Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #46

TITLE: The Kryptonite Club
GENRE: YA Contemporary

In all my sixteen years, I never thought I’d end up in a shrink’s office. But therapy’s a thing now. Especially since all the shootings that go on. Yeah, like the one that happened at Sherman Falls High School last fall.

When Dr. Neumann greeted me at the door, I was surprised by her appearance. I guess I expected a female version of Dr. Phil, but this woman in her navy belted shift dress and black flats looked like one of the ladies at our local library. She was nice looking, a bit on the chunky side, like my friend, Claire. Her hair was whitish gray, worn chin-length, smooth and sleek. She had on these red-framed glasses that were kind of cool looking, though I’d never tell her that.

Her office smelled like winter. Fresh, crisp, clean. The proper soothing earth tones, too, along with Jade plants, Bamboo plants . . . all very Feng Shui, as Mom would say. The blue overstuffed sofa was in the proper corner, facing the door so no one feels trapped. The wall paintings were of nature scenes. Trees, sunsets, lakes. One of them showed a horse drinking water out of a creek and it reminded me of MissFit, who my parents sold the week before the shooting happened. It made me want to cry so I shifted my focus to the aquarium with the little fishes of many colors, swimming around, all free and happy.


  1. Perhaps all the description goes on too long. I was hoping you'd get to the point before the excerpt ended. I was intetested and wanted to know of she was directly involved (her best friend was the shooter, or the one who got shot, or if she was injured) or if she was just there but not directly involved. You might also get a sense of how she's feeling on the page. Has the shooting devestated her? Is she afraid to go to school? Does she startle at loud noises now? Perhaps work some of the meat of the story onto the page. The decor of the shrink's office doesn't compel me to read more.

  2. At first I thought the shooting was why they were in therapy, but I think that was just an extra info now. Maybe? I am not sure if that is their school or not. I do think the description could be cut a bit so we can hear them speak or something. My favorite line is the last one which makes me think it should come in sooner. Maybe walk in and react to that more than the woman. Relevant topic though. Does need some proofing. Good luck:)

  3. The therapist's office takes up so much of this that there's no dialog. I do like the idea of the MC being in an shrink's office for "something."

    The woman looked like a lady at the library and was "chunky." Probably my least favorite word to discuss body type, and to use library workers in the same paragraph is a stereotype that I'd avoid. Librarians purchase millions of books per year, and you wouldn't want them on your bad side, lol.

    Good luck in the contest.

  4. Because the shooting happened last year and your MC is seeing a therapist for the first time now, I'm wondering what the therapy is for. Which is good. Although you've woven in some great details about how your MC feels about being there (the couch's position and the horse image) and the people in your MC's life, your description of the therapist and her office feels too much.

    You've missed an opportunity to have action and dialogue show us what the characters and setting are like instead of simply describing them. Does the therapist peer at your MC over her red-framed glasses?

    Giving us an exchange, even in greeting, between the characters would also hint at how this first session is going to go.

    I do appreciate the pragmatic attitude your MC has about the shootings, which breaks my heart.

  5. I really enjoyed the voice in this. It's strong and very realistic for a teenager. School shootings are a very sensitive topic to tackle, especially in YA. You did this with tact, but also realistically. As a teen, this is exactly how we view them. As a fact of life now.

    Like others have pointed out, there's a lot going on descriptive wise that can be taken out. The point about the friend Claire doesn't seem to matter right now. The details are specific and well-written - there's just too many of them and it starts to bog down the prose.

    The last bit about the fish in the aquarium confused me. Fish in an aquarium aren't free. Was that supposed to sound sarcastic? Because I wasn't getting the sarcasm.

    This sounds like an interesting and definitely needed and important topic for a book and I'd definitely be reading more if I could!

  6. Nice voice and writing style. I appreciated the descriptions being included, but I would say that the second paragraph could probably be cut off after the third sentence, then you could use the description of the blue sofa to transition us to her actual therapy session so we can get to the actual session a bit more quickly. From the first paragraph, my assumption would be that this has to do with the school shootings, but it mentions them as a whole, and then with a single one in particular, but there is no possessive framework around the name of the high school, so I'm not sure if she just started going to Sherman Falls High, whether she was there when it happened, or whether she's saying that at their school the "shrink's office" is mandatory for all students because of "all the school shootings that go on." Beyond possibly clearing that up a bit more from the get-go, that's why I think we need to get to the reason for her visit to the office a bit more quickly.