#70 Crapometer

Chick lit synopsis

The desert is no place for a city girl, but when KAT MARKS' aunt asks her to spend the summer in rustic Moab, Utah, Kat can't say no. Her cousin is failing English and needs her help, she's been putting off a visit for years now and, most convincing of all, her best friend has just informed Kat she's in a rut. Kat prides herself on her sophistication, fashion sense, and fun–she can't be boring.

when I first read this I thought Kat's best friend was in the rut. You can clear this up by taking out the name "Kat's been informed she's in a rut. She prides herself on her sophistication, fashion sense, and fun--she can't be boring!" or "her close friends tell Kat she's in a rut" I also didn't realize Kat wasn't a teenager till the end of this.

Small-town Moab, self-proclaimed “Adventure Capitol of the World” couldn't be more different from Boston. Although Kat resists assimilation, her roommate advises a makeover from polished city chick to hip outdoors girl. Soon Kat's wearing quick-dry shorts and Chacos to work instead of skirts and heels, and going on camping trips and hikes for fun instead of shopping and visiting the gym.

AUNT SHEL provides Kat with a job manning the counter at Wet 'n Wild, her successful white water rafting company. When Shel suggests Kat go rafting, since she can't sell what she hasn't tried, she balks. Getting hot and wet might sound appealing, but not when it also involves mud and white water. To her horror, she loves the adrenaline rush of rafting. When she realizes a guiding job also entails hot guys, toned upper arms and a great tan, Kat convinces her skeptical aunt to let her become a guide. Before long, she's hefting sixteen-foot boats, fitting strangers for lifejackets, and maneuvering rafts through gnarly holes.

Although Kat keeps busy, even she has a day off occasionally. (she has a day off occcasionally) One afternoon, she heads to a beach along the Colorado River, where a startling sight greets her–a skinny-dipping, overly permed, eighty-one-year-old nursing home escapee. EULA is on a mission to do all the risky things she never tried. She begins dragging Kat along on sky diving appointments and overnight rafting trips–a source for contention between Kat and Eula's grandson GABE, who thinks Kat is encouraging his grandmother to risk her life. But when Kat's current summer fling fizzles, she finds herself interested in Gabe, despite the fact that this outdoorsy bike store owner is so not her type.

Just as Kat has begun to relax into her temporary life, she comes in to work one morning to find all the rafts slashed and learns that Wet 'n Wild's record summer has been marred by vandalism, including sugar in a gas tank and a break-in that left the cash register empty and in pieces. Although the police have filed numerous reports, they have no leads. Then Kat stops by one evening, and finds her cousin MICKEY crouched behind the Wet 'n Wild building with a gas can and a lighter.

Kat, an accomplished English teacher, had begun tutoring her cousin Mickey a few days after arriving in Moab. Their sessions had been rocky, considering he's twelve and has the attitude to go with the age, but she felt they'd made a connection. As their relationship grew, she learned of his sadness at having a father back in Boston and few friends in Moab, but until now she never understood the depth of his loneliness and hurt. The plan he reveals that evening shocks her: if the rafting company folds, his mom will return to Boston and get back with his dad. In his adolescent world, it makes perfect sense–too bad for him it would never happen.

Before Kat recovers from her disappointment in Mickey and her guilt at failing as a role model, Eula's latest stunt lands her in the hospital, and the ensuing argument between Kat and Gabe threatens to destroy their budding relationship.

Preoccupied by Mickey's vandalism, Eula's injury, and the fight with Gabe, Kat flips a raft full of tourists in a challenging rapid. Reality slams into her full on. The results–a tourist with a broken leg and several expensive cameras lost beneath the waves–make Kat realize she treated the summer like a game, and it's time to return to Boston before more people get hurt. She ends things with Gabe, says an awkward goodbye to her friends and family, and heads back home.

Her once-anticipated return to Boston is a disappointment. She feels distant, more like a tourist than a local, and she finds herself missing her life in Moab. After a disastrous dinner with her distant father, a successful politician she had once emulated, Kat realizes how much she has changed. In a fit of enthusiasm for a life that could be, she turns in her notice at the private academy where she teaches, secures an interview with Moab's school district, packs everything she owns, and takes off for Moab, not certain what awaits her, but sure that it will be anything but boring.

This is a crisp clean synopsis. There’s a hint of voice, enough about characters to get a sense of them and it’s not awash in extraneous detail.

What I’d look for in the novel is depth of character, some surprise twists to them.


Anonymous said...

p.s. In paragraph two, I think you mean "Adventure Capital" (with an 'a' rather than an 'o'). The word Capitol is generally reserved for use in referencing the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Anonymous said...

Rafting companies will have insurance out the whazoo. I took a very mild rafting trip and had to sign a disclaimer that if I died it wasn't *their* fault. It ain't cheap for the owners, but will cover injuries & vandalism.

Careful on the use of the name "Wet N Wild." It serves not only a large swim park in my area, but is the name of a line of gaudy cosmetics.

I don't recommend their nail polish.

Anonymous said...

You don't just decide to become a white water rafting guide after one trip. That's why companies HAVE guides, so that someone knows what the hell they're doing. You need EXPERIENCE, and no way would Kat get it in a few goes.

Anonymous said...

I've also seen "Wet N Wild" as the title of at least one low-budget porn flick. (I just saw it on the shelf. Honest.)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1, I'm embarrassed that I didn't catch that. Oops. Will be changed accordingly.

Anonymous 2, Even when you have insurance, it is still a hassle to file. Plus, if there are many claims your rates go up. Also, the large issue is, who is doing these things? And why? That is a big concern. As for the flip, insurance may cover broken limbs, but she still feels awful about it.

Anonymous 3, actually, as a former white water rafting guide, yes, you can. She has to go through training, and that is brought up in the book. But in a synopsis you simply can't mention everything. My query letter, however, does mention that I'm a former w.w. guide, so that should give a little credence.

As for Wet 'n Wild as a popular name, yes, it's everywhere. Which is a bit of why I chose it. Many rafting companies have names that are also popular phrases, or plays on those phrases. The company was previously owned, and the aunt has been known to make fun of the name on occasion, but they already have a solid reputation, so they keep the name. Again, something that is brought up in the book and there's no room to address it in the synopsis.

Anonymous said...

Keep the Wet and Wild if you can...cute considering what it's naming. And while the make-up might be cheesy as a whole, the lipliner number 666 is the perfect liner/lipstick. Even if the number is freaky, the color is awesome. Doesn't come off, perfect for the white water rafter in your life. Hehehe. Good news for you from Miss Snark, huh?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kathie. :-) I actually used to work at a rafting place named--no kidding--Gunnison River Pleasure Park. No sense of irony in the name at all, either. I'm still a little embarrassed to mention it, and it never goes on a resume. They always said that, well, rafting is supposed to be pleasurable, and they do have a nice little park there...

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I thought this one was really good!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Lynn! You made my day. :-)