Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bouncer Post #153

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 78,000 words


Wishing doesn't make it so, Azra does. Turning sixteen opens the door to Azra’s Jinn ancestry and her new life as a genie. But receiving her powers isn’t exactly what Azra would call a gift. Her destiny is controlled by the powerful Afrit, who rule over the Jinn world, and she must keep her true identity a secret from all but her fellow Jinn. 

Bitter about living a life controlled by others, Azra rebels in the only way she can. She tosses the Jinn handbook aside and wings it. When she forgets the cloaking spell that prevents humans from having any knowledge of the wish — and of her — the sixteen-year-old boy from across the street, Henry, not only becomes five inches taller but Azra’s first real friend. Not having to hide who she is around Henry, Azra finds the joy in being Jinn. As they test the boundaries of her curiously strong magic, Azra continues to flout the Afrit’s rules.

But Azra’s genie mistakes begin to mount, along with the consequences, as she uncovers a secret about the father she has never met, the source of her strong magic, and why the Afrit have been watching her so carefully. If Azra doesn’t accept her life as a genie, the Afrit will punish her by taking away everyone she loves. And if the Afrit find out she outed the Jinn world to a human, her sentence will be jail, but Henry’s just might be death. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

First 250:

A chisel, a hammer, a wrench. A sander, a drill, a power saw. A laser, a heat gun, a flaming torch. Nothing cuts through the bangle. Nothing I conjure even makes a scratch.

I had to try, just to be sure. But the silver bangle encircling my wrist can’t be removed. It was smart of my mother to secure it in the middle of the night while I was asleep, unable to protest.

Though my Jinn ancestry means magic has always been inside me, the rules don’t allow me to begin drawing upon it until the day I turn sixteen. The day I receive my silver bangle. The day I officially become a genie. Today.

I slam my newly acquired accessory against my bedroom closet, leaving a rounded indent on the wood door. The pristine, gleaming metal mocks me. For the rest of my life, I’ll go where I’m told, perform on command, and do it all without question. 

Screw that.

Barefooted, I can’t kick the pile of tools without impaling myself. I settle for shoving the saw and catch a reflection of myself in the blade. Right, how could I forget? I race to my bathroom and fling open the door. At the mirror, I inspect all the ways my body has been altered while my mind was unable to resist. 

Always lanky, my form is now a study in angles. My cheekbones protrude like a shelf, the bones on my hips jut out, and my elbows are sharp like a sword. This is supposed to be attractive? I could double as the skeleton of a svelte supermodel.


  1. Ooooo your premise! I can't think of anything I have read that's similar. *bounces with excitement*

    Your query is very well done. The only thing that felt a little chunky was these two lines: "Not having to hide who she is around Henry, Azra finds the joy in being Jinn. As they test the boundaries of her curiously strong magic, Azra continues to flout the Afrit’s rules."
    Maybe they could be rephrased to fit into one sentence, and/or the second usage of Azra's name could be changed to "she"? It might read a little smoother.

    I love love LOVE your first 250! The descriptions are rich without slowing the reader down at all. I immediately get a feel for Azra's personality, and I immediately like her. I already know this story and your writing style would keep me up late. :)

  2. I love your first 250, too. Exciting to read about genies. The only thing that pulled me out was the sentence about her body being altered while her "mind was unable to resist"...Did she make herself skinnier in her sleep? If so, why? Maybe just clear that up. Otherwise, great job. Amy (#168)

  3. I loved your opening! That first paragraph really drew me in. I usually don't read a lot of fantasy, but this one caught my eye. :)

    Best of luck
    Leslie (#177)

  4. Bouncer Colonel MustardFebruary 11, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    I'm going to wait until Thursday to announce my top 3, but I'm going to give everyone some feedback in the meantime.

    First, seriously cool. I haven't heard of any other genie books in YA. If I'm right, kudos for coming up with something new! This is a well-written query, too. My only tweak--and this is nitpicking--but foreign names are sometimes tough and having a hero and antagonist with short "A" names could be initially confusing for some readers. If you could rename one of them, it may be worth it. Not a huge thing though.

    Okay. Stay tuned!

  5. Oh wow, I want to read this book! Your first sentence in your query is wicked-awesome. I agree with Bouncer Col. Must. that the multiple A-names in the query was a bit hard to follow, and it could maybe be made a touch clearer that Henry discovers her secret (though obviously I 'got it' in the end, it did take me a re-read). But overall, very solid and I'd totally read on! #146

  6. This is a fantastic query and you've got a great voice in your first 250! I'm so excited to see where this goes.

  7. Bouncer Colonel MustardFebruary 13, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    You're in!

    This one got my attention right away based on its unique premise alone. I love that the paranormal protagonist is not described as particularly beautiful but in fact awkward, sharp, and angular. Honestly--it can be a bit of a risk in the genre, but risk taking gets you places.

    (Can I make a suggestion: you use the word bangle a few times. Maybe call it a shackle once--just to break it up and make your point!)

    Good luck!

  8. Lori A. Goldstein (@_lagold)February 15, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Thanks bouncer and everyone!