Thursday, May 26, 2011

First Page Critique: A Middle-Grade Novel

Mollie sent in this first page for critique. I'm guessing this is middle grade.

The Automata Maker's Fire-Breathing Housekeeper
        Miles opened the front door, tripped over the threshold, and staggered into the dark hallway. His backpack, stuffed with schoolbooks and slung haphazardly over one shoulder, threatened to overbalance him and he almost bumped into his brother and sister who were crossing through the hall. They carried a large package wrapped in decorative floral and butterfly paper.

        "What've you got there?" Miles asked as he heaved his gear onto the floor under the hallway table.

        "Uncle Dishwasher gave it to me," Theo said frowning.

        "Why'd he do that, do you think?" asked Billie. Her eyes were wide as she chewed at her lower lip.

        "Maybe he's sorry about how mean he's been to us," Miles said. "Maybe it's a box of burn ointment to use for all the times he's scorched us. Or maybe it's full of poisoned cookies so he won't be bothered with us anymore."

        Billie gasped and jerked her hands away from the package. "He has been mean, but maybe he's overworked. You know from all the extra lunches and then two kinds of dinner. And extra laundry, and speaking two languages, and." she trailed off and started nibbling on her thumbnail.

Miles snorted and gave her the same disgusted look he always gave when he thought she was excusing the undeserving. Then he glared at Theo. "Why did he give it to you? I'm the oldest."

 "I just got home first, I guess."

        Miles shrugged. "Let's get a snack before Kazu and Yuji come home. You can unwrap that thing while we eat." Miles dodged past Theo and Billie and headed to the kitchen. He pushed open the swinging door and was about to step into the room when, instead, he hurriedly backed out, stumbling and tripping into Theo and Billie. He put his finger to his lips signaling silence.

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