Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #44

TITLE: Paloma and the Bow Wow Bar Mitzvah
GENRE: Contemporary early middle grade chapter book

Summer Vacation Rule Number One: if you’re trying to save the planet, don’t use left-over Easter egg dye as hair color.

I, Paloma Perez, have a lot of hiccups. Not the mini-heart-attack, can’t-breathe-for-a-second kind of hiccups. The Paloma-what-have-you-done-now kind of hiccups. But those are my mom’s words. She calls my oops-I-made-a-mistake hiccups, disasters.

Hiccups aren’t disasters unless you’re Charles Osborne. He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for hiccuping for sixty-eight years. Can you believe he hiccuped every ten seconds, even when he was sleeping? I used a calculator. That’s over two hundred million hiccups.

I’m only nine. I bet I don’t have a thousand hiccups. Even if I add the regular kind and the mistakey kind together. But it’s only the first day of my summer vacation.

Anything could happen.

I could drink too fast and laugh too hard and ka-powie! Hiccups.

Or my planet-saving hair color could stink like pickles. Which it does. But I told my mom, that’s not a disaster.

I didn’t convince her. She banished me from the back of Lucia’s Divas Hair Salon to the front. My mom’s Lucia. She’s the owner, and we live above the salon with my grandmother.

So I’m sitting at the scratched wooden table called the reception desk, when Nina, my best friend, flies into the salon like she packed her Tori Skori backpack with jet fuel.


  1. Paloma seems like a really cute character! But this narrative is kind of all over the place. I know she's nine, and kids have shorter attention spans, but the first three paragraphs had three different focuses. Particularly the first two paragraphs--hair dye and then hiccups. It was just a little jumpy to me, and ended up confusing.

  2. I love the title of your book! And I adore Paloma from your first line. Well done.

    I agree with the comment above re: the first 250 words jumping around too much. You totally have me with "Summer Vacation Rule Number One" and I suggest that you stay in scene here.
    So after the first line, I suggest that you keep the hair dye thread and transition to the hair salon and stinky egg dye, followed by Paloma's friend flying through the door.

  3. Hi

    Just agreeing with the others. The rule and title are great. But paragraph 2 and onward for a bit are exposition. It's explanations and setup that aren't needed. I want the here-and-now story to start.

  4. I concur with what has been said. But I must you have an awesome, incredible voice. I just want to be grounded in setting, time and some sort of goal. But wow, what a voice!

  5. I love the opening line and the voice as well. It's starts off really cute. I was confused as to the hiccups. Is she hiccupping at the time? (because she's punished?) If she does have hiccups, maybe you could add them sporadically, like hic! hic!
    I think kids will enjoy this.

  6. Love the voice. Really adorable voice.

    Found the moving between hiccups and saving the world and things that are disasters to be confusing.

    Slow down, a bit, and develop one thought at a time, maybe.