dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

Our second First Impressions for the month of November is a YA Fantasy coming to us from Emily Casey entitled THE FAIRY TALE TRAP.
Mom lied. This isn’t anything like home.
My old room wasn’t crowded with packing boxes, or ribbons of peeled-off tape. A full-length mirror leans against the back wall, still wrapped in brown paper. I’ll never unwrap it. Mom knows I hate mirrors. The bare mattress, with its smug little machine-sewn squiggles, mocks me from the corner. I’m unlivable, it says. You’ll never get to sleep.
It looks like a packing store puked all over somebody else’s bedroom. No teenage girl should have to live like this.
I shove another half-unpacked box to the wall, leaving a path in the new carpet. Frustration gets the better of me. I lie flat on my back and press the inside of my elbow over my eyes. I can’t look at this place any more. It’s not a bedroom. It’s a storage closet. Complete with the stinging fumes of fresh paint.
“Mom, I need help!”
I shout as pathetically as I can. Even without looking, I know as soon as Mom steps into the room. My whole body tenses up and the same thought keeps shooting across the room at her: You did this.
“What’s wrong, Ivy?” Mom’s voice sounds run-down. Moving always makes her tired. You’d think she’d learn.
“I can’t find my pictures,” I say without uncovering my eyes. Mom can always tell how upset I am by looking at my eyes, and I really don’t want to talk about it.
“You mean the one of Dad?”
I hate it when she reads my mind.
“It’s probably in one of these boxes.”
My trophies from track and cross-country click together as she rifles through the box labeled ‘MISC’. The box I’ve searched through eight times already.
“I already looked there.” I can’t keep the anger out of my voice. Does she think I haven’t checked it yet? I almost snap at her again, but I manage to keep my mouth shut. I really don’t want to yell at her. I just want my picture.
The shuffling of random objects stops. Mom wipes her hands on her jeans, making a light zipping sound. “He’ll be back in three weeks.”
“Three and a half.” And that’s if he’s not killed or captured. The nightmares can get bad sometimes.
First, I have to say that Ivy reminds me of my own teenage daughter, falling completely apart and dissolving into a puddle of goo over some small frustration. Her tone, her attitude, the way she blames her mother … yup, I’ve lived it!
I love the line: It looks like a packing store puked all over somebody else’s bedroom. I can feel her frustration, and I can picture the scene. Based on the last sentences of this excerpt, I’m guessing her father is a soldier stationed overseas — although this is a fantasy, so it could be something completely different and unexpected. (Especially since Emily’s contribution to my Six Word Summary challenge was: Teenager gets trapped in fairy tale.)
I really have only one point that bothers me, and that’s the second sentence. This isn’t anything like home. Since Ivy’s later statements imply she and her mother have moved frequently (Moving always makes her tired. You’d think she’d learn.), I wonder what she means by home. Does she mean “the last place she lived?” If you move all the time, is any place home? I guess I’m wondering if she’s missing the place she came from, or if she’s sick of starting over in new places. If she moves frequently, perhaps the line should read something like: This place isn’t any more a home than the last place we lived — or the one before that.
Emily, thanks for sharing your first page with us! Marcy Hatch over at Mainewords will also be critiquing this page – and Emily can be found on Twitter.