HH Com Rd 2 - #11 (249/246)

Chapter One (hook here)

I hate this school. I tugged at the lame plaid tie that was about three millimeters from cutting off my air supply and changed my mind. I hate this tie. Then I remembered the name tag the chubby advisor with too much lipstick had slapped onto my chest. HI! MY NAME IS JEFF, and changed my mind again. I hate the name tag the most, the tie second, and I still hate this school.

Then I saw the bubblegum. One of those huge bubbles that you know is gong to pop and cover the girl's face. Then she'll shriek and yell and whine that her make-up's ruined, blah, blah, blah. But the bubble didn't pop. She did that thing where you suck all the air back into your mouth and the bubble deflates into a little pink heap.

She was lying on the floor.

In the middle of the hallway.

I tilted my head sideways. She had nice legs. Then some guy came tearing around the corner with someone's backpack. Bullies. Of course. I gripped the straps of my own backpack a little tighter. He pushed a couple of people out of his way, laughing like hyena. On speed.

"Watch it, jerk!"

Jerk looked back to smirk at whoever he'd shoved. Now he was running straight at the girl on the floor with his eyes focused backwards. "Hey!" I yelled, attempting to stop the inevitable.
The girl's eyes rolled up and she pulled her arm out of the way just before his Eckos pounded down right beside her head. "Look out, asshole," she said, without moving another inch. Jerk didn't even glance back.

I dropped to one knee. "Are you okay?"

She looked up at me with wide, surprised eyes. "Are you talking to me?"

Right. Forgot my place for a minute. Any girl who could look that hot in a knee-length black skirt and plaid vest and had the guts to lie in the middle of the hallway was not going to tolerate being talked to by a nobody like me. Especially a brand-new nobody like me. "Forget it. My mistake," I muttered and turned to start looking for my assigned locker again. This place was freaking maze.


I stopped walking but didn't turn around.

"Were you talking to me?"
I turned and gave her my best punk look. My I-don't-care-that-you're-rich-popular-and-gorgeous look. I admit, I haven't had much practice.

"Yeah. And?"

She sat up; her eyes never left mine. "You can see me?"

This was too much. "You think you're invisible? You got problems." People were staring at me now. I must be way out of my league to get dirty looks for just talking to this girl.

She walked over and looked me up and down from my scuffed Docs to my slightly fluffy hair that my mom was always trying to get me to put gel in. "If you can see me then what color is my shirt?"

"Okay, this is ridiculous."

"Answer the question, freak."

"I'm a freak? You're lying in the middle of the floor pretending to be invisible, and I'm the freak?"

She gasped and made that little squeal that make girls look cute and guys, well, look like girls. "You can see me. This is great. You are my new best friend."


"This is the best day I've had in almost year. I thought I was going to be stuck on that stupid floor forever. But now you're here. You're here . . . um," she glanced at my name tag, "Jeff." She scrunched up her nose. "Jeff? Eww." When I rolled my eyes she waved her hands in front of her face. "I take it back. Jeff's fine. I don't care what you call yourself. That's not important. But can I call you Jeffrey at least? That is your whole name, right?"


"Can I call you that anyway?"


"Fine, we'll work on the name later. I have so many things to do and you're gonna help me."

"Stop!" I held up both hands. This girl hadn't even taken a breath. "Who are you?"

She gestured to herself like she was a celebrity I should know instantly. Maybe she was—this was Santa Monica after all. "Kimberlee Schaffer? The Kimberlee Schaffer?"

I shrugged.

well, to quote myself on the hook: yes yes yes yes.

What works: no backstory, you just plop right there into the hallway.
No explanation. We pick up what's going on from what's said and how it's said.
The pacing is good. The voice is clever without being stupid.

I'd ask for pages on this for sure.


Bernita said...

And I don't even like YA.

millhousethecat said...

I love this.

The premise if fun and the interaction between Kimberlee and Jeff is terrific. Spirited (haha) and real. The dialog reminds me of My So-Called Life, 'cept with ghosts, y'all!

More...give us more!

Anonymous said...

Great Job!

Anonymous said...

I want more! (How 'bout the book?) Let us know when it's available on Amazon!

Anonymous said...

Dialog needs polish. Read Hiaasen.

Anonymous said...

I liked this, too. It's the first one that I would've walked out of the bookstore with.

Thomma Lyn said...

Great job! The writing is smooth and pulls the reader right (write ;) ) along. Good luck with this, author.

Anonymous said...

oh em gee...someone who can actually write!

Good luck, author!

Just Me said...


Virginia Miss said...

In addition to the voice, interesting action, and pacing, I like how we learn about the character and setting:

Especially a brand-new nobody like me.

Maybe she was—this was Santa Monica after all.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

So what happens next????

Tattieheid said...

Another good one and I generally hate YA

Nicoe said...

This is fantastic.

Bonnie Shimko said...

This one's good. Really good.

mom on a wire said...

This is fantastic. I want MORE!

Anonymous said...

Can I make two word-choice suggestions? Consider changing "millimeters" to something time-oriented, like "microseconds". And "chubby" seems more a masculine adjective to me, so think about feminine forms like "busty".


Sherryl said...

Great start. Pacey, and you find out what's going on by the action and dialogue, not by being told.
I also like the voice and I would hope that the author could keep up both pace and voice as well as developing a great plot.

A Paperback Writer said...

When can I read the rest?

Zuleme said...

This is my favorite so far.

Anonymous said...

I really like this. There's so much to like.

The second Anon's proclaimation of "read Hiaasen" doesn't sit well with me. Your style isn't Hiassen, so you shouldn't be trying to write like him.

A ghost with an attitude -- "Answer the question, freak." This is not dialogue that needs rewritten ala Hiassen. Trust me.

McKoala said...

Liking it here too. Now this is a good place to begin. Tense seems to shift about a bit, though, in para 1? Maybe we're missing some formatting to show thought, though.

xiqay said...

Add me to the list. I love this. I like Jeff and his situation as a new kid who feels out of place. I like Kimberlee with her on-the-floor attitude. I want to read more.

Anne said...

This drew me in.

Karen said...

I love this too ~ this writer has obviously done research about YA habits, fashions, etc. and very cleverly tucks in all the references that make it ring true. Nice job.

Zany Mom said...

I'm so gonna buy this when it comes out. My kids would LOVE this.

Maprilynne said...

Wow, thanks guys.:) This project is so much fun to write because I get to let go and really just be a smart-alecky kid.

Just to answer a question---"Maybe we're missing some formatting to show thought, though."

Yeah, italics didn't come through for me. But I was just glad that the rest of the formatting did.:)

Thanks again!


Maria said...

So cute. Nice job! Neat idea and really smooth execution.

Leah said...

Love it!

Jen said...

I Like. :)

Zappadong said...

While Miss Snark is asking for pages, I ask to be informed when the book is out. This will be a heck of a read. Look forward to it. Go, author, get yourself an agent and a publiser and let us know when the book is out.


skybluepinkrose said...

I'm intrigued. Good job!

thraesja said...

This certainly looks like a good premise. Two quibbles though:
1) The tense changes in the first paragraph threw me a bit. I hate. I tugged. I remembered. I hate. It's not really wrong, as it is inside the character's head, but it was clunky for me to read.
2)As the conversation with Kimberlee progresses, shouldn't he be drawing more attention than just looks? Surely people would start whispering about him, or even questioning him about just who the heck he was talking to?

I liked the line about her not even taking a breath. She's rambling, and probably dead too. Nice.

Best of luck!

writtenwyrdd said...

This is a great opening. I don't know anymore than the pov kid does, but I feel I know enough. I want to read more.

~Nancy said...

The only YA I read are the Harry Potter books...and I'd like to read this! Some nice humor, along with bits and pieces of backstory.

Good luck with it!


Xopher said...

Another one I want to read when it comes out! I like this a lot.

Twill said...

Love it, Love it, Love it, want to read the book and see the movie.

Alley Splat said...

Really good. Love it.

Steve Prosapio said...

In a word...."$"

Make sure to let us all know when it's published and I'll buy it for sure.


Anonymous said...

It's fine. Not interesting to me personally, but there's nothing really wrong with it except some mildly clumsy phrases.

"Then I remembered the name tag the chubby advisor with too much lipstick had slapped onto my chest." It would read better and have just as much punch if you cut one of the descriptors.

Same problem in:

"...to my slightly fluffy hair that my mom was always trying to get me to put gel in." It's awfully YA-sounding.

If everybody thinks kids will like this, they're probably right. It sounds just like television.