Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana L. Flegal

Welcome to Hartline's weekly column,  Would You Read On?
We appreciate you stopping by and welcome your comments below.

 This submission is a middle grade historical novel set in a fictional New England town in the 1870s

Chapter One
What would Aunt Martha say if she knew? It occurred to Amelia that her aunt and caregiver would more than disapprove of her frolicking along the edge of Ridgemont Lake with Ralph when she was supposed to be studying her lessons.
But the day had called to her. It was one of those glorious early autumn days where the elements couldn’t decide if they wanted to let go of summer. The warm breezes danced through her hair and tickled her cheeks. The sun peeked out playfully from between the trees whose leaves were in the midst of their annual change to red, orange, and yellow. 
With bare feet Amelia jumped to the next rock, the moss squishy and slippery underneath her toes. Her slender arms stretched out to help maintain her balance, she exhaled deeply. Oh, if only every day could be like this.
The screech of a hawk drew her gaze up to the sky and threw her off balance. Two strong arms encircled her waist and pulled her unsteadily onto the grass.
“You best be careful Miss Amelia.” Ralph scolded her with a waving finger. “You go home drippin’ wet and Miss Ridgemont is sure to know you ain’t been studyin’.”
Amelia’s hand flew up to her forehead and she pretended to swoon. “How dreadful it would be to have a bit of fun.”
Ralph’s lips curled as he gave a hearty laugh. He turned to pull his fishing pole out of the water. He had tossed it aside when he went to save Amelia from a possible nosedive into the lake.

Last weeks contributing author was Sally Apokedak.
You can learn more about Sally and her passion for YA novels and writing at her blog.

Happy 4th of July to you and yours


Dale S. Rogers said...

I don't think I would read on. As
much as I like description, it just
doesn't work for me.

Elizabeth Rosian said...

The story line doesn't hold much promise (but then I'm not a middle grade reader), but the description does. I especially love the 2nd paragraph, and especially the 2nd sentence. A charmer! So I suppose I'd read on.

sally apokedak said...

Yes, I would read on.

I want to know if Ralph is a black boy and if the two are going to get in trouble for their friendship.

I think the description is good.

I'm wondering if there's a POV break at the end. Did the girl see the boy toss his fishing pole or is the author switching into the boy's POV there. I can't tell. But I want this to be solidly in one person's head.

Definitely would read on, though.

Anonymous said...

At this point, I would not read on. The only thing that truly has my attention is wondering if Ralph is a black slave boy, or just has an extreme country accent. Once that question is answered then I wouldn't have anything else I wanted answered. While I realize this is only the first page, I also don't see much promise for an inciting incident.

The writer should consider what the main "uh-oh, somebody is in trouble" moment will be and write accordingly. If it is as Sally suggested and that Amelia will be in trouble for playing with Ralph, why not start right before the decision was made? That way you can show some apprehension from Amelia about potentially getting in trouble.

Anonymous said...

As another random thought, maybe the reason this isn't catching as much interest as it could is because Amelia is being so carefree about possibly getting in trouble. If she's remotely worried about it and is putting up a facade, then you should delve deeper into her POV so the reader realizes this.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

I'd definitely keep reading. It seems like a quiet book and this opening shows me the character. I'm intrigued by her, especially the fact that the day calls to her, overriding any worry about her aunt disapproving.

The word "caregiver" pulled me out of the story briefly. It seems like such a contemporary term. I also wondered about her aunt's concern that she study. That seems like something atypical of this time period, so I'm actually liking the aunt.

However, I suspect middle graders will identify with free-spirit Amelia.