HH 249 (246)

Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.

Jeff walks into his new school and finds Kimberlee (with two 'E's and don't you forget it!) in the hall. Well, on the hall floor. Chewing gum. What else is a clueless ghost stuck in limbo supposed to do? No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff and, threatened with Kimberlee turning his life into total chaos, he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business," which is to return a few things. What could it hurt? But an entire cave full of kyped merchandise is not what Jeff signed up for. After several run-ins with Kimberlee's so-called friends and being escorted home by the sheriff, Jeff is overjoyed when the cave is empty and Kimberlee can be on her ghostly way. So why isn't she gone?

Yes yes yes yes yes.


Hypergraphia said...

Miss Snark, you left out the "oh dog, YES!"....

I was prepared to say I'd read this whether it was considered a good hook or not. Glad to see it got not only a yes, but an orgasmic one, lol!

Good luck and let me know when you have a finished product!

Michele said...

This looks like so much fun! Looking forward to the pages.

Kathleen said...

I love this one. It's got great energy, and it's exactly the sort of thing I would enjoy reading. You give enough character description and plot to make everything plausible, but you leave out juuust enough to make us want to know more. Bravo! I can't wait to see the pages for this one!

Anonymous said...

I like this hook and hope that the book continues in a light and quirky tone - maybe something like the old Topper movie. I'm looking forward to a fun read.

Zappadong said...

May I add another three

yes, yes, yes ???
And would the author please inform the snarklings, once this novel is published?


smoakes said...

I love the 'the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.' that just killed me.

Keetha said...

Definitely one I'd read.

Crystal Charee said...

Excellent hook. I want to read it right now.

Rei said...

Why doesn't he just report the cave to the police and let them deal with the issue of getting things back to their owners?

I guess I'm alone in not wanting to read this. I don't get why this isn't "get another trapped ghost" story. I'm also not seing what Miss Snark usually rants about. Where's the antagonist? Where are the consequences? Why are we supposed to care?

I guess I'm just on the wrong wavelength here.

Zuleme said...

Yes Yes Yes from this children's book reader too!

I Said said...

rei, I'm with you on this. Both on the hook and the book.

wavybrains said...

Another yes here too! Fabulous energy.

Maprilynne said...

"Why doesn't he just report the cave to the police and let them deal with the issue of getting things back to their owners?"

Because if he just reports it to the police then Kimberlee's "friends" won't get their personal effects back and thus not completing her "unfinished business." (Trust me, no cop is going to spend hours tracking down the owner of a three-year-old cheer skirt.)


Plus the cave is on very private property. Try explaining that one to the police.:)

Writerious said...

Nice job. You'll let us all know when this gets published, right?

Anonymous said...

Yowza, Yowza, Yowza!

REI, First think of this in terms of the YA and MG genre.

The immediate premise has to be that the hero will solve the problem himself. The second premise is that solution must be different from that an adult would choose/ (Primarily, I think, because adults boringly and predictably think the way to solve a problem is to turn it over to the authorities.

And, then, in regard to this particular story, if you MUST find a believable rationale: What are the chances that the MC will be hauled up in court when he explains that he knew about the cave of purloined possessions because a GHOST told him about it?

If he should manage to convince them he's not the thief, he wins a court-ordered commitment for a mental examination.

Ski said...

I have to say this submission stands out in the "hook" pile. It leads you on a smooth journey to a place the author wants to take you. I think its done well. I'd guess the story would be the same kinda trip. It looks easy when it's done right.
Good Luck.


Kat said...

I second Miss Snark. This made me laugh, and I'd love to read it.

Kiki said...

I'm not usually a fan of ghost stories, but this one sounds hilarious.
I love that the girl is dead first and a klepto second.
I hope the book is as fun as the hook!

Anonymous said...

I don't know. The hook is written well, but the plot is suspiciously close to Meg Cabot's "Mediator" series, except that this ghost-mediator is a guy instead of a girl. Everything else sounds way familiar: the teen protagonist being the fish-out-of-water at a richie-rich school, the first encounter at school being with a difficult ghost only the mediator can see, the need to "set things right" so that the ghost can be on her way, except not... There's no copyright on plot, but I feel a bit apprehensive at the possible blurring of the line between original fiction and fanfiction in this entry. Of course, this can also opens the way to a jacket blurb declaring, "If you loved "Mediator", you'll love this!"

ORION said...

You ROCK maprilynne!

heidi said...

This query does stand out from the rest. Suddenly I see why it works. Wow.

1. No backstory, only present dilemma. The rest of us have been trying to establish backstory so when we get to the "interesting bit" (aka the dilemma), Miss Snark will know what we're talking about.

But it's not about trying to explain "Why things happen" through backstory, but to make the reader ask "what is going to happen next?" Omitting the backstory can help that.

We have no idea how Kimberlee (with two ees) died or why Jeff is going to a new school. Does it matter for the hook? All that matters is that we know they're there with a problem to be solved.

2. Emotional resonance. Everyone hates unfinished business. Everyone hates being powerless. Kimberlee has unfinished business and she's powerless to finish it. This resonates with us and we feel sympathetic. Also, the New Kid syndrome that Jeff suffers. It strikes a chord in most of us, and you can tell yourself why.

3. Unanswered questions. Isn't the return of the items supposed to free Kimberlee? Apparently not. This new depth makes us wonder and want to know more.

4. Touch of humour. Now, the writing may or may not be humourous (sample pages will tell), but the touch of humour sets a mood about Jeff the main character that makes him an appealing guy.

It's not a "whacky hijinks ensue" type of humour, but a sort of situational Everyman humour.

Now, humour won't work for every hook, but it seems to work for these personable happy-ending stories. Lives aren't at stake, planes aren't going to crash and the World As We Know It isn't going to end, so humour adds a nice touch.

5. What? No dead cats?

A Paperback Writer said...

Oh, bravo. Very nice. I'd keep reading.

skybluepinkrose said...

Good analysis, heidi. Also, the successful hooks are uncluttered. As widely as the unsuccessful ones can vary, I'd say their common denominator is clutter.

Great job, writer! I hope you get published.

Anonymous said...

Zappadong and writerious, maybe you should write: "IF this gets published"? We haven't seen the pages yet. An endorsement on a hook by MS is by no means a guarantee for success.
But I liked the hook, and I'm curious about the pages.

Virginia Miss said...

Kudos, author. This sounds like a fun read, with wit and attitude. I expect to see this in a scholastic book order form soon.

So many of the great hooks have been ya/mid grades, lotsa talent congregating in juvenile fiction.

Heidi, you've hit the nail on the head. I hope I can emulate this!

Anonymous said...

rei said:

"I guess I'm alone in not wanting to read this. I don't get why this isn't "get another trapped ghost" story. I'm also not seing what Miss Snark usually rants about. Where's the antagonist? Where are the consequences? Why are we supposed to care?

I guess I'm just on the wrong wavelength here."

I'm with you, rei.