Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #38

TITLE: The Ever After and Other Broken Things
GENRE: YA Contemporary

We have to get rid of almost everything.

I know that, I do, yet here I am back in the lawless warehouse attached to the St. Vincent de Paul donation center and resale shop, chasing an over-permed woman named Bonnie around tables heaped with Beanie Babies and old waffle irons, begging for access to the boxes Kenzie and I dropped off yesterday.

Because we aren’t getting rid of everything. That might have been easier, striding into the Arizona sunset with nothing at all. Like this is the movies, and Mom and I can trust the world to unroll like an enchanted carpet in front of us because we’re the protagonists and we already did the hard thing—the hardest thing. When we get to the starting-over part, it’s supposed to get better.

I think that’s how the story goes.

“It’s a really thick old book,” I say. “Hardcover, no dust jacket. Faded red fabric with a gold title. Fairy Stories-something-something.”

“The morning volunteers have all gone home. I got here at one o’clock and I haven’t seen it, but—” She swirls a blue-veined hand at the chaos around us.

My and Mom’s story goes like this: we’ve had four weeks to figure out exactly how much of our life we can afford to haul across the country and how much we can afford to leave behind. Mom went back to work in June, because Doing All the Things is how she deals, which means it’s also how I need to deal.


  1. Great opening line - a good hook. I love the details - from the specific name of the resale shop to the waffle irons on the tables. Really puts me in the setting. I like that your protagonist already has goals - both long term and short term- and obstacles to getting them. I sympathize with her and want her to find that book. The bit about the movies in the third paragraph kind of pulled me out of the narrative. I'd rather hear more about what is actually happening to this character and her mother - like the stuff in the last paragraph.
    Great start and good luck!

  2. I really, really like this. You paint such vivid pictures of your scene that I feel I'm right there with her. Probably the old blue-veined woman!

    The part where you compare their lives to a movie did slow me down a bit, but I still enjoyed it. Sorry, I'm not finding much to critique, but I did want to let you know I would keep reading.

  3. You've packed a lot of information in a few paragraphs,but I'd like a tiny bit more about how this all makes her feel. Great details that bring the scene to life.

  4. That single sentence 2nd paragraph is REALLY long and has a little too much going on in it. Also, why is she chasing this woman around a table? Finally, I don't think there is a good reason to be so insulting to this woman. It makes your character seem unlikable and you don't want that right from the start.

    Good luck!

  5. Ok first things first, I LOVE this opening sentence. It pulls you in immediately with a question. And then the voice is FABULOUS. I’m completely hooked here—great start and I would ABSOLUTELY read on (I need to find out how they got in this situation and why she needs that book back!). This is a great example of starting IN action but not in PEAK action—it’s gripping, but I’m having no problem gaining my footing in the world. GREAT JOB!

  6. I liked everything about this, except for the second paragraph. The image it paints is kind of comical to me (maybe that's just me) and doesn't fit the weight of the rest. It is excellent overall though. I would read more.

  7. You do a good job of opening the story with action. Also, I love the idea of a lost book. I was a little confused as to who Kensie is and why they are moving if the mom started a new job in June.

  8. This is great. I'm sucked right into the story and can feel the desperation. The voice is outstanding. I definitely want to read more.