Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2 #29 Leah Odze Epstein

THE STANDOUT

A young adult novel @65,000 words

KEYNOTE: After her older sister gets sent away to rehab, good girl Carolena Gold steps out of her sister’s shadow and unleashes her inner Standout—infiltrating Student Government, starting up Open Mic nights, and writing poems that turn into songs for the guy she likes.

***

Chapter One

The first last straw was at the beginning of the summer before ninth grade, when Becca made out with Liam on my bedroom floor. I lay on my bed in the dark, staring up at the ceiling with my ear buds in, listening to my music cranked up to top volume to block out their sucking sounds.

She asked if they could come over to my house, since my parents weren’t strict, and if I could be a buffer zone because, “You know, Carolena, it’s hard to be alone with guys—they want so much.”

Sadly, I didn’t know this, but I said yes, because I liked to pretend that nothing bothered me, even though everything actually did. Since when had Liam O’Rourke become a contender in her book-of-a-thousand guys? I asked her, “Why Liam?” Her answer: “Because he’s there.”

Had Becca ever stopped to think that maybe I, who had an as-yet unwritten book of guys, liked him first? Well why would she, when I’d never mentioned that small fact to her or anyone else?

The second was what happened with Rachel, and how my parents didn’t trust me enough not to lie to me.

Later, I would realize that the “Rachel thing” had been the last last straw—the moment I decided, even without fully realizing it—that I was sick of being a doormat. That I wanted to be the one opening doors and stepping in, not the one being stepped on.

2 comments:

  1. First off let me just say BRILLIANT line "I lay on my bed in the dark, staring up at the ceiling with my ear buds in, listening to my music cranked up to top volume to block out their sucking sounds." Love that.

    Now, I think you can have more attitude in the paragraph with rhetorical questions. Like, Had Becca ever stopped to think that maybe I, who had an as-yet unwritten book of guys, liked him first? Never mind that I hadn't mentioned it to her or anyone else. If she was really my best friend she should just know. (note: I have no idea if this fits with her personality or even the relationship I just wanted to give an example so take it with a grain of salt).

    Also, the Rachel "thing" is obviously very important. Should you spend more time on it being that you just took several paragraphs to illustrate the other point? IDK. In a way it's powerful not to. But I do expect you to get back to it pretty quickly.

    The last paragraph - I don't know about the "later, I would" thing. Maybe something like, Yep. The Rachel thing was the last, last straw...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really like the voice in this piece - it demonstrates Carolena’s shyness perfectly, but still reveals her stronger inner emotions, and it feels like a very genuine teen voice. The last two paragraphs, though, don’t feel like they belong. Maybe you could make a better transition at that point between her raw emotions about Becca and Liam, and whatever happened with Rachel. I think that the statement of defiance in the last paragraph is very strong. It’s an effective way to demonstrate how she’s decided to put aside the reserved part of her nature because she’s been hurt. You do a nice job of setting up the Carolena’s evolution.

    Your query description gives a nice, succinct description of the story, but I think that you could add a little more information about the story and infuse it with Carolena’s great voice to make it more appealing and inviting.

    ReplyDelete

Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)