Part One of a Larger Story
A captivating 'coming of age' YA story.
Read the story now
The Good: Rousing characters and an intriguing source of conflict.
The Meh: Very slow start, minor logic issues, and a "Novella" quandry
The Ugly: Minor technical mistakes.
The Good are the reasons to read this story:
Rousing Characters - Let me preface this by pointing out that I'm not saying, "Compelling" or "Likable" characters. The MC gets under my skin. You might find yourself thinking, "That's not good... the MC should be likable." Most of the time, you'd think right. I found the MC irritatingly childish and inconsistent. As soon as I realized this, I used awareness of that reaction as an opportunity to learn and grow. Which, to me, is a reason to read fiction. Some other goods: It made her character more engaging and was easily justified by the story's source of conflict... and was very likely what made it a 'coming of age' story.
Conflict - I really like the mystery here - gives the story re-read value since the conflict provides a good explanation for A LOT. Stating exactly what the conflict is, however, would probably be a spoiler for some readers, so I'm not including it up here.
The Meh are my own subjective dislikes - things that are only correct or incorrect based on Point of View.
Slow Start - This story didn't engage and capture my attention until chapter 4. After that, however, I couldn't stop reading..
Minor Logic Issues - I won't go into specifics because I recognize that most of these 'issues' might only be exist because of how I understand life. Also, there's nothing there that's out of place in YA or for the characters.
Novella - This reads like part one of an incomplete novel. In order for it to truly be a Novella, it would have to *resolve* a specific conflict. Each plot point would advance that conflict and there would be an *ending.* Instead, I felt like I got 85% of a story.
The Ugly are the errors that could cause confusion or dissatisfaction in readers.
Minor technical mistakes: They're few and far between, but there if you pay attention; head hopping, tense confusion, and grammar and punctuation errors. I noticed far more in the initial chapters than elsewhere in the story.
***Thar's Spoilers beyond this point, ye've been warned***
I really enjoyed what was, to me, the main *source* of conflict in the story: the MC's a long way from home. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, she went into a parallel dimension where she didn't exist. Unlike Dorothy, she had to lock away the part of her that remembered home.
For me, it explained why the first few chapters read like a prolonged information dump - she had to fabricate a backstory when she arrived. You might think, "Man, that's ambitious. Did the author really intend that for the first few chapters?" Man, I hope so. It explains why, as a reader, I felt so disconnected from the MC; if I stop and view the first three chapters as some part of the MC sitting and crafting an identity into which to drop herself before she actually does, it all makes sense to me. The writer's style choices became an interesting side effect justified by the narrative.
And then you might find yourself thinking, "How much will she change? How much of the main character is the tiny aspect created to exist here? How much different did she choose to be and why?"
My main source of dissatisfaction is that I didn't get those answers. I hope this makes you dance and cheer, dear author, because it means that someone read your story and wants more. Which means they'll read more and hopefully validates that you're doing well with your storytelling.
Best of luck with your writing,