Thursday, July 17, 2008

#68 SECRET AGENT Are You Hooked?

Genre: Young Adult

I always thought girls who got pregnant in high school were not the same ones who spent six months discussing the finer points of birth control with their boyfriend and their doctor. But the instant I pull the pee stick from my trickle, I know different. For some stupid reason my heart flutters; I bite my lip to hold back a smile.

The rattle of Mom’s van in the driveway pulls me from my reverie and I remember Brady waiting on the couch. I’m out of breath by the time I catapult down the steps and into our living room.

"Hey! You’re home."

But I’m too late. Brady’s already blundering to Mom, while scratching his long bangs nervously over his face.

"We were just, um, here to…"

I block Mom with my back and give him one sharp shake of my head to settle his anxiety. I’ll tell him the truth later when we’re alone. After I’ve had a chance to sign him up for a few acting classes.

He lets out a relieved breath, which worries me slightly, but there’s no time. I turn back to attempt some parental damage control. Before I can kick in with some casual jabber, I feel a rock settle in my gut about the irony of the situation. Next time I push Mom’s fertility meds aside to ‘borrow’ one of her spare pregnancy tests, I’ll have to think a little harder about how I’m going to look her in the face.


  1. Wow, you got me. It sounds like she's happy she's pregnant, which is definitely not the reaction I was expecting from a teenage MC in a YA. I would have to read this to see how you're going to play that off.

    Also, good job with the immediate conflict, on different levels.

  2. I'm hooked.

    My one note: Your tense changes awkwardly in the first paragraph and distracts from the fact that your teen mc is pregnant.

    Other than that, I loved it. Unexpected situation, clear voice, humor in a tense moment. And I want to know what's going to happen!

  3. I think the voice here is good. I also like the humor and promise for conflict.

    The MC smiles after she reads the test results. Is she happy she's pregnant? Because she mentions she discussed birth control with her doc and boyfriend.

    For an opening and the tone of the manuscript, you might want to save the excitement for later. A teen mom can be excited about the baby and the idea, but even if they're happy, they have a million other things to deal with. Parents, the school, her future, etc. It might even be beneficial to show the excitement AND the worry.

    But I really like it so far!

  4. This story definitely needs a tense change. (Personal preference.)

    I like the way it sets up, and I would read more because I'm curious about her perceived happiness at pregnancy.

    I have a feeling it might have something to do with her mother's fertility pills. But I hope not because that would make the story predictable from page 1.

    Love the voice.

  5. That's a twist. Infertile mother with pregnant teenage daughter. I'm hooked on the premise, not so much on the writing. It has promise, but the tense will probably grate on me before it's done.


  6. I like the voice too, but I too, was struck by the smile at the pregnancy result. Interesting though, and a good teenage boy reaction to the mother and his girlfriend's supposedly negative result. Good job setting up conflict on a lot of levels in just a few words.

  7. This is definitely interesting. I'd like to see how the main character deals with being pregnant.

  8. Not a chance. Teen pregnancy isn't something I want to read about and it isn't something I want my girls glorifying.

    There are teen mothers, there is teen sex, and a lot of those people go on to live good and happy lives. It doesn't mean I want to make it look attractive and good to the children in my life.

  9. I like this one a lot. I'm intrigued by the protagonist's unexpected reaction to finding out she's pregnant, especially after being so careful about it.

    Immediately, I know what the conflict is and what's at stake. Good job!

  10. Very unusual. Happy pregnant teen with fertility deficient mother. Speaking as someone in the latter role, your last paragraph was a punch in the stomach. I don't get those "surprise!" feelings very often anymore. I will always continue to read when I find them. Good job!

  11. Definitely an intriguing beginning, but the tense change at the beginning is jarring, and it seems like the pregnancy confirmation is pushed aside much too quickly, giving your reader no time to digest this news. Then the focus shifts to whether or not Brady can keep a straight face.

    I would have to say tentatively yes.

  12. Yes, with a word of caution. The tense distracts more than it helps. I'd suggest going with past tense instead. I like the voice and touches of humor a lot. The protagonist has such an unexpected reaction that I'm intrigued to know more. I also like the twist that her mother has trouble conceiving. I'm interested enough to read more.

  13. I liked it. I could love it, but not as it stands now.

    As most people whose work I've critted could tell you, I HATE present tense books. They drive me insane and I want to rewrite them all in past tense.

    That said, it's a wonderful start and a great hook. I just wouldn't read anymore because of the tense it's written in.

  14. YES.

    Strong voice and great premise. I was particularly struck by the fact that her mom is trying to get preggers and her teenaged daughter has gotten preggers by accident is going to be main part of the plot. How is she going to deal?

  15. No. This is simply a case of subject matter. The voice is great, but I really don't like the idea of a teenager liking that she's pregnant, or getting pregnant on purpose.
    It might be a charming and irreverent story, and it has a lot of truth to it, but having been around the foster care system, there is just nothing amusing about this at all.
    The voice has such a light, humerous tone, but to me this is nothing but sad.

  16. No, for the reasons Just_Me gives.

  17. Nice voice and quirks of humor, but not really a subject I'm interested in reading, so no.

    Good luck,


  18. No, because of the tense issue. And the "pulls me from my reverie" is cliche. I think the writing itself is still a bit rough and wordy. But I do like the premise quite a bit. If the writing were better, then yes, I'd read on.

  19. Yeah, I like the MC already, poor thing. I didn't mind the use of present tense so long as you are consistent throughout the story.

  20. Not hooked.

    Not my thing. The MC has a good voice, though.

  21. I liked it and would read on, however I don't know any teenagers that use the word catapult.

    Good Luck

  22. I'm not one for glorifying teen preg., but I have a sense that's not where this is headed.

    So I'm a yes.

  23. I'm totally hooked and would immediately ask to see the manuscript. You set up two huge conflicts right away with 1) the pregnancy and 2) the mom's fertility meds and the voice is immediately compelling. I hate issue books but this already feels like it has the possibility to transcend that niche.

  24. Hooked. Terrific opening--I love it.

  25. I'm going to say yes, based on the voice and unusual reaction, trusting that it's not going to glorify teen pregnancy. In RL, the blurb, of course, ought to clear that up.

  26. A definite yes! I love "...I pull the pee stick from my trickle..."

    I'm very curious about Brady. Who he is. What his reaction will be. And I also am curious about Mom's reaction. And I'm wondering where you're going to go with this. What are her stakes? Does she remain thrilled about the pregnancy?

  27. Yes. I was semi-hooked just by her positive reaction to being pregnant. It was hook, line and sinker when I found out her mom was on fertility meds. (But I'm a mom, so I wonder how teens would react to this irony.) Great job either way.