Book Jacket


rank 5909
word count 28342
date submitted 11.05.2012
date updated 20.05.2012
genres: Fiction, Chick Lit, Romance, Young ...
classification: moderate

Grown in Georgia Ground

Kat Baker

Join seventeen-year-old Mandy Gray as she experiences the inevitable struggles and difficulties present growing up in small town Georgia.


Amanda Quincy Gray has always dreamed of making it out of her suffocatingly small hometown of Chapel Hill, Georgia. The quirky and lovable product of a back-of-the-truck hookup and subsequent shotgun wedding, Mandy has never felt that she fits into her small town. Through the diary given to her by her mother, Mandy is forced to reconcile her family history, her desire to leave home, her quest to forge her own identity and, of course, the never ending drama surrounding the one and only (and very good-looking) preacher's son, Alexander Hall. From double-shifts at Flo's Diner to midnight ice cream sodas at the local all-hours pharmacy to deep conversations taking place on the football field's fifty yard line, Mandy Gray begins to discover who she is and what it is she wants out of her life.

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diary, fiction, first love, georgia, heartbreak, small town, united states, young adult

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Pandora11 wrote 603 days ago

Hey Kat, Good luck with your book - here's my comment.

From the beginning you get a sense of quirkiness and humour which i like. I think the southern accent comes across really well,but as you read more it falters, getting thicker and thicker... then not as much. I like the journal type entry style, but found them confusing and a little off putting at times. I think that if you are including multiple entries in a single date, there should be some kind of indication. If you are going to use diary entries to tell the story, the entries need to be all in the same tense/written in the past, since they've already happened. A diary would be the voice of the MC retelling the story.

Some of the dialogue and inner dialogue was quite confusing and seemed as though it was currently happening, for example, there's a part where it seemed as though your MC was writing at the same time as she was physically going up to the attic(since it wasn't written as if it had already happened), with her book in her hand writing as she's doing it, it's unnatural. I've read quite a few novels where diary entries have been used and it is written very carefully, thoughtfully to be that convincing. Maybe analysis a few?

There's a line 'suddenly, without warning' the without warning is unnecessary since it means the same.

In the beginning i got this youthful impression of the MC although i couldn't pin point how old she was supposed to be, as i read more, i kept thinking 'would a teen really speak this way?'. Some of the phrases and wording seemed far to mature for a teen, unless she was especially bright.

The feel of the story was a little old fashioned, making me think it was about the 80's, rather than today and that could be a problem if you want your readership to be young adults/teens of today. I didn't get any of your references, example 'Hootie and the Blowfish'? I'm 27 and have only heard of them since they were noted in an episode of Friends. The other references were dated and although you may think they're necessary, they would be lost on younger people, so not having the desired effect in the story.

Some of the conversation, i found clunky, like i had missed something. Sometimes it was unclear what the characters were going on about. And the MC's vocab seems to change a bit throughout, making it hard to imagine how old/who this girl is.

Like others have said to me, i think it's worth reading the book out loud so you can really know if the conversation, story flows naturally and if there's too much/little of something. I think your book is interesting and would benefit greatly from a little polishing. (i'm sorry if i came across as rude/too critical. Some people are too harsh because they are reading something that is not their taste, but i really benefited from comments from those who gave me feedback from a reader's point of view rather than an editors.)

Good luck. :)


ELAdams wrote 675 days ago

This is a great read with a strong narrative voice. Teenage readers will doubtless be able to identify with Mandy, and her relationships with the other characters such as her best friend Jess, her grandmother, and her crush, Alex. There's plenty of humour and the diary-style format is a popular idea that will appeal to teen readers. Overall this is difficult to criticise: it's an 'easy read' as others have said but this works in its favour. I really enjoyed reading this, and will be rating it highly! Great stuff.

Kate LaRue wrote 696 days ago

I've read through all you have posted. This is an engaging, easy read. Teen girls can really relate to Mandy and the drama surrounding her summer.

I noticed some minor typos and missing words (one sentence near the end of chapter 2 is left dangling). 'Evidentially' should be 'evidently'.

Watch out for repeating descriptions or explanations. The description of her work dress is repeated several times, and the explanation of her old jeep was given twice I think.

I'm not sure how I feel about the Molly Ringwald references. I know who she is, but those movies were old when I was a teen, and I'm just not sure if your intended audience will know who she is or anything about her movies.

Overall, an enjoyable, light read.

ewils22 wrote 697 days ago

This seems from the onset to be a really easy read - that's a compliment! I think it's a topic that YA readers will find easy to relate to, the struggle to fit in etc, and the humorous narrative from Amanda's POV is endearing. I've backed this after reading only the first few chapters, and will certainly continue to read! The only thing I would say, is that perhaps the use of accent within the dialogue needs a little work, I understand the southern drawl angle, but some of it may be viewed by readers as a little over the top.