Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bouncer Round 6 #3

Genre: Middle Grade
Word Count: 40,300


Eleven year old Lauren Tatterman is stuck living with her much older brother in a college dorm for the summer. It was a rushed, last minute plan when her aunt sped off to England without her. And now all Lauren wants is peace – to hold her special hair bows and remember the “good old days” before her mom died of cancer. Finding a secret passageway into the university library offers promises of just that: some much needed alone time.

But the solitude of the library at night proves to be just the opposite with campus rumors of a resident homeless man and an even bigger cover-up of a library heist. Forgetting the unhappiness of her situation, Lauren sets out to reverse the robberies, rejoicing in her new-found, secret heroics.

But when a library scavenger hunt with her camp group leads to some old yearbooks, Lauren uncovers a much bigger nightmare – potential secrets about her own family. Risking discovery by the campus police, or worse yet, “big brother bossy-pants” himself, Lauren sets out to unravel the mystery behind her own birth. But it isn’t until she stumbles upon hush-hush online chats and texts between her aunt and older brother that she realizes what little family she has left might be gone forever.

First 250:

“College is stupid!” I yelled to Lorry.

Most students go college right after high school, so they’re usually eighteen or nineteen. Some smarty pants might graduate early and are sixteen or seventeen when they arrive on campus. I went to college one month after my eleventh birthday.

That was last week.

“I need your phone to text Aunt Carol.” I snapped it up. He’d left it sitting out on the coffee table, so it was fair game.

“Do you even know how to text?” Lorry was out of his office instantly, taking back his phone.

“You don’t have to be in college to know how to text,” I hissed, sticking out my leg in an attempt to trip him.

“I’m not shipping you to England. Get your water bottle. It’s time to go.” He knew what I wanted: to go to England to be with our Aunt Carol. I hated that I was here at Eastern State University, living with him in a freshman dorm.

He stood there, holding my backpack open, nailing me with the one raised eyebrow look he’d mastered.

I shot my own fiery gaze into his heart. I could still never forgive him being with mom on her last day -- without me. Stomping my foot, I stood. Technically we lived in the dorm director’s apartment. Lorry’s title was Residence Hall Director, but I liked to call him the Freshman Babysitter, or Big Brother Bossy-Pants.

“You’re a jerk-face.” I stuck out my tongue.


  1. First, I have to say that my favorite phrase is "jerk-face."

    I like the premise, but your query could use some tightening. The second and third paragraph both start with "But" and you use that several times which creates a bit of redundancy. Maybe try to restructure that a bit. Lauren is adorable though and you've clearly gotten inside of her head, which is great. Good job!


  2. Drat! I ususally notice those things... Thanks Anon... Good luck to you. :)

  3. You've done a great job with this! I'm totally invested in Lauren after reading!

    Carissa #24

  4. Total fan of your first 250! You've got her voice down. The query is working much better for me (not making me doubt the setup anymore).
    The one thing that stood out was the reference to a camp group came out of nowhere. Is that something the dorm set up? Any scavenger hunt set up for college kids might not be appropriate for a kid and one suitable for a kid might not be interesting to the older kids. Other than that, totally rooting for her and want to know more about the mystery!

    1. Universities and college often run camps for kids in the summer. It's difficult to explain everything in the query without putting in so much background it gets upsetting. So if you were to get to read past the first 250 you'd find this out! ;) Thanks for your feedback and good luck to you too! :)

  5. I was a little tripped up on the idea of an eleven year old living in a college dorm. In the first 250, you clarify that she's living in the dorm director's apartment and I felt a sense of relief. I remember my college days and the thought of a child living in the dorm just didn't sit well with me...a side effect of being a mother, I guess. It might be a good idea to mention that she is living on campus in the dorm director's apartment in your query.

    You've done a great job and I would certainly read more.

    Good luck from #20!