HH Com 536

Education is a product and kids are the target market. At her public high school – a remodeled shopping center with corporate-sponsored classes and a video-game grading-system – Kid needs to make herself "marketable" to stay in the game. Her best friend Ari just got cliqued: she's networking with the future ad-men and politicians in the Liar's Club and getting crafty with the Fashionistas.

Kid doesn't fit in with the crowd, mostly because her hyperactivity disorder keeps her tuned-in to other frequencies and clueless about trends. But Kid notices things. It starts when the body of a mannequin plummets five stories into the crowd of kids below. The faked suicide is dismissed by most as a stupid stunt, but it's Kid's first experience with the Unidentified – a misfit group of troublemakers.

Kid has been willing to overlook the cheesier aspects of her school's edutainment management, but when The Liar's Club launches a "Fear the Weird" campaign – targeting the different and the disordered – Ari punks out on her and Mikey gets expelled, Game Over. Forced to choose
sides, Kid falls in with the Unidentified. As she gets caught up in the escalation on campus, she starts to notice how the system is bugged. She can either play through the glitches or pull the plug. Everyone says the choice is hers, but when you're sixteen, really,
it's not.

GAME OVER is a 55,000 word YA novel about the complications of cliques, crushes and the commodification of youth culture.

I like this idea but it's not vivid enough to get past the slush. YA has to be vivid and high energy. It doesn't have to be full of slang, but it does have to move FAST.

Plus, this topic is pretty old hat. I'd be looking for something more forward thinking than this.


Virginia Miss said...

I was hooked by "Her best friend Ari just got cliqued: she's networking with the future ad-men and politicians in the Liar's Club..."

Good luck.

Twill said...

Personally, I loved it. Seemed fresh and different, and it was a locale I'd never seen. Are movie rights available?

Anonymous said...

This sounds too much like M.T. Anderson's (very brilliant and much-honored) _Feed_. I suspect you will have a hard time selling it for that reason.

A Paperback Writer said...

I really liked the school idea. I think it's quite original. But maybe I've missed something if it's "old hat." What have I not read that already had this in it? Anybody?

Kiki said...

Ooh, I like this one, too. I love the voice, and I like the idea of the sposored school (provided it's done well).
I've seen it tried before, but never successfully.
I'd definitely give it a look, of only for the nerd factor (htere *is* nerd factor, right?).

Anonymous said...

I love "cliqued" as a verb. Phenomenal.

Issendai said...

I liked the over-the-topness of the setting. It's almost an urban fantasy, the way elements of the real world are exaggerated. The story itself reads as being a little stale, but I'd love to read something in this setting.

skybluepinkrose said...

I like the fresh voice. Am unsure it will overcome the common plot, but the theme that "you're never going to escape high school cliques no matter how you do high school" may be worth exploring. If you haven't, be sure to read FEED, and you might give SECRETS OF THE SHOPPING MALL a look, too.

Anonymous said...

The voice was good, but I don't buy that there's anything "weird" or remotely unusual about having hyperactivity disorder among today's high school kids. I can't imagine a kid being ostracized for that.

Anonymous said...

This idea rocks! Good luck with your book, and I hope to see it in bookstores soon.

sharpierae said...

Hi. Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I have read FEED (and highly recommend it to any who have not). It's what made me realize YA was what I wanted to write. It's definitely the kind of reading experience I'm shooting for, except with more sympathetic characters.

I guess the story does travel down YA lit's well-worn terrain of not fitting in for whatever reasons. I'll try harder to make the fresher elements more prominent in the hook. Just make the whole thing hookier, I guess.

Much thanks to Miss Snark for doing this!
And thanks again for the comments.

xiqay said...

This has too much message for me. (Cliques are bad-uhm, boring).

Putting it in the future is cute, but doesn't change the preachy didactic tone.


Good luck.