Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Are You Hooked? Young Adult #26

TITLE: Luli's Unibrow
GENRE: YA Magical Realism

When Luli, a Tajik gypsy girl, accepts an outrageous gift from a wicked customer, an entire village comes after her. Proving her innocence requires to grow a horrible unibrow and hide among a group of nomads in the Pamir mountains where dealing with vengeful spirits change her destiny.

The fragrance of freshly baked delicacies fill the market. Tajik samosa and manti, a dumpling filled with chopped lamb and squash, tempt me as I wander through the labyrinth of stalls. My stomach makes knots inside me. I tighten the scarf that holds my baby brother on my back. The pressure eases the hunger, enough to keep my hand from snatching a brown juicy grape the size of my baby brother’s fist.
I am a gypsy and covered in silver jewelry, wool ornaments, and layers upon layers of brightly colored skirts. The gaze of vendors follow me and housewives press their hands over their inner pockets where they hide their money. The fluttering of padded robes hiding a lining of silk robes cause my little brother hiccup in fright. I move the pan of my veil over his head. Maybe the brouhaha of the market will finally lull him to sleep.
The friendly vendors greet each other with soft salaams. “Peace upon you.”
Women with flopping scarves topping flat hats are dishing up cups of kymyz or mare’s milk. I don’t care very much for the beverage, but my stomach pinches me so hard, I would drink anything just to get the hurt out of my body.
I snake my way further between the piles of vegetables, jiggling a copper coin in my hand. Some people add few more coins in my hand after spying the baby. Not enough to eat. I thank them anyway.
“God bless you, my prince.”


  1. The writing is strong, but I know from personal experience the touchy subject of using "gypsy" in a very stereotypical (and sometimes hurtful) situation. So just be aware of that as you're writing/editing. Other than that, good descriptions. I would read more.

  2. There are some fantastic visuals going on here. The writing is strong, but I'm confused in regard the the feel. The title suggests that this piece might be humorous, but the above is very sad and lonely. I expected a bit more snark or wit. Just my opinion, of course. If the rest of this (still love it, by the way) is in a similar tone, perhaps a change in title? Great start regardless!

  3. The writing here is lovely. I'm intrigued, simply by the writing style and the interesting setting.

    However, the style doesn't match the expectation I had from the logline (which was intersting) and title. The 'unibrow' presence made me think this was going to be a lighter, more humorous piece, and it's coming across more serious (esp with the hunger, begging, and lovely language). Does the tone of the first page match the tone of the novel throughout?

    Other than that, a few nitpicky things in the text:

    "The fluttering of padded robes..." I tripped up on this sentence and had to read 2-3 times.
    "Bruhaha" didn't seem to match the tone of the rest of the passage.
    Something I wondered that doesn't necessarily need addressing on page one: if she's starving, why isn't her brother crying from hunger? I assume that she/the family is feeding him over themselves.

    Again, lovely writing, and good luck!

  4. The descriptions are nice, I do get a sense of the place and the character. But the scene feels so real while the logline felt kind of like a parody or something so I feel confused.

  5. Lovely writing and descriptions. I agree the logline leaves me a bit confused as to what to expect (it comes off as slightly humorous).
    Also, your description of the main character suggests opulence: "I am a gypsy and covered in silver jewelry, wool ornaments, and layers upon layers of brightly colored skirts." If she is starving, why is she wearing silver and ornaments and layers of skirts? Is silver worthless in their economy (over copper)? Are the skirts tattered and patched?
    I would read on--I want to see the scene with the 'wicked customer.' :)