|ROUS (rodents of unusual size)|
See, when I entered the contest this year, I didn't realize Publisher's Weekly had hired ROUS to judge the semi-final round. But BOY, do I feel like that's what I just wrestled! MAN, it was scathing. Somehow I'd thought I was going to scrape through this writing thing without a lot of nastiness... I'd thought my writing had passed that phase where somebody would just be mean and rotten to me. Apparently not.
So you know what I'm talking about:
ABNA Publishers Weekly Reviewer
A teen girl escapes her mother’s risky lifestyle and joins forces with three children living in hiding in this absurdly plotted story. In 1988 Portland, Ore., 13-year-old Athena Garnett runs away from home after her heroin-addict mother tries to sell her daughter’s virginity for another hit. With nowhere to go, she lives on the street, sleeping in a park and scrounging food from the McDonald’s dumpster. Meanwhile, in the suburbs, the three Popescue siblings -- Kade, Tasha, and Peter -- are also lying low, but for a different reason. The children of a Romanian professor and a possible spy, they watched their father get gunned down in their house and hid in the secret passageways their father had built. A chance meeting downtown between the trio and Athena brings the kids together and soon they’re all hiding out in the Popescue family home, taking turns keeping watch for men responsible for Mr. Popescue’s death, who also turns out to be linked to Athena’s own past. The deeper they dig, the more links they discover between the four, including evidence of a potential art thievery ring, with a dangerous man named Balto at the center: someone with direct ties to the Popescue murder and Athena’s heretofore unknown past. While the sections detailing Athena’s life as a homeless youth are intriguing and could easily be a stand-alone story, the connections to the Romanian quasi-orphans are ludicrous at best.
So... Ouch, huh? Absurdly plotted? See, last year I felt my review was spot on, but I can't just buy this absurdly plotted thing. I think this reviewer had a large stack and was impatient with a complex plot... maybe even MISSED stuff. I mean the plot description sounds accurate, but I'm JUST not seeing what the trouble is except that the reviewer didn't like it... There is no hint.
Guesses? They aren't buying the coincidence? But there are hints that show WHY these secretive kids TRUST this girl (hints related to them really being connected).
I just think it was the complexity.
If it is something OTHER than that, they've given me NO CLUE.
It had me feeling VERY VULNERABLE there for a while... I mean I really LIKE the story... But maybe I don't have a CLUE what makes a good story? THAT kind of vulnerable... I just really feel like the reviewer could have done a far better job saying WHAT was ludicrous... How to a give it a ludicrousectomy? So I am sticking with my original assessment. I was reviewed by a vicious vermin... or maybe a viper... To cope, I had to go drink Vino and eat queso with the couch to keg team. Have I SAID how much I love the wine bar at Whole Foods? Maybe I will tell you more tomorrow...
So for a book plot, what is your tolerance for complexity? Do you LIKE some twists and turns? Or do you prefer it fairly straight forward? I'd REALLY love some feedback from my friends who've read it? Does this look right to you? Jenny? Stacy? Leigh? Leanne? Chary? I mean I can totally take it from someone I BELIEVE gave it appropriate attention, but at the moment I'm doubting this reviewer did.