Sunday, March 2, 2014



Genre: YA Contemporary

Word Count: 75,000


Lark is the perfect hippie, growing up on a picturesque commune with her nine siblings, celebrating individuality, frolicking in peace and free love. Except she can’t stop thinking that there’s more to life than permissive parents and low expectations. She wants to experience the real world and challenge herself. So she registers for public school.

The mainstream is full of surprises. School’s more rigid than she could have imagined. She even meets a boy she can be serious about. Jeremiah’s genuine and kind. And a Republican. They really click, though their philosophical differences drive a wedge between them.

Thankfully Jeremiah accepts her as she is. When there’s a crisis on the commune and Lark starts to question her mental stability, he becomes the rock she never knew she needed. With the future uncertain, Lark must learn to accept help and to be herself no matter the outcome.

First Page:

My to-do list has grown dauntingly long, and the darkening grapes are just another reminder of how quickly this summer is ending.
I scoot a few feet to my left to stay in the grapevine’s long narrow patch of shade. I tap my pen on my worn notebook and look over the master list. 

1. Registration forms.
2. End things with Petie.
3. Get out of grape harvest.
4. Learn math. All of it. (This item is stressful)
5. Help Dad get help.
6. SAT prep.
7. Read giant stack of books.
8. Sew new wardrobe.
9. Reveal secret plan.

The last one gives me pause. I'm not looking forward to the peace meeting tomorrow .

“Lark! It’s quittin’ time!” My half-brother, Sean, shouts louder than he needs to. It startles the pen right out of my fingers.
“Jesus, Sean. You have to stop sneaking up on me!” I stand up and do a quick tick-check on my bare arms and legs. It’s really freaking hot, and my mass of curly, partially dreaded, partially braided hair makes my back feel immediately sticky.
I reach behind Sean and grab the ratty bandana that’s always in his back pocket and use it to tie up my hair.
“I definitely just used that to wipe my nose,” he says. He’s filthy from head to toe as per usual. He wears his grime like it’s a badge of hard work.
“Whatever,” I smile, “I love your snot.”
“You’re so gross,” he teases.


  1. I thought the pitch was wonderfully written. For me, I only wondered about the "wedge" between Lark and Jeremiah. Tension, arguing, what? And when Lark questions her "mental stability", I'm uncertain if this is meant to be dramatic or literal. (As in, she is struggling with emotional or psychological issues?) Clarifying would have helped me, especially the latter point.

    I loved the beginning pages. The voice is good, the prose is well written. But for someone who is portrayed physically as a hippie, her language can be quite restrained: "The last one gave me pause" and "as per usual". Is this truly Lark's voice? It sounds older to me--but I think it is fine if it is her voice. That she is more restrained in mind than her outer appearance? Something to think about.

    Finally, the mention of dreads made me wonder if Lark was black of biracial black?

    Overall fantastic job, fun premise, and strong opening. Good luck!

  2. I like the pitch. The tone and clarity drew me in. Well done.

    The first page opening- the first line didn't really draw me in. I think you could engage the reader by starting at a more interesting point. What is the change. What is happening. Make it more exciting. Make the reader wonder, what the heck is going on here and why do I care?? And while I like your list, I think you might want to work it in later....suggestion for first line and place to start....I'm not looking forward to the peace meeting tomorrow...after that I loved the voice and the character started to come alive. I really would start there..... enjoyed this, great premise, good luck!!


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