Friday, December 2, 2011

#30 YA Paranormal Mystery: Hannah's Half

TITLE: Hannah's Half
GENRE: YA Paranormal Mystery

18-year-old reluctant psychic Hannah Spencer has learned to ignore her morning visits from the dead until Adam, a recent casualty in a car accident, appears and demands her help to move on to the afterlife. Troubled by her intense attraction to him, Hannah uncovers the truth about their connection: Adam is her twin flame — the other half of her soul— and the two have spent a number of lifetimes together. When Hannah links Adam to the terrifying recurring dreams she’s having, she must decide if helping him is worth risking her life … again.

“You got a name, kid?”

The boy sitting on my bedroom floor couldn’t have been more than five years old. The cowlick in the back of his corn-husk blond hair needed taming. As he sat cross-legged, holding a half-inflated red balloon, I noticed that the bottoms of his bare feet were dirty.

I rarely asked questions anymore because the Visitors never speak. I mean never. I’ve been seeing dead people for as long as I can remember and it’s always the same routine. Stare with haunted eyes, linger in the room, then disappear.

“Give me a break.” I sighed and pushed back my comforter. I’d gotten over being shy in front of the dead a long time ago. If they were going to invade my space, then they’d have to deal with seeing me in my panties.

The sweet, burned smell of kettle corn filled my nose and carnival music played in my head. In strobe-like flashes, I saw the little boy walking hand in hand with an older man in dusty overalls and a crooked John Deere cap. The man handed the boy a cardboard cone wrapped with pink cotton candy.

“I don’t have time for this. I’m going to be late for a calculus test.”

The boy continued to stare. I didn’t want to be shown how he died or if the older man had something to do with it. The whole routine was super old and I’d give anything to have a dead-free day.


  1. You do a very good job of setting up the character and the fact that she's obviously done this over and over and is bored with the whole thing.

    At the same time, the reader HASN'T done this before and you give us enough glimpses into the ghost world to intrigue.

    I would definitely keep reading.

  2. I like this idea. Very L.J. Smith, who I LOVE. I can see lots of potential with this story, and how you could play lots of different moods with Hannah's reactions to the ghosts.

    Ghosts usually aren't my thing, but I would keep reading. I like Hannah's voice. I'm interested to see how ghosts screw up her day. ;)

    Good luck!

  3. I like this premise. Meg Cabot's Mediator series is one of my favorites, and this seems to have a similar flavor.

    I'd read on. My only hesitance comes from the fact that this is a 5 year-old boy who's been killed (and it looks like in a possibly horrific way), and she doesn't seem to be showing any sense of compassion. Maybe in that last line, instead of her being snarky and cold, you could show that she's grown disillusioned or wary in dealing with ghosts. I feel like that's where you're going with it.

  4. Very interesting, especially the twin flame notion. I'd just watch out for two unrelated references to corn in the first 250 words.

  5. I like this premise. I read about twin flames before and always wanted to write a story involving them. This one sounds like a great fit! I'd read on.

  6. The writing is good. But I've read at least three books recently about characters waking up with ghosts either talking to them, or sitting in the corner of the bedroom. So this is not fresh to me.

  7. Logline: I'm curious as to how she finds out about her own past lives, and that there are soulmates. I might pick this up, but I might not; romances aren't usually my thing.

    Excerpt: Okay, I liked it. At first, it was just her dealing with a random little kid who showed up in her room, then it becomes speaking with the dead. I do have to wonder if she habitually speaks with the dead, though, or if she's doing it just this once for reader's help.

    I'd get this out of the library.

  8. I'm a recent convert to YA literature, but this logline grabbed me from the start--particularly the conundrum of risking her life...again. I like that the logline foreshadows so much angst and conflict.

    I also felt that the voice in the logline exactly matched the voice in the excerpt. Here is a young woman who struggles with the mundane (getting good grades) and has become numb to the exceptional (exposing oneself and seeing vignettes of dead people).

    I actually got the impression that she was very concerned with the boy, as despite never receiving an answer in all the times she tried to speak to one of the apparitions, she still asked him if he had a name. Even though his silence kindled frustration, she reached out.
    This is echoed by not wanting to know how he died. It seems as if it has taken too much of a toll on her. Would love to see how this plays out in the story.

    Also love the line about routine: Stare with haunted eyes, linger in the room, then disappear.

    Good luck!

  9. I'm really intrigued by the logline. I like stories with characters that are tied together through different lifetimes.

    The details you pull out in your opening page are really nice, and I like the voice a lot. One question, though, is if the dead never speak, why would she ask the boy his name? I would expect a rhetorical question or some kind of comment instead, since she knows he can't answer.

    It reminds me of a J-drama called Ghost Friends, where ghosts are constantly hanging around the protag for help and she just wants them to disappear until she falls in love with one of them. I'd definitely want to read this.

  10. I really liked this, although I did have the same reaction as Karen - it seems a bit callous of Hannah to say 'super old'. As a reader, I'm picturing what could have happened to the little boy and it's heartbreaking and disturbing, so to have Hannah dismiss it like that is jarring. I understand that if she's seen this sort of story many times before it's not going to affect her as much, but she seems bored or irritated and it doesn't make her sympathetic as a character. I would cut the first part of the sentence and leave it at "I'd give anything to have a dead-free day."

  11. #30 HANNAH’S HALF

    Logline: I’ll admit I have a soft spot for novels that explore souls and soul-deep connections, so the twin-flame concept is lighting me up.(A-hem.)

    Line notes: clean overall, nothing slowed me down.

    Overall: These opening words give me a view of a hard, callous character, her blasĂ© voice juxtaposed against the sad and tragic story she’s confronted with in this scene. I’m not sure I LIKE this mc from the get-go. But I’m intrigued by the “twin-flame” idea, though I don’t really see it or the nightmares in this sample. I’d be interested in seeing more.

  12. Josh, it seems we have similar tastes - I'll see 25 pages.

  13. I'll raise you to 50

  14. why hello, Victoria! 75 pages and loser buys drinks tonight?

  15. You're on, Kari :) 150

  16. good job, Victoria!