Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #29

GENRE: YA contemporary

Taylor leans against my new red Mercedes in the student parking lot, her designer jeans practically painted across her a**. “Your mom has amazing taste. I got mine last year, but Daddy bought me the fully loaded model.”

I force a smile. We can’t really afford the car but when Mom has her mind set on getting me the same model of car Taylor drives for my birthday, she usually gets her way with my dad.

“So, are you going to get your tattoo today?” Peyton asks as she walks up to the car. “We all got ours on our seventeenth birthday. You’re the last one.”

I open my mouth to say that my mom would kill me if she found out, but Taylor lets out an audible sigh as she looks back at the school. “Where the hell is Morgan? I want to be back from Barrett before dark.”

Peyton frowns and tosses her Goldilocks waves around. “Why are we going to Barrett?” She purses her lips in a pretty pout—that move never fails on the type of guys she dates—and wrinkles her tiny nose. I always feel like the Incredible Hulk next to her.

Taylor rolls her eyes. “Because Barrett has a tattoo parlor that’ll do tattoos if you’re under age, remember?”

Peyton loses the pout. “I forgot, sorry, Taylor.”

Taylor drums her fingers against the side of the car with impatience. “I told her right after school, where the hell is she?”


  1. The title instantly intrigued me. I think the most interesting thing here is that the main character fakes having the money that the popular (I'm assuming) girls have, and presumably she faked wanting a tattoo, too. But the characters feel a bit like character soup to me, because there isn't much grounding in the main character before they're all introduced, and their voices are all similar. Also, they seem to be saying obvious information that they already know solely to inform the reader. I think the information here could be summarized in a couple sentences without dialogue, so the main inciting incident can come sooner (because I'm assuming it's a lot more than faking a higher status). Good luck!

  2. I was confused between all three girls right away and when Peyton approached the car, I went back to the beginning and re-read it because I thought she was the one already leaning against the car. This "mean girls" archetype and the title of the piece have a lot of potential though. I would probably keep reading just to see how it plays out. The purpose of the dialogue feels forced. It's information the reader needs to be told, rather than characterization. For example, when she says her daddy bought her the fully loaded model last year - wouldn't her friend already know that? Good luck!

  3. I like the mean girls aspect here as well, but got tripped up in all the names and dialogue. I like to get a feel for a character (the MC) right away before others jump in. Even if it's just a sentence or two alone with the MC (and I'm not sure who that is right now), I find it helps ground me in tone and setting. But I would also keep reading to see what happens next! Good luck!

  4. I love the dynamics of the MC pretending to fit in, and the fact that her parents are helping her. But I wasn't drawn into the scene. I have a feel for the characters, but they seemed unremarkable. I agree with the other commends about the dialogue, and especially didn't like Peyton's apology. I'm not sure this is the best starting place...maybe at the tattoo parlor or on the way. But the premise is great, and I like getting a feel for the group before your exciting incident. Good luck! :)

  5. The characters here feel a little stock to me--the popular girls and the outsider trying to fit in. That's okay, but I think there has to be something unique about them that draws the reader into the story. The dialogue feels a bit forced and unnatural between the girls. Maybe try starting the story a little later with the inciting incident, so we can get a real sense of your MC's dilemma. Best of luck!

  6. From the sample, these seem like the stereotypical queen-bee mean girls, and someone the MC has reluctantly gotten tangled up with. This doesn’t come off as that unique an angle, although perhaps the uniqueness comes later, but we’re not getting a hint at it from the sample. I also wonder why the MC is friends with these girls, since she doesn’t seem to want to be doing what they do. There’s also a lot of names used, but I don’t think we got the MC’s name? Peyton, Taylor, Morgan—it’s a bit hard to keep these people straight all on page one.