Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bouncer Post #166

Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 78,000


After years of giving haircuts and shaves in her father's barbershop, seventeen-year-old Aubrey is most comfortable hanging out with guys…until it comes to romance. After admitting to herself that three years is too long to crush on any one person without making a move, Aubrey confesses her feelings to Ben, the guy who makes political commentary sound sexy. When he turns her down, she challenges him to give her one good reason why. He gives her twelve.

Aubrey has no intention of following his suggestions, unless doing so involves explaining to Ben the difference between being constructive and being an ass. But as opportunities arise to check things off the list- like becoming the glorified water girl for the basketball team- she won't miss out just because it might validate Ben's low opinion of her.

As each check mark and its associated challenges reveal more to Aubrey about herself, she wonders what Ben is really trying to tell her with the list. And since suggestion number six pushes her in the direction of another guy, she needs to figure things out - like now.

First 250:

The quickest, most direct route to a guy’s friendship is sports. Navigating the route to more ethereal places like his heart requires a completely different skill set. A skill set I’ve yet to master. According to my sister Nia, this is my greatest failure.

While I rummage the drawers of my station at my father’s barbershop, looking for a clipper guard, Nia gives me a pep talk about exactly how to use my elusive skill set on Ben— the crush of my life— today.

“…Girl, either you need to find out what he wants or move on.” She garbles into the phone as she brushes her teeth. When she spits and turns on the faucet, I take my chance to get a word in.

“What if—”  I turn away from my station to go into the break room— even though I have no idea why my clipper guard would be in the break room— and Ben is standing right behind me wearing his usual khakis and a button down shirt, short sleeved because it's summer. “Um, Nia, I have to go. My customer’s here.”

That’s the easiest way to get her off of the phone. She knows Dad thinks talking on a cell phone in the presence of a customer is unprofessional. Thank God for texting.

“Hey. You need something?” I ask him.

He stands there scratching the inside of his collar with his index finger for a minute before he responds.

“I was going to ask you that. Are you looking for something?”


  1. Really strong opening. I love the voice and you've put her in a unique setting. My only question on the query is, what did he say was wrong with her? You don't need to list all 12, but maybe state what types of things we're talking about here. Is it personality problems or physical problems? (the line about being a water girl makes me think it's the latter). Clarity on these 12 steps might help the query pop. But otherwise, very strong. Best of luck, Amy (#168)

  2. Wow. This might be my favorite. The query is spot on. LOVED it. I agree with the above comment about giving a couple of examples on the 12 things wrong with her, but this is awesome. Good luck.


  3. Great voice in your query and your first 250!! Loved the line about making political commmentary sound sexy. My only suggestion for your query is to make Ben seem a little more appealing. He comes across as a total ass and I'd love to have a reason to root for him and Aubrey (unless you don't want the reader to).
    -Good luck from Entry #152

  4. This sounds awesome!I think the query is really concise and catchy, doing its job! And the first 250 definitely make me want to read more. This has all the makings of a great YA romance, based on al the great ones I've read and loved. Good luck with this!

    Entry #160

  5. I love the premise and the voice here! I'm w/ Spaced Out and Kelly - it would be great to get little taste of some of the items on the list. One tiny thing I noticed: in the first 250, the phrase "because it's summer" doesn't seem necessary. The short-sleeved shirt implies this already. But other than that tiny thing, loved this! #146

  6. You had me at: "When he turns her down, she challenges him to give her one good reason why. He gives her twelve."

  7. I love your 250, and did lol at, "When he turns her down, she challenges him to give her one good reason why. He gives her twelve."

    In your query, though, I'm not sure what Aubrey's own action is. It reads somewhat like things happen to her, not like she takes matters into her own hands. I'd like to be clearer about her choice/action/dilemma.