Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #21

TITLE: You Know Where I Am
GENRE: YA Coming of Age/ Contemporary

Jesse Kincaid walked to the nursing home her father, Casey, had lived in for the last year, every day after school without fail. Putting in her time and being the dutiful daughter. This was her life since she was three years old, spending every birthday either at home taking care of Dad or in the company of medical staff. For her thirteenth birthday, she was given a hard cupcake and a pat on the head. Jesse didn't waste her time thinking about other thirteen year olds birthdays, it wasn't worth it to wonder what it might be like to be someone else.

Second shift was starting as Jesse came in and took her place in the orange chair. Nurse's aides came in and gave him fresh towels, stocked wipes and swabbed his mouth out.

“We have an extra water pitcher, Mrs. Abernathy died, do you want it?” the aide asked.

Jesse knew that Mrs. Abernathy's mug hadn't been touched by her dead lips and was washed every day, but the thought of getting something from someone who'd only been dead a day unsettled her.
The aides took their leave of Jesse and she took his tray table out to do her homework. This was Jesse's life ever since she was three years old. She never knew her father in the way everyone else did. She knew the man who screamed, drooled and soiled himself


  1. This opening has a few sentence fragments ("Putting in her time") and small errors ("thirteen year olds") that make it a bit distracting to read. Otherwise, the voice is strong and the character is interesting. I do wonder why such a young child was in this situation, though. Three is very young to be living only with medical staff.

  2. It's an interesting premise and I'm curious as to why her dad's in a nursing home at such a young age. What about her mom? There are a few sentence fragments that need to be fixed, so it's clear what's happening. One thing I think that's missing is tension driving the story forward. The last paragraph repeats some of the same information as the first and I think you could use this paragraph to introduce the tension/action that will make the reader want to read more. Good luck with this!

  3. I thought this needed more. We're being given facts about the situation, but we're not being given anything personal, like Jesse's thoughts and emotions. Does she wish her dad would die? Does she feel sorry for him? Does she wish she had family members to turn to? Getting in her emotions will help the reader empathize with her, as well as make this more personal. It's a bit cold and direct as is. You might also show us some interaction between father and daughter, even if dad is incapable of it. Try to bring the reader closer. The plot is here, but overall, it needs more personalization.

  4. You mention "ever since she was three years old" twice and it feels repetitive in such a short space. I'd suggest taking one out. It's an interesting opening and there's a lot of questions I have regarding the father so you've done a good job hooking the reader. One more small quibble - maybe take out "knew" or reword it because it's a more telling than showing.

  5. I like the content of the first sentence, but I think it could be played with to read a little more smoothly.

    I'm left with a lot of questions here. Where is her mother? Where are her other family members or her guardians if her mother is not with her? Why does she go every day, and how has her loyalty grown so if this happened to her father when she was only three? Why is she the one taking care of her father? What happened that made him transition to this place in the last year? If this has been going on since she was three, wouldn't he have been in a care facility before this?

    I'm interested in the history and dynamics being set up, but I don't see where this can have a good outcome for the reader, and I'm concerned that the backstory isn't properly set up. So, I feel like maybe with this one, we just need to start the story at a different place to help iron out so many questions.