Thursday, April 28, 2011

First Page Critique: contemporary YA

Our first page critique offering this week comes from Shelley. This is a contemporary YA novel. Read it through today and think about how you would offer a critique. Leave feedback in the comments section if you like. Then stop by tomorrow to see what I have to say.

My mother’s mission in life is to change me. She’ll deny it, but ever since daddy’s accident, she colors the rooms of our home like Michelangelo threatened with unemployment. She wears her paint scarf wrapped tight around her curls, and dangles brushes from each hand like a gunslinger from an old movie.
 “Jenna and I are going back to school shopping,” I say before she can get a word out. All summer I’ve worked at Connie’s Coffee listening in on conversations. A study in human weirdness. Right now in my sock drawer I’ve a folded wad of twenties waiting to buy jeans and shoes for my first day of high school.
 I grab orange juice out of the fridge, and hunt through our cupboard for a clean glass.
 “Wonderful! I think you’re going to love high school, Stoney. I know I did.” Mama runs her hand over my hair. “Why do you insist on cutting your hair like a boy?”
 I tug on my new bangs, knowing I cut them way too short. But I don’t care. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to hate high school, Mama. Just because you liked it doesn’t mean I’m going to like it.” In fact, it’s a pretty sure bet that if she liked it, I’ll hate it.
 I’m trying to figure out why our lives have to change so much. Why can’t we stay the same?
It’s unbelievable the changes one person is required to go through in a lifetime, let alone a simple summer. I’ve written some down:
 Besides the unspeakable accident, which changed everyone’s lives forever, at the top of my list is Carl Journey, ex-boyfriend and creep. Also on that list is: school, body, and environment. Mine to be exact.

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