Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Surprise Agent Invasion #21

Genre: MG Adventure
Word Count: 45,000


THE MODERN CAVEBOY’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING BATS, BULLIES AND BILLIONAIRES combines THE CITY OF EMBER’s initial setting with THE GOONIES’ caving adventure and quest to save their families.

After twelve years in the Underground City, Ethan Williams will do anything to reach the surface – lie to his mom, steal from a rumored killer. He’ll even drag his sister and best friend into the forbidden Deep Caves, ignoring their concerns about the two experienced cavers who disappeared years ago trying to find a way out.

Maybe he should have listened. Caving sucks. It’s cold and dark, and where’s he supposed to pee? The caves seem more like a death trap than their ticket to freedom, especially when they have to fight off a vicious, possibly rabid bat colony and nearly drown in an icy pool.

It’s all worth it when they see a light. But it’s not the surface, and the cave dwellers they encounter will stop anyone who could expose their secret existence. Those missing cavers? They never made it out. Now Ethan and the girls have to escape all over again. If they fail this time, forget the surface. They can’t even go home. Ever.

First 250:

Why I Hate the Underground City

1. We’re trapped, but no one does anything about it.
2. I’ve never met my dad, and half the time it feels like my mom is on the surface with him.
3. The closest I can get to an adventure is sneaking into a PG-13 or R-rated movie at the SubEx.
4. Nothing changes here. Ever. There’s no wind or rain or darkness.
5. I’d do anything for a pet – a dog or cat or even a fish.
6. The only other boy anywhere near my age is Brandon Smith, and he’s a total jerk.
7. I have to share a room with my older sister. (Sorry, Ally.)
8. My birthday sucks. Everyone acts all happy but really they’re just mad.

There were two things everyone knew about the Underground City.

Escape was impossible.

So was rescue.

Ethan tried not to think about it, because then he ended up breaking something. Like at his birthday party last year, when he punched a hole through the wall in front of the whole town. After that, Mom decided he needed counseling. She sent him to Rev. Conners, the closest thing they had to a therapist. At first he fed Ethan a lot of stuff about prayer. When that didn’t work, he gave Ethan a system. He told Ethan to make a list of whatever made him angry or frustrated or upset.

For some reason, it worked. He had lists about everything from “Why Brandon Smith Sucks” to “Things I Don’t Like About Hanging Out with Girls.”

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I thought there was a lot to enjoy here and the potential for a big adventure. But I was curious about a couple of things. If Ethan has lived his entire life in the Underground City, why does he long for things he wasn't accustomed to, like wind and rain, having pets, and changing light? I could understand if he'd been forced down there after a life of freedom on the surface himself, but it sounds like he would only have heard of those things, not experienced them.

    However, beyond that, I can still see boys wanting to go on a big adventure and see something they haven't seen, go somewhere forbidden, see if they can escape from their existing confines!

    Your title's a bit long and just doesn't hit the right notes. Shorten it to just a few words.

    I'm not the biggest fan of using devices like these lists to get all of the backstory out of the way at the start of the book. It's weaker technique. Though you give a valid reason for him to use lists, it's not to the book's benefit.

    I like the plot and hope you'll work a bit more on the pages! Good luck!