Monday, January 28, 2013

Bouncer Post #83

Genre: Contemporary young adult
Word  Count: 63,000


Only one person knew Chloe was gay, and his love and support disappeared when he hung a noose around his neck. And jumped.

Eighteen-year-old Chloe attends the college where her brother Brock spent his final days, hoping to uncover the reason behind his death. His whispers often invade her mind, and she can’t bear to tell anyone how he died. Or that she likes girls.

She soon finds Murphy—a boy who totally gets the wrong idea about their friendship. But Chloe refuses to tell him the truth, afraid to lose his support when she needs it the most. And Sasha, her gorgeous young teacher who had known Brock, and who just might have some insight into why he killed himself. Even after Sasha gives her Brock’s journals, Chloe still can’t figure out what pushed him over the edge.

She is consumed with Brock’s plan for revenge against his molester, and her depression deepens. Chloe pushes away the people who love her and starts to stalk the one girl who might have the answer—Brock’s girlfriend before he died, and the daughter of his abuser. But Chloe’s obsession comes at a cost, and she might have to give up everything she’s ever wanted—her girlfriend, her best friend, and her sanity, in order to discover Brock’s final secret.

THE PROPER WAY TO SAY GOODBYE is a contemporary young adult novel complete at 63,000 words. It would appeal to fans of Mindi Scott and J.H. Trumble.

First 250:

The biggest thing I had in common with my older brother, Brock, was that we both liked girls.

Two months after he killed himself, his whispers still invaded my mind. I didn’t need a therapist to tell me it wasn’t really Brock talking. I wasn’t mental.

Usually his words comforted me, but other times they annoyed me.

Like now.

Each step I took up the stairwell, my nerves grew exponentially. It’s only book club, I repeated to myself.

Cricket’s got a crush, Brock’s voice teased.

I rolled my eyes at both his comment and the stupid nickname he used to call me. But he was right. And in a few minutes I’d be joining her for the first time outside of class. Sasha.

Beautiful long blonde hair. Gorgeous full red lips. And a large chest to match. Perfection in every way.

Unfortunately, she was also my Freshman Composition teacher. Teaching assistant technically, so she couldn’t have been more than a few years older than me. Not that it mattered.

I could imagine the look of horror on her face if she found out I liked her. She wouldn’t smile and laugh it off like she did with the guys in class who were hot for her.

No. A female student—that would trip her out.

Brock had been the only one who knew I was gay, and that wouldn’t change anytime soon. Even though I was in college and far away from home, I wasn’t ready to tell anyone else.


  1. I really love the premise here and the voice in the 250. But the query sort of confused me a bit, mainly because of the number (and names) of characters included. The part that her brother was abused came as a surprise.
    I'd suggest not trying to give too much information and try mentioning the characters by their relationship to the MC, so we don't get confused by too many names. I love the first sentence in the query. That was awesome. It gives me immediate stakes and hooked me in right away.
    Great job on the 250. Best of luck!


  2. I agree with pretty much everything Suja mentioned.

    There are too many names in the query. I got really confused with the line introducing Sasha and the line after it. I think the query might work a little better if the focus was on Chloe trying to figure out why her brother killed himself instead of getting into the stuff about him being molested.

    However, the first 250 were brilliant. I was hooked by the first sentence and I love how I already felt like I knew her brother even though he is just a voice in her head. Really, the MC's voice is great too. I loved the bit about her not being "mental".

    I think that by cutting a few names and simplifying the ideas in the query letter, you could really improve it and take away a lot of the confusion.

    Best of luck!

    -Amber (#102)

  3. Thanks for the advice. I totally changed my query, and this is the first time it's been 'in public.' So I appreciate your comments and will work on that.

  4. I love the first two paragraphs of your query! They immediately pull me in. I also love the last line of your fourth paragraph - strong ending. Both your query and your first 250 are full of conflict and voice. Best of luck to you!

  5. I loved this query. I was pulled in and ready to read the story. I would have picked this one right away. I would have commented right after it was posted, actually tried, but I can't seem to post from my phone. Anyway, I was really hoping this one made it to the agent round. Loved it!!