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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | First Impressions: THE 49th PARALLEL

First Impressions: THE 49th PARALLEL

For our final First Impression in this anniversary month, I bring you another FIRST. A return visit!

PK Hrezo shared her first page with us in February. She took the feedback everyone gave her and revised. Then she submitted the first 500 words to Cupid’s Literary Connection and received 4 agent requests — 3 full and 1 partial!

Yeah, we’re that good!
PK’s writing talent may have also played a part. *grin*

If you want to see PK’s original first page and all the feedback she received, look here. Otherwise, continue on to read the new beginning to her YA Thriller, THE 49th PARALLEL:

Mom says I’m my father’s daughter.

She doesn’t mean it in a good way. It’s why I’m stuck here in the most boring town in upstate New York for the summer, working in the public library. It was this or change bedpans  for old people in a retirement home, and I’m not about to work around human defecation all day.

One more book to return and I’m done for the night. I roll the book cart onward, just as my MP3 dies, right in the middle of a filthy jazz riff too. Hate it when that happens. I flick the buds out of my ears and reel toward the American History section. The faded parquet floor creaks like it’s in pain. Except for that, it’s totally quiet right now—too quiet on my first night closing alone. At least the head librarian doesn’t hover over my shoulder. She lets me handle the lockdown on my own, and sad to say, right now she may be the only one who trusts me.

This big old building is kind of creepy. It’s three levels, with the third floor skirting a transparent railing around the center staircase. From up here, you can see all the way down to the atrium floor, where moonlight from the glass ceiling spills in like silvery rain. Distorted shadows dance across the floor there, provoked by a breeze through the tree limbs that hug the outside windows.

This job is supposed to keep me out of trouble, and I have to admit, even though it’s torture being away from my friends in Manhattan, it’s way better than forever being labeled a youth offender for something I didn’t do. Mom doesn’t get it—why I put myself on the line for my friends. That’s what she means when she says I’m my father’s daughter. Dad was a firefighter and made a career of getting people out of trouble. There’s even a memorial for him, along with the other firefighters who lost their lives on September 11. They dubbed him a hero, like the name was somehow supposed to make up for his death.

24 Responses to First Impressions: THE 49th PARALLEL

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow! What a terrific revision. What I love is that she jumps right into the story, so I get a sense of place and the character before I get a little history. I love when authors put little hints about what’s happening in, like “sad to say, right now she may be the only one who trusts me.” Also, there’s some lovely description here! I might delete the “this big old building is kind of creepy” line, because it’s telling, and I think the rest of the description makes that obvious. Otherwise, bravo!

  2. Much improved! Great flow.

  3. You are a revision Goddess, PK! I love the new version. Good luck with those requests!

  4. Great revision! It reads much smoother. 🙂

    Best wishes with those requests…

  5. That is awesome news! And I can see why it grabbed the agent’s attention! Great job!

  6. Great revision! Best of luck with the requests!

  7. I don’t think I ever saw this before. I love it. The one thing I would add is the word “player,” after MP3.

  8. WOW! The first version was already good, but the revised one is much much better. Great job!

  9. This is an awesome revision. Great job PK!!!!

  10. Pk Hrezo says:

    Big thanks to Dianne and Marcy!!

    And thanks, everyone! You were all a huge help in tweaking this. Even if nothing happens with my requests, the small success with the first page is worth getting excited about. 😀

  11. Old Kitty says:

    Hello Diane, Marcy and PK!! I love the voice of your MC PK – very strong, very believable!! I’m rubbish at critiquing – all I know if I like something or not and I LOVE this!! Yay! Take care

  12. Cherie Reich says:

    I’d definitely keep reading after this first page. Wonderful job!

  13. WOW…. doesn’t cover it!

    This is the first time I’ve read your first page, but it packs quite the proverbial punch!

    WELL DONE PK and good luck with the agents!!!!!!

  14. Kathryn says:

    Yay! It’s so good!

  15. I remember seeing this the first time around and I LOVE the improvements!

  16. This is a fantastic opening. I can see why it was requested by the agents. Best of luck to PK.

    Thanks, Dianne. You’re doing wonderful things here on your blog!

  17. T. Drecker says:

    Nice opening and congratulations!

  18. Lydia Kang says:

    Well done with the revision, and congrats on the requests!

  19. PK, did not read the original, but this is a strong opening. I especially loved the last part about the light coming in from the windows … followed by the sad memory of her dad. Good work 🙂

  20. This is my first time reading this. I think it’s fantastic. I love her voice.

  21. I love it! I want to read more.

  22. Julie Musil says:

    Yay Pk!!! This is amazing. That last line gave me chills. Huge congratulations on the requests 🙂