Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are You Hooked? #3

TITLE: The Girl Who Turned To Stone
GENRE: Contemporary YA written in verse

To cope with her rare terminal illness, seventeen-year-old Jenna Harrison imagines herself to be supernatural.

I'm a gargoyle,

born with toes that curve inward,

good for gripping ledges and rooftops.

I turned this way slowly,

over time.

A long,


painful time.

I wish I knew the view from the top of Notre Dame.

Last summer,

in Paris with French Club,

Nick and I stood at the base of Notre Dame.

Out on the street,

where the gargoyles looked like ants,

we threw our heads back and gazed up,



"I'm home," I said.

"You're not." He squeezed my hand.

"I'm one of them. I belong up there."

"You're crazy."

"I'm not."

Nick tugged my arm,

pulled me to him.

"You're one beautiful gargoyle, Jenna Harrison."

That night,

we walked along the Seine,

our fingers laced together.

Notre Dame shined.

The Eiffel Tower stood tall and erect,

glowing like a skeleton on Halloween.

I felt them,

the gargoyles,

staring down,


down on us.

I wasn't welcome there,

in their world,

on top of their church.

I was born with evil inside.

God would turn me into a pillar of salt,

if I were up atop Notre Dame.

Nobody was happier with my condition than my Dad.

He stood me on our roof.

I keep the geese from messing on our patio.

Here I stand.




Like the Eiffel Tower.

But I don't glow.

I glower.


  1. I love this. The emotion drug me in immediately. Great voice!

  2. This is a LOVELY voice! I'm not entirely sure that I could read an entire novel in this format, but I'd certainly read on.

  3. This piece could stand alone as is but also does a great job of showing me the MC's sense of longing and silent anger and frustration over her situation. I'm hooked!

  4. I like the voice. I don't love the format. If this same piece, word for word, were presented to me in standard formatting, I'd say that I was hooked for sure. I'm wondering about the comment about her dad - right now it reads that he is happy about her illness.

    This would make a wonderful prologue.

  5. Having just read 'The Day Before,' I fell into the rhythm of this piece immediately. If this had been my first exposure to a novel written in verse I know I would have reacted differently.

    However, I loved this. I want to know what's going on with her - why would the gargoyles not accept her? Why is her dad's reaction to her illness so different? And why is she so torn?

    I would definitely read on. The verse is beautiful and captivating.

  6. I agree with scriptoblam - I really, really like this, by to me it doesn't feel like a verse novel, it would be fine as prose.

  7. Beautifully done. I'm not sure i'd want to read an entire novel in verse, but as a short piece, it really drew me in. The voice is lovely. Good job! Hooked. :)

  8. I want to thank Cheryl for answering the question is a novel in verse sellable. So it tis.

    Whenever verse is read in my critique group I usually think of meter and ryhme and rarely say anything, except to clap (if I liked it). I use my intuition. The feeling I get from your voice is strong and competent. The scene evokes Paris, puts me there. My radar had me worry just a little about the use of Notre Dame and the Tower a bit too often and I wondered if you could see the tower from the front of the Cathedral?? Just minor thoughts. perhaps I'm all wet and should just clap.


  9. Gorgeous, emotional scene. I've never read a novel in verse, but this is amazing.

  10. I was wary about reading this because I don't usually read novels in verse, but I'm a sucker for anything about Paris. I'm so glad I gave it a chance. It is beautiful!


  11. I've only read a few novels in verse--Ellen Hopkins--but this really hooked me. The bleakness of the emotions mixed with the lyrical quality of the prose created a powerful contrast that really drew me in.

    As a physical therapist I'm super curious which disease your MC suffers from, too--I'm thinking it might be fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

  12. I have only read a few novels in verse, and for me how well it works depends primarily on the subject being handled. I love this b/c I feel like the lyrical almost distance this type of narration creates is a perfect foil for someone with a rare terminal illness. I would definitely read on.

  13. I agree with Scriptoblam. I like the premise and writing, but the formatting (for me) takes away from the flow of the story. Otherwise I'm hooked!

  14. Wow, I totally love this! I've never read in verse like this, so it was something very fresh and new. You have a beautiful way with words and a strong MC voice. Love it!

  15. My favorite part is definitely the supernatural twist, how the narrator is rejected from both worlds right at the beginning. The verse format doesn't bother me now and think it will get easier with time, although I've never read a book like that. Always have to start somewhere!

  16. I loved this! I've shied away from novels in verse even though everyone speaks so highly of Ellen Hopkins. This really sucked me in though and I would like to read more of it. Very well done!!

  17. I've never read a novel in verse, so I was a bit hesitant at first (insecurity, perhaps, that I wouldn't get it). But this is lovely. The rhythm and flow of the words set the tone and mood quite well. I would definitely read on.

  18. I've never read a novel in verse, but I found it very cool. I love the voice in the piece and the emotions that really showed through. I think that it being in verse also helped really showcase the emotions well. Great job!

  19. Gorgeous writing, intriguing premise--I'm hooked!

  20. The logline does not do justice to the story you seem to want to tell. You've got a lot of good things going on here - a boyfriend who accepts her as she is, a father who is happy with her illness, and Paris and gargoyles - all things that could pull me in, but the logline gives no sense of that. If all I had was the logline, I'd put this down in a heartbeat.

    Luckily, I have more. The writing is strong and the MC has an interesting voice, and if it were written as prose, I would definitely read on.

    As verse, I'm not so sure. If I'm reading verse, I want more imagery. I want metaphor and simile and interesting language, the things that make verse more than prose broken up into short lines. I'd give this a few more pages to see if you gave me that.

  21. Wow! That was exceptional. I've only read one book in verse before and it was a Newberry winner. It took a little getting used to, but yours flowed perfectly. I was totally hooked. Loved it!!!

  22. This is AMAZING! So vivid, so descriptive, so full of emotions. I'm not a verse fan, but I'd totally go for this one!

  23. I've never read a novel in verse, but I would read this one. I'm so hooked. This is beautiful.

  24. Definitely hooked by the concept. I've never read a novel in verse before, though I know there are some out there -- some doing very well!

    This is very emotional and evocative. I'd read more.

  25. i love to read and write poetry, but i'm still not overly thrilled to read an entire novel in verse. something about it puts me off, and i put it down.
    however, that said, your imagery is lovely and the concept is great. this piece really hooked me. i'm curious what her condition is and would read on.

  26. I enjoyed the story. The logline fell a little short. It felt like the writer/narrator trying to explain the verse rather than describing the story.