Woo Hoo! Welcome to 2013 everybody! I’m awfully glad the world didn’t end in 2012! There's all kinds of great stuff happening this year.
We’re starting off with First Impressions and a submission from Joanne R. Fritz. This is the first page of her MG contemporary mystery, KEEP AWAY.
Jake never expected to be standing on this bridge again. Not after what happened last year. The rough cement scraped his bare feet. He clung to the wire fencing behind him and shivered in his swimsuit. Luckily for him, the August sun was playing Hide and Seek behind thick clouds. Maybe he could pretend his goose bumps were from the weather.
Next to him, Flip Farrell balanced on the narrow ledge as lightly and easily as if he were standing on solid ground. He didn’t even need to touch the high fence behind them. “Kankowski, are you nervous?” Flip laughed. “I thought you grew up here. I thought everyone did this. I figured it was some sort of Pocono Mountains rite of passage.”
Jake shook his head. Half the time when Flip talked Jake didn’t understand him. “If my parents knew we were jumping off the Ledgedale Bridge, I’d be grounded for life.”
Flip shrugged. “Aw, who cares about parents?”
Far below the two boys, the choppy water of Lake Wallenpaupack looked almost black. Murky. It made Jake think of horror movies, of drowning and death and pale limp bodies. No. Not that. A strong breeze carried the high-pitched whine of boat motors and the bitter fumes of their exhaust. He swallowed hard. The three cinnamon rolls he had wolfed down for breakfast were threatening to come back up. He choked back the acid taste and wondered why he’d said yes to Flip’s idea.
A guy’s thirteenth summer was supposed to be more fun than this.
A car rattled over the bridge behind them and a deep voice yelled, “Go for it!” Jake shuddered but didn’t release his tight grip on the wire. His palms were starting to hurt.
Flip laughed softly. “You’re chicken, aren’t you? Come on, Rock, Paper, Scissors. Loser jumps first.”
Yay! The Pocono Mountains! I love the Poconos – set two novels and two short stories there, in fact. I can vividly picture this setting: the bridge over the lake and the chill air when the sun goes behind the clouds. I think you’ve given us the exact right amount of setting description for a MG opening page.
I don’t have much to critique. It’s very well done! Hide and seek should not be capitalized, I think. And “wondered why he’d said yes to Flip’s idea” seems a little weak of a phrase, considering what they’re about to do and how scared Jake is. I think you could come up with a stronger way to put that. Especially if something bad happened here last year.
As for the car that passes behind them and the driver who calls out, “Go for it!” – TOTALLY believable in the Poconos. It should be a pickup truck, though, LOL!