GENRE: MG Urban Fantasy
The smell of cheap plastic and fake gold filled the mall. My mom said no one could smell the difference between gold and cheap chrome, but I could tell the difference. My best—only—friend, Beth had stopped between a kiosk and a store that sold clothes for full figured Goths. Beth stared at a blue jacket covered in buckles and straps.
“Try it on,” I said.
Beth shrugged. “Their clothes never fit right. They’re a little too optimistic,” she said pointing at her chest. “I can bench a bull, Allyson, but I’m not wining any wet T-shirt contests.”
“How do you know unless you try it on?” I pushed her toward the window, and she stumbled into the foot traffic. I must have caught her by surprise; she was the immovable object. Refrigerators were intimidated by Beth. She was tall, blond, and ready to go pro wrestler at the drop of a hat. I’d seen daintier linebackers on ESPN.
I, on the other hand, had the look of well bred mutt. Eyes too slanted to be Irish, too green to be Japanese, and all of it covered in a fine layer of damning pimples. I looked like a reject from a geisha convention.
A guy even taller and broader than Beth caught her before she stumbled into an innocent passerby. He set her back on her feet like she weighed nothing. My jaw popped open.
“Sorry, my friend’s overly enthusiastic.” Beth straightened her jacket and brushed at imaginary dust.
I want to know what fake gold smells like, maybe a word or two to describe it. Love the description the MC gives herself. There's a set up here, and I get the feeling the MC's friend (the line backer) is going to use her strength for something very important. I wonder what it'll be. I'd keep reading. Is this for Upper MG. Sounds a bit YA?ReplyDelete
I would keep reading. I loved the description of Beth and her line about the clothes being a little too optimistic. (This self-deprecating humor really made me love Beth.) I also really liked the description of Allyson. Like the other commenter, I also thought the story seemed at least upper MG or YA.ReplyDelete
Passive verb stuff again that flattens the action. Instead of "Mom said" use "Mom says". It will help you make the leap to telling us what your girlfriend is shopping for because you're telling this story in real-time.ReplyDelete
I like the description of the MC in the 5th paragraph.ReplyDelete
I don't think (or maybe hope they don't) middle graders would know what a wet t-shirt contest is. So like the others this hits me as YA. And other words like "full-figured" and "damning" and "geisha" read much older.
I really like this, my favourite so far, and I love the description of her friend and herself, it made me smile. Would absolutely read on.ReplyDelete
Only crits: I'd take out the second difference ie 'My mom said no one could smell the difference between gold and cheap chrome, but I could.' Also it seemed a bit more YA than MG, with the focus on clothes and looks, how old are they supposed to be?
I agree with the others that this reads too mature to be MG.ReplyDelete
I do like the descriptions of Beth and Allyson. Don't know about My jaw popped open. That sounds kind of wrong.
I agree there is some passive voice in here but I think the other commenter is confusing past tense with passive voice and present tense with active voice. An example of the passive voice in this sample is: ...Beth had stopped between... To make that not be passive, it should read Beth stopped between. That turns it into showing us an action rather than telling us something that happened.
If this is MG, I would not let my kids read it because of the swearing and obvious mature thoughts of the MC and her supporting characters. If it was YA, I might keep reading.
Thanks for sharing & good luck!
Thank you for all the great feedback. It is upper MG (theme etc.), and it's funny everyone brings up the swearing, because just after sending this into the contest, I thought to myself "Wait, the only time she swears is in the first page? Talk about a wrong impression." So you guys have made me feel good about deleting it, I only wish I could nix it in this entry here.ReplyDelete
Thanks for pointing out the mature lines here in the beginning, I think a change might be in the future (since it really adds nothing to the character, but clearly detracts from the readers opinions).
Again, thank you for taking the time to comment. It helps.
Well, unfortunately, I can’t tell where this is going, and there’s no hint of the fantasy, except maybe the fact that she can smell gold.ReplyDelete
There doesn’t seem to be any connection between the first two sentences and the last two in the first parg., and the wet t-shirt contest remark seemed a bit much for middle grade. On the other hand, it gets across nicely that she’s flat-chested.
You might cut the fifth parg. The story stops so the MC can describe herself, which is for the benefit of the reader. Perhaps work that information in in a more natural way.
I love the pace and voice of this, and agree that it sounds YA. One tiny typo, "winning" is missing an "n."ReplyDelete
1. I really like the "reject from a geisha convention." line. Very clever.ReplyDelete
2. This reads like YA, which is why I was surprised to see it listed as MG. I don't know of many tween girls who are built and can bench press bull. Plus, the voice just comes across as older.
Well, unfortunately, I can’t tell where this is going, and there’s no hint of the fantasy, except maybe the fact that she can smell gold. There doesn’t seem to be any connection between the first two sentences and the last two in the first parg., and the wet t-shirt contest remark seemed a bit much for middle grade. On the other hand, it gets across nicely that she’s flat-chested. You might cut the fifth parg. The story stops so the MC can describe herself, which is for the benefit of the reader. Perhaps work that information in in a more natural way.ReplyDelete