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Unlucky 13 - Chapter 1

by Liberty


I was sipping my morning tea with Grams when the phone rang. Grams picked it up. “Hello?”

“Yes, this is Michelle…” she looked surprised.

“Mhm?” she raised her thin eyebrows, lips sealed and listened to what the person on the other end was saying.

“Oh really? Yes, I’ll tell her…” she said, tucking a bit of hair behind her ear that had fallen loose.

“Thank you, dear!” she hung up.

“What is it?” I asked my grandmother. I studied her. Her pale green eyes were dancing and her gray-colored bun that sat on her head bounced as she sat on our wooden table. “Grams? Tell me!” I said.

“Oh. Yes, I almost forgot!” she heaved herself back up and shuffled towards the front door.

That’s it. She can’t hide it any longer! I got up and stood in front of the door and stared at her. She chuckled, “Goodness dear, I’ll tell you once I see for myself!” I narrowed my eyes at her playfully and moved out of the way.

She smiled and opened the door slowly. Opening the mailbox that was attached to the house, she grinned when she saw something. Is it what I think it is? Grams pulled out a shiny royal blue envelope. I gasped. It is!

“Grams!” I squealed, “It’s the results for the national science competition!” I’ll finally know if I’m getting into the international, or not…

She handed me the envelope and patted me on the head. “Come on in and open it.” she smiled her angelic smile. I skipped in.

I took a seat on one end of the table and Grams was on the opposite. It’s the results of who can move on to the international championships. I took a deep breath. Would my name, Julia Portman, be on this paper? I slowly ripped it open, enjoying the sound of the blue paper against my hands. Grams leaned over.

“I don’t want to! Grams, you do it!” I threw it to her.

She sighed, “I guess this’ll just have to wait until after school, huh?”

She looked teasingly at me. I shook my head then dove for the precious paper. Then set it back.

“It can wait.” I looked at my watch, “I’m getting late for the first day of school, anyways.” I kissed Grams goodbye and grabbed my green backpack and headed out the wooden door. I breathed in the fresh Monday air then breathed it out. It felt good. School was only a few blocks away.

As soon as I reached the gates, I pouted. I didn’t want to go. I’ve always hated school. I’ve envied the people who got to be homeschooled and they envied me for going to a public school! Who would want to go to this school?

I shook away my thoughts and walked in. Everyone stared and pointed at me, but I was so used to it, that I didn’t even notice! I smiled and waved at them then entered the school doors and continued walking.

“Hey Julia! Love your old sweatshirt today!” I rolled my eyes. It was Maddie. My sweatshirt was since grade six. Yes, it still fits me. According to Maddie, one should never wear the same clothes after a year.

So, if you wore one type of sweatshirt, it would be considered a sin if you wore it next year.

Me and Maddie had some rough times in the past. Her bullying me, threatening me and Grams, almost killing me, TP-ing my house, etc. She’s the Devil in a girls’ costume.

The day I started seventh grade, the start of middle school, I was really upset when I found out Maddie was going to the same school as me. In elementary school, she was there too. Who knows what’s going to happen in high school? And what about college!?

I wasn’t surprised that the principal hadn’t already kicked her out of the school because of her attire. Everyone loved her; she was like the Queen Bee around here.

Her twin brother, Mark, was the total opposite. A very down-to-earth, kind, and responsible person. He looked nothing like her though. It didn’t surprise me. She always came to school with a gallon of makeup on.

I overheard to girls talking about her outfit today.

“Oh my gosh! She has the latest crop top! It’s to die for!” The first girl shrieked. I recognized her as Brooklyn. I rolled my eyes, why do people care so much about latest fashion and all that? What’s wrong with competitions, reading, and animals? Kids these days. I chuckled at my thought and brushed my black bangs out of my eyes.

The second girl, Cecelia said: “And those pants! I saw them at the mall last night, and me and my sister were practically drooling over them. But they were too expensive.” she pretended to pouted.

“I know right? I saw it online. Two hundred and forty five dollars.” Brooklyn groaned.

When I realized I was eaves-dropping, I looked away and continued walking towards my locker.

The school bell that could make you deaf, especially if you’re a newbie at this school, had rung. “Better not get late for your first day of classes, Maddie!” I shouted back. What? It was the best roast I could think of. Even though it isn’t. She glared at me then sashayed away.

“Julie! It’s so good to see you after so long!” I looked ahead, it was Maryam, a friend of mine since fourth grade. I grinned at her and gave her a hug. In seventh grade, she was as shy as a… shy person and talked to no one. She basically talked once a week. She was extremely shy. But lately, she seemed to be opening up a bit.

That’s when we saw Ella come running towards us. She was my best friend since third grade. We had clicked instantly when we shared our love of drawing. She could be as stern as the sternest teacher. As caring as a mother hen. And, as protecting as an overprotective father. And right now, by the look on her face, I could tell she was in Stern Mood.

“Jules, why did you have to get in Maddie’s way?” Ella asked. I wasn’t expecting that as a hello.

“What greeting is that?” I asked. Maryam giggled. “And anyways, I didn’t get in her way. She got in my way.” I huffed.

“Julia Harper Portman, I’m –” she started. She always says people’s full name when she’s mad. And right now, I could tell my bestie was not in a good mood. I interrupted her by putting my hand up.

“This isn’t how I imagined us seeing each other after so long.” I frowned.

“You know Ella’s always worried about you, girlie.” Maryam pointed out to me, shifting on one foot.

“She’s not… my… mom…” I choked out the last word. I’m pretty sure Ella sensed that I was upset, especially since I said the M word, so she burst into a song.

“Is it too late to say sorry?” Ella started singing. Maryam and a couple of other people started singing along.

“Yeah, I know that I let you down. Is it too late to say I'm sorry now?” they sung.

Me and Maryam laughed as a couple of people clapped around us. I shook my head.

Ella laughed too. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine.” I said. And then to cheer up the mood, “Group hug!” I exclaimed. The three of us hugged and then we let go. We went to our lockers, which were coincidently all in the same row, side by side.

I took out all my books that I would need for the next few classes until lunch.

Once the three of us were ready, we jogged into our first class together. Homeroom.

Once we had settled into homeroom, I groaned. We had the new teacher. Ms Livington. I felt bad for her. She’d have to deal with a herd of idiots. She looked young, which made it even worse.

The boys started hooting. Mark shot them a look from where he was sitting on his desk by the window. Maddie wasn't in this homeroom, thank goodness. And neither was her little clique. Ella nudged me and pointed to the front of the classroom. I set my gaze on the teacher. She looked as if she were about to burst into tears. I shook my head. It was her fault that she took the job. And anyways, she was supposed to have power over the classroom. Not vice-versa.

"Children, please settle down." Ms Livington said calmly. I rolled my eyes. I wouldn't have been surprised if she started smacking her head on the wall and continued doing it until she got brainhemorrhage. She struck her hand on the table and then winced. It probably hurt. Suddenly, a girl stood up. It was April.

“Be quiet everyone,” she boomed out in her loud voice, “The teacher is trying to talk.” She narrowed her eyes at everyone. The teacher looked shocked when everyone shut up.

“Thank you, honey, but you didn’t have to do that.” Ms Livington smiled at her. “I could’ve handled it.”

“Didn’t look like it.” April mumbled. But the teacher didn’t hear her. She started with the attendance. She continued on and on and said everyone’s names. And then finally, the last person.

“Maddie?” she said, looking around then behind me.

What!? I whirled around, looking for the evil young woman. I didn’t see her. I felt someone kick my seat from behind. All the seats are facing opposite of the door. No wonder I hadn’t seen her earlier.

I sighed, looking behind me, “Hi Maddie.”

She sure kept quiet.

Maddie snickered and gave me a slight wave, "Nice to meet you... Julia." She spat out my name like it was rotten pickle. She lifted her feet and set them on the back of my chair. She was lucky she wasn't already sent to the nurse because of a punch in the face. I rolled my eyes at the thought and listened to what the teacher started talking about.

"We are going to have an assessment next week for all the subjects," she said in her soft voice. "So, for Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies, Health, History, and Genre Study." she smiled at us. Then continued talking. I zoned her out.

What could be in the envelope? Would I have passed? I fiddled with my fingers.

Would I have passed the national championships for the science test? The biggest science test in the world? I started playing with a strand of my short hair.

Would my name be written by Jane Goodall on that paper? I had studied really hard with Grams. And Grams was great at Science. My thoughts were roaring.

The ear-piercing bell rung again. Gathering my pencil case and back-pack, I left for my first class. History. I should get ready to have a nice long nap.


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Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:24 pm
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Horisun wrote a review...



This is a really great story! The spelling and grammar was great, and overall, the story had a nice flow. The character feels relatable, and I can't wait to see what happens with her!
There were two minor things that'd I'd like to point out, however.
Firstly, I think it might have been better if there wasn't that moment where Julia thought that Maddie wasn't in her class. It really feels pointless. It might be better if she noticed her then, or just didn't think about her at all until the attendance, as it sounds as if they sat right in front of her. Unless something else is going on.

Also, during the attendance scene, you're introducing a lot of new characters, three things about this, firstly, these characters now will need an active role in the story, otherwise this part is pointless, secondly, even if all of them are important, and all their traits are used, there are much better ways for us to meet these characters, and for it to flow better. And thirdly, this is mostly my opinion, but if that is the way your going with this, then that's a lot of characters. I counted up the character mentioned by name in this one chapter, and it came up to around seventeen. I have a feeling you probably won't give all these characters super important roles, but if that's true, it renders that whole part pretty unimportant.
One thing I do like about the scene though, is that it seems like you're setting up a very relatable character ark for Julia. "Me. Plain old me with raven black hair and green eyes." This really sets up her fears, and insecurities, which is great! (You also gave us a description there, which is nice!)

Sorry, I kinda nitpicked that scene to the core! I really did love this though. I connect to Julia, and I truly love how Ella started singing "I'm Sorry" I do that so much, and it was beautiful! XD I'm going to try to catch up to this, as it looks like I've got a lot of reading to do! Keep on writing, and have a great day or night!




Horisun says...


I just realized that this story is called "The Unlucky Thirteen" And I counted 16 kids in her class, and one of them was Maddy, and two others were considered 'bullies' according to Julia.



Liberty says...


Thanks for the review! I'm doing a lot of editing to this chapter cuz it's kinda messed up. I'll tell you when I'm done with it. Someone else IRL pointed out the character thing to me as well so that's why.



Horisun says...


:D



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Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:14 pm
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FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...



Hello my dear friend Liberty, FlamingPhoenix here to give your work a review like you always do for me! ;)

Let's get to it shall we?

Unlucky 13 what an interesting name. It doesn't quite fit the story yet, but I have a feeling it could do with 13 really unlucky people, or the age 13, I don't know yet, I'll just have to keep reading and find out. For all I know I would be wrong with both my guesses.

I really like the way you start out this chapter, so calm and it feels like a normal home, warm and welcoming, just perfect, it gets your reader in the right place, and starts them off slowly, though I will say when Grams was talking on the phone then went to the front door, well that was when I started to peek my interest. And from there i couldn't take my eyes away form the words. Just amazing.

I'm also just loving the description, it's not like you dump it on us all at once, it's in small parts here and there, that just makes the chapter better, it's not good to put description in one place and then forget about it later. But you already know that. XD

I'm also loving the way you are building up the character off all the characters in the book, I can see the reason Julia get's along with some of the people in the school and just stays away form others. Topical school. :/

Anyway I really liked this chapter it was rather interesting. And I enjoyed reading and reviewing with, I think I will be moving onto the next chapter and will be leaving a review. I'm quite hooks I have to admit. Anyway keep writing amazing things, and please tag me next time you post a chapter. Have a great day or night.

Your friend
FlamingPhoenix.
Reviewing with a fiery passion!!




Liberty says...


Thanks for the review! Everything you said means a great lot to me. I'll definitely tag you. :)





I'm glad!!



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Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:11 am
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EternalRain says...



Hey! Just a quick comment about the Ella section before I head over to chapter 3:

I like how we get a bit more of Ella's personality and background here! I'm not really sure why Ella got so mad all of a sudden (am I missing something?) so that was a little confusing.

“Jules, why did you have to get in her way?” Ella asked. I wasn’t expecting that as a hello.


Like, I'm not sure what this is referring to. Who's way was Julia in? Just a little puzzled with that!

Other than that, though, I liked the improvements. I especially enjoyed the scene with Cecilia and Brooklyn. I'm excited to get on over to Chapter 3, so I'm going to head there now!!




Liberty says...


In Maddie's way. Ella just thinks Julia started their little talk first, so that's why she's saying that.

I should mention that in the chapter. Thanks for the review!



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Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:33 am
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JabberHut says...



HEY! I read the section (I have to head to bed here), so I thought I'd mention:

1) "When I realized I was eaves-dropping, I looked away and continued walking towards my closet."

<--She mentioned heading to her closet even though she was already at school. I don't... know if I know of a school with closets. So I'm either ignorant or helpful here. :D

2) "Seems like someone has gotten less shy"

<-- I like what you're trying to do here, but it sounds forced. Actually, it probably could be okay if Maryam didn't acknowledge it with a "yeah." That kind of character change doesn't just happen over the summer. Maryam isn't going to wake up on August 14th and be like "omg I'm not shy! I can't wait to tell my friends!" Honestly, it's a bit strange to even be addressing Maryam's shyness from the fourth grade if she's no longer shy to begin with. It obviously tampered with my perception of her. I get that it's giving a little narration backstory, but perhaps just putting the acknowledgment of Maryam no longer being shy WITHIN the narration will just help smooth that out.

In seventh grade, she was as shy as a… shy person and talked to no one. She only talked like once a week. She was extremely shy. But lately, she seemed to be opening up a bit. She even pulled a prank on Jon Smith in the cafeteria once by swapping his fork out for a spoon. It was terrible. It was adorable. I was so proud.

THIS IS JUST AN EXAMPLE. And very off-the-cuff. XD But hopefully you get what I mean. Then the dialogue is no longer needed. Just keep it to the narration! First day of eighth grade is no reason to be addressing one's previous shyness!

3) “She’s not my… mom.” I choked out the last word.

<-- This actually might go smoother if there was extra narration before it of Julia laughing it off with what used to be an off-handed comment, and then after the "mom," her face will obviously fall into a state of sorrow. Maybe even a ... after the mom too since I imagine her voice trailing off at the memory. BUT. I have to admit this is a style thing, so consider wisely.

4) “Is it too late to say sorry? Yeah, I know that I let you down. Is it too late to say I'm sorry now?” She sung, then pretended to pout.

<-- So I TOTALLY did sing this as I read it (see, I am totally hip), but it came off as rather obtuse. Julia is obviously choked up over being reminded of her mother, so it feels like Ella is being insensitive. Rather, include some narration or something that leads Ella into realizing Julia needs cheering up by singing a favorite pop song.

5) I like all the other improvements to this segment of meeting the characters. I actually personally have a better understanding of what kind of friends they are. I might have gotten them a little mixed up. Maryam might be the more rambunctious one, but she's still kind of an anomaly. I have a better understanding of Ella. And this is okay, as long as it becomes clearer later. :)

EDIT: Italics paragraph in the reply because punctuation is DUMB apparently. :D

"She's not my... mom..." I choked out the last word, an ache in my chest.

Before any memories could corrupt my mood, Ella swooped in, grabbed my hands, and broke into song and dance. "Is it too late to say sorry? Yeah, I know that I let you down. Is it too late to say I'm sorry now?" I couldn't help but smile and join her.




Liberty says...


Thanks for the review. It's very helpful. Also, can you tell me were I said closet? I might have meant to write locker instead. :P I was half-asleep while editing. And... The singing thing, I don't really understand much, insensetive? Obtuse? Can you use some less... hard words? It'd really help me with understanding what you're trying to say.

Also, I've realized that I'm messing up Maryam's character so much. *smacks head with dictionary* I'll try fixing it.

Thanks again!! :D



JabberHut says...


I edited in the quote! If you control-find (CTRL F) for "closet," you'll see it. :D

And yeah! I was sleepy when I wrote that, so I understand how I was confusing. XD Basically, I think the dialogue could use more emotional description. The dialogue reads flat as is because there's no dramatic narration to lead into each line, so it feels like Ella isn't picking up on Julia's sadness and is instead just bursting into song as if it just came on the radio. But if something like this happened, it might make more sense and lead the reader through the emotions better:

%u201CShe%u2019s not my%u2026 mom...%u201D I choked out the last word, an ache in my chest.
Before any memories could corrupt my mood, Ella swooped in, grabbed my hands, and broke into song and dance. %u201CIs it too late to say sorry? Yeah, I know that I let you down. Is it too late to say I'm sorry now?%u201D I couldn't help but smile and join her.


Again, it's pretty rough and not your style. But hopefully you can see the reader would then have an indication of Ella actually recognizing Julia's sadness and knowing precisely how to cheer her up as a best friend would.

LOL I totally get the Maryam thing, but hopefully we can fix that right up. Again, her uniqueness might not have to be displayed so soon if she's actually a lot like Julia anyway. That might still come up later. But that's what we're all here for! We'll make sure the characters shine. :D



JabberHut says...


...the italics is hard to read with the punctuation nonsense. I put it in my original comment for easier reading. :D



Liberty says...


I understand now. Thanks Jabber! It helps a lot. (:



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Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:57 pm
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Honora wrote a review...



Hey Lib!

I saw this hit the spotlight so I thought I'd give it a look! It's pretty good! I'm just gonna jump right into the review and tell you what I think overall at the end. :)

'Would I, Julia Portman, a grade eight girl, in the middle of nowhere, be on this paper?'
This feels forced. I don't know how you could get that info in there somewhere but this sentence really threw me off. It was like a baby info dump where the writer just tells you instead of showing you.

'“It can wait.” I looked at my watch, “I’m getting late for the first day of school, anyways.”'
If the results were so important and she’s been waiting for them for so long, she would have totally opened them right then and there. I know I would have!

‘She’s the worst ever person to be friends with.’
This sentence confused me. That chick is a bully so for one, why does she consider her a friend, and two, if this has a meaning ‘ever’ and ‘person’ should be switched. It would flow better that way.

'Rrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiing!'
Maybe just tell us that the bell rang. This was drawn out and sounded more like a play than an actual story.

Also, Ella just kind of appeared. I got her and Maryam mixed up cuz I was like, “Who the heck is Ella?” Maybe just elaborate on her coming into the picture.

'She striked her hand on the table and then winced.'
This is just a small correction. It should be struck instead of 'striked'.

One last thing...SLOW DOWN ON THE EXCLAMATION POINTS! (I'm not yelling btw ;))
If you have too many, they lose their purpose. They're there to really emphasize that something surprising/crazy/really important is happening. Don't overuse them. I do it all the time to be honest. xJade always has to remind me lol.

Overall, I really enjoyed it! The flow of the book is really nice and doesn't usually get disrupted. I didn't really find any grammatical problems other than the crazy amount of exclamation points, so that's good. I really like the pace. From what I can tell, it isn't so fast that you skip out on the details but not so slow that you yawn. It's good! Especially for the beginning of the book. It's a nice introduction.
I'm looking forward to reading the other chapters you have out. I'm interested to see how you'll make this into a really cool book. I've read some of your work so I know this will turn out to be great! :D

Happy writing! :)

Your friend,
Honora




Liberty says...


Thanks for the review! I'll get to editing soon, I promise. I noticed that the exclamations have, indeed, been getting overused. :P Thanks again!



Honora says...


No problem! :D



Liberty says...


I edited it, so if you wanna go check it out...



Liberty says...


Once again*...



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xJade wrote a review...



Wesh! It's Jade. When I review, you may call me Professor Jade XD. OK, so my reviewing style is to go through line-by-line and give my thoughts. You do NOT have to take my advice and I promise I'm not trying to co-write this. I may be a bit harsh and blunt, so let me know if you need me to tone it down. OK, without further ado, let's go!

I was sipping my morning tea with Grams when the phone rang. Grams picked it up. “Hello? Yes, this is her grandma... Mhm? Oh really? Yes, I’ll tell her… Thank you, dear!”

I like the start, it's almost like your alerting your reader to GET UP! XD Maybe signal pauses in Grandma's monologue and maybe have her say her name. Like she could say:
"Yes, this is Tracey, Juila's grandmother." Also, maybe go into more depth about her facial expressions, which could also give parts of how she looks away. Maybe make her lines more detailed, to show us her personality. OK, let me know if you want me to elaborate on anything I say. Sometimes I can make no sense.

“What is it?” I asked my grandmother. I studied her. Her pale green eyes were dancing and her gray-colored bun that sat on her head bounced as she sat on our wooden table. “Grams? Tell me!” I said.
OK, like I said above, this does show her looks, but I think putting it into the opening dialogue would be wiser. It's up to you, though!

“Oh. Yes, I almost forgot!” She heaved herself back up and shuffled towards the front door. That’s it. She can’t hide it any longer! I got up and stood in front of the door and stared at her. She chuckled, “Goodness dear, I’ll tell you once I see for myself!” I glared at her and moved out of the way.
I would separate this into two paragraphs to make it more readable and make the flow smoother. For the commentary itself, you say our protagonist glared at her grandma, who was being was it purposely vague. Take this opportunity to expand on their
relationship. Also, congrats on not giving the backstory away so quickly and leaving the reader wondering..

She smiled and opened the door slowly. Opening the mailbox that was attached to the house, she grinned when she saw something. Is it what I think it is? Grams pulled out a shiny royal blue envelope. I gasped. It is!
OK, I'm going to have to point out all the exclamation points. In writing, your words should be enough to convey your character's thoughts. PUNCTUATION SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO SHOW IT. Maybe give her more emotion and thought instead of relying on question marks and exclamations to show it.

“Grams!” I squealed, “It’s the results!”
It's sounds forced. I'm sorry! I know that sounded rude and nitpicky, but maybe she would seem more realistic as a middle-schooler if she said "the results!"
Of course, all these suggestions are from my personal writing style. You do you!

She handed me the envelope and patted me on the head. “Come on in and open it.” She smiled her angelic smile. I skipped in.
Try to make your characters sound different with the way they talk. Juila, being younger, should maybe use more slang. Grams might be fond of cliches XD? Just to give it some subtle depth everyone will notice.

I took a seat on the one end of the table and Grams was on the opposite. It’s the results. Of who can move on to the international championships. I took a deep breath. Would I, Julia Portman, a grade eight girl, in the middle of nowhere, be on this paper? I slowly ripped it open enjoying the sound of the blue paper against my hands. Grams leaned over.

K, so the fact you allowed us, about her grade/age feels forced. maybe have Grams say something like: Juila, you're only in eight grade yet you could have made it to the championships!"
Also, the fact you're holding on to what she's in the championships for (tennis? Writing? Creating amazing reviews like this :P?) feels like your milking it a bit. If you gave it up now, a connection would form between the reader and protagonist.

“I don’t want to! Grams, you do it!” I threw it to her.
Again with the exclamations!!!

She sighed, “I guess this’ll just have to wait until after school, huh?” She looked teasingly at me. I shook my head then dove for the precious paper. Then set it back.

Now would be a great time to expand more on their relationship. Glaring? Teasing? I get that's all part of a normal family life, but try to keep Juilia's moods more consistent. Also, have Grams use her name more or have pet names. If that's Gram's thing.
“It can wait.” I looked at my watch, “I’m getting late for the first day of school, anyways.” I kissed Grams goodbye and grabbed my green backpack and headed out the door. I breathed in the fresh Monday air then breathed it out. It felt good. School was only a few blocks away.

As soon as I reached the gates, I frowned. I didn’t want to go. I’ve always hated school. I’ve envied the people who got to be homeschooled and they envied me for going to a public school! Who would want to go to this school?
I'm homeschooled and I love it! The flow feels odd, though. Read this paragraph aloud and see what I mean.

I shook away my thoughts and walked in. Everyone stared and pointed at me, but I was so used to it, that I didn’t even notice! I smiled and waved at them then entered the school doors and continued walking. “Hey Julia! Love your old sweatshirt today!” I rolled my eyes. My sweatshirt was since grade six. Yes, it still fits me. According to Maddie, one should never wear the same clothes after a year. So if you wore one type of sweatshirt, it would be considered a sin if you wore it next year.
Make this two or three to help the flow.

Me and Maddie had some rough times in the past. Her bullying me, threatening me and Grams, almost killing me, toilet papering my house, etc. She’s the Devil in a girls’ costume. She’s the worst ever person to be friends with.
K, so I love how you compare almost killing her to TPing. This girl seems awful, but maybe make a flashback to her saying this instead of telling the reader. SHOW US, DON'T TELL US! (Sorry, I like caps)

The day I started seventh grade, the start of middle school, I was really upset when I found out Maddie was going to the same school as me. In elementary school, she was there too. Who knows what’s going to happen in high school? And what about college!?
OK, so don't ever use two punctuation marks in a row ?! is pretty noob and I don't see published books like this. Also, I'm sorry if that sounded mean.


I wasn’t surprised that the principal hadn’t already kicked her out of the school because of her attire. Everyone loved her; she was like the Queen Bee around here. She was wearing a crop-top that showed her pierced belly-button. And her pants? Don’t even ask.
I can just imagine tight leather pants. Also, stop telling us and start showing us. Have Juilia overhear two girls (who adore her) talking about her outfit. When you tell us, it seems forced and uninteresting. I am not calling your book that, just the way you put that fact!

Her twin brother, Mark, was the total opposite. A very down-to-earth, kind, and responsible person. He looked nothing like her though. It didn’t surprise me. She always came to school with a gallon of makeup.
XD love that.

Rrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiing!
Ok, maybe show the bell is ringing in another light. A drawn out ring doesn't fell like the best way, huh?

The school bell that could make you deaf, especially if you’re a newbie at this school, had rung. “Better not get late for your first day of classes, Maddie!” I shouted back. What? It was the best roast I could think of. Even though it isn’t. She glared at me then sashayed away.
Adding in an eye roll or a snarly comment to Julia would make Maddie seem more dis likeable in the eyes of the reader.


“Julie! It’s so good to see you after so long!” I looked ahead, it was Maryam, a friend of mine since fourth grade. I grinned at her and gave her a hug. In seventh grade, she was as shy as a… very shy person and literally talked to no one. She only talked like once a week. Literally. She was extremely shy.
In your writing, don't say very or literally. It takes the emphasis off the words. We know they are if you said it, don't use unneeded words that can disrupt the flow.

“Jules, why did you have to mess with her again?” Ella asked. I wasn’t expecting that as a greeting.
I wouldn't call that messing. I would say slapping her or screaming insults as messing. Telling her to go to class is a slight comeback.

“What greeting is that?” I asked. Maryam giggled.
You said greeting twice, maybe use a substitute word.


“Julia Harper Portman, I’m –” She said. I interrupted her by putting my hand up.

“This isn’t how I imagined us seeing each other after so long.” I frowned.

“You know she’s always worried about you.” Maryam pointed out, shifting on one foot.

“She’s not my… mom.” I choked out the last word.

“I’m sorry. But why?” She sighed.

I shrugged, “She started the polite conversation first. Not me.” I opened my locker and shoved in my bag. I took out all my books that I would need for the next few classes until lunch. Then, I got an idea. “Do you think it would be good if I keep my books that I need after lunch out of my bag and the ones I need from now until lunch in my bag?” Ella gave me a questioning look. “And I’ll carry the bag around!” She sighed then nodded.

Make their conversation less formal. They are friends, make them have an inside joke or at least understand each other's feeling a bit better.

“I’ll do that too. It’ll make life easier.” Maryam opened her locker, which was right beside mine, and got everything she needed.

Once the three of us were ready, we jogged into our first class together. Homeroom.

Ooh, I like the pace of the plot.

Once we had settled into homeroom, I groaned. We had the new teacher. Ms Livington. I felt bad for her. She’d have to deal with a herd of dumb idiots. She looked young, which made it even worse. Is dumb idiots the best word choice. Maybe idiots, dummards, losers, Maddie-wanna-be's.

The boys started hooting. Mark shot them a look from where he was sitting on his desk by the window. Maddie wasn't in this homeroom, thank goodness. And neither were her little servants. Ella nudged me and pointed to the front of the classroom. I set my gaze on the teacher. She looked as if she were about to burst into tears. I shook my head. It was her fault that she took the job.
Servants? Maybe clique would have made for a nicer word. Also, if she is a trained teacher, why is she almost in tears. I know the kids may be rowdy, but they are kids and she has the power. She is trained and they are not.

"Children, please settle down!" Ms Livington said calmly. I rolled my eyes. I wouldn't have been surprised if she started smacking her head on the wall and continued doing it until she got brainhemorrhage. She striked her hand on the table and then winced. It probably hurt. Suddenly, a girl stood up. It was April.
OK, so this girl seems quite advanced to know what brain hemorrhage is. Also, it's two words, not one long one. And, it's struck, not striked.

“Be quiet everyone!” She boomed out in her loud voice, “The teacher is trying to talk!” She narrowed her eyes at everyone. The teacher looked shocked when everyone shut up.

“Thank you, honey, but you didn’t have to do that.” Ms Livington smiled at her. “I could’ve handled it.”

Could she, though?

“Didn’t look like it.” April mumbled. But the teacher didn’t hear her. She started with attendance.

“Maryam?” The Muslim bookworm. She was also my friend.

“Evan?” The naughty redhead.

“Laura?” The brunette, who always ran for class president.

“Mark?” Maddie’s down-to-earth brother.

“Julia?” Me. Plain old me with raven black hair and green eyes.

“Ella?” My bestie since third grade.

“Miranda?” Everyone made fun of her because she had such a weird name according to Maddie. I think it’s a beautiful name.

“April?” That girl who had one heck of a voice.

“Eric?” The shaggy haired boy who was best friends with Mark.

“Jacob?” Evan’s blond friend.

“Ben?” The bully.

“Duncan?” The paddler who was somehow friends with Ben.

“Dora?” Don’t worry. That’s her nickname. She’s too in love with Dora the Explorer. Her actual name is Cecelia.

“Bailey?” He’s the science nerd.

“Brooklyn?” That’s Ms Livington’s niece. The teacher was delighted to find out that she was here.

And lastly, “Maddie?” What!? I whirled around, looking for the evil young woman. I didn’t see her. I felt someone kick my seat from behind. I sighed, looking behind me, “Hi Maddie.”

So, I like the way you introduce the characters, but maybe make it less staggered than a rolecall. Also, For an eight grader to be in love with Dora seems weird, maybe say she used to be in elementary and the nickname stuck. And, also, if it's a new teacher, why isn't she calling Dora by her real name. Especially for rolecall? And, the way you put it, it was almost an insult for people named Dora. I am going to stop talking about Dora, now.

She sure kept quiet.

Maddie snickered and gave me a slight wave, "Nice to meet you... Julia." She spat out my name like it was rotten pickle. She lifted her feet and set them on the back of my chair. She was lucky she wasn't already sent to the nurse because of a punch in the face. I rolled my eyes at the thought and listened to what the teacher started talking about. "We are going to have an assessment next week for all the subjects," She said in her soft voice. "So, for Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies, Health, History, and Genre Study." She smiled at us. Then continued talking. I zoned her out.

Again, maybe make this two or more paragraphs. Also, rotten pickle made me laugh so hard and I don't knwo why. A perfect mix of wit and truth XD! Love it!

What could be in the envelope? Would I have passed? Would I have passed the national championships for the science test? The biggest science test in the world? Would my name be written by Jane Goodall on that paper? I had studied really hard with Grams. And Grams was really good in Science. The ear-piercing bell rung again. Gathering my pencil case and back-pack, I left for my first class. History. I should get ready to have a nice long sleep.
All these questions, maybe make them side thoughts throughout the story, as in she can't stay focused. But I like how you finally admit she is in the science at the end. Keeps the reader. Especially with the tiny cliffhanger.

These reviews take me honestly about an hour. I overall enjoyed your story but I would say to work on the cliffhanger more to keep the reader in more suspense. I can't wait to read part two and I hope this helped. My hands hurt like crazy. K, so let me know if I was too detailed and if you want me to elaborate on anything. Have an awesome whatever time of day it is where you are!

EDIT: This was long 6245. Not my longest ever XD. I'm going to go get some chocolate, I think I deserve it XD




Liberty says...


Lol, thanks for the review... I haven't read it yet. Uh... I'll read it soon. Promise. It's really long.



xJade says...


I know. Just let me know when you have XD



Liberty says...


Done. All your comments were really helpful. I love them all and I definitely except for this just one part where you said that Julia needs slang and sounds kind of not-her-age. I wanted that. I don't want Julia to be a type of girl who into fashion, uses slang, hangs out late at night, stuff like that, ya know? Yeah. But anyways, thank you so much for the review and the time you spent on it really paid off. Brava! :D



xJade says...


I understand! Great work and I look forward to part 2



Liberty says...


It's already out, hon. ;)



Liberty says...


Also, for the ringing of the bell part, you can't really change color of the text when you publish stuff. :P



xJade says...


I know, I meant I can't wait to read it :P

And, I wasn't trying to get you to change the color. I just changed it during the review for a pop.



Liberty says...


Ohhh. Okay. Makes sense.



Liberty says...


I'm so stupid.



xJade says...


No! I just don't make sense XD



Liberty says...


Nah, it's cool. Everyone gets jumbled with their words once in a while. Don't worry.



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JabberHut wrote a review...



HIIIII!

I heard you're entering a contest, and you sounded a little overwhelmed, so I thought why not help out with reviewing your project?!

This chapter was such a nice introduction to the MC, a couple (hopefully) key characters, and the idea of a national championships for a science test. In fact, the national championships was handled so freaking well here. It was teased to us with the envelope in the beginning, and then not long after (the end of the chapter), we learn it's for a science test. This was just developed super well, easing the reader's intrigue of the situation.

Ella and Julia seem like they're super good friends. The dialogue between them is just smooth and sharp and fun. And if Maryam is really as shy as the narration suggested, she must be super comfortable with Julia.

“Jules, why did you have to mess with her again?” Ella asked. I wasn’t expecting that as a greeting.
“What greeting is that?” I asked. Maryam giggled.
“Julia Harper Portman, I’m –” She said. I interrupted her by putting my hand up.
“This isn’t how I imagined us seeing each other after so long.” I frowned.


Using Julia's full name felt a bit forced here, but this could simply be because I don't know Ella well enough to know if this is common behavior for her to just rip off her best friend's full name. Is this normal behavior for Ella and her family to use each other's full names with people they are comfortable with? If it is, then leave it! And hopefully we'll see this behavior again later. It felt jarring though, like we were forcing Julia's full name into the draft when it's not exactly important right now.

“You know she’s always worried about you.” Maryam pointed out, shifting on one foot.
“She’s not my… mom.” I choked out the last word.
“I’m sorry. But why?” She sighed.


So I totally thought Maryam was talking about Maddie and I was like wait what who?! XD But it does reinforce the idea that Ella is worried and, therefore, is trying to keep Julia in perspective with regards to Maddie. Those two have a bad history; Ella's looking out for her friend. Maryam is trying to point that out since Julia isn't showing much gratitude for it.

I also love and hate the tease about Julia's mom. Clearly, something happened recently to her mother, and it's still a sore spot. I love it because it clues us into Julia's past. I hate it because it felt wrong, like now her friends feel bad. Particularly Maryam, who's supposed to be super shy. Why is Maryam shy? Shy people tend to be over-anxious about social interaction and, therefore, second-guess themselves in daily conversation. This would be an instance where Maryam would probably shut down at the mom comment. She probably wouldn't even have the guts to ask why.

But this could also most likely be Julia's character coming through -- she seems far more open and honest, more blunt about her emotions. She doesn't want to be reminded of her mother, so she openly says this comment to remind her friends I don't want to think about it. And Maryam could easily be used to this kind of behavior and has learned to get over her anxieties at least in front of Julia. Julia is probably the kind of person that could really try Maryam's anxiety in a social setting 'cause they seem almost polar opposite. I wonder how these two remained friends for so long! They seem oddly like they'd complete each other somehow. I look forward to getting more insight into this!

Dude, that teacher is not gonna make it with this behavior. And I LOVE that not only the narrator but also the students recognize that. I can already see potential character development for this teacher. Either she is gonna quit real soon, or she's gonna turn into a tough cookie and it's gonna be beautiful. <3

Love the attendance bit. The narration is just so wonderful. I'm certainly not going to remember most of these names and faces, but the narration is just to die for. Julia has a very good grasp on the students in her class. She knows just who to trust, who not to trust. Who to stay away from, who to pick for your group projects. She pays just enough attention to detail to get her through the day, and I like this. I like that we learn this about her. It's so strong.

This is similar to her narrative comment on how it was the teacher's fault she chose the job. Like... Julia's character shines so bright in this chapter and I love it. I already get this idea of how Julia is gonna behave, the kind of decisions she'll make. It seems like Ella will be Julia's backup, the one holding Julia back in a time of Bad Decision-Making as well as assisting her in Vengeful Fighting. Maryam is gonna be the wise words that pipe up at the right moment. Just a guess though, we'll see how true this turns out.

So my brain totally had Ella sitting behind Julia. XD WHOOPS. But it did make more sense that Ella sat next to her. You'd think, though, that she'd have seen Maddie sneak in, unless all three of them were not paying attention. Or at least hear someone sitting in that desk. Is Maddie such a jerk to Julia that she'd actually sneak into the classroom to freak Julia out? omg I don't like Maddie >:[

Such a fun start. I simply love your Julia character. I also didn't mention Grams at all, but she's such a delightful grandmother and just made me smile the whole time. She's so cute.

I look forward to reading the next chapter! I'm skipping grammar edits right now and nit-picky things like that, but I'd be happy to help read through after any and all edits, when it's time to polish it and ultimately send it in. :D

Keep writing!

Jabber, the One and Only!




Liberty says...


Thanks so much for the review! I love all your comments. I want to hire you as my personal reviewer now. I'll get to the fixing up later on when I get home. Thanks again!



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Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:11 am
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Dreamy wrote a review...



Hey Liberty!

It seems like you're already made changes to the chapters with Eternal's reviews, that's awesome because it reads really well.

The writing flowed very well. Though, there are few things that I'd like to address,

It’s the results. Of who can move on to the international championships


You can club this sentence into one. When I read "Of" it threw me off. Heh. I don't see the point of it being two different sentences. I also wondered why she didn't say anything about the results, that arrived the morning, to her friends. Seeing her being so excited, it's obvious that her friends would have caught her excitement and asked her about why she looks excited? I don't know, I thought I'd let you know since the chapter is basically about her being nervous and excited about the results.

Also, the introduction of Ella. Maryam had a character information which is: she's shy. Very shy. But Ella's introduction read sudden and we didn't have any information about her character except that she cares for Julia by the dialogue exchange. I was confused that I might have missed her from before because all of your character while being introduced had a character description, and Ella doesn't. I thought I'll bring it to your attention.

Other than that, I loved this. I loved how you described the characters as the attendance was being taken. I thought it was innovative and smart.

I also liked the transition of class lessons to Julia's mind where she worries about the results.

Overall, I loved reading it. You have done a good job.

Keep writing!

Cheers!




Liberty says...


Thank you so much for the review! I'll fix it up when I get home. :D Thanks again!



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EternalRain wrote a review...



Hi Liberty!

I usually don't do too much nitpicky stuff, but this is for a contest so I want to help you make this as polished as possible! With that, let's start off with some grammar stuff:

Her pale green eyes, my eyes are a photo-copy of hers, were dancing and her gray-colored bun that sat on her head bounced as she sat on our wooden table.


This sounds weird and is grammatically incorrect. I like how there's a little info about Julia's eye color, but it feels out of place. Maybe remove that clause and incorporate the info somewhere else?

I slowly ripped it open enjoying the sound of the blue paper against my hands.


Blue paper has a sound? Haha. This reads a little weird.

"Seems like someone has gotten less shy."


This feels out of place? We didn't really get any context that Maryam was being "not shy". I also find this to be a weird thing to say to someone..

Okay! So that's really it. Now, for general thoughts:

I really liked the introduction here. The little suspense leading up to the envelope and then Julia deciding she would just save it for later... lol! It was great seeing a little bit of her home life, too, with her grandmother.

- Parents died in a plane crash - the brief mention of that felt quite forced. I wish we could have received that in a less blunt way. I think if Julia had said "You're not my mom" and then maybe we got a deeper emotional response from Julia, that would hint at the fact that her mom must be missing from her life. And later, expand on her parents' death.

- Maddie. When Maddie is introduced, Julia is suddenly hating on her for what seems like no reason besides that she's "popular". This kind of makes Julia, in my mind, seem like a pretty hateful person. I know this definitely wasn't the intention, but it mildly comes across that way. A little bit of Maddie's rude personality comes through but I wish this was shown BEFORE we have Julia bash on her. Otherwise, it feels like girl-on-girl hate.

I like the ending quite a lot. Leaves me on a mild cliffhanger because I want to know if Julia passed the test, haha. I'm curious what the national championships test entails, but I'm sure we'll learn more about that later! I also want to see more of her Grams because she seems like a really sweet parental figure.

I would love to be tagged for future chapters! How long do you intend this to be (or how much can you submit to the contest?)? Keep writing! <3

~ EternalRain




Liberty says...


Thank you so much for the review. I definitely think everything you said is completely right. I'll tag you for sure. There's no limit to the story in the contest. Just a book. :) Again, I really appreciate that you took the time to read and review this for me! <3



EternalRain says...


Yay! I%u2019m excited to read more. That%u2019s quite the contest!



Liberty says...


:D




cron
No, it's not that you didn't succeed. You accomplished a lot, but, if you want to touch people, don't concentrate so much on rhyme and metre. Think more about what you want to say instead of how you're saying it.
— LCDR Geordi La Forge