Book Jacket

 

rank 4566
word count 21427
date submitted 01.01.2012
date updated 04.01.2012
genres: Fiction, Young Adult
classification: moderate
incomplete

Last Bit of Sky

Jenise Merissa Parris-Aaron

A broken girl.
A horrific past.
A boy that could save her.
Or break her forever.

 

"You're not supposed to be here! You're not supposed to be here!"


Alanna is a Freshman at an All-Black University in Toronto Ontario. After suffering a brutal assault at the hands of a group of skinheads, she chooses St. Aloysius thinking she's found a safe-haven from the dangers the world still holds for her a year later. But her sense of security is shattered when she meets Damon, the school's first white student. As circumstances continue to throw them together, will his presence be more than Alanna can handle? Or will Damon be the key to helping Alanna put the pieces of herself back together again?

 
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tags

attack, broken, college, fiction, race relations, romance, toronto

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5 comments

 

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Jenise M. Aaron wrote 838 days ago

Thanks so much George for giving LBoS a try! I really appreciate it. I am glad you seemed to connect with the book on a personal level and hope that you enjoyed the twist to the usual presentations of racism in novels. There are lots of books about minorities being judged for the colour of their skin; and I thought it'd be interesting to recast the role of the victim with a white person. I hope you enjoy the rest of the novel as much as you did the first chapter.

Thanks again!
Jenise Merissa

George Flores wrote 839 days ago

You can seriously think through what is a complex situation, emotion-wise. I've only read the first chapter. Just from that, I'm in love with the depth of the book. Racism is something reprehensible that I find depressing; I don't want to taste it during the time I have to escape this world. For some reason, I gave it a try and I'm glad I did. The way you write, you have a method-acting way of exploring these character's personas. The young man determined to act well to any human, naive and bewildered by the animosity because he has never been exposed to racism and its effects. The young woman who kicks him no longer feels safely ensconced within her race. Your story is powerful, I might have to stop at certain times because it sounds like it's going to be very emotionally interactive. And that is Good!

Jenise M. Aaron wrote 839 days ago

Thank you so much, Shannon. It was awesome of you to take the time out to let me know what you thought. I am terrible at editing so thank you for pointing out what I've missed. I am also thrilled that you guys seem to like my dialogue thus far as that was one of my biggest fears- getting dialogue right. And you're right about making the setting clearer in the first chapter. I wrote thinking that everyone would read the pitch first and didn't even think about the fact that some people might not. I look forward to reading your future comments and thank you again for taking the time to give LBoS a read!

Take care,
Merissa

opensky wrote 839 days ago

Hi Jenise,

You can definitely write! I really enjoyed the chapters I read and look forward to coming back to read more. My only real concern overall was that I felt like it was missing a sense of place. From the very first line, when the narrator said that he knew there would be consequences from enrolling “here”, I thought, “where’s here?” It might be stronger to let the reader know the name of the school, and that it was an all-black college, in case they didn’t read the pitch.

Aside from that (and a missing comma before the end quote), the first paragraph certainly told us a lot about the narrator with a nice economy of words and brought us right into the story. It also showcased a vivid voice and set the tone right off the bat.

Still, that missing sense of place nagged at me as I continued. I think I wanted to “see” more: his surroundings, the girl who is accosting him, a little something external to compliment the great internal narration.

In Chapter Two, I loved the description of the concrete pressing into her back and the vivid feeling of fear. Great! I wondered though, if it was night or day and what she saw as she watched her attacker retreating into the distance. I guess I just wanted a hint as to the setting. The allusion to “did much worse besides” rocked!

The dialogue of the onlookers also rocked! It felt very real. And her reaction following felt very real as well. Nicely done!

Yes, you definitely have a knack for dialogue. I enjoyed the tension in Chapter Three. I think you missed an ‘l’ in enroll. And I also wonder if it might be confusing to refer to Jackie as Auntie Jackie outside of the dialogue, since it’s from Jackie’s POV…just a thought.

In Chapter Four, I also felt like I was missing the setting. I pictured them in a dorm room, but couldn’t be sure. There was also an ultra-long paragraph when Damon looked at his watch that I thought could have used some breaking up. The dialogue once again felt extremely real. And I adored the line about sharp-tongued professors being British, (although you may get some comments on that, considering so many authonmites are Brits. LOL). I also find myself quite hungry for sweet-potato fries.

I am pleasantly surprised by Alanna’s encounter with Terrance. Very unexpected! And then to introduce her love for swimming right after, with the reader knowing that Damon is a swimmer too. Excellent! And then to end with that poignant last line. I am impressed.

Sadly though, that’s all I have time for tonight. I promise to come back. You’ve got me hooked!

Starred and shelved!

Happy writing,

Shannon

Warrick Mayes wrote 839 days ago

Jenise,

This is excellent writing, really good fun, nicely paced and free flowing with believable dialogue.

I like the way you had the heroine writhing on the ground remembering previous beatings when all around were just watching her. You have a great way of allowing the reader to fill in the gaps so that they can use their brains.

Four chapters flew by.

I found a couple of sentences that seemed to have missing words:

"While ensuring her feet were too far away to hit him the crotch." presumably needs "in" thus "While ensuring her feet were too far away to hit him in the crotch."
and
"She would probably be done the book that evening." should probably be "She would probably be done with the book that evening."

Best regards
Warrick

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