Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bouncer Post #34

Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 88,000


Paranoid schizophrenic Alex Ridgemont has bigger things to worry about than what's real and what's not--like convincing her mother she knows the difference between the two.

Medications never worked for Alex. Instead she trusts her ability to ignore her delusions, because that ability is the only thing keeping her out of the mental hospital. Hopefully, a fresh start at East Shoal High, where no one knows her condition or the fiasco that got her kicked out of her last school, will be all she needs to keep up her completely-not-crazy fa├žade.
Except delusions don’t care that Alex has good grades, perfect attendance, and her first-ever real boyfriend, Miles. And it doesn't help that East Shoal comes with its own demons, like the old gym scoreboard that’s rumored to be possessed. When Alex hears the scoreboard talking, she isn’t surprised--until someone else starts talking back. Someone who's supposed to be normal. And someone who's determined to either have Miles or destroy him.
Now, the only thing scarier than facing her delusion is not knowing if revealing it would save her some pain or get her sent straight to the Happy House. And riding on the line is her opportunity at a new life and a chance with Miles—the only person who might understand everything.

First 250:

My mother used to take me grocery shopping with her on Sundays, but only under the threat of death by guillotine if I asked for anything that wasn't on her list.
Two realizations about this came to me when I was older, the first being that I couldn't ask for anything we didn't need because we were, as the government puts it, "at the poverty threshold," and the second being that my mother didn't have the resources to procure a working guillotine.
Back then, she sometimes had soft moments when she'd buy me a Yoo-hoo and smile at me and be all motherly. I loved those Yoo-hoos, not only because they were probably the most delicious drink ever conceived by man, but because they meant my mother still cared whether or not I was happy.
While she went to go get Dad's favorite pork chops from the meat counter, my mother left me at the lobster tank. Until the day Blue Eyes showed up, Lobsters fascinated me like no other creature could. Everything from their name to their claws to their magnificent red had me hooked.
My hair was that red, the kind of red that looks okay on everything but people, because a person's hair is not supposed to be red. Orange, yes. Auburn, sure.

But not lobster red.
Every Sunday when my mother left me at the tank, I'd take my pigtails (an appropriate hairstyle at the time, and I refused to wear anything else), press them up against the glass, and stare the nearest lobster straight in the eye.


  1. Don't mind me, I'll just be over here flailing with excitement at how much I love this.

  2. Just popping in to say, "Good luck!" :)

  3. Lucky CP here to tell everyone - this is the first book that made me cry since I was nine years old. Brilliant and beautiful. And red, in lots of ways. GO ALEX GO!!!!

  4. I love these kinds of stories and ALEXITHYMIA is every bit as fantastic as it sounds--and then some!

    GO ALEX GO! :D

  5. Love the voice in this, and the opening immediately makes me want to read more! Such an amazing concept!

  6. You are so good at creating voice. Love it. I must bug you for this once I properly finish the other book...s.

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  7. Love love love! ALEX is so awesome!

  8. I would read this. The idea of the Happy House intrigues me.

  9. This is by far the most stand-out query I've read. I am intrigued and wish you all the best of luck in upcoming rounds!

  10. Cute beginning, and a great query. Good luck!

  11. LOVE this idea and the voice (so good!), but one small issue - lobsters aren't that shade of vivid bright red until they're cooked. If the lobster is chilling in the tank alive and well, he'd be a dark blue/gray color with some red highlights.

    Good luck!!

  12. Hey guys! Thank you so much for all the comments! You're seriously making my day.

    About the lobster color -- I've had a few people bring this up, actually. Alex is only hallucinating the bright red, at this point. She realizes the truth later. ^_^

  13. This premise is right up my alley. And your prose is tight and engaging. No wasted words. Nice work! :)

  14. Really exciting query. Love the tone!

  15. Bouncer Bookish HandygirlFebruary 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Love the voice, and it certainly is a bold premise. What can I say, I love bold. Soooo..... You're in!

  16. Yes. Books about crazy teens. I'm so in! Congrats on making the cut!