Monday, January 14, 2013

Bouncer Post #23

Genre: YA mystery
Word Count: 56K


When Alison Burke, dressed in her Alice-in-Wonderland costume, ends up dead in Disney World's rose garden, Teegan Krane blames herself. After all, she's a character attendant, charged with handling guests and directing Alice's schedule. Needless to say, murder was not on today's agenda.

But Alison's death isn't the end of things. The other performers who play Alice report shadowy figures outside their apartments and threatening notes in their lockers. Talk about curiouser and curiouser. When another Alice reports blackmail even after the police arrest a suspect, Teegan resolves to discover the person behind the threats.

As she investigates behind-the-scenes (and under the streets) at the most magical place on earth, she discovers a world of jealousy and competitiveness blurring the line between fantasy and reality. With her best friend due to start as the newest Alice, Teegan has one week to discover the killer--or risk losing her forever.

First 250:

Usually the screams don't start until after the park opens. That's why this one, at 7:39 AM, startles me. I flinch, upsetting Aspen Joy, today's Magic Kingdom Alice in Wonderland, from her slouch against my shoulder.

"Teegan, I have a double shift today," she says. "At least let me sleep."

I roll my eyes and peel off my sweatshirt (the third sacrifice I've made for Aspen this morning, which actually isn't anywhere near a record), folding it into a makeshift pillow. Alison Burke, everyone's favorite Alice, was supposed to be here today, but she'd texted Aspen last night, asking to trade shifts. So it's Aspen I'm dealing with. Not that I'm supposed to think of them separately.

According to the Disney handbook for character attendants, Alice is Alice is Alice, no matter if Alice is Alison or Aspen. This is too many A-names for early on a Monday, so I adjust the pillow and hope she'll be less crabby when she wakes up.

I pull out today's schedule, scanning the itinerary. "I'm gonna go check on that scream. I've set your phone alarm for 8:00 so someone can cosmetology has time to do your hair and makeup."

Aspen grumbles assent, burying her face in my sweatshirt. She's grumpier than usual--probably out late with one of the French cast members from Epcot. Whenever she's over there, her attendant spends half the time coaxing her back into England--"Kids, where was Alice born?" (Answer: Oxford, though most people just say England.)


  1. I love retellings and this one sounds juicy!

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  3. I've heard of a lot of "Alice" retellings, but this it one of the first to stray away from the whole "falling down a rabbit hole" or "going into another world" thing. Well, I guess it a way it doesn't, but not in the literal sense.

    Also, loving the use of "curiouser and curiouser" in the query, and having it set in Disney World ;)

    1. I really loved the "curiouser and curiouser" part best too!

  4. The title alone grabbed me. And the idea of the mystery extending beneath the park...some family members took a tour down there this spring, so that piqued my interest. This is a really cool concept with slick parallels to Alice in Wonderland, and I like your voice, too.

  5. I love this concept! Disney World as a creepy, murder-y backdrop sounds incredibly unique. Plus, the voice in the first 250 is fantastic - made me want to read more for sure.

  6. I love this concept. I've never even thought of Disney World as a backdrop for a retelling or heck even a murder mystery. *shivers* Now I can't stop wondering how many people have actually died there. Good luck!!!!

  7. The voice in this really stands out. Both the query and the first 250 really pulled me in, I'd love to keep reading! :)

  8. I loved this the moment I read your title! And I was not disappointed by your query or your first 250 words. I would definitely keep reading!

    Great job! Good luck!!

  9. Loved your query! Such a great job!

  10. !! *Stomps feet in excitement* I'd pick this book up in a heart beat. UNIQUE. Underground world of jealousy and competitiveness at DisneyWorld!? Nice. Remember how much people loved Miss Congeniality, about a murder plot at a beauty contest? This isn't the same plot line, I know, but murder where it doesn't belong is always a great read.

    I'm #12

  11. This is awesome. I want to read the book now.

  12. The literal Disney World angle is such an awesome hook. I'd totally read this!

  13. Things I like about this entry: the title, voice, and THE Alice. Love this. I want to read it RIGHT NOW.

  14. Mr. Spock (Bouncer)January 14, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    I really want to choose this one because I love the idea of a creeptastic YA book set at Disney World and I love the idea of people wanting to kill Alice(s), but I worry this story might have plot holes. The stakes need to be higher than "My best friend might get killed if she plays Alice." That problem can easily be solved by not playing Alice. I mean, why can't the main character just tell her best friend not to play Alice?

    I do like the voice and love the premise, but you need to think about the stakes and how to raise them as high as possible. I think a lot of agents will be interested in the setting, but first you need to tell us why we should care about the main character and what she stands to lose if she doesn't find this person with the grudge against Alice(s).

  15. I love this. I would grab it, and I rarely read mysteries! The cross appeal of Alice + creepiness + Disney is fabulous. The voice in your 250 is strong, too. I would keep reading. Also, as others have said, excellent title.

    My suggestion would be to add more about Teegan's own character. She seems a little marginal in her own story. She is an attendant rahter than a character, it is her best friend caught up in the drama, etc. -- but she is the MAIN character in her own life, so what about HER needs? What drives her? Why is she still working there after her Alice got killed? Why does SHE have to solve the mystery instead of calling the cops and clearing out?