Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Are You Hooked? Young Adult #5

TITLE: One Thousand Stars That Bind
GENRE: YA Historical Fiction / Fairytale Retelling

A YA gender-bent and steampunk'd ALADDIN set during the 1989 fall of the infamous dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, and with him, communism in Romania. Street-rat Alina finds a rusty (but magical) oil lamp and crosses paths with the runaway Prince Iulian, igniting a love greater than social class and oppression.

Sometimes I have to catch myself, as if I haven't been breathing for who knows how long. Now’s one of those moments. I fill my lungs as if they’ve been deprived of oxygen all day.


It’s between each breath it’s easy to do the things I’m least proud of. Or most proud of. I guess it depends on your perspective, with your perspective molded by how many years you’ve spent on the streets.

And I’ve lost count.

I look down. It’s in my hands, swaddled in muslin and still warm, like a baby. I’m holding onto it as if it were one, too. Precious. Delicate. The cozonac loaf, sweet and filled with poppy seeds, should keep me alive and full for the remainder of the day. But that’s just today. That’s if I don’t share, which I always do.

And that’s all if I don’t get caught.

The loud and harsh tongues screaming from behind tell me it’s not my lucky day. I suck in as much air as my lungs can manage, and then a little more after that. With my wild mane of brown, unpredictable curls corralled to one side, I pull the large cowl hood up and over my head, cloaking my figure, becoming a silhouette. A shadow. My skin is dark enough alone to disguise me and I melt into the growing darkness as the day’s eve approaches.

Unfortunately, this time I’m not sure it’ll be enough. They’re still on my tail. And gaining.


  1. Wow - I am totally hooked! I love the immediacy that you create with the mix of longer, detail-filled paragraphs, and the shorter, more sentences that betray Alina's doubts. I also feel like I have a good sense of who Alina is as a character. The tone is great! One thing I don't have a good sense of yet is setting, so some quick descriptions might help.

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback! The very next paragraph gets into setting descriptions so it was just too long to include in this snippet. But I'll definitely take your comments to heart and see what I can do :) Thanks!

  2. Really engaging. Well done ! I want to read on...

  3. You're clearly a wordsmith. This page drew me in and made it easy to keep reading. That said, I agree with andrea that a few setting details wouldn't go amiss. This whole first page essentially takes place on a blank stage, and I wanted to start being drawn into your world.

    Also, while I liked the mix of shorter and longer paragraphs, I thought you overused the device. If three things are set up to stand out in such a compressed space, none of them really will.

    Good luck to you and ONE THOUSAND STARS THAT BIND!

  4. I love your opening paragraph. You have a pretty writing style.

    I got a tiny bit tripped up over this sentence:

    It’s between each breath it’s easy to do the things I’m least proud of.

    I think maybe you're missing a word. It feels off as it is.

    Other than that, great!

  5. This is gorgeous and well paced! I like the moment where you pivot to her holding the treasure. Surprising in a good way :)

  6. Definitely well written and I would read on. One problem I did have was the pace kind of seemed off, like very philosophical and leisurely for someone trying to duck away with a stolen loaf of bread. When she says her pursuers were gaining on her, it just felt like there was no urgency at all, like she strolling along reflecting on the difficulties of being a street rat. But it would all depend on what happens next!

    1. Fantastic advice. Thank you so much! I do sort of see this from the movie perspective where the action freezes as she's thinking this. The next paragraph picks hits "play" again. I'll see what I can do to add in more urgency, though. Thanks! <3