Sunday, February 23, 2014

Entry #75 - SUMMER OF HOPE


Genre: YA Contemporary


After her brother’s death, sixteen-year-old Callie shuts down. Forced to go to her family’s summer beach house, she resolves to erase the pain any way she can. Enter the "Perfect’s”—a Gold Card group of girls who offer escape in the form of parties, booze and boys.

Then she meets Ethan. Despite fighting it, Callie is drawn to his sweet ways and sexy smile. She falls hard—before discovering he's hiding a secret that changes everything. Ethan came to the beach to escape, to live without the label. Because his label is the kid with Hodgkin's disease.

Callie is left with the choice of standing by Ethan's side and watching another person she loves die, or running and abandoning the one person who helps her to believe in love again. Fight or flight? Callie’s decision puts her own life in danger, and changes the lives of everyone around her, forever.

First sentence:

"I watched my twin brother die, and couldn't do a thing to stop it."


  1. This is very tight! The aspect of Hodgkin's Disease makes this story have what I believe to be a unique twist! I also think this will be very enticing to High School students when it is published. Good work!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, and taking the time to read and comment. =)

  2. Aww. Definitely a tear tearjerker. Not usually my kind of read, but the pitch pulled me in anyway. You pace the sentences very well. I held my breath when I read, “Then she meets Ethan.” Great job!

    The sentence, “Ethan came to the beach to escape, to live without the label.” Felt like it could be tightened a bit. The clarifying clause, to me, is more powerful than the “to escape” part. Maybe: “Ethan came to the beach to escape his fatal label— the kid with Hodgkin's disease.”

    I paused to think at the sentence: “Callie’s decision puts her own life in danger...” At this point I’m thinking tragic love story. I’m wondering how the decision puts her life in danger? She’s not the one with a fatal disease. Does it have something to do with the Perfect’s? If so, a mention at the end might not be a bad idea to tie everything together.

    I would read!

    1. Thanks for your comment and feedback. I originally had that last part as something like "Callie's decision results in a dramatic series of events that....." (and so on). I didn't want to give away too much about how she ends up in the hospital, maybe I should have? But no, she is not the one with the terminal illness. She freaks out right after he tells her and something happens after she (literally) runs off to escape what she just learned. She ends up in a coma, where she sees her dead brother, Jamie.

  3. I like tearjerkers, so this is definitely a story I'd pick up. I think this is a very good pitch, particularly the ending, which leaves the reader very curious to learn the fate of your MC. Good luck!

  4. Thanks Jess! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment! =)

  5. I'd leave off the fight or flight question. I agree to shorten the label sentence that Ashley suggested. I might end it with the believe in love again. Good luck!

  6. I really like this. Although I will admit, I did have to reread this sentence a few times... to me I felt like its missing a word after "Perfect's"

    Enter the "Perfect’s”—a Gold Card group of girls who offer escape in the form of parties, booze and boys.

    I kept thinking enter the "Perfect's" what?

    Just my thoughts. I think its a very tight pitch otherwise, and I can't wait to see it in book form so I can read it!

  7. What a powerful query and first line. Not only did Callie lose her brother, but she has to decide if she wants to allow herself to stay close to someone else who will die. Fantastic conflict!

    Consider putting a dash or ellipsis after label, nixing 'because' and merging Ethan's disease into the previous sentence. *I just read Ashley's comment and agree with everything she said! Both her rewording suggestion and that I also wondered how she'd be in danger.

    I think you can cut 'running' because abandoning says it all and might read smoother with this tiny tweak.

  8. This pitch gave me goosebumps. Reminds me of Girl Saves Boy. The perfects seem almost irrelevant to the pitch as they aren't mentioned again. Pulling them out would give you extra wiggle room if there is more to explore between Callie and Ethan pitch wise.

  9. Sounds like a very moving story... not the sort of thing I would normally read but I'm drawn to the powerful emotions I could see the potential for here. The pitch makes me want to pick this book up. A couple of small points.

    The "Despite fighting it" for me seems out of place without a reason for it being there. Is there a reason why she shouldn't get to know him? Is he uncool in the eyes of her new "clique" etc? I'm also not sure from the pitch why her own life would be in danger by falling for Ethan.

    Great job though... good luck :)

  10. Hi there! A few quick notes:

    1. I think it would be helpful to indicate how her brother died—especially if it was a disease that could draw a parallel.

    2. I'm not sure why you'd need an apostrophe in "Perfects".

    3. I'd love to see you combine the last two sentences in the second paragraph of your pitch, just to keep the momentum going.

    4. I don't understand how deciding whether or not to love Ethan puts her life in danger. We need a little more elaboration there.

    Otherwise, you've got the makings of a great pitch! :)

    1. Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful feedback. As to #4, I didn't know if I should reveal TOO much about what happens, but after Ethan tells her he is sick, she freaks out, takes off (literally) and ends up in an accident that lands her in a coma where she ends up seeing her dead brother, Jamie. Jamie did not die from a disease, he was killed by a hit and run driving in front of her right as he was stepping off a curb. It's just, they were literally best friends as well as twins. And it hit her incredibly hard, and she has closed herself off since then. Ethan is the first person she opens up to at all since then.

  11. I don't read much romance but thought this pitch was well-written and Ethan's illness adds a unique touch. I also thought the stakes showed us a difficult choice, which I liked.


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