Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Secret Agent #20

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

Without a doubt, the love letter is the most dastardly piece of literature. Something so light shouldn’t carry so much weight. My letter wasn’t ready, but it could only do so much. Besides, Jason Garvie had already kissed me.

As I made my way down the bleachers, he looked up at me. My heart thumped, and he smiled.

I could die from relief. He did feel the same way. He was just playing it cool. He held his hand to the side of his head like a phone and mouthed the words, We need to talk.

Blood rushed in my ears drowning out everything. My toe caught the edge of a seat. I stumbled but didn’t fall. His cheeks dimpled as his smile deepened.

Hold it together, Tessa. Weeks of wearing dresses and keeping my hair perfect, and all of it was about to pay off. How could this be anything but hidden love? And just before prom too!

“Can we talk?” he asked.

Sound casual, Tessa. You can do this. Cas-uuuu-aaall.

“Sure.” Oh crap, was that too casual. Damn it all, why is talking so littered with social pitfalls? “I mean yes. Talking would be good. Uh—here?”

The dimples came out again as he shook his head. “The band room. If you have time, that is.”

“Of course. For you. I have time—I mean, let me check the time—Yes!”

Curse you mouth who speaks without my permission.


  1. I loved your first paragraph. The voice is fantastic right off the bat, and I'm curious about this letter and why she's giving it to a boy who's already kissed her.

    The second paragraph (As I made my way...) fell a tad flat for me. Maybe showcase her nervousness more than just a thumping heart? Your MC's voice is so great, but seemed to be missing there for a little bit.

    "He was just playing it cool". Does she mean right now, or as a reference to how he has already been behaving? If it's a reference to his aloofness prior to this, maybe hint at that so we understand they've kissed but he hasn't done anything more and see the tension there.

    Tiny nit pick here: After she nearly trips, maybe move the line about his smile deepening and move right into her telling herself to hold it together? I feel like it would help the reader settle into her mortification of just nearly having tripped in front of her crush if we don't see him smile right away.

    You do a great job contrasting her inner dialogue with her seeming inability to speak coherently around him :) I can definitely identify.

    Overall, I thought this was great! I'd definitely read more!

  2. Great title and voice. I got a good sense of how nervous she is. The only thing I thought was unclear was her goal. Was she walking to him to talk/give him a letter or was she trying to walk by him and see what he did? I think if you clarify her goal, and how he's affecting it, this scene will be even stronger.

    Good luck!

  3. Nice inner voice. I found the first sentence a little too broad and general because I didn't know if this is a narrator voice speaking, or your MC's thoughts. Reading forward I realized it's her thoughts. There might be a way to make that a little more clear.

    Also when she's talking to herself you change persons (Hold it together Tessa vs weeks of ... keeping my hair perfect) took me out of the story a little. Other than that it's a nice beginning.

  4. Your title is so good it drew me to your entry right off the bat. I think you nailed the voice and I like Tessa. I think the inner dialogue is really good and matches the voice. I am hooked and would read on. I think he is going to dump her in the band room.

  5. Your title had me immediately interested, even though I normally don't like prom books. Your character's nervousness is adorable and perfect, and I have a feeling Jason's going to break her heart, but all the readers will instantly sympathize with her because of her strong voice. Even if he doesn't, I'm intrigued and wan to read more.

  6. Really liked the voice. Loved the title.

    The only thing that confused me a bit was him mouthing "we need to talk" and then saying, "Can you talk." The phone sign and the mouthing feel like something you do when you're separated by distance and can't talk right then, but she's on him in seconds. The first isn't really serving a purpose, so for an opening scene, doing it twice is a little redundant.

  7. This is so full of voice I love it — especially the last line got an actual laugh out loud moment. My one caution in this when you have her nearly trip, the clumsy/tripping heroine is a cliche and I’d avoid that at all costs. There are some readers who it will completely turn them off. I’m very picky about contemporaries and, for being a book about prom, this has me wanting to read more.

    I’m also secretly hoping this “we need to talk” turns into “I’m asking someone else out” because I love seeing contrary and non-predictable books. Well done for the hook!

  8. Nice title! This was light and fun, but I was confused at the ending. Are these her thoughts or someone else’s and is someone else actually putting words in her mouth? It seems plausible, but I don’t know for sure. Perhaps make that clearer.

    I’d also suggest cutting the opening parg. That first line is a good line, but who is she telling it to? She’s telling it to the reader, but she is a character in a book and shouldn’t be aware of the reader. She should only talk to other characters in the book. On the other hand, everyone does it now, so perhaps it’s becoming acceptable. Still, I don’t know if Jason already kissed her, and what happened in the gym is what led up to it, or if he already kissed her, and what happens in the gym happens after that first kiss.