Book Jacket

 

rank 3473
word count 13752
date submitted 07.05.2010
date updated 30.08.2010
genres: Fiction, Young Adult, Popular Cultu...
classification: universal
incomplete

The Rag Doll and her Brother Jake

Jade Hamilton

No family. No home. Just some instruments, each other and a great record collection.
But, is that enough?

 

Ladies and gentleman, I give you...The Flying Bunny Rabbits!

Meet the Driscolls.

Jake's 15, he's the vegetarian drummer, innocent but unpredictable. He loves music, but thinks anything made after 'Nevermind' came out is rubbish, on principal. He also reckons school is a drag, trusts almost no-one and, some days, finds it a struggle just to get out of bed in the morning.

Velvet is 13, the guitarist and singer, and Jake's kid sister. She's looked after Jake ever since they were little. She adores her sweet, kooky, big brother but isn't it about time someone looked after her for a change?

With the help of a music therapist called Jo, some new-found friends and more strawberry gateux than you can shake a drumstick at, both Velvet and Jake learn that being apart might not be so bad after all.

 
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tags

behavioural problems, coming-of-age, coping with bereavement, independence, music, redemption, thc, young carers

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Chapters

12

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"A Spiffing Way to Spend a Sleeples Night"

 

Velvet swished her foot around on the pattern of her duvet. The clock by the bed said three a.m, she’d given up on sleep hours ago. Jake had gone down OK, by the look of it; no frets about spiders tonight. But, still, she couldn’t get her mind to settle.

 

The door creaked, that cat-mewing squeaky noise that doors make in black and white films. Vel, why   are you  still awake?”

Dunno”

 

Jake made a sympathetic kissing noise. “Can’t sleep?”

“No.”

 

“Come on, down under the covers. It’s Sunday night. School tomorrow.”

 

OK, Jake, I get the picture Velvet lifted the duvet and slid beneath it, bunching her legs up. “There.”

 

She tried, and failed, to keep the acid out of her voice. “Happy?”

 

***

She felt as guilty as a chocolate addict breaking in to the Cadbury’s factory. And the guilt didn’t let up when Jake sat down on the bed, reached across and ran his fingers through her hair.

 

He was a funny spectacle at night, Jake. Hair pinging out every which way  with a  blue fleece pulled round him to keep out the cold- he was always cold-  and, under  that, a  bright red P.E. vest pulled  low as it could go over a pair of old- geezer-stylie pinstriped pyjama bottoms. Not to mention the thermal socks.

 

Only her brother would go to bed in thermal socks.

 

 

“Wish we still had those Disney tapes. You could always get to sleep when we had those. Always.”

 

Velvet let out a long, lung-emptying sigh. The Disney tapes, and the Fisher-Price tape machine they’d played them on, had long gone now. There wasn’t any need for them. 

 

Not at the time they went, anyway.

 

***

 

The  light from the landing made a weak pool  on the carpet. Jake carried on running his fingers through Velvet’s hair while  she tried to think of a nice way to tell him to stop. She’d never liked people fussing with her hair for long. And, what with not having had any sleep , it was starting to get annoying.

 

“That’s enough now, Jake.” She said gently. “Yeah?”

 

“Want me to sing you a song?”

“It’s OK, don’t stress. I’m alright.”

 

“You’re not, though, are you?  You’re sad ”

 

Velvet felt herself flinch as he went to put his arm round her. “It’s OK. I’m fine. Really.

 

“Oh.” He sounded hurt. “Oh, right.”

 

***

 

As Jake shuffled off, Velvet found herself saying: “If you’re good, I’ll bring you some PRB and choccy bickys in a minute.”

Jake turned round. “Thought we’d run out.

 

“You’re forgetting, I keep a secret stash in the cupboard.” Velvet sing-songed.

Jake grinned. He had forgotten.

 

“I’ll pop down the stairs and get it. OK?”

 

***

 

‘PRB’ stood for  ‘Pretty Red Bubbles’. It was what Jake used to call cherryade when he was small, before he could say the proper word. And her, too, at least until she worked out it was just another reason to be teased. Well, not teased. Bullied.

 

So, she and Jake had made a deal. No brother-sister sayings outside the house. Jake had looked at her a bit funny at first but, then, he’d shrugged. “OK, Vel.”

 

So, in public, ‘cherryade’ was ‘cherryade’- just like it was for everyone else. But, in private, it was always, always ‘PRB’.

 

 

***

 

Velvet came back a few minutes later with a plateful of chocolate biscuits and two glasses of PRB. She set the plate on her dressing table, with the glasses beside it, and they slurped and munched away. “This is cool, isn’t it?” Jake grinned.

“What is?”

“Midnight feasts.”

 

***

 

“Midnight feasts,” Velvet echoed teasingly. “It’s chocolate biscuits and fizzy pop.” A blue-grey dawn light filtered through the curntains. “And it’s not even midnight, dingleberry”

“OK, OK.” Jake’s tone was sulky. But more like imitation sulky than the real deal. “ S’cuse me for breathing.”

 

“Who taught you to say that?” Velvet asked, surprised.

“A lot of the people at music group say it, ‘specially the boys. Why, is it bad?”

 

She patted her brother’s arm. “No, it’s not bad. It just sounds kind of wrong coming out of your mouth.”

“ I won’t say it anymore, then.”

“Alright.”

 

***

 

There was a businesslike knock on the door. “You two should be in bed,” Bronwyn said.

Velvet sighed. “OK, Bron, I hear you.”

 

Slippered feet backed away from the door. “Yes, Bronwyn, no Bronwyn, three bags full, Bronwyn,”  Velvet simpered under  her breath. And that was it.

 

She and Jake clutched each other. And exploded in to giggles.

Chapters

12

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Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1425 days ago

Dear LBC,
I'm finally getting to read your book and I have to tell you, I love it! I've read the first two chapters so far. Your two kids are so well written, fleshed out just enough without over describing them. Your dialog is perfect for today's kids including the texting. I have so much empathy for them.

It's so true to life that children who lose their parents will do anything to stick together. I'm happy that so far, no one is tearing them apart. I guess I will have to read more to find out if that remains true.

Your story is just right for a YA book. It's a fast read, filled with dialog that sounds absolutely real, with reason to care for the characters right from the start.

(Many of your phrases are exactlly what I use in my book, like "the pits" and "truth be told" - eerie!)

I am quite impressed with you, LBC! Wonderful job. As I said before, please keep writing and try to forgive. I will try to read more this week.
Sincerely,
Elizabeth Wolfe (Memories of Glory)

Pia wrote 1429 days ago

Jade,

The Rag Doll and her Brother Jake - A winning story many a sibling will identify with. The writing is succinct and tender. Although I'm no expert, I think it will go down very well with the early teen group.
... Jake's eyes turned the same shade as gasflames ... I could see that. Check CH 4, it's a repeat of CH 3

Backed with pleasure, and best success, Pia (Course of Mirrors)
I hope you'll have a look at my story.

ILA Golden wrote 1429 days ago

I'm probably the only person on Authonomy who can say they've had a personal reading of this story from the author. Yay for finally getting it up.

Anyway now onto the serious reviewer part. I've loved the concept of this story since the moment you first told me about it. The way you breathe life into the two characters is just fantastic. You create such a solid image of Jake and Velvet in the minds of the readers that you can almost see them in the room with you.

Jake is the perfect juxtaposition of teenage boy and child. As I’ve said to you before don't be afraid to make the difference between him and Velvet more stark, but on the Velvet end. Jake is perfect as he is.

Anyway yay for finally getting it up Jade, let’s just hope everyone likes it as much as I do.

~ ILA ~
Zero Conformity

Neville wrote 579 days ago

The Rag Dolland her Brother Jake.
By Jade Hamilton.


Well I’ve read to chapter six and was rather surprised that there’s very little happening during this time. We have two fostered children, brother and sister talking every-day stuff and that’s about it.
I find it hard to say but the story needs more interesting input to keep the reader involved.
You have the Y/A age group dialogue off to a good start but it requires a good hook at the end of each chapter to keep the reader’s attention—It just isn’t there I’m afraid .
I wonder where the storyline is going.
I’m sure that after a few alterations and additions along the way, this could well be a very good book—I’ve seen it happen in the past...nothing wrong with your writing at all.
Please let me know if you update it, I’ll be pleased to read it again.

Best wishes,

Neville. The Secrets of the Forest – Cosmos 501.

Ch. 3 ...the teacher asked him to draw a picture (odf) his house. So he did... (Key-slip).
Ch.3 ..She was still a bit () so Dad climbed all the ladders... (Missing words).

Jim Darcy wrote 1383 days ago

ILA recommended this and I can see why, it has a lot of promise. Deals with sensitive issues very well and the 'teenspeak' really works.
Jim Darcy
The Firelord's Crown

lizjrnm wrote 1410 days ago

Superb storyline and talented writing. Backed with pleasure.

liz
The Cheech Room

lynn clayton wrote 1410 days ago

When I read a pitch that talks about the characters of the book I know it's going to be my sort of read. Your prose is straightforward but descriptive and gives us two characterisations full of warmth, affection and very plausible and touching humour - love old Crisp and 'stroppy boxers'. Backed. Lynn

Jed Oliver wrote 1412 days ago

This is lovely writing! I wish you the very best with it. Regards, Jedward (Knut)

klouholmes wrote 1418 days ago

Hi Jade, There’s a wonderful camaraderie between brother and sister here and their being shuttled to foster homes makes that all the more poignant. Besides their taking responsibility for themselves. It’s a crisp, vivid telling that would appeal to the target age, I think. And their starting up a band is appealing too! Shelved – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

E A M Harris wrote 1420 days ago

This is a lovely story. The plight of the children being brought up in care is wonderfully portrayed and their characters are marvellous. However, I have read up to chapter 6 and am not really clear where the story is going. There's plenty of well described conflict but there is no sigh it'll be resolved except by the children growing up. Are the children going to do something like run away?
You have a marvellous talent for getting into a character and showing the world from their point of view, but a little more structure would help.

Backed.

Cheers
Elaine
(Long Lying Below)

Barry Wenlock wrote 1422 days ago

Hi Jade, bravo.

I floundered in a sea of fanged creatures, elfish flotsam and stories which started with dreams,
Then, an island, a bouy, a book, floated by me and told me, 'read!'.
It was yours and I gripped it tightly, as it gripped me,
And by it's words, I was saved.

Brilliant. The YA market needs your book. Our children need your story.

Best wishes, Barry
Little Krisna and the Bihar Boys

Andrew Burans wrote 1424 days ago

For what you have posted so far your work is well written and well paced. Your descriptive writing style, use of imagery and your use of short paragraphs all insure that your finely crafted work will appeal to the YA audience. Backed with pleasure.

Cheers,
Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1425 days ago

Dear LBC,
I'm finally getting to read your book and I have to tell you, I love it! I've read the first two chapters so far. Your two kids are so well written, fleshed out just enough without over describing them. Your dialog is perfect for today's kids including the texting. I have so much empathy for them.

It's so true to life that children who lose their parents will do anything to stick together. I'm happy that so far, no one is tearing them apart. I guess I will have to read more to find out if that remains true.

Your story is just right for a YA book. It's a fast read, filled with dialog that sounds absolutely real, with reason to care for the characters right from the start.

(Many of your phrases are exactlly what I use in my book, like "the pits" and "truth be told" - eerie!)

I am quite impressed with you, LBC! Wonderful job. As I said before, please keep writing and try to forgive. I will try to read more this week.
Sincerely,
Elizabeth Wolfe (Memories of Glory)

Bocri wrote 1425 days ago

26 May 2010
The Rag Doll and Her Brother Jake is certainly not a run of the mill story although it will have resonance and relevance for many young folk who have experienced the vagaries of the fostering system. The prose is direct, almost curt, but nevertheless full of descriptive ability to bring the story to life. Jake and Velvet, along with the more minor characters who flit in and out of their shared existence, are realistic, believable and fully formed.
I found the layout of the pages, whilst obviously not acceptable for hard copy, ideal for the ease of reading on a monitor. BACKED. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run.

eloraine wrote 1425 days ago

Loved it, backed with pleasure. E.Loraine Royal Blood Chronicles book one

Tommy Mann Ministries wrote 1426 days ago

Great book and very well written. Kids will love this book, especially if they like music and the thought of being in a band themselves.

Amylovesbooks wrote 1427 days ago

Definitely would be a hit for YA audience, and for all ages, really. Written very well, and wish you the best of luck with it. Shelved with pleasure.

Amy
Love Match

missyfleming_22 wrote 1427 days ago

This is super cute and very fitting for this time we live in now. Your characters will be very relatable for young adults and they will love your story. I know I sure did! It's well written but I think your strength is in your characters and your ability to bring them to life. You've done a wonderful job capturing these two. Very entertaining! Couldn't find anything wrong with this, but then I was too busy reading.

Missy
Mark of Eternity

yasmin esack wrote 1427 days ago

JADE
The story is perfect for yA. It's got all the right attributes, anxiety, turmoil, restlesssnes that si common to teenagers. But more, it is well aritten with a natural flair that could make it a winner.
backed
THE LORD OF THE DAWN

Famlavan wrote 1427 days ago

Think this has been intelligently structured taking into consideration some of the subjects covered in the storyline. I think you have created a brilliant character in Velvet and her balance with Jake is very good. Impressive story well told.

tlst wrote 1427 days ago

Lovely story and I would love to see this on the bookshelves. Tania, This Last Summer

soutexmex wrote 1428 days ago

Welcome aboard, Jade. This website will improve your writing craft, if you allow it. I'm a bit of a pitch doctor, having read thousands of pitches in my time on this website, so I want to share my insight here with you. You have to think of your pitches as your sales tool to grab the casual reader's eyes. The short pitch needs more detail: WHO has no family? For the long pitch, end it with one succinct question to pique your casual reader's interest. Perfecting your pitches is how you climb in ranking to gather more exposure and comments to better your novel. The writing is good so I am SHELVING you.

Though I have been a very active member for over a year and have the most commented book, I can still use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Every little bit helps. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

Burgio wrote 1428 days ago

RAG DOLL
This is a good young teen’s story. I like the way that it centers around music (a nice break from the vampires and demons so prevalent in teen books). It’s great the way that Velvet and Jake have some problems but basically like each other. That’ll be a good break for your readers from the usual snapping at each dialogue you usually see as well. A good read, I’m adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

Fred Le Grand wrote 1429 days ago

Hi,
The simplicity of your writing has charm and a beauty all of it's own. Yes, unconventional in it's structure but despite myself as I read on, the relationships flower and the characterisations grow.
Lovely gentle writing.
Really do like it.
As an amateur, I hesitate to give any advice here, because the two chapters I read were flawless.
Excellent stuff, backed with pleasure.

SusieGulick wrote 1429 days ago

Dear Jade, I love the nickname "Cizzy' - mine was "Sissy" when my sister was born. It was nice that you included the text msgs - that was a plus. :) Before I began to read your book, I was prepared by your recap/pitch,which was very well done. :) Your story is good because you create interest by having short paragraphs & lots of dialogue, which makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm "backing" your book: When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved...authonomy. :) Please "back" my TWO memoir books, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" & my completed memoir unedited version? "Tell Me True Love Stories," which tells at the end, my illness now & 6th abusive marriage." Thanks, Susie :)
p.s. Remember: Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs. :)

ILA Golden wrote 1429 days ago

I'm probably the only person on Authonomy who can say they've had a personal reading of this story from the author. Yay for finally getting it up.

Anyway now onto the serious reviewer part. I've loved the concept of this story since the moment you first told me about it. The way you breathe life into the two characters is just fantastic. You create such a solid image of Jake and Velvet in the minds of the readers that you can almost see them in the room with you.

Jake is the perfect juxtaposition of teenage boy and child. As I’ve said to you before don't be afraid to make the difference between him and Velvet more stark, but on the Velvet end. Jake is perfect as he is.

Anyway yay for finally getting it up Jade, let’s just hope everyone likes it as much as I do.

~ ILA ~
Zero Conformity

Pia wrote 1429 days ago

Jade,

The Rag Doll and her Brother Jake - A winning story many a sibling will identify with. The writing is succinct and tender. Although I'm no expert, I think it will go down very well with the early teen group.
... Jake's eyes turned the same shade as gasflames ... I could see that. Check CH 4, it's a repeat of CH 3

Backed with pleasure, and best success, Pia (Course of Mirrors)
I hope you'll have a look at my story.

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