Dear Miss Snark:
'Let’s face it, if you come into this world with a name like Gooby, you're pretty much done for.'
Meet fourteen-year-old Jay Gooby. His life is one endless torment, andhe’s convinced it's all his parents' fault for saddling him with such aridiculous name. He's endured all kinds of nicknames, especially at the hands of his classmate and hockey rival Mike Thornleigh, who's been making Jay's life hell since kindergarten.
Then Jay's world is turned upside-down when his parents adopt an autistic child and Thornleigh is diagnosed with a heart condition. Forced to re-examine his perspective on life, Jay comes to realize that there is only one person responsible for his problems: himself.
The Goob Factor is a 25,000 word, Young Adult novel about taking a step back from your own judgements and seeing other people as they really are.
I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
I'm not sure why these two events force someone to reexamine their perspective. Most 14 year old kids I know are oblivious to everything, don't have a perspective on life, and they are bundles of raging feelings without much introspection. (please don't write and tell me I'm wrong--maybe you know different kids, but these are the ones I know)
Let's face it, if you come into this world with a name like Gooby, you’re pretty much done for.
I can’t believe that after decades (centuries, maybe!) of kids getting pummelled in playgrounds, the world hasn't figured this one out by now. Hey, attention parents -- newsflash! This just in! Don't land your kid with a stupid name!
Gooby's not my first name. Thank. Freaking. God. Can you imagine? I’ll give my parents credit for at least giving me a halfway normal first name. Oh no, wait -- I won’t. Jay might sound normal at first, but then you realize it could be a girl's name. Couple that with the whole Gooby thing, and life is pretty much over before it's begun.
It's okay for a girl to have a guy’s name, like Charlie or Jamie -- it's kinda cute. Sexy, even. But on no account should a guy ever, EVER be called Stacy, Leslie or (thank God for small mercies) Vivian. But Jay is almost as bad. Trust me on this one.
"Hey Goober!" a voice calls out.
Nickname number one.
Takes a real genius to come up with that one. I don't even turn around; I already know the genius in question is Mike Thornleigh. It’s the hey-world-look-at-me, I’m MIKE THORNLEIGH in his voice that gives it away. Oh, that and the fact he's been calling me names for nine straight years now. I could probably pick his voice out of a screaming crowd of a
thousand people. While wearing headphones.
Nickname number two.
There’s Gooby, Goobs, Goober, Goobster, and then my personal favourite: Booger. That one doesn't even make sense. But try explaining that to someone like Thornleigh. It's not that the guy's dumb, just that there isn't much call for him to be smart. In school, smart is a niche, and it's reserved for the kids who aren't athletes, good looking, overflowing with confidence, blah, blah, blah. Thornleigh is all of those things, so smart doesn’t really get a look-in.
"Thornleigh," I say, which makes me wonder if I really am so smart, after all. I mean, NINE YEARS of name-calling -- you’d think I’d have a better comeback. But go on, you try -- come up with a s out of Thornleigh.
I once thought about the ‘Booger’ nickname and how it wasn’t really that close to my name, so I took the ‘Leigh’ from Thornleigh and figured at least I could do something with that, but all I came up with was Leafy. So then I thought, hey, that’s neat, ‘cause leafy is like a bush, and so are thorns, so I called him Leafy, but he just gave me this strange look and I realized how stupid it sounded.
Thornleigh. Damn. Sounds good no matter what. Kinda tough. Even a bit classy. Like a make of hockey stick or something.
Ow. Textbook. Head.
I swing around, ready to nail Thornleigh with my backpack, but he has already jumped out of the way. He’s always hitting me with books or tripping me up or slamming me against lockers
Nine years is a long time. I should know; I’m fourteen.
(this is where your story starts)
"So Goob-Goob!" (Oh, did I forget to mention that one?) “You going to practice tomorrow?”
I turn to look at him. He’s smiling, and he’d actually look friendly if it weren’t for all the years of nicknames, jokes, punches, wedgies, and general roughhousing.
"Yeah, I’m goin’."
"Great! ‘Cause my team really needs you, man."
This would sound nice if I weren’t on a different team.
You're telling not showing. You don't need all the exposition, just SHOW the kid getting called Goob Goob. We'll figure out that's a nickname eventually.
Also, it's very hard to write in the voice of a 14 year old kid. I see a lot of stuff written in that voice and it tends to sound like sitcom kids-mouthy and overly adult. Like Danny on the Partridge Family kind of thing.
This is a pass-I don't believe the premise or the voice.