Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Agent #27

TITLE: Marvelous Menace
GENRE: YA Thriller

“Brooke Wagner, get down here right now!”

It was the fifth time Mom yelled for me, but I still wasn’t ready. I grabbed a necklace and earrings—would have to put them on in the car—and rushed downstairs. “This acceptable?”

Mom eyed me critically, probably comparing my out-of-control locks with her flawlessly coiled hair.

Her gaze lingered on my eyes, and her mouth tightened. Guess the blue eyeshadow to match my dress wasn’t the right choice. Unlike her, I couldn’t apply my makeup so perfectly it looked like I wasn’t wearing any. Her gaze shifted lower, and she shook her head and sighed.

“What’s wrong now?” I asked. Yeah, okay, by her standards, my dress was way too tight and a little short, but it wasn’t that low cut, and I thought I looked good with my sweet boots.

“There’s no time for you to change.” Her pursed red lips relaxed into a smile. “I really am glad you changed your mind and decided to go with us.”

I stopped myself from rolling my eyes. In eight days, I’d turn sixteen, and the best way to get my parents to throw me the huge party I wanted was to be the obedient daughter and join them for some boring play.

The fact that hunky Sebastian Karr was rumored to be there didn’t twist my arm any. Nope.

Mom patted her strawberry blond hair before donning a feathered hat. “Shall we?”


  1. I think this captures the mother daughter relationship well. I'd drop a few words to make it a bit tighter such as 'red' before lips, and the 'Nope'. I'd also change 'I thought I looked good with my sweet boots.' to I thought it looked good with my sweet boots. Overall though a good, interesting opening. You have captured a YA voice well.

  2. I think you've got the teen/ parent relationship down pat, and I like that the MC is in to clothes and parties (YA protags always seem to be book needs and the ones the fun best friend has to drag to the party kicking and screaming.) I feel like this characterization is more interesting and realistic. As far as crit, I think you should cut some of the superfluous adjectives to tighten it and maybe chose a better, less dated word for "hunky." I've never heard a teen girl use that word. They say hottie, cutie, etc.

  3. You have a great voice for your MC. I liked "I stopped myself from rolling my eyes."

    You have cleverly hinted at the MC's looks by comparing them to the mom's, and I like how her description is scattered throughout the paragraphs.

    I feel you're a bit too negative and cliched with the mother/daughter relationship, though. There's an element of love and hate with mothers and daughters. A little more "love", perhaps a yearning, or something she really likes about her mom, might add depth to the main character.

  4. The descriptions were cleverly weaved into the story itself, thus progressing the plot and I like the voice here.

    The issue that might be a problem is that this sounded like a YA romance more than a YA thriller, maybe a little hint toward the thriller part might work to your advantage, for example if we know early where she's going with her parents and what they're about to do.

    I think the mother-daughter relationship is just perfect, considering she's at a rebellious stage. I'm surprised she doesn't have nastier thoughts.

  5. This is an interesting opening. I think what jarred me the most, and someone sort of touched on it, is that this is a going to be a Thriller. My expectation (and I know this is only the first page) is for the mood to be a bit darker. The voice here feels almost, dare I say, fun? And young. When I got towards the end and realized she’s only fifteen, I suppose that makes sense.

    However, the atmosphere does feel very YA romance with phrases like “hunky Sebastian Karr” and the bright, colorful images painted with the blue eyeshadow, red lips, sweet boots, and strawberry blond hair. It makes me wonder if the story can keep the promise of a thriller or not. Then again, there’s Scream Queens. Perhaps it’s going in that direction. The YA thrillers I’ve read have a more ominous tone. Something to think about.

  6. The mother/daughter relationship is done very well, and it gives us a nice sense of the similarities and differences between these two. But my thoughts are similar to the last few commenters. I was looking for something that said this was a thriller, and it feels more like a romance. Perhaps find a way to work in something that makes things feel 'off' somehow, or perhaps consider another place to start. As is, the hook is possibly meeting this guy, Sebastian, which again, makes me think Romance.

  7. For me this had the feel of the--forgive the term--movie classics. Spunky teen getting ready and bam something bad happens. Rather than the romance everyone else saw, I saw horror.

    This line I had to reread "The fact that hunky Sebastian Karr was rumored to be there didn’t twist my arm any." There's nothing wrong with it, but it's an unusual way to use twist my arm, hence my needing to double check that I'd read it correctly.

    And I agree the mother-daughter relationship and dialog is done really well.

  8. All in all I like what I read here. I can see the scene quite well. In general I think that your writing could use some tweaking (for example - I think it would be stronger to say: "Mom eyed me critically. Her gaze lingered on my blue eyeshadow. I thought it matched my dress," something like that.)

    And I would be careful of sliding into cliche, the mom and daughter here come across a bit a stereotypical. Tell us something unusual about them. What makes them stand out? Some of the dialogue and some of your main character's thoughts come across as a bit too flippant. A good detail is the mom's feathered hat - that made me wonder where they are going, what state this is in, why her mom is dressed so fancy. You might want to consider giving us more hints like that earlier on in the text. Now I'm curious about the feather hat!

    Thanks for entering!