Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is it an Author's Responsibility??

Every Thursday, we post a question for our followers--and on the last Saturday of the month, one of the commenters will be selected to choose a title from our Vault! Whatever we have available: ARCs, signed books, awesome books... OR the book of your choice from the Book Depository!

To enter, follow YA Confidential and please make sure that your email address is linked to your comment in some way! (So we can get in touch with you :)

Today's question:
Do you think it's a YA author's responsibility to weave a lesson or morals through their stories? (For instance, a lot of people take issue with Twilight because they feel Edward's love for Bella was of a stalker variety, which could send a bad message to teenage girls about healthy relationships.) (PS I am not included in this group of people! I’m just using it as an example!)

Our Answers

Cambria: Personally, no. It's the parents' responsibility to teach their children right vs. wrong and all those do-good lessons. The fiction author's job is to tell a story and hopefully do it authentically.

Katy: I don't think it's a YA author's responsibility to teach a lesson or push morals (that's a parent's job), but I do think it's important for authors to explore themes and to speak to the consequences of their characters' choices and actions, whatever they may be. 

Jessica: I was just thinking about this, actually, because in my current project the characters do something illegal several times and there are never any consequences for it. I thought...should I change that? Should they have some sort of consequence for this illegal activity? But then I thought...No. Because sometimes people do illegal things and don't get caught. But sometimes they do, and someone else can write that book.

Sara: Nope. I think authors are responsible for telling the stories they’re driven to write. If those stories seem to lead teens in a bad direction, then 1) we should have more faith in readers that they’ll understand the difference between fiction and reality, and 2) for those who don’t—it’s all about parents and teachers and open, honest discussions.

Matt: The only responsibility an author of fiction has is to tell the truth, even if it's about things that never happened.

Your turn!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Undercover Wednesday: Books About The Effects of War

War is a difficult subject to tackle, but, sadly, it's one that is a huge reality for lots of teens. For some, military service is in their near future. For others, their families have been impacted in a huge way by the effects of military service and war. Lately there have been some really awesome YA books that have tackled the gritty realities of the effects of war on families, relationships, and life. Here are a few (all links go to the book's Goodreads page):

IF I LIE by Corinne Jackson

A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.


When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.


The story of a young marine’s return from war in the Middle East and the psychological effects it has on his family.
Finally, Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has returned. Boaz was a high school star who had it all and gave it up to serve in a war Levi can’t understand. Things have been on hold since Boaz left. With the help of his two best friends Levi has fumbled his way through high school, weary of his role as little brother to the hero.

But when Boaz walks through the front door after his tour of duty is over, Levi knows there’s something wrong. Boaz is home, safe. But Levi knows that his brother is not the same.

Maybe things will never return to normal. Then Boaz leaves again, and this time Levi follows him, determined to understand who his brother was, who he has become, and how to bring him home again.

Award-winning author Dana Reinhardt introduces readers to Levi, who has never known what he believes, and whose journey reveals truths only a brother knows.

THIS IS NOT A DRILL by Beck McDowell

Two teens try to save a class of first-graders from a gun-wielding soldier suffering from PTSD

When high school seniors Emery and Jake are taken hostage in the classroom where they tutor, they must work together to calm both the terrified children and the gunman threatening them--a task made even more difficult by their recent break-up. Brian Stutts, a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq, uses deadly force when he's denied access to his son because of a custody battle. The children's fate is in the hands of the two teens, each recovering from great loss, who now must reestablish trust in a relationship damaged by betrayal. Told through Emery and Jake's alternating viewpoints, this gripping novel features characters teens will identify with and explores the often-hidden damages of war.

Have you read any of these books that focus on the effects of war on teens? Do you have any other war-related books to recommend?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teen Roundtable: Cliches

It’s time again for our monthly Teen Roundtable with our Teen Spies! The topic for the month? Clichés! Ones we love. And ones we love to hate. Here's a bit of what we discussed...

Alison: One cliché I will never tire of - the bad boy falling for the good girl
Katy: Ditto, Alison... There's just something about it
Katie: Or Good girl falling for bad boy.
Karen: I always fall for bad boys in real life. That's prob why I fall for them in books too. As long as they have some great qualities too.
Katy: And they need a good reason for being bad
Karen: Yes!
Alison: usually bad boys are seriously flawed and it makes me heart them SO MUCH
Katie: Yeah, but sometimes it just feels good to be rebellious
Alison: agreed Katie! (says the quintessential good girl)

Chihuahua: I'm going to write a blog post on how one mean girl character in a certain book could've been done better.
Alison: Curious? What mean girl character?
Katy: Yes, I'm curious too
Chihuahua: The book is How to Date an Alien and I think the character's name is Riley. Basically, the author could've given the mean character a deeper and more sympathetic motivation. Anybody else has thoughts on the "mean girl" character type?
Katy: C, just as a bad boy needs reasons for being bad, I think the mean girl needs reasons for acting the way she does. Otherwise, she's too one-dimensional to be believable
Katie: I think mean girls help the main character develop themselves more and become more then they could be without them.
Karen: I can't think of many mean girl characters at the moment. Apparently they weren't mean enough to hold a place in my memory
Alison: I like when the mean girl is not stereotypical - like the ones in mean girls.
Katie: Alison- AGREED!
Alison: I'm thinking of the cheerleader in Awkward - LOVE her
Katie: I like it when mean girls aren't dumb mean girls.
Katy: how about the mean girls in SOME GIRLS ARE... Yikes
Chihuahua: Although I think The Iron King put a nice, minor twist on the concept.
Alison: yes - they definitely need dimension. And I especially like mean girls that aren't so "mean" in the end
Chihuahua: One of the romantic interest gives one of the mean girls a literal pig nose. She returns near the end, humbled by her experiences. It influenced the protag's thoughts of the love interest.
Alison: C - that is an INTERESTING twist!

Karen: How about the loud, obnoxious best friend cliché? I get a little tired of that one.
Chihuahua: K: Examples?
Katie: I don't think I've read a book that has had me dislike the mc's best friend.
Karen: Examples, I don't remember her name but the best friend in HUSH
Alison: I think Tiny Cooper (Will Grayson) as obnoxious and loud - but I LOVED him
Karen: I loved Tiny too. No one talks bad about Tiny.
Katie: Because he is loud and annoying?
Alison: Oh, no. Katie - there's so much more to him than that that makes him SO loveable - but John Green is wicked awesome at creating characters like that
Karen: Tiny had a huge heart and was super funny
Katy: The loud obnoxious BFF is worse, for me, when she's a girl
Alison: Agreed, Katy. I like quirky and funny bff
Katie: Agreed! But I think a Bff is well developed when they don't just help the main character move through the story but the main character has to help the friend go through a hard trial if you will.
Katy: Katie, I agree. I like when the BFF has issues of her/his own. SAVING JUNE, for example, had a really cool BFF dynamic going on

Alison: How about the cliché shy/meek/introverted girl becomes kickass heroine?
Karen: I still like those cuz I can be very shy and introverted. Those stories give me hope that I'll be a kickass heroine some day.
Katy: Haha, me too, Karen!
Karen: Yes! #IntrovertsUnite!
Katie: I love it! When the author has the character go from normal shy unknown person through a awesome story line that forces them to grow and become more than they ever thought was possible, doesn't just make a good story, but it does give hope to real girls who feel shy and a no body. I mostly love it when good novels can be related to real life situation to help out with actual day to day issues in their own way!

Karen: Maybe that's why clichés are clichés. Because they stand the test of time as long as they are done well. Like I just realized I tried bringing up the loud, obnoxious best friend, but I ADORE Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. So apparently I don't dislike that cliché
Alison: Zuzana is quirky and incredibly loyal. Which is why I loved her
Katy: Yes! Zuzana is awesome
Alison: going back to this statement: Maybe that's why clichés are clichés. Because they stand the test of time as long as they are done well. Thoughts on that?
Katy: Agree
Chihuahua: Indeed.
Karen: Every cliché we brought up, I can think of at least 5 books that used that cliché and made me love it.
Katy: BUT, I can think of those same clichés done poorly, too.
Chihuahua: Also, some are like the undead: they refuse to truly die.
Katy: Tired cliché: Absent parents in YA
Chihuahua: That's common. Strange enough, the last three books I read had both parents.
Alison: idk though - I teach teens. There's a lot of absent parent thing going on
Karen: I agree. Many teens can prob relate to their parents not being around. Sadly.
Katy: I just don't like when it's used for convenience only Like, the author just doesn't want to the trouble of parental units clouding the plot.
Alison: I'm also tired of the love triangle. I get it. But I'm tired of it.
Katy: I like to see fresh takes, like with THE RAVEN BOYS
Alison: I'm all for a very twisted love five-angle. The math teacher surmises we call that a love pentagon
Chihuahua: Twisted love webs are fun. My plans for a web is more of a line with lots of branches.

So, that's our take on clichés. Which ones are your faves? Any you're tired of? Tell us in the comments!

Monday, January 28, 2013

On Quitting Books

Confession: A few weeks ago, I quit reading a published book. Just to be clear, this was not a decision I came to lightly. I do not like giving up on books. It makes me sad to not see a story all the way though, and I hate knowing that I've wasted money on something I can't finish. 

This most recent putdownable book is popular, and came highly recommended by a lot of bookish people. I got through several chapters and thought the writing was lovely. The concept was unique and, from what I could tell, well executed. The main character was not off-putting, and the overall voice of the novel felt appropriate. 

You're probably wondering, So, what was the problem? 

Well, that's the funny thing... I don't know. I can't put my finger on why I wasn't connecting with this book and these characters. I think I should have loved it (and them), but trying to immerse myself in this world became something of a chore. I found myself favoring Words with Friends over reading. I'd carry the book downstairs in the morning, then back upstairs at night, having never even opened it. Reading it was a job, something I'd bargain myself into doing. Just ten pages tonight, Katy. Knock out twenty during lunch--you can do it. Get that pedicure, but only if you read the entire time. 

Reading shouldn't be this way, right? It should be fun. An escape. At the very least, reading should teach me something new about writing, or about reading thoughtfully and critically. It shouldn't be something I have to suffer through. Why bother with a book you're just not feeling? says The Voice of Reason. But quitting books is a rare thing for me. I almost always see them through, even the bad* ones, because--to be perfectly honest--I have some warped sense of allegiance to the author and the characters to hang on to the end. 

But I'm starting to rethink this whole "quitting books" thing. First of all, the option to pick the book up again is always there. Perhaps in the future, when I'm in a different head space  I'll have different, more positive feelings toward the story. And even if I don't ever pick up it up again, who cares? I'm realizing that my time is too valuable to spend forcing myself to feel a connection with stories when I so clearly don't. There are too many good** books to read, too many stories that are just waiting to blow my mind. Why not spend more time with them?

**Again, relative

What are your thoughts on quitting books? How long do you give a book you're not connecting with? Do you ever feel guilty, like I do? 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Comment of the Month - January!

Every Thursday we ask you a teen-related question and then on the last Saturday of the month (or, er, Sunday, if you're Jess and you're running ridiculously late) we choose the month's best comment and the author gets to dive into our vault, Scrooge McDuck-style. (Or you can pick the book of your choice from BookDepository!)

Swim through the books!

Here are the questions we asked this month:

And this month's awesome commenter is:


Who said, in response to raving about an unsung YA book:

My pick would also be The Sea of Tranquility. It's incredibly written, thought provoking, and absolutely beautiful. But since Sara already praised it, I'll go with The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle as the most underappreciated book. Great story about a sheltered Amish girl who discovers an injured English guy in a feild and despite her elder's warnings and the threat of being shunned, she nurses him back to health while developing a firendship with him. She defies all the things she's been taught simply becuase she wanted to do what was right, not what was expected of her. You experience the challenges she does as she discovers that the world outside her little village has been innundated with people who have gotten a terrible virus causing vampirism. And they are really scary vampires who tear humans apart and leave nothing alive in their wake. The book had me gasping aloud and on the edge of my seat in suspense and the romance...well let's just say that the elders did not approve.

Thanks for the awesome comment, Edwards BloodType! That book sounds awesome, and I'd never heard of it before! Just shoot us an email and let us know if you want a book from The Vault, or if you want the book of your choice from Book Depository!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ask-A-Dude: Mansplaining

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another edition of Ask-a-Dude, where I give insight into the male brain for your male characters who have one!

Remember, you can ask your own questions using the submission form on the right!

Today's question is:

Q: I've been reading about something called "mansplaining." Should my male characters do it?

A: Yes. Nothing better telegraphs to your audience that you understand dudes than including some choice mansplaining in your manuscript. Why? Because there is no more authentic male behavior than mansplaining (with the possible exception of farting, which I would argue is simply a gastric version of the same thing expressed anally).

For those of you who don't know what mansplaining is (meaning the three of you who have never actually met a man), it's the process whereby a male will pontificate at length on all manner of topics about which he has limited (preferably no) knowledge. Ask-a-Dude is essentially a monthly practicum on the phenomenon.

Now before you run off thinking you can just drop in some mansplaining without doing some homework, well, I'm here to mansplain something to you: don't. If you do it wrong, you'll just look like a fool without making your male character look like one as well which kinda defeats the purpose.

So, some guidelines.

First. Never, ever have a male mansplain something to another male. If you have two guys talking to each other about something they know nothing about, you'll force them into a recursive logic-free discussion loop otherwise known as Fantasy Football. Mansplaining is ALWAYS committed upon a female.

Second. The more likely the female is to be an expert on a topic, the greater the need for a guy to explain her area of expertise to her. For example, if your main female character is a NASCAR driver, this sets up a perfect opportunity for your male character to discuss his thoughts on how to properly shift a manual. Think of it this way: every male has a reservoir of mansplaining "gas" that is activated when a woman displays expertise on a topic. The male must now release that gas or risk a dangerous build up of pressure that threatens to unleash the stupid in one calamitous explosion of ignorance. Turn on Meet the Press any given Sunday to see what I mean.

Third. Mansplaining does not occur in a vacuum. In other words, you'd never have a dude just start mansplaining something to a woman without any prior knowledge on the topic. No, the rules of mansplaining are clear, there must be a single source for the male's knowledge on the topic. A fictitious movie, for example, or something he once saw written on a bathroom wall. No prior knowledge is unrealistic. One single article, read a decade ago in a lay publication and written by an author who has since admitted to making that sh!t up is the perfect amount of source material. Now your male character is locked and loaded and ready to go mano-a-mano with your female characters.

Fourth. As long as the proper genders are employed, there's no reason to limit mansplaining to humans. I am sure there are numerous male Bonobo chimpanzees who will hang off a branch bloviating about, "you wanna know how this place should be run? I'll tell you how this place should be run. Two words: BCS rankings." Also, no reason you can't do some cross-species mansplaining. Trust me, your male character is dying to mansplain menstrual cycles to a mare.

Okay, so now you know what mansplaining is and how to incorporate it. But what topics make for the best mansplanations?

Following are the three most popular topics men like mansplain to women:

1. Childbirth
2. What women want
3. Vaginas

For example, if you're female character is a gynecologist, you won't even have to write your male character, he'll simply explode into being and spontaneously begin mansplaining without you actually having to type a thing. It'll be like spirit writing (only with smelly, arrogant ghosts).

Properly formatted and sourced mansplaining scenarios, when sprinkled liberally throughout your WIP, will result in two reactions if you've executed them correctly. From your female readers (and gay males), you'll get a knowing nod. From your male readers you'll get a confused look, a groin scratch and a douchy smirk, like, damn, this dude character sure knows his stuff!

You'll find excellent examples of mansplaining all over the web, in casual conversations with co-workers and anywhere classic mansplainers like to congregate, like business school faculties and Congress. For some truly outstanding and real-world examples, go here.

Mansplaining is the full and proper expression of the male intellect and as such it belongs in every realistic portrayal of a male character.

Trust me, babe, I know a lot more about this than you do.

Copil has mansplained chemistry to a female Nobel Prize Winner, animal husbandry to a female vetrinarian and once tried to explain tennis to Serena Williams. For more mansplanations, visit him on Twitter (@Copil).

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Writing Influences

Every Thursday, we post a question for our followers--and on the last Saturday of the month, one of the commenters will be selected to choose a title from our Vault! Whatever we have available: ARCs, signed books, awesome books... OR the book of your choice from the Book Depository!

To enter, follow YA Confidential and please make sure that your email address is linked to your comment in some way! (So we can get in touch with you :)

Today's question:
For writers: Who (or what) has influenced your writing the most?

Our Answers

Matt: Reading.

Cambria: Hmm...I'm going to have to go old school and say Christopher Pike, Lois Duncan, and Stephen King. I loved the creepy feeling I got when I read their books as a kid and that's what I always aim for in my own writing. Call me weird, but I love getting feedback from critique partners that include things like, "Dude. You're messed up" or "I'm wondering if you're really an axe murderer" in the margins of my WIP.

Katy: All of the fantastic YA novels I read, especially the contemporaries. Also, my husband. He's a big part of why I love to read and write romance.

Jessica: My students, for sure! The books they read, the things they go through, and the way they interact. I often think, man there isn't a book for THIS KID. So I decided to try to write those books. 

Sara: My grandmother was an author—my uncle, tooso I started writing stories very early because of them. I’m drawn more toward creating stories with fantastical elements, I think, because I started reading Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels in elementary school (and very quickly moved into his Incarnations of Immortality and the Apprentice Adept series) and completely fell in love with all the fantasy and sci-fi elements. As for the romance aspects that I can’t seem to go without, I discovered Nora Roberts at the start of high school and pretty much read every book I could get my hands on. (Plus, I just love love. Maybe it's cheesy, but I truly believe it's one of life's best feelings.) And regarding the YA element… I’m not exactly sure. My main characters have ranged between the ages of 14 and 18 since I was about nine myself. Maybe they started out as a dream, because I couldn’t wait to be a teen? And now I just love focusing on that time of life when everything, all emotions and discoveries, just feel so NEW, yanno?

Copil: One of the most influential writers for me was Daniel Pinkwater. His characters are funny and irreverent and his stories are filled with whimsy and magic. I discovered him at a time when I was just starting to realize the world could be a scary place and his stuff encouraged me to keep innocent eyes.

KarenMy life and everyone in it. Past, present, and possible future. A big game changer was my favorite teacher of all time, Louise Geczy. I had her for Creative Writing in high school. I thought I'd hate that class, but turns out it was the best move I ever made. It also led to Creative Writing 2 and working on the school's literary magazine. When I was graduating, Mrs. Geczy told me that someday I'd write a book. I laughed it off. Little did I know she was psychic too.

Your turn!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Undercover Wednesday: ASK THE PASSENGERS

Today in thought-provoking books...

Ask The Passengers

From GoodreadsAstrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions... like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better.

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

Ask the Passengers is so unique; it's several different books rolled into one. A provocative issue book, a perfectly-voiced contemporary, a first-love romance, a family drama that feels alarmingly authentic, all with a sprinkle of unexplainable magic tossed in. Astrid, despite being a little abrasive and a lot noncommittal, is an easy protagonist to root for. She's sharp, dry, and impulsive, yet loving and loyal. And she's smart. She asks big questions...

Why does everything come with a strict definition? 

Is it okay to lie in order to be happy? 

Is love something that will always be available? 

Throughout the course of the novel, one of Astrid's biggest questions is this: Am I gay? Because, you see, Astrid is in a clandestine relationship with a girl who she has strong feelings for. But Astrid is hesitant to embrace a label, especially in her small, somewhat narrow-minded town, and especially because she's just not sure. She says this, which I think is fantastic:

I'm not questioning my sexuality as much as I'm questioning the strict definitions and boxes of all sexualities and why we care so much about other people's intimate business. 
Astrid finds some unique ways to cope with her uncertainties. She sends love (and questions) to airplane passengers 30,000 feet above her. She invents an imaginary friend, Frank Socrates, who becomes something of a philosophical confidant (also a source of comedic relief). And she finds ways to combat intolerance at school. My favorite: when she calls out a punctuation mistake on an ignorant, hateful sign. Subtle, but so impactful.

In my opinion, the best part of this novel is the way Astrid's relationships grow and change over the course of the story. She finds highs and lows at home with her mother and her father (who is kind of awesome), as well as with her friends (who all have an intriguing dynamic). My favorite relationship was that of Astrid and her younger sister, Ellis. They're just a year apart in school, and their bond is complicated, but true to life. Their developing relationship was captivating and sometimes heartbreaking, but in the end it gave me hope. So did this story. 

So, Ask the Passengers gets two thumbs up from me. If you're looking for a book that's thought-provoking,  sensitive, and truly original, I highly recommend it. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Teen First Page Critique

It's time for our Teen First Page Critique, a monthly feature here at YA Confidential that lets you get feedback on your manuscript from your target audience: real teen readers.

This month's brave volunteer is Patti Buff, and here is the first page from her YA Paranormal THE CARTUM MALUM

“Polly, we have to get off this plane. Run.” Her mom's blue-gray eyes were nearly popping out of her head. She scooted across the empty aisle seat next to her and opened the overhead compartment of the airplane, her swan neck swiveling side to side as she looked up and down the aisle.

Polly gaped at her mother. They had just settled into their seats, Polly had just opened up her Nintendo and was ready for the seven hour flight to France. She wouldn’t let her break promise, not this time. “You’re imagining things again, Mom. You’re fine.”

Her mom leaned in, breath stinking of stale cigarettes. “Something’s wrong. I don’t know what, but I can feel it. We need go, now.”

Polly shook her arm out of her mother’s pincers. She hadn’t minded her mom’s condition so much when she was younger. Back then it was a game. A drop-what-you’re-doing-and-run type of game. They’d run for miles, or so it seemed to Polly, stopping only when her mom felt safe. Back then, they had leaned against each other for support, catching their breaths, pride shining from their eyes for having escaped the bad guys. But now, Polly was thirteen, old enough to know the bad guys only existed inside her mom’s head. And those figments of her imagination were not going to ruin this trip. “Mom, you promised I’d finally get to see where you were born.”

Her mom’s body shook as she pulled harder on Polly’s arm. “I’ll…I’ll take you next month. I promise.”

Yeah right. Like she would fall for that again.

Here’s what our teens had to say…

LYNSAY: I really like the sort of psychological feel of this. It makes you wonder if it they really are inside her head, or there's really some dangerous thing going on. I would say, don't go so overboard with the metaphors that's it's no longer authentic, but keep it up with those descriptive details (stale cigarettes, describing the running, etc.) Great start!

REBECCA: After reading that first page, I'm highly intrigued. With Polly being 13, I'm guessing it's a Middle Grade and though I hardly read them anymore, I will pick them up from time to time if I like the sound of them and from what I just read, I liked it and I'd definitely read more.

LENNON: It certainly is interesting. It seems like it would be a fascinating read, however I, personally wouldn't read more simply because I have severe difficulty relating to characters who are younger than me

ERICA: The opening line was the part of the page that grabbed me the most. It was intriguing, different, and exciting. What didn't grab me was the final few sentences. I thought everything had built up very well and that just seemed a little less authentic than the rest of the page. I was overall pretty intrigued and would read more. I want to know the situation of where she was born.

Hope this helps! And I hope this feedback is insightful for our readers as well! HUGE thank yous to our SPIES and ANALYSTS and to Patti! I know how scary it can be to put your work out there. Thank you for sharing this with all of us!

We'll be doing another call for first pages in a few weeks. Stay tuned!
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