Book Jacket

 

rank 549
word count 11314
date submitted 07.09.2012
date updated 12.07.2013
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult
classification: universal
incomplete

Fugitives from Northwoods

Chris Bostic

This book has been contracted for publishing in February 2013.
Four chapters remain posted as a sample.

Please read and consider supporting Game Changer.

 

This book is not intended to reach the ED's desk.

Eight teenagers escape imprisonment at a work camp to brave the wilderness. Tested to their limits, they struggle to survive their terrifying dash for freedom.

After the total collapse of the world economy, the United States couldn't stand together. So they failed separately. In the small region-state of Winnkota, poverty and greed are turning the idyllic Northwoods of Minnesota into a barren wasteland of clear-cut forests and over-fished lakes. Every able-bodied teenager is conscripted into a labor force and sent to work in harsh, prison-like conditions. They're enslaved young so they never learn to think for themselves. But Penn is different. He's determined to win back freedom - for himself, his friends, and someday for his homeland.

On a cold autumn night, the group makes a terrifying dash for freedom north of the border. The fugitives endure a series of difficult wilderness challenges while pursued by the ruthless camp guards. Pushing his friends to the breaking point, Penn guides the fugitives through a harsh, but ironically beautiful, backdrop of amazing Northwoods scenery.

Should any of them survive to reach the border, will the freedom found equal all that they expected?

 
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tags

, action, adventure, camping, dystopian, fishing, science fiction, survival, suspense, thriller, wilderness, ya, young adult

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191 comments

 

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Racheal McGillivary wrote 602 days ago

YARG review

Hi Chris!

Chapter 1

I think the opening is terrific. You paced the information well and the dialogue was believable and strong. The condition of the living quarters and the descriptions of their lives in the dreary camp are terrific. You balance everything out very well. I was wondering where this takes place. Canada? Minnesota? The descriptions of thousands of lakes reminds me of Minnesota. So far, this is a great dystopian.

Chapter 2

OMG!!! This chapter was so intense I had my hand in my mouth, and when it wasn't I was yelling at them to go! Hurry! I really thought someone would be caught. This was fantastic! Absolutely suspenseful and thrilling. I really like Penn and hope his wound isn't too serious.

Your writing is wonderful and you've created a world that is terrifying and sad. Highly rated and on my WL for backing.

Racheal

leelah wrote 605 days ago

Hi Chris
I am returning a read and comment. I am not one of those who really CAN write a review - but I can give you my honest feedback of what I felt as i was reading some chapters.
I felt young again! I am 67, so that is GREAT:-) - it means that you write from that teenage-place within, with nothing to prove, just honest writing. Strangely, Tom Sawyer came to mind - so it must have some of that magic and enchantment, that draws the reader in and makes it hard to stop - OR makes us want to read just a chapter and then wait, because we portion out the goodies.
This might be one of those books.
It has a flavor - what can I say - movie-like - you paint the scenery and emotions and characters in such a way that I want to be one of you, just because I like this gang and wish them well.
Highstarred!
And thanks for noticing errors in my text.
Best of luck with this!

Leelah Saachi

rtcvers wrote 605 days ago

YARG Review!

Hi Chris!

I'm so glad to finally get to Fugitives from the North Woods. I'm sorry there's been such a delay-- although the wait was clearly worth it! You're in such a good place with this book, Chris, I have very little to nitpick, so my thoughts will be more provocative and subjective than "comment-y."

This is an odd thing to comment on, perhaps, but you've successfully made this story appealing to that tough-to-sell-to crowd we call "boys." It's rare for a young adult book to have such a masculine feel. That's admirable.

You're really good at creating suspense. The way you weave in the sounds of the guards' conversations, their boots, the creaking of the watchtower, into the story of the escape plunges us right into the crucible of what's happening.

As I mentioned, my girlfriend has spent a lot of time in the Boundary Waters. I've never been, but your descriptions are so detailed, so engaging, that I have a very clear sense of what it might be like. I love the way you've made the Northwoods almost a character, completely alive and present in the story. It makes me surprised that no one has written about this place in this way before!

I love that the story starts halfway though. We don't NEED to know how they planned the escape-- we jump straight to the action! It's a bold move, but it works beautifully here.

I've read through Chapter 4, and I'm really looking forward to continuing. You've got a really, really fantastic story here, Chris. I'm thrilled to throw my support behind it wholeheartedly.

Best,
Artie
CAPTAIN
http://authonomy.com/books/48352/captain/

lauraemmons wrote 611 days ago

Hi Chris,
This is my promised re-read of the first half of Fugtives from Northwoods. I've covered chapters 1-14. My overall impression of the modifications is as follows:

Dang, boy, you're good.

The story has really come together for me now. There's more suspense, more romance, more backstory...and less fishing. I'm thrilled. I look forward to finishing the rest of the novel soon. Judging by the way this book is racing up the rankings, everyone else agrees with me. So, so well done. Oh and zero typos...that's an accomplishment. I think Northwoods is on par with Paragon now, and I really loved reading Paragon.

take care,
laura

AudreyB wrote 612 days ago

Hi, Chris – this is your YARG and return review from AudreyB. I am often accompanied on my reviews by my English teacher alter-ego, The Grammar Hag. If I say anything you don’t like, it was probably her idea.

Don’t tell anyone, but I skipped over a few other return reads on my list to get to your book. It’s been generating some buzz on the forums and I wanted to get in on it.

Pitches: Braving the wilderness is a great idea for a YA book. I consider it my duty to get every kid to read Hatchet at least once. But this takes place after the collapse of the United States. Nice twist.

I like the opening with the steam whistle.

I think I like it all. Your first chapter provides all the information we need to imagine how the premise promised in the pitches will play out.

There were a couple of places where I wondered if you could choose a more appropriate word (I’m on a ‘choose the exact right word’ kick lately). You called the curtain ‘threadbare.’ I think it’s more likely that the curtain is thin or frayed or torn. “Threadbare” is what you call it when a fabric with nap, like corduroy or velvet, has lost the fibers that create the nap. Curtains typically don’t have nap. I have not been able to explain ‘nap’ to my husband of almost 30 years so I’m not gonna spend any more time on that. The other word that struck me was ‘squalor.’ People living in squalor are living in filth and misery. While that may be true of people in the outside world—though I have to tell you trash gets burned pretty quick in times like these--I think you mean that the people are living in poverty so extreme that they no longer have any trash to burn.

The sentence beginning with “Between eternal tiredness…” goes too far in search of its subject. You write best when you keep the subject/predicate/object in order. Offer variation on the short sentences, not the long ones.

Another sentence that should be fixed is the opener to Chapter 2. It’s an awkward introduction to an otherwise lovely paragraph.

Great job on the description of getting everyone under the fence. I was frightened for them all and I knew they would make it. Nicely done.

You create tension for the end of each chapter really well. I’m just reading for pleasure at this point.

“…he’s just as good of a climber…” I saw this usage several times. In all cases, you need to drop the ‘of.’ Search for “of a” and you’ll find them all.

I appreciate that the destruction of the world’s economy doesn’t have an apparent link to either of the political parties in the US. When books—both The Giver and The Hunger Games do this—keep the source of the downfall somewhat obscured, they’re much easier to share in the classroom. Once an author chooses a person or party to blame, the book becomes more of a hot potato. Good decision.

Search for “lay low” and replace it with “lie low” while you imagine The Hag wagging a finger in your face.

So this name….Cesswi. How is it pronounced? All I can come up with is a sort of bungled Cecily spoken with a lisp. I wonder if this is a good name for a brave, strong leader?

I’m in Ch. 11 right now and really enjoying the read. I hope you are actively querying. Someone is bound to want this one.

~AudreyB
Forgiveness Fits

Ruth WM wrote 247 days ago

Hi Chris,
Here is my comments on 'fugitives.' I have read chapters 1 & 2 and was very impressed with the way you hold suspense, as teens go I believe they will love the very poetic flow of your writing and I have to say they will 'like me' attach to the fabulous character Penn.
I will be back to read more.

Outdoor Dude wrote 282 days ago

What an awesome book! So happy to see that you got this published. I've read the sample here, and I'm off to buy me a copy on Amazon right now.

John Lovell wrote 374 days ago

I bought this book and finished it last night. I probably won't be able to it the justice it deserves on a review.

It took me just the 3 nights to read and the most disappointing thing is that there wasn't any more. This is a seriously great story. The entire thing just had me gripped all the way throughout because I didn't know what was going to happen at all. I even tried to make predictions as I was going along, and with the exception of 1 (the romance) I didn't get any of them right.

The entire story is filled with views that are brought to life through the eyes of Penn, a fantastic first person to follow. There are times when I thought he was a bit of dick, but then he had to be because of the situation they were in. His leadership felt natural and not at any time forced. The support from Cesswi all the way through was great to have. The way the brothers behaved felt natural and the weaker members of the group made the journey more interesting to follow.

I think people will assume the guards as being the villain, but I saw it more as the wilderness and having to survive (not saying that the guards weren't) but the fear was there all the way through because at any moment you didn't know when they'd be found.

The ending leads onto something which could potentially be so much bigger, yet offers a satisfying ending to a first story which is often what is missing in the 21st century. So well done with that.

Overall, it's a book I've enjoyed massively, I'll probably be reading it again and if ever I make friends with anyone who is capable of reading a book, I'll tell them to have a look at it too. Great dialogue, thoughts and flow. If it wasn't already published, I'd have it on my shelf straight away. I hope more people buy this.

John

BeeJoy wrote 379 days ago

Wow. What an exciting read! Talking in 1st person was a great and exceptional writing. I enjoyed the teens and the fast paced of this read. Job well done.

andycp1999 wrote 441 days ago

At first I was confused as to why this book wasn't on the desk by now. It's a gripping survival story and I love survival stories. But then I saw that it's already been published and that comments about Game Changer were preferred. All right, I'll have a look at it.

Seringapatam wrote 482 days ago

Chris A really cool read and very intelligent writing to say the least. You have a brilliant narrative voice which when matched with your descriptive voice and the correct amount of pitch makes for just the right mix for a superb book. I think this is going to do you proud. I was hooked into this book and nearly broke my three chapter rule which I dont do often at all. Well done and good luck.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

Le Truc wrote 507 days ago

I have started reading this - keep up the good work!

Le Truc wrote 507 days ago

I have started reading this - keep up the good work!

InquireTheOrigin wrote 511 days ago

A.D. Reid--Critique

The pitch and the very first chapter is impacting all on its own.

I love the suspense, the thrill, the action, the fluid way of writing, so believable, so strong. I was quite taken back on how open this book would become and how personal it would feel to me. I wanted to be there, I wanted to help, I wanted to say, "Hey, what the hell are you doing?" "No, Go!" "Please, Stop!" I felt so real, so impacted, that I wanted to be the main character. I couldn't find myself any deeper than I have ever been and I find it to be a great trait when telling a story. You are so amazing and all I can say is that I am a great fan of your superb work! Please continue on how well you're doing and how much feedback and support you're getting. I honestly want to see you do very well and I can already tell that you are going to hit the editor's desk in no time. I've read what chapters you have available and all I can conform into words is to keep posting, keep your heart and thoughts open when writing this novel. You will become a powerful author. I give all my support and love with your work.

High stars & Support!

With Love & Best Of Wishes
A.D. Reid

D. A. Quigley wrote 570 days ago

This is a very good novel...worthy of a high rating. I am currently reading Pillars of the Earth and this story and its suspense reminds me of the tension or every crisis the story provides. Can't wait to read more. Good luck and keep writing...you have a gift. By the way Happy New Year.

Jaclyn Aurore wrote 570 days ago

YARG review - new cover... new review... seems fair...

i love that part about the peanuts and the talking birds... and how there's talk of wire and a clock
wait was it talking birds? or talking to birds? or just seeing a bird and then thinking "hey, i should talk to it"

oh well, at least i got the peanut part right... it's like the future... but it could be now. and that scares me... and there's a flag in the water, but also on the water... that scares me too

happy new year dude

coCinstrumental wrote 570 days ago

YARG REVIEW

WOW! Love the descriptions. You do well with drawing in readers. I like the part where he wants to eread about early American patriots, which he does tho it's not allowed anymore. I wonder why they have to be there? To be fishermen for the government hope we don't go into a dictatorship too soon, but that's a different topic. It's amazing how they have to miss out on birthday cards, etc. Do you think what they teach in History classrooms be it k-12 or colleges is false? I'd love to hear your take on things.

djchorus wrote 582 days ago

Chris,
You're got a great adventure novel begun here. I like the first person approach and the tactic of putting it in the immediate instead of the past (everything in past tense). This style was suggested to me for my book and I think it helps the pace and energy of your book.
Of course I have only five chapters to judge the book on but if you are able to maintain the same elements throughout, I believe you've got a winner on your hands.
I will soon be putting this book on my shelf. I don't know how other people do this but I don't keep book on my shelf for a long time. I want to move them out and give acknowledgment to other good writers.
Of course, I would appreciate you giving my book a read when you have time.
- David Johnson "Tucker's Way"

John Philip wrote 585 days ago

A refreshing change from World War Two escape stories, not to mention escape from the Russian gulag stories. This is a good story which holds the reader's attention. Crisply written which gives an added feel. Well done!
John Philip

Isabel_Mac wrote 588 days ago

Hi Chris,

Just thought I'd drop by again and tell you how much I'm enjoying the story. I literally felt my heart sink when I read that the fugitives would have to climb up the slippery rocks on the bank, which shows how involved I was.

Really enjoying the character development as well Cesswi is coming over wonderfully!

One point I will make is that I'm not sure whether you needed to say that Rayburn is Vogl's 'grouchier older brother' since we already know both of those things from previous chapters but that is obviously just a small thing.

I hope to see more!

Isabel_Mac wrote 588 days ago

Hi Chris,

Just thought I'd drop by again and tell you how much I'm enjoying the story. I literally felt my heart sink when I read that the fugitives would have to climb up the slippery rocks on the bank, which shows how involved I was.

Really enjoying the character development as well Cesswi is coming over wonderfully!

One point I will make is that I'm not sure whether you needed to say that Rayburn is Vogl's 'grouchier older brother' since we already know both of those things from previous chapters but that is obviously just a small thing.

I hope to see more!

G.W. 2012 wrote 590 days ago

Chapter 7 para 14--typo you have... there will being no shooing... I think it ought to be... be no shooing...

para 35 you have... "Yeah?" Her response is (similar) apprehensive... similarily would sound better

I like how you end the chapter... but is it a squirrel or chipmunk? Or both?

Chapter 8 para 5 typo you have-- ... get a snack and drink, we're gonna (to) head over to...
same sentence-- the ending reads ...head over to Found Lake for both."
unless they are getting snacks and drink from Found Lake than you should omit... for both.
After reading I see they will be getting both, but maybe if you reword it to say something like ... replenish our supplies--maybe not that exactly, but you know aht I mean.

I understand now what everyone meant by 'fishy' business...

I'll stop here for now. I enjoyed these chapters, but... maybe not quite as much as the others they didn't feel quite as polished as the rest. For instance the first sentence in chapter seven felt very wordy... to descriptive almost, if that's even possible. Also, Cesswi's story 'stikes a chord' with Penn... why? And the fishing... too educational. I like how you added the 'giving the fish a kiss' that was good. If you could add more fun and lightheartedness perhaps it wouldn't feel so educational. Your descriptions in this chapter I liked too, the clear pristine water etc. it gives readers something to imagine as they read. I almost wonder if I'm missing character descriptions--perhaps throwing little tidbits in here and there like 'crooked smile and marble skin'... haha, lol. that's a joke. Seriously though, give us something...
Still very high stars and will be back for more, Geneva

Paul T. Hughes wrote 592 days ago

Ok. So I have read all 12 chapters that are currently uploaded. Great writing but I would make just one or two comments.
1. I have previously mentioned the fact that I struggled in chapter one with the introduction of too many characters without an introduction.
2. Action slowed a little between chapters 6 to 9. Difficult online to gauge this as you read differently to if a book is in your hand.
3. The backdrop is great and the scenery is depicted well but sometimes when you are describing the position of the lakes the type of fish in them and the depth etc it is too much like a geography lesson and this information could be worked into the narrative a little better.
4. Romance. Not essential but Penn and Peerca seem to have something going on but they don't really act as such. There is some tension between Penn and Cesswi but I would have liked a little more internal monologue about that from Penn to see whether there is any struggle in him between his feelings for both girls and to explore the reasons for this in his character. Ok, escaped prisoners are not ideally placed for romance necessarily but this is a fantasy book and extreme situations can lead to this, or so I am told.
All in all a great read and hope that you make it to the ED or get noticed by a publisher because I don't think you are far off the marked with this one. Intrigued to know how things conclude.
Paul

AD Ball wrote 593 days ago

YARG/CWOG/(Dude Lit too?) Review

Hi Chris/BoomBostic

YARG'd Chapter 1 a few weeks/months ago and got to Chapter 12 now.....WHERE'S THE REST? HAVE YOU WRITTEN IT? WHAT HAPPENS TO GORD?!

I like the way you write, you have a really simple and uncluttered writing style that fits the world you've created perfectly. They're in a desperate situation, making a run for it so they would keep things short. At times when reading this you can often feel as though you're (as in the reader) there too moving across the freezing lake or scrabbling under the barbed wire at the beginning.

And yet, with this simple brevity, I'm able to build up my own very complete image of the surroundings, the characters and where they are. I've never been to the Great Lakes, I've seen them a few times on the telly, but to be able to make me feel as though I've been there and I know what the characters are going through and doing is a real achievement.

My only quibble is the use of the present tense, which on a personal note I find it harder to connect to the narrator. Its a change from the standard past tense we're all used to and for me it requires a bit of an extra effort to read. As a result Penn is the character I weirdly feel less bothered about although it does seem to work as well because I do care about the people he cares about.

Anyway, this is staying on my shelf until it reaches the ED. As it should. There's a reason its on its way and its not that you're a good bloke with excellent knowledge of fishing. Its because those 12 chapters are a fantastic read.

John AD/ AD Ball
Townsend.

rtcvers wrote 593 days ago

YARG & CWOG review, cont!
Chap 5-

Hi Chris,

Finally got back to read a few more chapters of FUGITIVES! Sometimes I have trouble returning to books I've previously started on this site, as all the things I've read between blend together and confuse me, but I jumped back in here as if I'd never left. Your language is so clean, the world you created so distinct, that it was easy as pie to just slide back into the story.

I love finding out the little details of these kids' past lives, pre-work camp. It seems they all grew up in different places. How does that change them, both in relation to each other and in relation to their circumstance? Probably the clearest example of this is Perca, who, seems to me, grew up in a city and is less used to things like swimming in icy water. :)

Your writing is incredible-- detailed and richly textured. I do wonder, though, since the escape itself was so dramatic and fast-moving a few chapters earlier, if a similar high-speed, exciting close call might keep the pacing of the later chapters moving. I'm just thinking in terms of a YA audience, and I think that the middle chapters might benefit from another shot of adrenaline.

More soon!

Best,
Artie
CAPTAIN
http://authonomy.com/books/48352/captain/

evermoore wrote 593 days ago

Chris...as proud as you are of your son, I'm sure he's just as proud of your ability to write! I can see this in my grandsons hands as well. You've created a tale that draws you in from the start, fleshing out the boys and the dire situation they're in very well. Their escape had my own heart tripping nervously...and I so want everyone to be safe. You root for your boys...and as a mom/gramma, I found myself worrying over them. I have given you six stars and will return to finish, because this is just that good...and I'm not a young adult! Well, inside I am, the shell just makes it a bit hard to see. (winks)
Great imagination you have, Sir!
Linda
Daniel Simmons Journey
and
Children Walking with Jesus

LyricalChaos wrote 593 days ago

YARG/CWOG review

Hi Chris(:

I love the way you started out this story. It was very well paced, and I think I'm in love with Penn (I've dubbed him as one of my literary boyfriends.♥) You have amazing descriptions and the overall story flow is excellent. It was so good that I found myself reading all the way to Chapter 3, and I still wanted to read more.

Chapter 2 was incredible; I found myself holding my breath when they were making their escape. I got so caught in the story, I was completely terrified that they would get caught and killed. Thanks for almost giving me a heart attack. :p Haha, anyway, as you can see, this review is more like a praise-review, because I don't have anything negative to say about this story. It was very well written. And, in a way, it kind of is like "Contagion". I think I found the most comparison when Penn was talking about his mom, and how they'd been separated for 4 years. Almost like Saxon and her mom... except Penn's mom wasn't hauled away by government approved kidnappers... So yeah, the similarities kind of stop there..?(:

So yeah, that's about it. I really liked your story and you've gained high stars, and as soon as the month's Editor's desk is over with, you've earned a place on my shelf. Can't wait to read the rest, because I'm definitely coming back to this. Update soon, yeah?

Okay, I'm out of here. Have an amazing day.♥

*~Lyric~*
Contagion

PS. if you have time or interest, would you mind reading the rest of "Contagion"? I'd greatly appreciate it. :D

nautaV wrote 594 days ago

Hi Chris,
I've read only four chapters but, they say, you needn't eat the whole cake to know its taste...The book is well written although it displays a hardly imaginable too sad future. You've managed to create lively images, scenes and - what is more important- the atmosphere. The reader feels that tension very well. The dialogues are wonderful, the pace of the narration perfectly suits the plot. But (it's my second name, BTW) to be helpful, if I at all can be, I'd pay your attention to:
Ch. 2.
Scene under the fence. Either you've got an intention to show us that the fugitives are inexperienced kids or it's a weak point you have to fix. I mean that operations of that kind are usually planned very carefully so that every detail, every movement is polished. The situation when Rayburn and the protagonist discuss how the latter will go under the wire shows the lack of due planning. If it were not for Vogl and his stick... It adds some tension, to say the truth...
Ch. 4.
Being under the threat of a chase and stop for a snack barely after three hours of flight looks a crazy idea for the non-urban children running for their lives. Not every city coddle could think of it not to mention kids who are fed to be KZ-prisoners, I dare say. Let them have a little rest but don't feed them, don't let them drink even if they want to because it'll slow them down immensely. Otherwise it's your plan and you've done it deliberately.
Why your protagonist calls their escape 'foolish' ?

Feel free to ignore all these 'helpful' hints.

High stars and still on my WL.

Valentine But
Escape

Lufane wrote 595 days ago

I like this, no REALLY like it. This is tremendously good.
I like how you've gone out of the usual past-tense 3rd person to a present-tense 1st person story. The story itself seems very good and, where an escape is not orignal, what they are escaping FROM seems to be inventive and well considered. Well done, keep up the good work!
Will

NowSpeakTruth wrote 596 days ago

CWOG SWAP
(is that a thing? It is now.)

Pitches:

"Couldn't stand together, so they failed separately" I really liked this line.
Your pitches work well, they draw your reader in, giving enough information to get an idea of the story across without giving too much away.

. Chp 1
(I've already read this but it was too long ago so I had to read it again.)

I like the way you introduce your characters and foil Rayburn and Gord.
"Just above [the] hairline" I thought this would read better if the was replaced with [my] as you are writing in first person.
Your little hook at the end was a good way to ensure that readers would continue on to the action.
I like your choice of present tense. In your About Me section you mention that The Hunger Games inspired you to write. Do you think that was a factor in choosing tense? I only ask because Hunger Games inspired me to attempt present tense with my story as well.

Chp 2

"A curmudgeon of a captain." Curmudgeon. What an odd word. Fitting, just odd. Not a nitpick, I was just pointing out that I like expanding my vocabulary. (Yes, I did have to hit the dictionary for this one.)

Perca's 'bouncing hair' is a nice description here, it kind of lightens a tense mood.
"A breath that I've apparently been holding" I like this phrase. It really captures the emotion he must've been feeling. You really have a way of making your reader feel the sense of urgency that your characters would surely be feeling.
Not much to not on this chapter because it was darn near perfect.

Chp 3

The poem mentioned here in reference to Penn's childhood adds a beautiful element to your story.

"To the athletic girl...Cesswi..." This confused me at first. Try saying Cesswi, and then referring to her as 'the athletic girl' because at first I wasn't sure if you were talking about someone else. Mainly because I'm not sure you've mentioned the names of all the fugitives or at least you never formally do so. The guys are all introduced but I'm not sure if your reader knows all the girls or not. Or, if they do, if they know it. I hope that makes sense.

"Come in really handy" this sentence just didn't work for me. Really seemed out of place. Consider replacing it with 'very' or 'extreme' etc.

"I have tried to convince myself" Had would work better here as he is lamenting on the fact that the time of the escape may not have been ideal.

----

Okay, three chapters is as much as I have time for tonight, but I'm intending on reading more soon. I wish I would've read further in when I very first checked this out. It's very well written especially for your first book!

Your plot is original and very well thought out. With the high level of action I'm sure there's a market for it.
Your characterization is done quite well, you've gotten personalities across vividly without boring readers with pages of 'her hair is this color, her eyes are...etc." You bring out the characters feelings, emotions, and traits quite well.
The pace of your story reads nicely with good descriptions and explanations throughout with none taking away from the action or storyline.
I particularly like that you've set such a dire situation for these teens in such a beautiful world. Reading through this almost makes me want to go camping just to be outside and witness this kind of nature more.

I really enjoyed reading this

God bless

David James Kane wrote 596 days ago

YARG debut-review - first three chapters:

Gripping from the first paragraph, and hyper-masculine, with the potential to engage the most reluctant sub-species of reader: the teenage boy. Political without being didactic or preachy. The writing is strong: at its best when the sentences are kept short and taut, with descriptive, adjectictive/adverb-laden passages reined in.

Loved the author's clever use of strong verbs and specific, concrete nouns. They bring the story to life and raise the novel's tone; demonstrating that the author respects and is happy to challenge the target reader with a mature vocabulary and thought-provoking premise.

The prose is almost cinematic in its use of imagery and present tense narration, which builds tension while rocketing the story along without excessive exposition or navel-gazing. For added variety, I would have liked to see the author engage with the readers' other senses a little more - particularly smell, taste, and touch. But, overall, a very minor comment on what is, in essense, a rollicking ride told intelligently.

Recommended.

David James Kane
The Scattersmith

G.W. 2012 wrote 597 days ago

YARG

Hi, Chris, I've decided to revisit books that I've previously yarged--in particular, books that are ranked less than 100. There are a few on my shelf that, though I have backed, I haven't read in their entirety. My point, I guess, is I want to back books that should be backed and not ones that maybe shouldn't...
With that said, I really like how your story is developing. As per my backing policy, you may be moving to my shelf soon, but I have a couple others I must read first.

At this point, with the desk being within grasp, you want your book to be as polished as possible. Bear in mind that I struggled greatly to find what I have here for you to think about. These are suggestions, you can take em or leave em...

Chapter 3

Gord has just fallen down some rocks. In reading this it feels awkward but I don't know why. I read it a couple of times and felt compelled to mention it. At first, I thought a comma would help--but I don't think that's right.
You have... Gord sits up to wipe at some blood drawn on a cut to the elbow, but he shakes off any concern...
Maybe something simpler... Gord sits up, wipes blood from a cut on his elbow, and shakes off any concern...

third para from the end
You have... Besides the difficulty (of) swimming while loaded down... I think you're missing the word--of

I may omit the ...,especially overnight--since in the next sentence you say ...dipping into the low 30's at night. It just didn't sit well and seemed redundant.

On to chapter 4...

para 5 Why not? I suppose a quick trail snack would be okay; this would be as good a time as any.
I'm not digging the use of the semicolon in this sentence as I don't feel 'this would be a good time as any' is a stand alone phrase anda comma could easily be substituted ... okay(,) this being as good a time as any. --I did change up the ending clause too.

I find it odd that they so blatantly leave their 'scent' near where they intend to cross. I may also throw in something about being sure to leave nothing behind ...ie their granola wrappers.

Chapter 5

second para--I would try to shorten up ...part of the long ago redistricted state of Minnesota bit as it floored me immediately and it hurt my head to reread it in order to offer a suggestion, but I'll try...
Formerly part of the redistricted State of Minnesota, the Arrowhead Region(,) north of Lake Superior(,)...
The reason I would omit 'the defunct U.S.' portion is because we already know it is defunct...

Chapter 6

If you happen to read much of my book, you'll find that I am a fan of dashes and I think one would work here nicely as the tone of his speech changes slightly. Also, I can kind of see whay you placed a period after fatigued, but I wouldn't if I were you.
Sounds simple enough--if we weren't so fatigued (and numb from the cold.)

Pulling open a pack, we have our jackets, gloves(,) and hats that all managed...

...when they were in season, like a couple nights ago. Do you mean months? You are referring to fresh fruit...

Next sentence... (paraphrasing) rarely saw any fresh veges either, just some mushy wheat grain or oatmeal...
I think I know what you mean, but it sounds as though you are saying those items are vegetables(they're not) so I'd say something a little different like. The only thing we were given was mushy... or oatmeal...

Looking at Jordayce and Perca(,) shivering now, ...

**I see where the 'couple nights ago' comes into play...disregard. Although I may something like... like we'd had a couple nights ago... I don't feel it's implied in your sentence.

Why say in two words when you can say it in one... deforestation... rather than 'forest clear cutting'

There are no fashion improvements for the girls' clothes (either.)

In the swamp... Security is in sight(,) dark and deep (and not a moment too soon.) You had a semicolon--I don't think it's right... Also, I'd hitch the next sentence to it...

Overall I really like this. I'm not understanding what all the 'fishing' talk was about in Yarg--maybe it was a joke--or maybe there is more fishing to come. For the most part, I think your writing flows very easily and naturally. You give just the right amount of description and have the right amount of tension--particularily at the end of 6 when they hear the plane. Nice work!
If you have time to spare, perhaps you'd consider looking at a couple more chapters of Escaping Shady Lane. Since you've read it last there have been some significant changes made-- I combined a couple of the previous chapters... what used to be 2 & 3 is now just 2. In looking at your review, and because I made so many additions to the new 3, I think 3 is where you could pick up and not be lost... I know you're a busy guy so if you can't that's okay too.
Best wishes as you move closer to the desk, Geneva

Paul T. Hughes wrote 597 days ago

Ok some further comments. I am really enjoying the book. Just about to start chapter 10.

It is difficult when reading on line to gauge how far through the book you are but I wonder at this stage whether we need a little more action. The detail of the escape and journey is great but some confrontation is now needed with something other than the forces of nature. This may of course be just around the corner.

Having said that the last book I read by ascertain well known author who has sold over 30,000,000 books world wide took about 100 pages just to set up the premise of the book. I guess when ou I have sold so many then your publisher is a little more forgiving than for a first time novelist.

I am wondering why this hasn't been published actually. There are a couple of editorial issues but nothing major. In chapter nine it is a little confusing after Penn has carried Perca across the marsh and then has words with Cesswi about it. Some of the dialogue is in his head but I am sure you missed some speech marks out somewhere along the line.

Anyway, good luck with finding a publisher.

Paul

newmichelle wrote 597 days ago

Hello Chris,
As we've already chatted, you know I'm not a writer or critic, just supporting, but I wanted to let you know that I have read your first chapter so far, and enjoyed it very much. I'm not usually a reader of books based around teens, but the tone of your writing made this a great read for adults (in my opinion). The chapter had good interaction between the young male characters and the build-up to their escaping kept the excitement levels high. I'm not sure what the correct term is for stories about the world after things have gone wrong, but I guess this reminded me a bit of Hunger Games - seems to me you hae done a great job of this style of story.
best wishes
Michelle

John Lovell wrote 598 days ago

CWOG of 4 and 5

No pace has been lost at all. You keep the descriptions flooding in. I'm not sure if you've ever hear of Skyrim but it feels like there's an entire group just making their way through it's amazing scenery but tough conditions to survive. I liked the first lake crossing, the second was even better with realistic injuries happening. It's clever that they give the stronger characters the items they need. This is so well written that it actually feels like you've lived through it. I'm getting to know the characters better now. 5 chapters in I think I know enough about them to continue into the story.

I don't feel bad that I can't offer anything constructive, just reading for the enjoyment.

John Lovell wrote 598 days ago

CWOG Review of chapter 3

Hey Chris, bad news - I finished everything of Arrival of the Ageless
Good news - I can give time to this.

It's been a few weeks since the excitement of the escape from the camp, If I had read straight on I'd have not lost the feel of the story, this line just got it straight back to me.

"But, being out here now, I can feel the dark and deep."

There are little things you do like the way descriptions are fitted in - Blonde ponytail swinging side to side as she runs - I like that kind of thing.

Anyways it seems as though you don't miss anything out, the time of year, the frost, the fear of trees providing less cover as time goes on. That fear that were there when Gord twists his ankle. It's all good! The characters are becoming a team but individual signs are showing such as Cesswi and Perca and I'm certain there'll be more of that to come. Enjoyable so far!

John

Paul T. Hughes wrote 599 days ago

YARG review in return for our review of my book.

Chapter one I found a little difficult. Lots of different characters introduced all at once without any real explanation and background on them. I am not saying that you should give a synopsis of their life quite the contrary all I am saying is that I was struggling to remember all the names and who was who. It took me until chapter 3 or 4 to remember the narrator's name. I just can't retain important information I guess. It was probably there but I started reading late at night and tiredness overcame my cranial functions.

Having said that from that point on I haven't stopped reading. I have interrupted the latest Heroes of Olympus that I am reading by Rick Riordan to delve a little further into your book and have loved the first five chapters.

You create tension brilliantly and the immediate problems for the escapees created by the elements are beautifully woven into the narrative.

One criticism of chapter five was at the beginning when ou describe some of the geography of Minnesota it does appear to be a bit of a lesson at school just dumping information on us that perhaps was unnecessary and hindered briefly the flow of the novel.

All in all I have thoroughly enjoyed reading so far and will continue. Will back it when I get off my IPAD and onto a PC shortly.

Paul

kata wrote 599 days ago

24

What a lovely chapter, loved the banter and flirting between them at the end. Nice! Here's a few nitpicks:

How can a window be open in a plane? It seems a bit old school that they would just hang a light out the window. Since it’s in the future perhaps you could have the flood light built into the plane? Just a thought.

‘You ready’, I say- needs a question mark.

When Cesswi repeats ‘and miles to go before I sleep.’ I think you should remove Penn saying it, and just have her say it , or it reduces the impact. How about this instead:

‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep…

‘And miles to go before I sleep.’ Cesswi’s voice joins softly with mine, and my mouth falls open. (remove I never would have expected her to know it. It’s already implied by his shocked reaction-show don’t tell)

‘You know it too?’

However, as they go on to discuss it further, and the state of their people, I think it’s too late in the book for them to be having this disussion. I think you should have this scene earlier in the book when Penn and Cesswi are getting to know each other if you want to have a long discussion about it.

It’s also too late in the book to start explaining the penaltys for not farming the quota. That’s vital information at the beginning of the book to set the scene and world they are living in. The end chapters should be about their race for survival, not more facts about society dropped in this late in the game.

that's it for now, not so many miles left for me!...

Kata
Twell

ladder wrote 599 days ago

CWOG Review:

Hi Chris: My first official review, so scary but here goes...

First off, your writing style is really great. Not too wordy, just enough to clearly get the message through without bogging down the story.

I love the concept of your story, it's so original and fresh.

I really love the line at the end of Chapter 1. "We go under the wire at midnight" This line really connected me with the story. Immediately my mind went to the awesome movie, The Great Escape. I love that movie and now I picture Penn as a young Steve McQueen making his plans and tossing a baseball around. I think it's really incredible if you can connect with your readers in this way and it definitely worked with me.

In Chapter two you have the line, "With that three more things are mentally checked off my packing list." I think this line is brilliant in that with so few words you invoke a whole part of the back story for me. I can see Penn planning, making lists, talking with the others, surreptitiously gathering supplies all the things that have to get done for his escape. I find this to be really excellent writing.

I love in Chapter three how he starts showing real leadership qualities. You understand he isn't doing this just for himself, he is very interested in the group and that this is for the group. Quite a mature character trait and it makes him very engaging to me as the reader.

I am very much looking forward to continuing the story and you have a firm place on my bookshelf.

Jenn P.
Bringer

kata wrote 601 days ago

Ch23

Ok when Penn says 'a living example for us to remember, I suppose.' I'd remove the 'I suppose for more impact.

When Penn says i'with her injury, it ironically appears the roles have been reversed.' This sentence kinda spells out the obvious, and repeats what the previous sentence has already hinted at. I'd drop it or maybe reword it as not to be so factual, maybe 'the irony of the role reversal is not lost on either of us as we share a look.' or something to that effect.

Oh these poor buggers, I'm so exhausted for them. If Cesswi gets sacrificed I'm going to be devo!!

reading on!

Kata
Twell

Michael Matula wrote 601 days ago

Back for another CWOG / YARG review, this time for Chapters 6 to 7:

Highly enjoyable, once again.

CHAPTER 6 -
- I might possibly change this line to: “The trail mix and granola packets are still fine(, though).”
- I really liked the medical interlude, and the flirting was well done.
- After the line starting with “On a positive side, this marshy area might be” you then say “Maybe.” - This didn't quite work for me, as both maybe and might be seemed a bit redundant. I might remove one of them, or change one.
- I do quite like Cesswi, and the way they seem to know what one another is thinking works very well for me.
- Very strong finish to the chapter, as well. (I also really like “strung out column of hikers” line)
CHAPTER 7 -
- In this chapter and the last, a few sentences here and there felt a tiny bit stiff to me, but this could just be how I read them. One example from chapter 7: “Knowing that she is comfortable, I look over to Gord.”
- I liked the moment here between Cesswi and the MC. I also like that we get a little more of a window into the world they're living in.

Sorry I didn't have more criticisms. I thought both chapters were very well done. There's enough character moments to keep it quite interesting, and the appearance of the plane really helped to ratchet the tension back up.
I'm looking forward to reading more when I get a chance.

Mike
What, the Elf?
Arrival of the Ageless

tomsarega wrote 601 days ago

YARG review

Hi Chris,

This is very well written.

I like the way you jump straight into the story, the descriptions work - calloused hands - show don't tell - giving the reader an idea how long and hard the boys have been forced to work. The feeling of desolation comes across strongly, from the tattered Winnkota flag, to the forest around the camp.

Chapter Two reminded me of The Great Escape.

Also, your writing style - using the present tense and the first person adds to the tension and the sense of oppression.

I have added Northwoods to my watchlist and I look forward to finding out more about the eight escapees and how they fare.

Oppressive and impressive.

Kind regards,
Tom Sarega
http://authonomy.com/books/48844/dreamcatchers-after-darkness-light/

Cathy Hardy wrote 602 days ago

Exciting and fast moving from the start.. I will be reading more and will put you on my watch list. Great stuff!

Cathy

patio wrote 602 days ago

I read chapter one and like it very much. The use of the word "bunkmates" made me laugh. That's a new word for me. I use to say flatmate or housemate.

Having said that I was encouraged to ask why you mentioned "whipping and beating" in the same line when they mean the same thing.

But high stars thus far. I will turn to chapter two

Mindy Haig wrote 602 days ago

Hi Chris,
I had a chance to take a look at a few of your chapters tonight. Unfortunately, I have nothing helpful to say. I read from CH 4 through CH 11 and I found 1 paragraph that begins: The trip to Found Lake... You used 'while' in 2 sentences in a row, and the first one is not really necessary. That's it. The only thing I could find in 8 chapters of reading. Great story! Poor Gord.
All the best!
Mindy

lauraemmons wrote 602 days ago

YARG Re-review Fugitives from Northwoods by Chris Bostic

Hi Chris,
I've finished Nanowrimo (with a complete MS at 81k words) and can now take the time to type up my review of the rewrite of Fugitives. I thought the book was good before, but the re-write made it fantastic. Masterfully done, dude. I think Fugitives is now my favorite book on the site. I've read the whole thing cover-to-cover three times now, and I still enjoy it. That's a sure sign it's a good book.

I hope you've completed your 2-3 page synopsis, because I think you're ready to start shopping for an agent.

There's only one thing left that rubbed me the wrong way. Penn seems to carry a lot of bitterness toward the poor and disabled. I don't know if that's because your personal opinion is bleeding through, or if you believe that this overt animosity is fundamental to Penn's character. Personally, I read Penn as more of a classic monomyth hero, as defined by Joseph Campbell. If that's the case, then Penn wouldn't blame his lot on those who are born more disadvantaged than he was. He would have flaws, but that wouldn't be one of them because he would aspire to a higher moral standing than the rest of us. You mention this viewpoint in a couple of places; I think the first time is during roll call in Chapter 2. There's another place when you're talking about the gang growing up fast since they have to slave to provide food for others arbitrarily determined more needy than they (maybe chapter 6?). It bothered me the most in Chapter 19 when you talk about how the poor get to go to collge for free. I don't buy it. I just can't believe that any dystopian reality where the world has endured a complete economic collapse and the U.S. has disbanded would provide scholarships. The recent tea party platforms prove to us that the programs created for "the general welfare of a civilized society" will be the first programs axed in an unstable economy. As Evie would say, IMNSFHO, I ask you this: Do the political rants move the plot forward? Are they systemic to this work of suspensful fiction? If not, then tone it down a bit. And try to think like Penn...I like him. For what it's worth...
take care,
laura

kata wrote 602 days ago

ch 22
Hi Chis, been a bit busy but back for a bit more!

This sentence doesn't sound right- Before we hardly gain any altitude... I'd change to -We've hardly gained any altitude before...

What a great chapter, one of my faves so far! I care about Cesswi now, and really hope they are going to make it together. Love the last line too, well done!

Back for more soon :D

Kata
Twell

Racheal McGillivary wrote 602 days ago

YARG review

Hi Chris!

Chapter 1

I think the opening is terrific. You paced the information well and the dialogue was believable and strong. The condition of the living quarters and the descriptions of their lives in the dreary camp are terrific. You balance everything out very well. I was wondering where this takes place. Canada? Minnesota? The descriptions of thousands of lakes reminds me of Minnesota. So far, this is a great dystopian.

Chapter 2

OMG!!! This chapter was so intense I had my hand in my mouth, and when it wasn't I was yelling at them to go! Hurry! I really thought someone would be caught. This was fantastic! Absolutely suspenseful and thrilling. I really like Penn and hope his wound isn't too serious.

Your writing is wonderful and you've created a world that is terrifying and sad. Highly rated and on my WL for backing.

Racheal

Michael Matula wrote 603 days ago

This is a CWOG review, as well as a YARG review, of chapters 3 through 5:

Still on my shelf, and I still think this is a great read. Anyone reading this comment should check out my first review for more of my overall thoughts on the book and the writing. To summarize, though: this book is very good, and you should definitely read it.

I wrote down some notes as I read, which are all completely subjective. Please do ignore anything you disagree with.
CHAPTER 3:
- I did wonder briefly at the fact that the Perca and Jordyce, two of the girls, were the worst at keeping up with the group. Then I saw that they were both city girls, which made it seem like more of a statement on where they came from than from their gender. And then Gord goes and trips as well a bit later on, and all is forgiven.
- I liked that their noise is scaring off the wolves. This strikes me as very realistic, and not the typical overly-aggressive Hollywood portrayal of wolves
- I wasn't sure, but should “maple” or some of the other trees be plural? The fact that “pine” was plural, but the others weren't made me question it.
CHAPTER 4:
- “The workers have to rest a little. But not too long.” I'd either take out “a little,” or “but not too long” as they both say the same thing to me. You can't rest too long if you're only resting a little.
- The names Gord and Goby are difficult for me to differentiate between at the moment. This could be because of the time it took me to read more, but I might try to set them apart name-wise a bit more.
CHAPTER 5:
- This section slows down a bit for me, just as the characters' own progression slows. It almost feels like you're describing every bit of the journey, and in this part, I kind of wanted to skip forward to where something more crucial to the plot happens. This might just be me, though.
- “and Cesswi is struggling, trying to keep them moving forward.” - I might just say “Cesswi is struggling to keep them moving forward” to make it a bit more direct.
- “I feel confident that he is not really looking forward to that any more than I am.” - this was a bit on the wordy side for me. I'd just say something like “I doubt he's looking forward to that any more than I am.”

Overall, it's still very good, though I could use a little more conflict in chapters 4 and 5. Everyone seems pretty happy to follow the leader at the moment, and I could use a little more discord in the group. I'm very much looking forward to reading more, though, as I'm quite interested to see where this goes.

Mike
What, the Elf?
Arrival of the Ageless

Kate LaRue wrote 604 days ago

Chris,
Back for more. I don't have anything to say about chapter 11, though I did wonder for a moment why no one came after them on foot.

Chapter 12
Paragraph 4–where is this in the previous 11 chapters? I think by now we should know all of these things about Gord without Penn spelling them out. There was a bit at the beginning when they were out on the lake about Gord always trying to please everyone, even their oppressors, but after that it is slim pickings when it comes to developing his character. Okay, now that I've beat that horse again...moving on.

I would leave out 'I have to pause before responding. "I don't think so."' The rest of the paragraph demonstrates why he's pausing as well as the pause itself, and the following dialogue shows Penn's thoughts much better than him saying "I don't think so."

A few lines down–'I don't believe that for a minute...' sounds a bit abrupt and harsh. Maybe–My words seem to settle Perca, and I wish I could believe them too...or something similar. The way it is sounds heartless.

'Even the slightest death talk has me thinking about my friend.' Again, maybe a bit unfeeling. Shouldn't he be wondering about him even without the 'dead to the world' comment by Cesswi?

'"We're all gonna need to eat, you know," she says, changing the subject.' You probably don't need 'changing the subject' as we can tell by what she says that the subject has been changed.

'I really can't stand the idea of sitting around here all day...' I think you know what I'm going to say. Is there a more compassionate way for Penn to express this thought? Would he, at this point, feel any small inkling of guilt for being the leader of this escape attempt? I think it was the 'can't stand' and 'waiting' that struck me as unfeeling here. Don't get me wrong, I can understand the need to be doing something in this situation, and certainly Penn and Cesswi are ones who need to be active. Maybe something to convey that need–there's nothing he can do for one crew member, but he can still go out and catch a meal for the rest of them.

'The city girls, Perca and Jordyce...' I just wonder why you chose to call them city girls and use their names here. If it were me, I would just use their names.

Something about this fishing scene bothers me, and I think it's because there is no further thought given to the ones left behind at camp. It is almost twins with the first fishing scene, as far as tone goes, but I would expect it to be a bit more somber. Of course, I've never been fishing, so don't know the joy of landing a 30 inch pike, and maybe that overshadows the events of the previous evening. How does Penn's wound feel while he fights with that fish? I mean, it just hurt when he stood up, so I would think that casting a line and running up the bank would give him some pain.

Okay, I'm done nitpicking for tonight, only because I'm half asleep already. Until next time :)

burgundy_ink wrote 604 days ago

Hi Chris,
Here's my YARG review (sorry about the delay)...

I love the dystopian theme - there's so much room for creativity and I think you have a distinctive, convincing and suspenseful take on the genre.

My first YARG review is proving to be difficult indeed - there's not much to criticise here! I love the characters' names - they're original and memorable, making it easier to keep track of who's who when lots of characters are introduced. I liked the hook at the end of the first chapter - you've built an almost tangible sense of suspense that had me tied to my laptop. I didn't intend to read four chapters but I couldn't stop - I look forward to reading more in the future :)

Chapter two was brilliantly written - getting straight into the action works well here. I especially liked the whole issue with getting under the fence and there's a convincing order developing in relations amongst the 'fugitives'. The only issue at this point is probably not a real issue, more to do with personal preference. I would have liked to have known a little more about the characters before the escape; it might give the reader more reason to care for them.

Chapter three is my favourite part (so far) purely because of the descriptive, thoughtful dimensions you weave into your writing. "frosty pine needles make the ground slippery" and "the pines, spruce(,) and fir are holding on to their greenish tones" (I've put the comma in brackets because I'm not sure it's needed there) these are beautifully descriptive and very convincing - I think this quality of description not only helps the reader to picture the scene but it reveals something about your MC - up until now his voice has been very efficient, organised, but a little detached from emotions so it's great that you use the walk/run/stumble through the woods to reveal another side of his character. I really like your MC in general and think lots of readers will too. He's mature, smart and a natural leader - I can see his story being a strong one.

In chapter four I found a few sentences that could perhaps be rephrased:
"Perca's soft green eyes meet mine...and her soft features glow..." I like the fact that he's noticing these details but maybe find another word for soft to avoid using it twice in the same sentence. Also, you describe her face as "polished" I'm not sure what this means in context. I understand that she's different, being from the city etc but surely being at Northwoods would have taken its toll - or simply being out in the woods, as she clearly struggles more than the others, should take something away from her polished complexion...? Maybe it's because I'm a girl, but 'polished' makes me think of make up and cosmetics...or really shiny shoes ;)
"...shake my head to rid the thoughts of camp..." I think you could phrase this slightly better "shake my head to rid it of thoughts of camp" or "shake my head to rid my thoughts of camp" because as it stands, "ridding the thoughts" reads a little awkward. Just a suggestion though :)
"...I ask as pleasantly as I can muster..." I question the need for the word "muster" here. I don't think anything would be lost by leaving it at "I ask as pleasantly as I can." or rephrase to "I ask with as much pleasantness as I can muster." Maybe it's just personal preference though.

Overall though, congrats on a fast paced, gripping and suspenseful start. The premise is interesting and I'm keen to see what you'll do with it. A delight to read and to have on my shelf!
All the best,
Burgundy Ink.

Alice Oseman wrote 604 days ago

(YARG review)
Hey Chris!

Thanks for having a look at my book. I thought I'd return the favour and have a read of your own.
Fantastic writing. Vivid and original concept. I really enjoyed reading it!

Here are a few specific notes:

Chapter 1:
-'My other two bunkmates become unnervingly quiet, as well.' - I don't think you need the ', as well.' here!
-I LOVE your characters. Rayburn in particular is very well developed.
-Kind of irrelevant, but it makes me think of a darker Louis Sachar's 'Holes'!
-You're opening chapter is quite calm, and usually this doesn't work for me. Usually I like to be thrown immediately into the action. However - you make it work. I think you really succeed in building substantial tension, and creating interesting and immediately likable characters.

Chapter 2:
-I love the boys/girls dynamics, i.e. the way they're separated. Very interesting.
-From the paragraph beginning 'My crew finishes dressing' to 'Dispatching Rayburn and Vogl', your paragraphs are all almost identical in length. Just for the sake of pace, it might be a good idea to vary this - perhaps combining a couple of them, or having a one-line paragraph to break it up.
-Very very tense end to the chapter. Love it! Your final couple of lines are really great too.

Sorry I haven't the time to read more, but you are definitely staying on my watchlist and hopefully I can back this at some point as well. It's absolutely perfect for its genre.
High stars! Well done and good luck!

Alice

leelah wrote 605 days ago

Hi Chris
I am returning a read and comment. I am not one of those who really CAN write a review - but I can give you my honest feedback of what I felt as i was reading some chapters.
I felt young again! I am 67, so that is GREAT:-) - it means that you write from that teenage-place within, with nothing to prove, just honest writing. Strangely, Tom Sawyer came to mind - so it must have some of that magic and enchantment, that draws the reader in and makes it hard to stop - OR makes us want to read just a chapter and then wait, because we portion out the goodies.
This might be one of those books.
It has a flavor - what can I say - movie-like - you paint the scenery and emotions and characters in such a way that I want to be one of you, just because I like this gang and wish them well.
Highstarred!
And thanks for noticing errors in my text.
Best of luck with this!

Leelah Saachi

Hatty_Norman wrote 605 days ago

Hi Chris,

Have just finished reading this and all I can think of is Wow!
I love it. you kept the tension high right up to the end without making me bored (and that happens easily!).
I've never been to the USA, much less Boundary Waters, but the description you included made me feel like i was there with the action as it took place. It was very engaging, well written and made me want more!
The only thing I would say is that you sometimes use the same words in close proximity when perhaps another word could have been used instead.
eg. "Any farther puts us too close to the camp and the lake, and carrying her any farther is out of the question as well."
You've used 'farther' twice in the same sentence. 'longer' could possibly be used in the case of the second.

I hope you will return read!

Hatty

Hatty_Norman wrote 605 days ago

Hi Chris,

Have just finished reading this and all I can think of is Wow!
I love it. you kept the tension high right up to the end without making me bored (and that happens easily!).
I've never been to the USA, much less Boundary Waters, but the description you included made me feel like i was there with the action as it took place. It was very engaging, well written and made me want more!
The only thing I would say is that you sometimes use the same words in close proximity when perhaps another word could have been used instead.
eg. "Any farther puts us too close to the camp and the lake, and carrying her any farther is out of the question as well."
You've used 'farther' twice in the same sentence. 'longer' could possibly be used in the case of the second.

I hope you will return read!

Hatty