Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Are You Hooked? Young Adult #6

GENRE: YA Adventure

Top spy for Queen Victoria must stop evil Lord Wilford from sending the ruler back in his time machine to change history in his favor; to succeed, sixteen-year-old Nicola must survive his bomb squad.

August 4, 1878
Number 7, Arlington Road
London, England

Dear Miss Nicola Blake,
Please arrive at the above address at precisely 2 p.m, September 4th for your orientation meeting.
Miss Emma Peele
Miss Peele’s Finishing School

As the driver of my hansom cab pulled up to Miss Peele’s School, I swallowed hard. This was my last chance. I couldn’t afford any more disasters.

A quick glance out the window at the fog and misty air made my heart sink that I’d left
our beautiful home in Devon where the flower garden smelled sweet and quiet filled the sun-warmed air.

Here, in this immense and smelly city, overpowering odors of smoke and animal waste assaulted me, and noisy hansom cabs appeared to come out of nowhere, barely turning fast enough to avoid smashing into each other.

This was not where I chose to be, but here I was, breathless and faint from too much travel. After a rousing ride that nearly left me on the floor of my filthy cab, I stepped down onto the street with as much grace as I could muster.

Ahead, the stone fortress waited. The huge metal door to the school looked impenetrable by anything but a canon.

“You can do this, Nicola.” I whispered the words and started toward the entrance of my new school.
To top off the strangeness of this city, a deep and convincing male voice startled me.“There is nothing more deceptive than the obvious fact,” he said.

“What?” I turned to look in the direction of the sound, but saw no one.


  1. I enjoyed this. If I were an agent, I would definitely keep reading. It doesn't have a ton of action or conflict, but it extends the PROMISE of action and conflict, and that's more than enough.

    A few small notes: I'd cut the "that" after "made my heart sink" and start a new sentence there. I'd also add a "had" in the fourth paragraph: "After a rousing ride that had nearly left me on the floor ..." Lastly, I believe you mean "cannon" in this instance, not "canon." :)

    Good luck to you and THE STRANGE WORLD OF MISS PEELE'S SCHOOL FOR YOUNG ADULT LADY SPIES! (Which is almost a fantastic title. Have you considered shrinking it to something a little more manageable? Maybe MISS PEELE'S SCHOOL FOR YOUNG LADY SPIES?)


  3. I like the male voice at the end, reminded me of Sherlock Holmes lol. Put me right in the mood. I would definitely read on. Hooked!

  4. I love this. I also absolutely love England, so I'm trying to divorce that from my objective advice on your story.

    You do a good job of showing us that your protagonist is uncomfortable in this situation, which makes me want to keep reading because now I feel uncomfortable because she does. Also, your setting is well-done. It's very ominous. You contrast it well with the description of Devon, which makes it even creepier.

    Nice work.

  5. I love the premise and the Victorian setting is always a wonderful draw. The logline, however, needs a bit more work. I'd bring up Nicola from the very first line, so we know she's the protagonist. I'd also drop the mention of the "bomb squad" because it confuses rather than informs.

    As for the passage, it's evocative and there's excellent world-building. The only bit I'd look into is the second paragraph, which felt like a run-on sentence.

    Good luck!