Monday, February 13, 2012

Bouncer Post #95

Genre: YA magical realism
Word Count: 87,000


For seventeen-year-old Reese Jensen, stumbling across a dead guy in the woods is by no means a normal way to start a weekend. When that same guy later shows up on her doorstep—alive and well—asking for help, normal pretty much ceases to exist.
To a girl who loves solving puzzles, Dash is a mystery too good to pass up. Sexy and sweet, he’s also sporting a black hole where his memory should be, a wad of cash thicker than her wrist and a disturbing set of scars. Helping him figure out how to regain his memory is Reese’s way of appeasing her curiosity while clearing her name in the wake of a misunderstanding with police. Falling for him was never part of the plan.

At times, Dash seems reluctant to delve too deep into his cryptic past and Reese can’t understand why. Until, she discovers information that connects him to the victim of a violent crime. As dark secrets bubble to the surface at an alarming rate, she realizes he may not be the guy she thought he was. With her head and her heart at war, the trick for Reese is figuring out which guy is the real Dash: the one who swore to protect her at all costs, or the one capable of destroying her life without a second thought.

First 250:

Thank God there was no one on the jogging trail to see my ever so graceful face-plant onto the dirt. The last thing I needed to wrap-up senior year was to become known as Reese Jensen, the girl taken down by a school supply.

Apparently it’s considered cheating by the running gods to cut across the Camden High baseball fields rather than tackle the hill at the start of the trail. If I’d simply followed their rules, I wouldn’t have tripped over the backpack sitting at the exact spot I tried reconnecting with the dirt path. Then again, if I’d ever listened when my dad warned me about changing the playlist on my iPod while I was running, I’d have seen the obstacle before it up-ended me.

It was too late to change those things now. The same way it was too late to regret starting my weekend off with a jog because I suffered from a huge case of post-munchies remorse. Last night, downing a half-pound bag of Peanut M&Ms hadn’t seemed like such a bad idea.

The sprawling crash took the wind right out of me, and in the process of refilling my lungs, I was lucky enough to inhale a mouthful of decayed leaf remains. Spitting them out, I rolled over onto my back and stared up at the tree branches that interlocked like gnarly wooden arms above the trail. Not the most comfortable of places to take a siesta, but I needed a minute here.


  1. I love the voice in your query and in your first 250! It can be hard to make sure your query voice is the same as the book- but you nailed it. Also, comparing Dash to a puzzle is perfect. Good luck!

  2. I agree that the voice is great. It sounds like a narrator that I would like to go along with for a while. The query itself is strong and intrigues me. Only one thing - the misunderstanding with police might be unnecessary info since it it not explained in any way. Also, in the 250 I wasn't sure what taken down by school supply meant. But that was it - the rest was entertaining and I would continue on reading

  3. The first paragraph in you query hooked me. And I like the voice too. Good luck.

  4. Yes, that first paragraph of your query hooked me too. Good luck.

  5. Thanks, everyone, for the encouraging words. (And Owl for your suggestion on the query: I've actually wondered whether I needed that tidbit in there for motive or not)

    Hoping one of the bouncers comes along and gives me a table at the "date". :)

  6. I found this very attention grabbing from the outset so for me the query works and the 250 does not disappoint. I agree that the "taken down by a school supply" line in confusing so I would tweak it. But the images are effective like the mouthful of leaves and the "tree branches that interlocked like gnarly wooden arms" is vivid and terrific. The voice sounds authentic and with just enough of a wry wit to be engaging. She sounds like someone who would be a reliable and entertaining observer of the life and people around her without degenerating into the annoying sarcasm of so many YA narrrators. So, I would definitely read on. The idea itself contained in the query combines both a promise of adventure, the solving of a mystery and both of these lathered with a kind of supernatural intrigue that really grabs me. I likewise agree that the police line could be either cut or explained - as is, it is unnecessary because it just kinds of lays there. Know what I mean? Those are my thoughts for what they are worth. On an encouraging note, I see that you have not yet been visited by a bouncer. Don't despair because I have seen from this contest so far how subjective the process is. There are at least 3 entries (now 4 including yours) that I have read and think should have been passed on to the next round and have not been. There are also more than a few who have made it that I think shouldn't have. So, if I were a bounder you'd be bounced in. But, alas, I am not. Good luck tho and don't give up on your MS if things don't work out. I think your query is in the top 10 of all the ones I have read. And I've read all 50 entries this week.

  7. I agree with Happy Dolphin: don't be discouraged!! Your voice is perceptive, smart, and cute without being irritating. Good luck!