Book Jacket

 

rank 583
word count 10560
date submitted 14.09.2011
date updated 04.09.2013
genres: Romance, Young Adult, Christian
classification: moderate
incomplete

Jane: Redefined

Alice Kim

Jane believes God will forgive her for acting against her convictions in pursuing that dream guy, after all, she's only seeking to save the lost.

 

High school senior, Jane Emerson, isn’t one to attract attention, especially from the male population. She was perfectly content with that until a humiliating incident catches the eye of her secret crush, Jeremy Jenkins. What’s a people-pleasing, melodramatic, overly-imaginative Christian girl to do? Make Jeremy a mission field, of course!

Go to parties every weekend? Done. Diss your most steadfast friends and pay no mind when one of them is about to drop kick a crowd of touchy, feely drunks? Easy peasy. Lie to the parents, get labeled a “Jesus-freak”, and drink that weird/awful concoction someone calls “orange soda”? Check, check, and check. Be so passionately kissed, it could only be labeled as epic? Absolutely. Being a missionary has its share of dangers and perks.

But it is Isaac Martinez, her loyal friend, who won’t let her out of his sight even though it's his kisses that are mistakenly credited to Jeremy. And when Cora Friedman has a heart-to-heart “slut” talk with Jane, everything is poised to change.

 
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tags

comedy, high school, humorous

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Chapter 1

Lunch

"Nope." Jane shook her walnut brown hair.  "I absolutely, wholeheartedly, disagree with you, Cora."

"I don't care," Cora replied, snapping her head to look away.   Her long, messy red locks nearly smacking Jane in the face.  "You can like your idea of the greatest love story ever told and I'll keep mine."  Cora increased her stride to keep up with Jane.

"It’s not an idea!  Mine's a classic, written by a real writer."

"Mine's a classic, too!  Defined a whole generation."

"You were nowhere near being born in that generation.  You are at least twenty generations removed from that generation.  What do you know about anything being able to define a generation?"  Jane stopped at the end of the red bricked English building and tsked at her best friend as students walked around them.  "Here I am trying to class you up with talks of Pemberly, Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth Bennett, and you respond with -- "

"Han Solo and Princess Leia.  Absolutely.  There's no freakin' way you're going to class me up.  I've already conquered that category, girl!  Next to Princess Leia, I am the living definition of classy."  Cora stood smiling and straightened to her full 5'4" height.  To prove her point, she flipped her waist length hair, again.  Slowly.  "See that flip, full of class."

“Whoa,” said the male student behind her.  Cora and Jane turned around to see the stranger standing alongside two girls, one on each side. His hands were outstretched, as if blocking an attack.   “You almost hit me with your hair.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Cora apologized, smiling. She quickly looked at Jane and then back to the male student.   “I didn’t see you there.  I should have been more careful.”

“You need to pay attention,” said the girl on his left, glaring at Cora, her tone accusing.

"If you're going to flip your hair that much," said the girl on his right, the irritation was hard to miss, "you need to shorten it, so you're not using it as a weapon."

Having known Cora for three-quarters of her life, Jane saw Cora’s face momentarily harden before she whipped out her beautiful, Barbie smile.  To many, it was a disarming smile and many guys fell victim to its allure.  But Jane knew better, it was only a plastic smile meant to teach the recipient a lesson.  Jane leaned down a little.  “Don’t, Cora -- ” 

“You’re right,” Cora agreed, nodding as her smile widened.

“Coo-raaa,” Jane tugged at her friend’s sleeve, the tone of warning was low enough to reach her friend's ears.  Cora only batted Jane’s hand away, as if she were an annoying fly.

“I do need to pay more attention, “ Cora continued, nodding at the three strangers in front of her.  "My hair can sure be a lethal force.  Next time --  I’ll make sure -- that you guys are close enough so that when I do flip my hair, I can smack all of you knuckleheads  in one swipe.”  The last part was said in a very dangerous tone.

The other girl gasped.

Cora was done smiling.  Her green eyes darkened.  “Listen, I don’t need you nitwits to tell me to pay more attention when, you know as well as I do, that my hair nearly smacking you in the face, was not intentional.  You could’ve said something, like, ‘Be careful’ just like I could’ve said something like, ‘Thank you.’ And then we could’ve all been along our merry way.  Your life would’ve been gone on as it does  and mine would have continued just the same.  But don’t go making it out to be like I was out to get you.”

The trio could only gape while Jane shifted onto her other leg, smiling uncomfortably at the strangers.

“Let’s go,” the guy said to his friends, taking a few seconds to recover from Cora's response . "She's obviously nuts."   They started to walk in a wide arc around Cora and Jane.

“And don’t go looking at me like I’m the one who’s nuts.  I’m not the one wearing the get up you all decided to wear.”  Cora shouted the last part as the trio walked hurriedly away.  "You all look like you need to update your closet!"

"Wait, hold on!  Don't go just...yet," Jane's outstretched hand dropped to her side as her voice trailed off.  She battled the urge to chase after them.  To explain that, in fact, Cora was a little nuts.  Instead, she heaved a frustrated sigh and looked grimly at her companion of terror.

     “What?” Cora turned to her friend, her face a question. 

    “Living definition of classy, huh?”

    “Classy like Princess Leia.”  Cora and Jane stared at each other for a moment.   “Princess Leia could shoot.”

    Jane laughed in defeat as Cora walked past her, resuming their trek to lunch, leaving Jane to follow.  They walked past the cement planters of green, leafy foliage on the right and the old, gray Math building on the left.  “Don’t let the laugh fool you, Cora.  I am absolutely mortified that we’ll see them again.”

    “So?”

“So?  Can you imagine what they’re thinking right now?!”

“No.  Why would I care?”

“Exactly, you don’t care because you can probably knock them out with your fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do if they ever decided to confront you.  Me?  I can only hide in bathrooms and – ” 

“Pray?”

Pretend I didn’t see them.”

“I can teach you Tae Kwon Do.”

Jane's face lit with an excitement only displayed at Christmastime.  “Really?!  Say, that’s a great idea!  And do you think I’ll be at black belt level before we graduate?”

“Absolutely.  If you stopped daydreaming about the nonsense in your head and blowing everything up to goofy proportions.  I bet you could.  If you just focused on Tae Kwon Do, you’d get there by the end of this year.  What?  We're almost in October now, how many months does that leave us?”

By this time, Jane's expression had returned to normal.  "Nevermind, Cora.  It ain't gonna happen."  She fixed her sight towards The Commons, the huge lunch area at the opposite end of their classes.  Her heart was already beginning to speed up and her palms were getting damp.

“What was up with their get-up anyway?” Cora asked, glancing at her watch.  They were dismissed pretty early from class, which meant they would have the best choices at lunch.

Silence. 

Cora looked up at her friend.  Jane’s light hazel eyes were glazed and intense.  She was already gone, focused on something else -- or someone else.

“Jane!”  

“What?”  Jane asked, startled out of her wandering thoughts.   She looked down at Cora.  “What is it?”

“The get-up.  Didn’t those three have the funkiest clothes on?

Jane rolled her eyes.  “It’s Spirit Day, Cora.  With a 70's theme.”

“What?!” 

They arrived at The Commons at which time Cora and Jane were immediately jostled about in a sea of maroon and silver.  Most of the students were wearing their school shirts, with a partial, silver outline of their mascot, The Knight.  The words, "Fight on, Altridge!" in bold print underneath it.  Still, a good amount of people, those who despised the boring school shirts, donned 70's era clothing with hints of the school colors.  Since it was pleasant weather nearly all year round, the Spirit Day costume did not differ much from the normal attire of an Altridge High student.

Cora snorted in disgust as Jane scanned the landscape, from the Snack Shack and industrial picnic tables on the left, to the silver-domed cafeteria building in the center with the large green sports field behind it, and more industrial picnic tables set around large, shady trees on the right.

"Lemmings, all of them,"  Cora grumbled, shaking her head.  "Who are we playing?"

Jane was still looking for him.  "Oceanside.  Roosevelt Grizzlies."

"What - "

"Football."

Cora took a moment to observe her best friend.  Her straight, shoulder length hair, the nose was more straight than flat, and she was a normal size, maybe a touch on the pudgy side. She could definitely use more exercise, be more toned --  it would help her get out of her mind.  Her friend, the silly psycho, plain Jane.  "You know where he sits, Jane.  He hasn't sat anywhere else all of last year and this year."

Jane immediately flushed a bright red.  "I, I don't know what you're talking about."  Of course he sat in the same place all the time, the popular ones always sat at “The Stage”.  The largest, grass covered planter in the center of all the planters.  

They never sat there.

Currently, he wasn't sitting there, either. 

"Oh, girl.  If only you weren't so easy to read.  You've only mentioned him every day for the past seven months.  More than I ever wanted to hear of him over the summer.  I think it's safe to say, you have a crush."  Cora sang the last part.

"Be quiet."  Jane walked towards the cafeteria, it was Cora's turn to follow.

"Oh, my psycho, nutty girl is all grown up!"

"Cora, I will knock all that red off of you." 

"Oh, please.  You mean you're going to pray all the red off me."

The first couple of times Jane met Cora Friedman, she found one of the few people in existence in which the name and face was a perfect fit.  She was jealous of Cora's deep, scarlet hair.   The kind of scarlet one would find on ripe peach.  Come to think of it, the highlights of orange and red were the exact colors one would find on the inside of said peach.  As their friendship grew, Jane realized Cora had a fiery personality that matched her long, straight tresses.

Cora only complained of two things about her looks.  One, when she blushed, which often coincided with her temper, the way her freckles dusted her cheeks made her face look blotchy.  Two, she could not do anything with her wayward hair, even though she refused to cut it any shorter than her shoulder blades.  Its present length was a couple of inches above the small of her back. 

Cora's dedication to her life's passions were unrivaled, of which there were only three: her siblings, her friends, and Tae Kwon Do.  Even though Cora naturally stood proud and confident, she was still a few inches shorter than Jane's 5'6" stature.   And she was nearly all muscle.  Not many people knew that the small, petite red head was actually a powerhouse, able to take down grown men at least three times her size.  She hid it all that power behind worn, ill-fitting clothes, a plastic smile, a less than perky nose, and jaded green eyes. 

"I'm trying to help you," Cora said, bumping into Jane as the latter suddenly halted when they got in line.

"Not working," Jane replied, turning to look at the lunch board for the menu and specials.  "Your hair looks like a peach."

"Yeah.  Missed the entire Jane-and-Cora-having-a-conversation-in-your-mind-scenario that led up that wonderful comment."

"Well, hey, check it out."

“Gasp!  They have tapioca pudding!”  Cora squealed quietly, linking her arm through Jane’s.  “And corn dogs, too! I am in heaven!”

Altridge High School's cafeteria was a lot like a college cafeteria.  There was a grill for hot foods, stands of cold sandwiches, salads, desserts, and a steam table for the daily offerings and specials.  Students were able to pick and choose their items and pay the cashier rather than waiting in line, accepting what lunch fare was being offered.

 “Tapioca and corn dogs!” Cora sang with barely contained excitement, bringing herself closer to Jane. “If life could end in two minutes, I have just been served my last meal.  Tapioca and corn dogs make the world a better place.  Sing it with me. Ta-pi-ooo-ca aaaand cooorn dooogs maaaake me sooooo haaaaapy. C'mon, Jane, you know the lyrics.”

“You’re so weird,” Jane laughed.  “There's all this other good stuff, and you go nuts over tapioca pudding and corn dogs.  Yuck!”

“How can anyone resist tapioca pudding? It’s this creamy vanilla pudding and then, surprise! You don’t just savor, you chew!  It’s like a two-for-one special.”

They inched towards the front of the line where they would enter, pick up a tray and choose their fare.

“But corn dogs?” Jane asked, making a face.

“Traitor!” Cora’s face was the epitome of shock.  “How are you going to diss corn dogs?  You love ‘em!”

“I love vegetarian corn dogs, I’ve told you that before.”

“But you’re not vegetarian.”

“I’m not, but the vegetarian corn dogs taste surprisingly better than the real ones.  Plus, I don't have to worry about what's in them. Have you tried 'em yet?”

Cora shook her head and stuck out her tongue.  “Ugh, never.  Fake meat can never taste like real meat.  If it does, I wonder what other chemicals and stuff they put in to make it taste like that.  You might as well just live life to the fullest and eat real meat.”  

"Hmmm, I'm wondering if I should tell you that I served it to you last week at my house."

"Well, should you choose to tell me that fact, I'll have to confess that that was the meal I fed your dog.  Knew there was something off about that food."  She looked away from the lunch line to Jane, a sly smile appearing. “So, you'll be interested to know, I heard some news today.”

“Hmm, can’t say I know what you heard,” Jane replied, pointedly looking at the steam tables.  There were now only six people ahead of them.  In fact, she did know, she heard the rumors earlier in the week and they had only persisted.  But there were other people in line.

Other people had ears.

“Personally, I think he was caught,” Cora continued.

The lunch personnel let them through the turn style into the food area where they perused their choices from the grill to the steam tables.  The staff always kept a close eye on each table, limited the number of students, and encouraged quick selection for the courtesy of others waiting.

Jane followed Cora as she took a tray and headed towards the corn dogs.

“Nope, it was her cheating on him,” Jane replied with certainty, wrinkling her nose at the sight of greasy brown batter engulfing a poor, tiny stick.  "I don't see the dog in that corn dog."  She scanned the table for the healthier option: pizza. “Had to be, there's no way a guy like that could stay with a girl like her.  Besides, she flirted with every guy around, like there was no tomorrow.”

“I heard he was at a party,” Cora continued quietly, almost whispering now. “And he hooked up with this other girl from Roosevelt.”

Jane gasped.  She did not know that little detail.  Legend had it that the rivalry between Altridge Knights and Roosevelt Grizzlies, dated back to when California was first discovered. It was an epic kind of rivalry.

“If he was with me, he’d never have a reason to cheat,” Jane said with absolute certainty.

Cora genuinely smiled.  “Hey, I know! If you weren’t such a freakin’ scaredy-cat about approaching him, he would be with you.  Instead, I have to hear about you gushing over him.”

Jane sighed and looked up, her eyes dreamy.  “But why would I want the real thing when I am so happy being with him in my head. Did I tell you Jeremy-in-my-head and I are moving to Idaho? Yeah, don't know why, but he thinks his chances of being a film critic will be better there.”

Cora sighed and shook her head. “Stop talking, Jane.”

“No, really. I've talked him into getting into a more respectable field like insurance fraud investigator, lien claimant, or tax collector. Something where the only highlight of his life will be coming home to me.”

“Seriously, stop talking. While you're at it, stop thinking.” She started pointing. “Those lips and that mind should not be working in concert.”

With lunch picked out and their tray almost full, Jane and Cora paid and left the noisy cafeteria.

Outside, they started towards their usual spot, a nice shaded bench near the library.  Their seven-month old route always had them walk past The Stage, just so Jane could see one person. Cora gave Jane a sharp little nudge as that one person, and subject of their cafeteria conversation, was suddenly in sight.

Jane didn’t need the nudge, she already saw him, or more precisely, his hair.  Popular, handsome, fellow senior, and Jane's huge crush: Jeremy Darby Jenkins.

Jane had a lot of time to think about him over the summer.  More specifically, his name.  Jeremy Jenkins was an attractive enough name. But, then add Darby.

It sounded adorable.

Huggable.

Therefore, Jane concluded, someone named Jeremy Darby Jenkins had to be an adorable, attractive guy one wanted to hug. And she wanted to do just that.

All the time.

And his hair!  The color was rich, layered, and complex.  Jane had a hard time finding a descriptive word for the color until one day she went for a walk in the park.   A squirrel darted past her and up a tree.  Eureka!  Jeremy's hair was the color of that dark colored squirrel.

Jane should have known better than to have shared that comment with Cora.  She laughed for half a day.  The kind of laugh accompanied by tears.  Still, Jane loved how his squirrelly, dark brown hair fell to the middle of his neck and naturally curled out a little and how he had to brush it aside to see.  That moment was the highlight of Jane's day, if she happened to be looking at him, which, unbeknownst to him, she did every time she walked past. 

And then Jane saw that the highlight of her day was about to begin.  It was all happening in slow motion: his arm rising, fingers extending, reaching his rumpled locks, he carelessly, beautifully, and masculinely (a word that exists only when describing Jeremy) tossed his locks to the side.

“You’re drooling,” Cora said loudly, precisely as they walked past The Stage.

Jane had been staring at him, gawking really, while her food was slowly edging off the tray.

Horrifyingly, Jeremy heard her and turned to look at them.  

Jane was of the opinion that her blushes weren't flattering, either, and could feel the offensive heat rising to her cheeks and ears.  

 “Cora!” Jane squeaked, turning her head away.

“Into your food,” Cora said loudly, trying to repair the damage.  “You’re drooling into your food.”  

Jane’s eyes widened.  

Cora laughed loudly.  “Well, something’s got you drooling, right?!”

Jane grabbed her Current Enemy's elbow and rushed off, her hearty laughter echoing down the outdoor halls. They got to their bench, which Jane chose because it happened to have a nice view of most of The Commons, including The Stage.

“Really, Cora, really?! Drooling…into my food? Really?!!” Jane demanded as they sat down.

Cora was laughing and breathing in gasps.  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Gasp, gasp. “I tried…” Gasp.  “I tried to fix…” Gasp.

“If rumors start because of that statement, it’s going to be so very, very hard to forgive you.”

She only laughed harder.  

Revenge.  

Jane snatched Cora’s plate of corn dogs and took a large bite out of one.  With her other hand, she took a spoon and dug into the tapioca pudding, opening her mouth and with relish, ate Cora’s most beloved food.

“Hey!” Cora stopped laughing now. She snatched back her corn dog and pudding.  “I love my lunch!  Aww, now I have less of it.”

Jane fought to speak around the food in her cheeks. Nexht chime, I’rl rick your corn dogss and I won’t chell you which one.”

“Gross, Jane.  Truly gross.”

Chipmunked faced, she lavished the best smile she could. Mashed pieces of food collected at the corners of her mouth, bits falling unattractively to the ground. Cora continued her complaining as Jane proceeded to chew.

Victory. 

She threw a quick glance towards The Stage and froze.

Jeremy was looking at her.

She stopped chewing.

He smiled.

She fought the wave of nausea coming up just as food was trying to travel down.

He waved.

Nausea won.

 

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1

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Noelle J. Alabaster wrote 881 days ago

A YARG review-
This was so cute, Alice! Jane overreacting about something (haven't found out what yet) was hilarious! Your grammer is great, your dialogue realistic-- you've got an A plus from me!
I'd give you pointers to help touch it up, except I can't find any.
Noelle J. Alabaster 'Dark Origins'

X the Unknown33 wrote 899 days ago

Hey Alice, just read through chap 11--- & I so luved it!!
It was like so funny, cracked me up through out.
And when Jane was like over exaggerating to Jeremy how her life was "doomed" cuz of her embarrassing moment, I mean that is so like me. I did the very same thing when my mom one day decided to punish me by not sending me to school to get a drivers license. Sigh, i'm lucky to have a sister who quietly listens to "my-life-is-doomed-sessions."

Anyways fantastic stuff;) Can't wait to read the rest! Will back . . .uh. . . when my laptop lets me.
Five stars

X

Tom Bye wrote 894 days ago

Hello Alice-

book- Jane;Redefined-

A Humorous light-hearted romantic novel that hits all the right buttons, for it intended audience,Well done Alice.
look at P C I love you and what it did for Celia Aherne.
After reading the first eight chapters, i can say that this book of yours is now on that road to success.

High school pupils will read this in drove, enjoy, and will see themselves in your book.
Yes, it's edgy and certainly up to the minute in think thought, and at the same time having that delightful, innocent touch to the story-line; in an easy readable style'

In it's genre it gets my six stars with pleasure--

Tom Bye Dublin Ireland.

book- from hugs to kisses'

my school days, chapters 22-23-26-31 and 32. glance at any one, you might enjoy,. and comment/star, thanks


Dianna Lanser wrote 917 days ago

Alice,

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to Jane Redefined. I just gobbled up your last chapters. Chapter six is absolutely wonderful. I loved how the sermon entered Jane’s thoughts and got twisted to justify her relationship with Jeremy. Very clever and so very real.

Chapter seven was shocking and you caused me to hurt so badly for Isaac. He is such a good man and so very undeserving of his home situation. I loved reading his perspective on Jane.

Finally, Chapter eight - Jane is becoming more and more entrenched in this giddy gully of emotion and begins the fatal mistake of labeling Jeremy as her mission field. What a true, true observation Cora makes. “Don’t you think I need saving?” I love it and I love Cora as well!

You stay right on track with the point of view. There’s just one little slip up in the paragraph that starts “His cheating habit,” Cora added. Looking at Jane… You can simply remove the commentary beginning at “Looking at Jane” and it will flow just fine.

At the end, you properly left us a little space to show us you were changing scenes and perspective. You have so effectively made the reader love and be concerned for Isaac. He deserves the girl, if in the end, she is deserving of him. Oh I hope so…

Alice, you have built Isaac to be such a good man. I would really love to hear more of his perspective in the future. I loved how you used his circumstances in chapter seven to “show” us how good he really is.

I absolutely love this book!

Dianna Lanser
Nothing But The Blood

faith rose wrote 917 days ago

A great read! I am so happy I found this. It is perfect for young adults... witty, charming, and oh so real! Jane is very well-drawn. Her inner thoughts revealed in conversation with God at the beginning of each chapter (as well as throughout the book) give a wonderful depth to her already loveable character. Your writing style flows so smoothly, turning this into a highly readable, engaging piece. I especially love your use of short sentences, such as "So melodramatic. So wrong. So Jane." I also love your title... it's perfect! A wonderful piece.

Faith Rose
Now To Him

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 317 days ago

I enjoyed reading this. You've done a great job and have written a book that is fun and capable of drawing in all readers young and old. I like the fast pace you've written with and am impressed.
God bless you!!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"
"The Sticks and Stones of Hannah Jones"

Gefordson wrote 670 days ago

Alice,
I agree with some of the comments that say this has all the ingredients that go to make up a good rom com romp - and in Jane you have a character the reader is rooting for.
I also strongly agree with some of the POV comments but only because I think you should seriously consider rewriting this in the first person and get rid of third person altogether. Yes you lose some elements of the story but you can still tell the same story just in a more focussed way.

When you write with Jane’s voice the whole thing feels natural, controlled and genuine. The third person can on occasions be a bit flat in comparison. Jane’s funny, sassy, bright, interesting and when she’s centre stage the book comes alive.

Failing changing to First Person and narrowing down your options you have to address the problem created by a jump like Chapter 7 to Isaac’s point of view. It pull’s the reader aside and actually leaves them slightly unfulfilled. (Yes we get a bit of drama but it’s not developed so we don’t really feel a huge amount of sympathy/emotion.)
There’s lots here to admire.
Best of luck with this project.

Gefordson
Nothing you can do.

patio wrote 713 days ago

This is simple marvellous. Vivid descriptions matched the multitude of emotion that packed Jane: Redefined

T. Lamond wrote 869 days ago

A YARG review
http://www.authonomy.com/books/37069/jane-redefined/


Hi Alice! I picked your book at random to YARG. This isn't my regular genre to read and I don't have any experiences with being a girl, so I'm going to focus on the writing style itself.

You have a wonderful ability to communicate emotion in your writing. Not tell me /how/ I should feel, but rather /make/ me feel that way. Most of the time your wordings and descriptions are quite comfortable. You blend your humor in very well to the story, you got more than one laugh out of me.

In fact, outside of a few minor details here and there, there is only one thing that I found to really comment on: You change POV mid-chapter at times, or alternate back and forth between paragraphs. This was /very/ noticeable in Chapters 1 and 10 – the two chapters where Jane and Isaac were together. I hate to say “I didn't like this part” without offering some suggestion on how it could be improved, but in this genre .. I'm stumped.

POV shifting

I like the 'emoted' nature of some of Jane's lines, they make me picture someone who has a minor in drama and refuses to leave acting behind. Not sure if this is intentional or not.

I jotted down random notes as I read, not terribly well organized. Think of them more like note scribbled in the margin.

Chapter 1:
“Jane did not know” – “Jane didn't know”

There is a time-jump here which I found jarring. We start off at 6th period lunch, then we hit the phrase:

“How she survived the rest of lunch and 5th period” Give us a clue that it is a flash back?

I found her complaining to Isaac about her “greatest hour of need” to be a wonderful line … playfully emoted, but I can see that.

“She has embarrassed me” – “She embarrassed me”

Chapter 2:
I /love/ the way Chapter 2 here ends... great … Exactly the kind of thing that makes me feel for a character.


Chapter 3:
I find the whole paragraph that starts with “Walking into the library” awkward, but I am having trouble explaining why. In part because it seems like a break from the rather fluid flow of the rest of the writing (very little other scenery is discussed anywhere) and in part the “ones eyes were drawn” felt like instructions to the reader to “hey! Look and see this.” I wish I could find better words here.. (Edit: This is more description than you give anything else in the book. For continuity of style I'd be recommend dropping it.)

I've got no experiences that can relate, but I found the conversation between Jane and Jeremy here … to be exactly what I would expect a conversation to be like. You really conveyed her emotions quite well.

The POV change here at the end of the chapter felt “right” … like the camera was pulling back and caught someone's expression as it did.


Chapter 4:
“... that meant Cora” – Found that line a bit awkward

The “Retelling the story” paragraph – awesome.


Chapter 6:
Ah yes, wonderful parent logic 'You don't answer the phone so I can't reach you – therefor I'll make sure I really can't reach you and take your phone away.'

“Its not good to lie” – It would be better to work this kind of thing into the story, so that you can show it in action rather then make a comment to the reader. Its a great family custom, just needs “integrated” more, rather than feeling bolted on.

Chapter 7:

Now that is a well-told chapter I think. Excellent imagery.

Chapter 9:
You have an incredible ability to communicate emotions in your writing – this chapter could use some of that.

Chapter 10:
“Hope I can find Jeremy.”
Next line! There he is, jumping out of a car. Wee!

The description of the warehouse here was perfect – just enough to give the feeling and mood of the place, without bogging us down with details.

POV change! Wham! From Isaac back to Jane

Noelle J. Alabaster wrote 881 days ago

A YARG review-
This was so cute, Alice! Jane overreacting about something (haven't found out what yet) was hilarious! Your grammer is great, your dialogue realistic-- you've got an A plus from me!
I'd give you pointers to help touch it up, except I can't find any.
Noelle J. Alabaster 'Dark Origins'

Thomas_W_Shaw wrote 885 days ago

YARG

Review//Jane:Redefined by Alice Kim

I enjoyed the parts I read, finding the dialogue believable, honest, and free flowing. I drew this out of the YARG pile at random and was pleasantly surprised...here's a few tips

-I found the transition between the opening "dialogue" and the narration a little jarring. It started out implying a first POV and switched on a dime. A little bit of padding would clear that right up.
-You can keep the chapter length, but sometimes it is a good idea to chop up your fat paragraphs into mini ones. It's easier on the eyes.

Otherwise, it's good, fast paced read and i wish you the best.

Six Stars.

Marns wrote 888 days ago

A YARG review

SP - Really like the tone and inference.
LP – Feels a little bit too long and descriptive but not so much that I would be put off

CH1 – Intriguing – what on earth has gone on? The writing is nice and the dialogue fresh, not much in the way of typos or grammar. My issue here is Isaac. Do we need to know so quickly that he loves Jane? I mean, it may be integral to the plot but I feel you could have hinted a bit here then let the love angle develop over the story. The change of viewpoint mid chapter can be quite distracting.

CH2 – Love the reference to Darcy – a universal object of lust and love since 19th century! I wasn’t entirely sure what happened to make Jane throw up. It just seems weird that she scoffed her friends food then pukes. How could a bit of banter move to that? However the puke is horrifying enough to make the reader understand how mortified she really is.

CH3 – Jeremy Darby Jenkins? With brown hair? That’s all we know about this man and sorry, but I can’t fancy a Jeremy Jenkins – that’s a lame name in my humble opinion. And we’re three chapters in and I don’t know much about him apart from his name and hair colour. I love teen romance, I want to know all about the object of her affection – his eyes, his bottom, his broad shoulders in his football kit, voice, teeth… You get the picture. Just as Colin Firth in THOSE wet jodhpurs became an iconic image of Mr Darcy you need a hook for Jeremy. Running in gym class, dripping water over his head etc etc.... Note I'm giving you a good indication of what floats my boat here rather than what the general population might like!

Your writing is really good and the characters are likeable. Their dialogue is fluffy and realistic. You encapsulate high school so well, the feeling that you can live or die, literally, by your actions. That stomach churning lust towards the hot guy that never looks your way. I'm rooting for Jane!

Best of luck, Marns

PAM30 wrote 890 days ago

Alice,
Lovely read,
real fun and anyone whose been been through rough teenage years and i want- to- be- in -the -high school popularity contests will relate to this.... nice worked, backed happily....

Tom Bye wrote 894 days ago

Hello Alice-

book- Jane;Redefined-

A Humorous light-hearted romantic novel that hits all the right buttons, for it intended audience,Well done Alice.
look at P C I love you and what it did for Celia Aherne.
After reading the first eight chapters, i can say that this book of yours is now on that road to success.

High school pupils will read this in drove, enjoy, and will see themselves in your book.
Yes, it's edgy and certainly up to the minute in think thought, and at the same time having that delightful, innocent touch to the story-line; in an easy readable style'

In it's genre it gets my six stars with pleasure--

Tom Bye Dublin Ireland.

book- from hugs to kisses'

my school days, chapters 22-23-26-31 and 32. glance at any one, you might enjoy,. and comment/star, thanks


Bea.B.Adams wrote 895 days ago

a YARG review

Argh! High school... so full of agonizing decisions we make about things and then later find so humorously trivial. Equally so, all that diving into situations, which in retrospect are horribly real and stick with you the rest of your life! You've captured that well.

I like when you have short chapters with only one viewpoint: so smooth to read! I do not like it when you shift unceremoniously between two or more viewpoints in one section of text. With better immersion I get a fuller sense of what people are feeling, even if it's a short clip – and with this book that's very important. It will also help build suspense, because what Jane doesn't know will burn with greater passion in the heart of Isaac if we aren't trying to guess if it's Jane thinking in this next paragraph or not.

Your dialogue is casual and has a nice flow, but is filled with a lot of stuff that seems fluffy to me, and not entirely enlightening about the story or the characters. Maybe that's just the boredom of that time of life: waiting for class to end and filling it with idle chatter. On the other hand, I appreciate prayers being included. It makes it more of a full picture for me: a dimension that's normally missing from literature.

As someone who went through my teenage years as a Christian, I remember there were two things my classmates thought about my me: 1) I was the one everyone felt obliged to confess their misdemeanors to at parties: an embarrassment and an alien being imbued with their own crazy ideas of good morals. 2) A rare quarry to be hunted down with extra street-cred for the male who manages to ruin me. You've picked up on the second one well. The first one is why I'm surprised that anyone at school takes Jane seriously as a human. That's why I think your book has a broader appeal than for just Christians.

So regarding your question: does your book merely have a Christian slant or does it deserve the tag? Is faith and God a strong theme in your book? Is the romance clean and uplifting? Then go for it. If not-really, it still may have an appeal for those girls who wonder what Christian girls are really like, and could prove be a nice spicy slant.

Awesome!
– Bea B.
"How the Double Blade Was Forged"

Jacki Johnson wrote 895 days ago

118 baby! You go girl

X the Unknown33 wrote 899 days ago

Hey Alice, just read through chap 11--- & I so luved it!!
It was like so funny, cracked me up through out.
And when Jane was like over exaggerating to Jeremy how her life was "doomed" cuz of her embarrassing moment, I mean that is so like me. I did the very same thing when my mom one day decided to punish me by not sending me to school to get a drivers license. Sigh, i'm lucky to have a sister who quietly listens to "my-life-is-doomed-sessions."

Anyways fantastic stuff;) Can't wait to read the rest! Will back . . .uh. . . when my laptop lets me.
Five stars

X

K.T.Bowman wrote 900 days ago

A YARG Review

I just read all eleven chapters and was disappointed that there wasn't more! I'm really enjoying the story you have here, especially the character of Isaac. He's a great character, very likable and easy to relate to. And his feelings for Jane are a good mix of lust and uncertainty - the scene where he kisses her was so well written!

There were only a couple of things that tripped me up - when Jane gets her phone taken away, she doesn't seem bothered. Most teenagers these days are attached to their phones 24/7 - it feels a little unusual that she's hardly even bothered by it.

I also didn't like Jane's parents addressing each other as Mommy and Daddy. That might just be me, but it was a bit creepy! If you meant it to be just that then no problem of course, but if you didn't then maybe just use their first names?

Otherwise, this story has great pace and every chapter left me wanting to read on. I'd love to know what happens between Isaac and Jane - I feel like they should end up together, even though she's being completely oblivious to Isaac's charms!

KT

Brittanee Zaitsoff wrote 903 days ago

Hey Alice,

To be honest, this is not the type of book I usually gravitate towards. That said, I was completely drawn into the story. You have developed Jane so well that I found myself intrigued by her antics. She is very relatable, which is an impressive task to accomplish when writing in third person. Some spelling and grammar issues, but of course, that comes with editing. The dialogue is good and feels natural.

Overall, high stars!

Brittanee
- Sinful

Momma Bear wrote 904 days ago

Hi Alice,

Nicely done in third person omni. You were able to get in depth with both characters which many authors have a hard time doing when writing in omni. I think I fell in love with Isaac in the first chapter. Darn it. I'm too old to fall in love with yummy high school boys. I feel like a Twilight mom.

I have some notes for you on Chapter one:

"If anyone wanted to get revenge on me today, Isaac, I did it for them. ... Missing quotation at end.
laughingstock is two words, laughing stock.
Prom doesn't need to be capitalized
Today it was neon green polo...missing the word "a" (a neon green polo).
with a noticeable Southern accent...southern doesn't need to be capitalized.

That's it! Just piddly things! Big stars!

Rebecca
~Askival
http://www.authonomy.com/books/38264/askival/
Over eleven thousand teens vanish in one day. This is the story of where they went.

Lancelot wrote 905 days ago

*excited girlish giggly scream* eeeeekk!!!! they kissed! YAY!! ^_^ I love this chapter!! haha :D Keep writing Alice!

Alexandra Sarik wrote 905 days ago

i really enjoyed this story, it's for real with lovable characters and a good teen atmosphere. I really liked Isaac but found his situation quite sad. I cant wait to find out more! I hope you publish

D. L. Erickson wrote 908 days ago

Alice- I am new to Authonomy and your wonderful book about Jane is my first read. Loved the first few pages, and I intend to read it all. Bravo to you for a catchy beginning and great voice.

Jacki Johnson wrote 910 days ago

Alice,
When you left me your first message, I didn’t realize that you had your own book! Sorry for being so dull as to not taking a look straight away. Anywho, I read ch1 of Jane: Redefined and below are a few comments thus far. **My suggestions are personal preference of what I look for when I read a book, not technical, professional examination.

‘He was too focused to have anything like this affect him, (omit period, insert comma) let alone get into a situation like this in the first place.’ For the most part, the staccato writing works as it comes from teenage perspective, but I would warn not to overdo it or it will lose its effectiveness. Example where it works (among others): ‘Isaac. Jane.’ Mr. Zims demanded. Technically, there should be a comma after Jane, but the abrupt nature can break the rule. In my humble opinion. :)

‘…Isaac’s was straight, messy, and fell around his ears (omit comma) in thick layers’

For the most part, I don’t necessarily care what someone is wearing on any given day, but I do care about their style. You create each person’s style (and therefore personality) very well; the only thing I would suggest is get rid of the ‘today, this person was wearing that,’ and instead give a solid description of what they would normally wear. For example, I LOVE Zims and his quirky wardrobe, but I don’t really care exactly what he wore on that particular day. I think that it would be better if you tightened those descriptions to perhaps something like:

‘Included in the Zims signature look was a full beard, a bright polo over a protruding tummy hugged by overalls…’

and:

‘As always, Isaac looked effortlessly, casually groomed in an olive shirt and cargo shorts but his style could easily swap for button-up and go to a (avoid wishy-washy words like ‘nice’) fancy dinner…’

I’m not by any means saying my suggested sentence is perfect – far from it, sure – but I feel it works towards a more concise description.

Another thing I love is how you bring things back to the present, such as ‘his hair was getting into his eyes again.’ Cute and very much a high school mentality.

Overall, I really love the voice and humor. I swear, these characters are straight out of my high school. Well done girl, I’ll be back for more, no doubt bout it, and will comment further.

Starred 6 and shelved for a while.

Blessings!!
Jacki

KenFloyd wrote 910 days ago

The most important aspect of the first chapter is that you've established your main character and put her in trouble from the start. The conflict set. I liked the dialogue, both internal and external, because it matches your intended audience so well. Teenage girls can be so dramatic and Jane plays that role well! I only wish I could identify more with this genre to comment more but I will try to read a few more chapters to get a feel for the story development.

Ken Floyd
Waves of Regret

Emily M wrote 911 days ago

Jane Redefined: A YARG review

I've read the first chapter and then skipped ahead to chapters 4 and 5, so if some of my comments seem like I missed something, that's why.

First off, I really like your characters. They are all well-rounded and unique, and I especially enjoyed Jane's take on things...teenagers are definitely melodramatic, and she easily fits that mold!

A few things I noticed:

As I read I noticed that the POV shifts often. This isn't necessarily a problem in and of itself, but sometimes these POV shifts are as little as a paragraph before going back to a different character (example: in chapter 5, the paragraph that starts with, 'Isaac really did not have plans with any of them.'). Before and after this, it's Jane's POV. It could be a bit confusing.

You might want to consider, too, some of the slang your characters use. For example, Jane says 'Neat.' This was something I said as a kid (and still say) but I don't really hear my own kids (or others) saying this. Other than that, this book really does seem to accurately reflect how teens act and speak, as well as their emotions.

I noticed this book was very dialogue-heavy. I think a bit more description here and there could help things without sacrificing the pacing of the story.

In all, this was very enjoyable. It reminded me very much of how I used to see things as a teen, and I think this would have a very strong following in the YA audience.

Best of luck!
Emily

Charlotte12 wrote 912 days ago

Hi,

I really like this story so far. I've only read chapter 1, but I found it fun, engaging, and I really liked the characters. Isaac really has a nice feel to him; likeable, relateable and real. I also liked the opening scenario, where Jane is mortified over something that happened at lunch. Though I would have liked to have been told the full story at some point. :)

I've included a few thoughts on the chapter based on the thoughts that came to mind as I read. Please feel free to accept or reject anything as you see fit.

I liked Jane's dramatic nature. It was well written and fun, though I admit that about two-thirds through the chapter, it was becoming a little much for me. Youths will probably really like it, as they can probably relate to the situation her reactions sprang from (or something similar to it)—they are your target audience anyway. But as it is something that came to mind during the read, I decided to mention it.

I also noticed that the POV switches about halfway through, from Jane’s to Isaac's. The transition is smooth, and I almost didn't notice it, but it's something that could potentially confuse a reader.

“...suffered a serious mental issue,” might sound better as, “...suffered a serious mental illness.”

So these are just a few small things. Nothing that would take away from the over all enjoyment of the story. I look forward to seeing what chapter 2 has to offer.

Dyane

faith rose wrote 917 days ago

A great read! I am so happy I found this. It is perfect for young adults... witty, charming, and oh so real! Jane is very well-drawn. Her inner thoughts revealed in conversation with God at the beginning of each chapter (as well as throughout the book) give a wonderful depth to her already loveable character. Your writing style flows so smoothly, turning this into a highly readable, engaging piece. I especially love your use of short sentences, such as "So melodramatic. So wrong. So Jane." I also love your title... it's perfect! A wonderful piece.

Faith Rose
Now To Him

Dianna Lanser wrote 917 days ago

Alice,

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to Jane Redefined. I just gobbled up your last chapters. Chapter six is absolutely wonderful. I loved how the sermon entered Jane’s thoughts and got twisted to justify her relationship with Jeremy. Very clever and so very real.

Chapter seven was shocking and you caused me to hurt so badly for Isaac. He is such a good man and so very undeserving of his home situation. I loved reading his perspective on Jane.

Finally, Chapter eight - Jane is becoming more and more entrenched in this giddy gully of emotion and begins the fatal mistake of labeling Jeremy as her mission field. What a true, true observation Cora makes. “Don’t you think I need saving?” I love it and I love Cora as well!

You stay right on track with the point of view. There’s just one little slip up in the paragraph that starts “His cheating habit,” Cora added. Looking at Jane… You can simply remove the commentary beginning at “Looking at Jane” and it will flow just fine.

At the end, you properly left us a little space to show us you were changing scenes and perspective. You have so effectively made the reader love and be concerned for Isaac. He deserves the girl, if in the end, she is deserving of him. Oh I hope so…

Alice, you have built Isaac to be such a good man. I would really love to hear more of his perspective in the future. I loved how you used his circumstances in chapter seven to “show” us how good he really is.

I absolutely love this book!

Dianna Lanser
Nothing But The Blood

Jonie M. Julan wrote 918 days ago

Poor Isaac. :) Just finished your last chapter. I like that Jane is blinded to Jeremy's true personality. I think that her decision to start viewing Jeremy as a mission field might be a little sudden. Maybe you could add in some additional issues that Jane can't exactly overlook, so she comes to the conclusion she needs to change him. It's also very realistic that Jeremy does not fit her imaginary model of perfection, Mr. Darcy, but she decides to like him anyway. So many girls fall into that mistake because it's easy. I caught a few typos. I think maybe you should change some of your periods to question marks. Also, in the Emersons' kitchen conversation, I'm not sure the family would have mentioned Cora like that while she was present. It could have made somsone who is not saved uncomfortable. Mr. Emerson seems like the protective type. "God as my witness, no." :)

Jonie

QuinnYA wrote 920 days ago

I really enjoyed this and you give us an uplifting and relatable story without taking away from the deeper meaning. Not what I normally read, I will fully admit but I couldn't help but be drawn in. I think the age group you have directed this to will see some of themselves in the characters...I know I did. There is so much to like here, your styke and voice are easy to read and easy to engage. I am so glad I took a chance on this book. I will shelve it one day soon!

Missy

rhine wrote 921 days ago

A BHCG review for Jane: Redefined by Alice Kim

Pitch - probably gives too much away/too much detail. I would simplify/generalize it.

Plot/Pacing -
the opening : masculinely threw me a little, seems to have nothing to do with anything
good set up. A likes B, B likes the idealized image of C. opportunity for her to make her dream come true.
funny angst. However, I would shorten the inner monologue at the start of two to get to the meat sooner.

Characters/Characterization
funny. I can tell from listening to her talk that she's a little dramatic and probably reads Austin/Bronte sorts of novels more than she should.
(I typed this before Isaac mentioned it)
I would use an analogy when her head pops up - makes it funnier and helps us feel more emotion
Again, at the end of two, I would use an analogy for the explosion of tapioca and chewed corndog. something like "a plague-maddened hamster caught by the lawnmower"
We feel everyting Jane does. In three we felt her elation/victory. The moment is what my wife and I call a "foot clap", where every part of you has to celebrate somehow.

Point of View/Voice
no breaks that I saw. although, a few times, her Austen stiffness leaked into the descriptions. Reading aloud will help you use more contractions/simplifications in these areas.

Style – very sweet and funny.

Sentence level – in separate mail

Dialogue - most of it was funny and loopy and teen. a few times, you repeated a little too much.

Originality - very

Publishability - Once clean up a little, I could see this at Walmart by the Amish books

Scott Rhine -- Houses of the Holy

Jonie M. Julan wrote 921 days ago

Wow, that was a shock. I just realized what a contrast this is to chapter six as well. Jane feels so lucky to have such a wonderful and stable family, but Isaac is not as fortunate. It's wonderful to see Isaac defend his mother and remove her from the situation. He's a man already. This chapter adds a dimension to his maturity.

Jonie

Jonie M. Julan wrote 922 days ago

Hey, just finished chapter six. Thanks for creating a church-going family that listened to and (tried to) discuss a sermon. Sometimes Christian fiction books don't create characters that seem like genuine Christians, which is really weird and sad. And the phone incident where Jane had her phone down low is like something that would happen with me and my parents. :) Thanks for your comments yesterday, I'll look over that Dad paragraph today.

Jonie

chirpy wrote 922 days ago
Nightdream wrote 923 days ago

Everyone on this site should read this book even if you are not a teenager. It will bring back your high school memories and take you away from the world we live in today. That is what a book should do right? Alice is a superb writer and she is one I will always remember on this site. She has extraordinary talent and is just a nice nice person.
Tony


To Say Nice Words is inspired by Joe Kovacs

Jonie M. Julan wrote 923 days ago

Poor Isaac. Why do we girls have to be so stupid? :) It's interesting that Jeremy is already showing his personality, but you also didn't have him do something drastically and stereotypically wrong. Jane's defense of him makes sense, but his true colors are already showing. I did catch that you missed a period after nine thirty in the dialogue, and I believe that "anyway" is the proper form rather than "anyways." That's getting grammatical, I know. :) I'll be back for more!

Jonie

Lancelot wrote 924 days ago

I read it all and I want more :P and i love Isaac!<3 i know an isaac...he's just as sweet ;) lol

Jonie M. Julan wrote 924 days ago

"Was he drunk?" Wow, ouch. :) The last bit of dialogue about Jane's name is cute too. I think it's realistic that Cora and Jane are comparing their appearances, because teen girls do that a lot. Everybody always feels like they're the ugly one and their girl friends are the ones who were gifted with beauty. And like I said yesterday, it's good that Jane's confidences issues are coming out early. This will make her falling for Jeremy more believable. This story is so true and realistic. I remember one of my friends going through a similar situation, and how hard it was on all of us. Thanks for writing about something that happens.
Jonie

Sid-bh wrote 924 days ago

Hey Alice, The first chapter of your book is cute and funny. I loved the hysterical nature of Jane, the way in which she is freaking about an incident. You sure have a good storyline and have backed it up with worthy characterizations. In the paragraph that starts with "I won't get invited to anything over Spring Break...", there is a spelling mistake. You have "habit form" instead of "habit from". You might want to change that. Barring that, the rest of the chapter is fit and fine. I will go on further!

Sid

Jonie M. Julan wrote 925 days ago

BHCG - Ok, I laughed out loud at the part that started off, "Dumb Jane." You've definitely gotten the "cool guy" feel down for Jeremy. And it rings loud and clear that Jane doesn't feel good about herself. You're setting up your character's personalities in these early chapters, so that the experiences they go through later on are believable and logical. However, your plot is already moving quickly. The pacing is swift enough to keep the reader's interest. I'm not sure I'd give such a detailed description of the library. I didn't really see the need for it, but description is probably one characteristic I need to work on myself. Also, these second two chapters are more exciting and have more action going on. I thought they were more gripping than your first chapter. Maybe you could start your story off with a different beginning? I think if Isaac's interest in Jane was revealed slowly and subtly, that might be more interesting for the reader. Just giving some suggestions, this work is still yours. I like that it made me laugh. :) I'll be back for more. - Jonie

Wussyboy wrote 927 days ago

"Jane's going to save Jeremy from his lifestyle of empty parties and stupid choices." What a great line! ...And she's going to do it how? Oh yes, this from Jane, "I bet he'd really improve if he had a relationship with God."

I don't know if you've read Wilde's famous quote ("The general opinion of woman about men is that they need improving") but I found Jane a tenacious tour de force - deliciously determined to improve her man, and using her special relationship with God to do it.

This is very fine writing, Alice, and a welcome addition to the Christian Y/A genre. If you continue to get in-depth comment from your fans, as I see you have been doing, this is going to develop into a very publishable book.

Joe Kovacs
Rupee Millionaires

AudreyB wrote 927 days ago

Hi, there – this is your BHCG review from Audrey. As you may know, I am often accompanied on my reviews by my English teacher alter-ego The Grammar Hag. Most of the feedback you find offensive was her idea. Me, I’m a delight.

My book is also about Christian kids in high school, though it’s set in the seventies. I’d love to see more Christian/YA literature.

Pitch Observations: “…dreams about her life with Jeremy…” implies that she has a life with him to dream about. Would it be more accurate to say “…dreams of a life with Jeremy…” ?? Those are awfully similar…maybe “…dreams of having a life with Jeremy…”

The pitch describes Jane as a “Jesus freak.” That term seems really old to me – like something from my era. And her behavior in the early chapters doesn’t really match the description.

“…her closest friends, Cora and Isaac, they witness…” The subject of your sentence here is Jane, so you can’t suddenly switch to “they witness.” You could say, “Jane’s closest friends, Cora and Issac, witness….

Plot – opening, narrative flow/momentum
So we’ve got this girl in Auto class who is upset about something that happened during lunch. But we know that she dreams of her life with Jeremy, so I was surprised to hear that he had made fun of her. She begins to mumble at Cora…but Cora isn’t really there. It’s Isaac. Does she not expect to see him in Auto class? Why is she relieved that it’s him?

So this Jeremy is someone she admires from afar. It’s difficult to write about this type of attraction well. So far, we know that Jeremy is one of the cool kids and that he laughs at Jane. Oh, and that there’s a rumor going around about how he’s cheated on a girlfriend. So I like him even less than I like Jane.

The scene in the library where Jeremy arrives for tutoring is excellent. The dialog is spot on and it’s written with humor.

Characters/Characterization
The MC is coming across like an immature drama queen. She has one embarrassing moment (remember we don’t know if this is common or unusual or what) and then rants about her life turning into torment. It’s too much, especially if we are to like her. And I think we should like her.

Jane’s prayers also convey volumes about her. She’s always asking for things and even goes as far as to describe Jeremy as sexy in a prayer. Yes, a teenager might pray like that, but she would also pray for composure and for the ability to handle her reactions better. It occurs to me your plan may be to have her reform by the end of the book, so if you are trying to present her as someone in need of an attitude adjustment, then you’re on the right track. “Did you ever have to go through high school?” I have a hard time believing a Christian girl would ask God that.

When she’s in the lunchroom with Cora, which happens earlier than the Auto class scene, we see her behaving impulsively when she scarfs down Cora’s lunch. It seems odd to me that Cora would put up with a friend who scarfs her lunch.

It’s quite clear that Isaac likes Jane, but it’s unclear why. He seems kind and understanding, but we don’t get a very clear picture of his personality. There’s a very small amount of territory between kind and understanding….and being a doormat. It's important to show his maturity and kindness and also prevent him from being a doormat.

Cora is a delight. I instantly know she’s funny and kind of a character. (Red hair always help.) I also like her back-story – she’s responsible and caring.

I like Jane’s thinking as they approach the Snack Shack, and she doesn’t know what to do with her hands. Very genuine.

I’m already not a big fan of Jeremy’s, but when he intentionally sits in the visiting team’s seating and begins to shout things, I really don’t like him. And when he makes it foul, it’s much worse. And although it’s understandable Jane might take his side, I can’t imagine any girl being comfortable in that situation.

When we see Jane with her family, I like her family but like Jane even less. She basically laughs at her Dad’s effort to discuss the sermon and tells us about how the kids always lie by chanting “It’s not good to lie.”

I warm up to Jane just a bit at the start of chapter 8. I wonder what your story would be like if you began with a scene like this one, where she’s wishing for a mission to fulfill. Then the reader will recognize that Jane has chosen Jeremy for his flaws, and can accept that he behaves badly.

Point of View/Voice
Third person omniscient, it seems. Many stories like this one are told in first person, which helps us have more sympathy for the MC. Third person allows you to tell us what Cora is thinking when Jane is so excited and I think you’re right to go this way. It's also nice to hear Isaac's thoughts. The trick with third person is to avoid mixing up pov from sentence to sentence. I am terrible at third person so will not say another word on the subject.

Style – very subjective but good to know if it works or not for the reader
Your voice is genuinely young, something I obviously cannot pull off. It helps keep all your characters likable and fresh.

Sentence level – grammar, repetitive structure, wordiness, unneeded phrases etc
Is the Auto teacher named Zim or Zims? Possessive of Zims would be Zims’.

“Not only had Jeremy been laughing at her, she saw as his friends turned to where he was pointing, looked in her direction, and then started laughing as well. OK, so Jeremy is laughing. And there’s something more….she sees his friends turn to where he was pointing (presumably at her) and then THEY started laughing as well. But the sentence is still a clunker. How about something more like this: Not only had Jeremy been laughing at her, but when he pointed toward her, his friends had turned and laughed as well. You can do better.

“…agonizingly mumbled…” Man, this sticks up like a sore thumb. Mumbling in agony could be moaning. Or complaining. Or just mumbling – have the agony show in her dialog.

“…there was an intense flash of emotion…” but that flash is lost behind your ‘was.’ He felt an intense flash of emotion. Or the words struck him with an intense flash of emotion.

“She was different, she became irresistible to him.” This is an important moment, but you present it with two verbs of being. You can give this a much more powerful sentence.

”Mr. Zinn created a nice incentive…” This paragraph is unclear, largely because ‘seniors’ can be used two ways and because most of the sentences are passive. Start with the subject and say what you mean.

I’d encourage you to do searches on all your verbs of being and attempt to replace as many of them as you can. Your writing will be much more robust and spirited, which will suit this story.

How would you eat sloppy joe’s straight out of the pot? We should see the bun between the pot and the plate.

You’ve got the cheerleaders motivating the crowd twice in a row in quick succession.

“Why is he so important.” Needs a question mark.

Dialogue
The rant about eating with Mrs. Peabody doesn’t quite ring true. It sounds too long and somewhat contrived.

In many cases, your characters talk for much longer than kids really talk. In reality they interrupt one another more and struggle to find the right words. Even if they are as well read as Jane appears to be.

Originality
Obviously I believe we need lots more authentic YA Christian books.

Publishability
Ditto!

So we’ve got a girl who would like to do mission work on this unlikable guy. I think it might resonate better with the reader if we learn about Jane in a more positive light initially. Then her choice of Jeremy the Jerk will seem more believable. Then we can watch Jane have to face situations, such as the one where they sit in the visiting section, and understand her motives. Of course, we’ll also have to see her make attempts at helping him accept the love of Christ.

Best wishes to you here at Authonomy!
~AudreyB
Forgiveness Fits

Dianna Lanser wrote 928 days ago

Hi Alice,

I just read through chapter five. Your story is delightful! I can begin to see the terrible compromise Jane is going to make and I know it's going to be painful to watch. You have made me love her for the good, vulnerable person she is. The tension is wonderful. You make me hope her friends will stick by her as she lives through her "best dream". You have a good thing going here. One that young adults will really like. I did notice in chapter 1 and chapter five you flip flopped between point of views, but that is easy enough to fix. I love the humor you use too, often that is hard to get away with, but it came off very naturally. Good job. I will read to the end and I know I'll probably want more. Hope your writing...

Dianna Lanser
Nothing But The Blood

Jonie M. Julan wrote 930 days ago

Ok, this answers my question about that embarrassing situation Jane was in. :) Nice chapter. You've got the teen tone voice going on. :) And the circumstances are really believable. Personally, I was homeschooled, but a lot of kids could probably relate to something like this. I'll be back for more. :)

Jonie M. Julan wrote 932 days ago

Hey, Alice! Your writing style is very readable, and your descriptions of your characters physical appearances are both specific and unique. I also liked how you worked in Jane's overly dramatic quality naturally. She acted on it, and you commented on her personality trait in a believable way. The comfortable friendship Jane shares with Isaac comes out nice and early. Does Jane ever comment on what embarrassing thing happened to her at lunch? I've only read the first chapter, so maybe she does later. Also, I could be wrong, but I felt that the point of view was changing a bit between Jane and Isaac. I'm sure that was intentional, but I just wanted to suggest telling the story from a single POV. Perhaps I've mininterpreted, and again that's just my opinion. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on my work!
Jonie

Ivan Amberlake wrote 933 days ago

Dear Alice, I read Chapters 4-8 and had a marvellous time with your book! There are so many things I love here - first of all, Jane - she's an unforgettable character; Cora and Isaac. In Chapter 7 you give deeper characterization of Isaac - well done! - and I can't help feeling sorry for him and his mum. It's great that in Chapter 8 you show Cora's concern about Jane changing so drastically. This is an excellent book!

Sincerely Yours,
Ivan Amberlake

ClaireLyman wrote 934 days ago

Hi Alice,

This is your BHCG crit from me. I hope it's helpful, but please ignore anything that isn't - I've not been published yet, so am clearly no expert!

I'm a Christian but don't read a lot of Christian fic. Hardly any, in fact. But from the pitch it sounds as if it would have drawn me in as a YA.

Plot – opening, narrative flow/momentum
The very first word struck me. Is she praying? If not, then I'd suggest getting rid of "God". I know a lot of people use it seemingly innocuously, but some Christians are still offended by that - parents looking to buy it for their teenager might be turned right off. Then again, if she's meant to be praying, ignore me!... and I see later that she is. Can you make this more obvious somehow? Eg, "Dear God, please help me" - that' snot very good, I know, but something to show she is actually speaking to God?

That said, I very much liked the first few lines... A great authentic teenage girl voice. Though it slowed right down again after that. I read a few paragraphs without finding the thing that she was embarrassed about - maybe that should come sooner and without as much buildup of description or backstory - or with a hook - "she couldn't believe that had happened in front of Jeremy. Boys didn't cry." - and then go on to build back up?

Characters/Characterization
"Isaac stiffened..." That bit is great. Very realistic! And it's great seeing a guy hopelessly in love in a book like this. "Isaac humphed inside." I'd love to see you do something with the meaning of his name - laughter - does he feel laughed at or have a great sense of humour or decide his name is apt because x, y or z?

Point of View/Voice
You head hop quiet a bit bit... We are in Jane's POV then suddenly we get Isaac's POV - "he loved it when..." The sudden change jars a bit. Then it changes back to Jane's POV later. I'm not really sure how you can resolve this - the chapters on POV in books about writing always send me to sleep!


Sentence level
I have no clue what Auto class is by the way, but that's probably because I'm not American, so I'm probably not your market, so don't worry! Oh, I see (later) it's probably what we'd call mechanics... expect we'd never have it at high school....

Dialogue
I like that we get the thoughts interwoven with the dialogue, especially Isaac's.

Originality and Publishability
I don't know if it's really that original - but I imagine there is a big market for this kind of book and therefore it doesn't matter - you need plenty of books with teenage romantic frustration because there is a big appetite for them! Some of the writing could use a bit of tightening - you could ditch some adverbs for example, and personally I'm of the opinion that "said" is the best word to use for dialogue attribution - but I think this has plenty of potential. As I said, exactly the kind of book I'd have enjoyed as a Christian YA.

karenrosario wrote 939 days ago

"I don't want to spend the rest of my senior year with a mean lady who snorts!"- that made me laugh!

I like how chapter 1 plays out so clearly and smoothly. Poor Isaac, feeling how he does for oblivious Jane! I really enjoyed the beginning of the chapters, where Jane is talking to God so freely and honestly. I would love to see more of that intersperced throughout the text, Just one thought, I think 'I'm not God' (where she is talking about her looks) should be 'I'm not, God.'

Karen
How Katie Moonlight got her name

Philthy wrote 943 days ago

Hi Alice,

You’d asked me to come scrub your story, so here I am.
I’d also like to invite you to check out my story, Deshay of the Woods. I’d love to hear your thoughts!



Title: Not sure you need that colon. In fact, I’m not sure it even helps. Jane Redefined looks cleaner to me.

Short pitch: I don’t think you need to say Jeremy’s name in the short pitch. I like the first line, though I would use more of an action verb rather than “is going.” Maybe “aims to turn her secret crush.” Frankly, I’m not fond of the second sentence.

Long pitch: Don’t think you need to capitalize Senior.
Way too much description here. This is a pitch, so try limiting it to the hook parts. I think it’s important to mention that Jane is a high school senior and a content Christian girl, but less important to mention all those details about Jeremy. Maybe condense and/or reword to something like, “Jane Emerson is a content Christian (we can deduce that she’s a girl by the name :P) and high school senior who dreams about a life with popular classmate, Jeremy Jenkins.”

Don’t tell us that an embarrassing incident did something. Say what the incident was…as in, “When she spills paint all over herself in front of him…” or whatever…and do it quickly without having to over explain. I think it would make for a stronger hook.

Don’t need to know the names of Cora and Isaac in the pitch. Remember, don’t need all the details or back story…just the hook. “Her closest friends witness the poor choices she makes in pursuit of Jeremy…” or something like that.

There’s way too much story synopsis in the second and third paragraphs. Remember, you’re just trying to hook the reader into finding those things out for themselves. You don’t want to tell the story in the pitch.

Chapter One
I’m not sure what kind of feedback you’re getting on the opening lines, but I like it. It’s unique and has the feel of a high schooler’s voice. Another idea (not saying to change it if you don’t want to) might be to describe her scribbling nonsense in boredom on a blank page…writing those words to herself. I dunno. Yours might be better. Lol I’ll stop trying to write your story and go back to editing/reviewing :P.

Hmmm, seems like you might try to find a better description of history book other than “great” and “big”. Just seems so generic.

“warehouse type” should be “warehouse-type”…as the rule of hyphens go…let’s take the common “well known” as an example. When it’s A “well-known person” for example, it’s hyphenated. However, when the “person is well known” it’s not hyphenated. Get it? :D I see that error a lot on here. It’s small, but it’s still grammar :P.

Some might consider Auto an academic class, since academic can simply mean educational. I’d just say the “other” classes.

“one saw a giant work bench” – I’d change to just say “was a giant work bench”

“Auto teacher” maybe should be just “the teacher, Mr. Zims…”

“In front of Mr. Zim’s desk…”
First, you just said Mr Zims, so ‘his’ would probably suffice. However, if you go with Mr. Zim’s it should be Mr. Zims’ with the apostrophe after the s. OR…Mr. Zims’s would work, too.

“table/desk/work area/conference room”
First, a conference room is not a table or even similar to a table, so I’m having a hard time seeing if you’re describing a table or room. Pick just one and go with it.

“…in the back of the warehouse, was space for…”
Delete the comma

“…which usually lasted around fifteen minutes”
This is unnecessary. I’d delete it.

“Today, the noise helped…”
I’d move this up to the previous paragraph.

“The rest of lunch was…”
Take out that ellipse.

“she then noticed his friends had looked”
Awkward sentence. Delete “then” and consider changing “had looked” to “looking”

“…forced her head further…”
I think you mean “deeper.” Further implies a distance, as in further down the road.

“If only she could erase the memory. Transfer it from…”
Combine these sentences by making the period a comma and lowercasing “Transfer”
There is a LOT of exclamation marks in this chapter. You might want to avoid them, as they’re overused and not as effective as many think.

“Realizing it was one of her closest friends, she placed her head…”
These should be two separate sentences.

“But who cares about Spring Break!”
This is a question so it should have a question mark.

“Isaac Martinez really laughed then”
Kind of an awkward time to mention his last name.

“…her face now cradled in her hands.”
Delete “now”

I like the imagery of Jane, but it seems like it’d be more fitting at the beginning of the chapter.

“And she had a lovely nose…”
take out the ellipse. You really do love them, don’t you? :P

“You’re reading way too many romance books…”
Should be a period here.

“actually be saying it” should be “actually say it” (or “actually say it aloud” if you prefer)

So I started to run out of time and I didn’t want to leave this without sharing my overall thoughts! Wasn’t able to scrub the last 5-10%. Sorry for that .

Anyway, you have a good feel for dialogue, and some hidden gems in terms of description. I love Mr. Zims a lot. Hopefully you reel him in the story more later (though maybe not, and that’s fine, too).

I think a lot of what you have going for you is hidden by grammatical mistakes. That’s the good news. Think of it this way, the hardest part of writing is developing a good story. Most think it’s the easiest, but that’s simply not the case. Grammar and all that can be improved and scrubbed, but a bad story means reworking the structure. I think you have a good story here, and with polish and elbow grease it should continue to improve.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Deshay of the Woods if you’re able.
Hope that’s helpful! Good luck!

Phil
(Deshay of the Woods)

“From the Brutal Honesty Group”



Jacoba wrote 944 days ago

YARG review

Hi,
I thought I'd start my reviews with your novel, seeing as I haven't seen it before.
Firstly, I think you have a nice voice for your targetted audience. I could see those who like YA Christian stories would like this.
You capture the young attitudes and values of the teens really well. I think I was drawn to Isaac's character the most. I liked hearing about his inner turmoil over Jane.
You have certainly set up a good plot with him liking her and her liking Jeremy. Always a good pull for a romance plot.
Most of the dialogue worked well, and you have done a good job of creating authentic voices for the teenage characters. On occasion I wondered at some of the things they said, but it might just be me. For eg. when cora says, "I found it bothersome" not sure that a teen would use the word bothersome.
The Point of View does shift around, so you might want to look at that. It is usually frowned upon by editors. The rule seems to be one person's POV per scene.
I have included some minor nitpick edits on grammar, hope some are useful to you.
Thanks for the read, you have the makings of a nice story here, Well done,
Cheers Jacoba

Chapter one
I would be tempted to start with the character name rather than she.
I'd say ..How Jane survived the rest of lunch and fifth period, she did not know, nor did she care.

I wouldn't use / to list. Its unnecesary, perhaps just In front of Mr Zim's giant table-conference room....

Once again I would refer to Jane and not use the pronoun. Its too far removed from the last time you used her name, so in this sentence I'd say: Today, the noise helped Jane focus more on her prayer.

Repeated word, I'd say, She was on an evil reality show...

For this sentence perhaps try: First lunch, then she mumbled so loud, someone must have heard her.

..to have her actually saying it aloud. ( take out be and the comma)

Chapter four
I'd say, ...Jane stopped fidgeting. Reader will get this without saying with her hands.

Jane turned, eyes threatening to shed tears. ( take out its)

But Jane didn't hear the question as feelings of doubt flooded her mind as she tried to figure it out. ( reworking of this sentence)

Chapter five
If her math was correct, she'd have six people for dinner tonight, and Cora's siblings for lunch tomorrow. ( this sentence didn't make sense to me as it was, not sure if this is what you mean.)

But when he found out Jeremy asked both Cora and Jane to got, he decided he couldn't leave them. Especially Jane, he had not intention of leaving Jeremy alone with her. ( once again, I think this sentence needs reworking, see if this sounds better.)

Isaac didn't hear a word of it. He focused on blocking out any violent thoughts towards them, particularly Jeremy. ( reworded)

AnaiRosario wrote 945 days ago

I really like this. I think it'll work for your 6-8th grade readers. I like the ideas behind it. Something that as a Christian teen you really struggle with, you know? I mean, you love God and you really want to live for him, but at the same time there is a give part of you that hasn't "grown up" yet and you want people to like you just like any other teen does. Christian or not.:)
I wonder where the story is going though. Do you have an ending yet?
Also, (again ,only my no nothing opinion) I would've probably been able to "feel", understand, Jane better if maybe this was written in first person directly from her head to mine, I guess.:)
I love the heart of this and look forward to coming back to it and reading more.

a.morrison712 wrote 945 days ago

I think you write well for the age group. I thought there was a lot of personality and great characterization going on in your writing. I didn't see anything as far as grammar, but I'm not an expert. The critique groups are great at this though. I usually just give first impressions, since I don't feel qualified enough to go over the grammar specifics. Jane is really an enjoyable character and I look forward to seeing where she is going to go. Good luck with your book!

Best,

Ashley

Ivan Amberlake wrote 945 days ago

On Chapter 3 of Jane: Redefined

Excellent chapter, Alice! Your characterization of Jane is really believable to me. Lots of YA will love her, I’m sure. The paragraph “What, uhm, what do you mean?” Jane asked.” is superb! Really funny :))) You are great at dialogue! The ending is funny as well :)
Well, I’m really pulled into the story now and there’s no turning back, hehe :)
Well done!
Sincerely Yours,
Ivan

katjay wrote 946 days ago

Jane: Redefined
Hi Alice,
Your pitch is both witty and intriguing and definitely made me want to read your story. I’m not sure, though, of your description of Cora as a “Jesus freak”. It brought to mind a picture of someone handing out religious tracts.
It’s a while since I was in school (!) but we all remember getting into a fluster over a particular boy. I immediately felt a bond with Cora – she’s so open and honest (at least at the start!) and I was quickly pulled into her story. I know she’s heading for a fall and Isaac, I hope, will come to the rescue.
I like the way you quickly switch POV between Jane and Isaac in Chapter One. I know such changes are usually frowned upon, but you handle it well and it serves to show Isaac’s true feelings for ‘best friend’ Jane while she is agonising to him about Jeremy.
The writing is polished, dialogue is excellent and I think your book will prove popular in the YA market.
Kindest regards Kat. xx
ps high stars.

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