Our second First Impressions this month comes from Angela Brown, author of NEVERLOVE. This is the first page of her YA urban fantasy WIP, titled MINGLED.
Rubbing my parents’ gold coins for luck was a bad habit.
And a terrible idea. Their disappearance was proof enough. I just couldn’t stop myself. Until graduation, that’s all I had of them, all I could turn to when I needed to feel their presence the most.
I shook my head and slipped their coins into my pocket. Leaning into the hallway, I took in the dim lighting and shadows.
Carpet muffled the clunky footfalls of my hand-me-down boots and the loud click from closing my bedroom door. I crept along the wall, listening for anything at all. No surprise I only heard my pounding heartbeat. The other kids were at school, the same place I should’ve been five minutes ago. Screwy alarm clock! Why didn’t it work? Each step downstairs brought me closer to the first floor, closer to getting away from…
“Whitley!” The corners of my lips curled into a hurried grin. “Didn’t expect to see you.” At least it was the truth.
She stood at the foot of the stairway, pinning me with narrowed eyes. A familiar gelatinous material molded flush to her ear, whisper thin. Her Collective Communications Tag. Unlike mine, hers included the virtual extension with the wrap-around lens fitted to the eye. A major upgrade overnight? Wonder who she sold out to get it?
This first page raises a lot of questions, which I’m sure the author did intentionally. Where is the narrator – possibly in a group home or the dormitory of a boarding school? Who is Whitley, and what is a Collective Communications Tag?
There are a couple things that could be tweaked. I really liked the first two paragraphs and the tantalizing information about the gold coins. But if her parents “disappeared,” why does she think she’ll see them at graduation? Because that’s the impression I got. Rubbing the coins for luck is a bad idea, because her parents disappeared. (The connection between the coins and the disappearance is implied, but not yet explained.) Then she says the coins are all she has of her parents until graduation, implying that at graduation she will have her parents back. If she knows they’re coming back, is disappearance the right word?
Regarding the Collective Communications Tag – if the narrator has one too (I’m guessing they are standard), then the earpiece is not the first thing she’s going to notice. It’s the upgrade lens that will catch her eye first, so the lens should be described before the earpiece.
That’s all I have. Readers, do you see anything else that needs to be addressed?