew it would be a disaster long before the candles were on the cake and the guests showed up. By the time the paramedics left, Miss Donna agreed with me.

           Twenty-three soon-to-be seventh-graders were packed like sardines into the overstuffed family room, laughing and chatting with each other while I watched from the sidelines and counted the sweat trickles as they escaped from my armpits. I’d only been at Miss Donna’s for three days, so the kids were all strangers to me. I couldn’t relax long enough to even remember their names.

The room was beautiful, and full of noise and bright colors. Miss Donna and her sisters must have worked most of the night to pull this off. My case worker, Miss Lee, may have even helped. She seemed to care about me. They all did. But what did I know? I’d never been in foster care before, so I didn’t know if the being nice was real or just part of the job.

Gifts covered the long table over by the wall. I tried to ignore them, but all that pink and purple fluff was hard to resist. Boxes of every shape and size taunted me with a promise of something exciting.

7 comments:

  1. I'm pretty well hooked, and it's all because of that tantalizing line about the paramedics. Your narrator has a clear voice as well -- wary and skeptical.

    You might want to reword some of the opening sentence in the second paragraph, if only because three hyphenated words in a row looks a little cluttered.

    Good luck!

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  2. I LOVE that first paragraph. I was skimming through all the entries, looking for the next one to read, and you had me at "paramedics". Very nice.
    I'm curious about this character and obviously want to know what is going to happen at this party. I like the detail of the sweat trickle in the armpits; the "packed in like sardines" description was a little cliche and didn't grab me as well. Overall, I'd like to see a little more about what the MC wants and what is getting in her way and a little less description about Miss Donna and the gifts. But a great start and I wish you good luck!

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  3. Great first sentence, as is the tease about the paramedics.

    The paragraph below seems misplaced, takes me out of what's going on. Why would she assume that the social worker had helped? And does she really think they care about her if she's new to them? I'd stay with observing the party for now.
    "Miss Donna and her sisters must have worked most of the night to pull this off. My case worker, Miss Lee, may have even helped. She seemed to care about me. They all did. But what did I know? I’d never been in foster care before, so I didn’t know if the being nice was real or just part of the job."

    I do love that it's a story about someone in foster care; not enough of those.

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  4. I don't understand the first paragraph. Is it a mini-prologue that's telling us what already happened and then we're flashing back to see it happen? If so, I think you need to tell us this because I am assuming the paramedics have left before the next paragraph which doesn't make sense.

    Also, "my foster mom" is telling. She doesn't need to remind herself who Miss Donna is. Same thing with "my case worker".

    And how is she counting sweat trickles from her armpit? I'm trying to picture this and I can't figure it out. I like the idea that she's focusing on her sweat because it shows her nerves but I think counting sweat trickles in an armpit is a little odd especially given that she has clothes on (I assume). Sorry, I'm being nitpicky. I like this otherwise!

    Good luck!
    Holly

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  5. I’d cut “By the time the paramedics left…” it cuts the tension because we can already guess what happens. I’d rather have a sense of foreboding—that the MC knew it would be a disaster before even disaster struck. I also found myself tripping over the first sentence in the second paragraph—the idea of being packed like sardines is clichĂ© and I was unsure how someone could truly count their sweat trickles (although in both cases I knew what you were hinting at). This is a promising start and a few additional tweaks could make this opening even stronger.

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  6. I'm intriqued by this premise. I want to know why she's been placed in foster care. I'm a little confused by her voice. She sounds older than 12 at the beginning but then the part about the sweat and the wanting to open the presents reads truer to the age.

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