Let’s Talk About: Six of Crows

Title: Six of Crow23437156

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: YA Fantasy

Goodreads Synopsis: Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

“We’re all someone’s monster.”

THIS BOOK. I cannot rave about this novel enough, honestly. It was everything I wanted from it and more. So. Much. More. I can hardly believe I waited this long past the hype to read this book!

I’ll admit, even though this book was getting incredible reviews I had my reservations about starting it. I’d read The Grisha Trilogy and there were things I liked about it, and things I didn’t like so much. In fact, I even did a review on it here. That, plus the fact that this book is written by multiple character’s perspectives made me wary.

But, let me tell you I had nothing to worry about.

I love stories about bad guys, criminals, and heists. Everything from Ocean’s Eleven to White Collar is my drug. And I love books that are just dark enough to be wicked cool, just smart enough to surprise me, and just funny enough to keep me engaged. Leigh Bardugo did all this perfectly.

The characters are flawless, each with their dark pasts and their motives for committing a near-impossible heist. I was never bothered by the fact that the book switched POVs because I loved everyone and everyone’s part of the story was interesting.

And the writing! I am a sucker for good writing, and man is this good writing. I was never bored, never cringing, never turning away from the page, and never not convinced of every word. She made the main character an amoral killer that you could feel sympathy for without taking away from the fact that he was cruel and deadly. Maybe she has a thing for writing bad guys because even in The Grisha Trilogy, I remember rooting for The Darkling more than a few times. And with how it ended the way it began, and the romance flowed so perfectly with the storyline, wow, just wow.

I will absolutely be picking up Crooked Kingdoms as soon as I have the chance, though I must admit I will be very, very sad for this story to end. Everyone who likes epic heists and brilliant badasses, go pick up this book. Now.

Rating: 4.5/5

Let’s Talk About: Ever the Hunted

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Title: Ever the Hunted

Author: Erin Summerill

Genre: YA Fantasy

Goodreads Synopsis: Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

“Boil him!”

(Yes, that was indeed an actual quote from the actual book.)

A friend lent me this book, and I have seriously been meaning to ask her if she actually read the book before carelessly lending it off. Excuse me for being blunt but I thoroughly did not enjoy Ever the Hunted. I was genuinely excited to start the book, with its pretty cover and generally good reviews. But I was tremendously unprepared to be so disappointed by everything from the plot to the writing to the characters.

Let’s start with the plot. It was not original. The whole I am an outcast in society because of my powers and now the authorities are chasing after me oh no story has been seriously overdone in the YA fantasy genre. And sometimes I don’t mind it being done again as long as there is something to set it apart from every other story like it. But there was absolutely no originality that went into the creation of this story. The only reason it wasn’t immediately forgettable was how bad it was.

Basically, two societies are at war. The protagonist has a tragic backstory driving her to want to know more about who she is. She falls in love with someone she’s not supposed to. She has wildly ambiguous powers that allow her to do whatever is convenient to the plot. Are you not bored already?

You can probably guess by this point that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the protagonist. But here’s the catch. Every. Single. Character. Was. Bad. The main character was obnoxious. The love interest was boring. The wise old lady was baseless. And that’s it. That’s all the characters in the whole book. As I said before: all bad.

And finally: the writing. Also bad. I had to put the book down about every five minutes just to fume because the romance was so awful. It was like if a twelve-year-old tried to write a “deep” will they-won’t they love story. Cringy, and poorly paced. I mean there was constantly a threat to the characters’ lives and all Britta could do was get distracted by how good Cohen looked, or if he ever liked her, or why he left her alone that one time, or if they would ever be together. There would be one paragraph of anguish over war and death and two lines later Cohen’s smile was making her heart flutter or whatever. It was endlessly infuriating. And then at one point they actually kiss in the pouring rain. Oh, I thought this was a book about war, death, struggle, and bounty hunters, not freaking A Cinderella Story (even though that movie is actually great). Needless to say, I did not root for these two.

One more exchange I just have to mention. Between the wise old lady (Enat) and Britta. They’re picking berries or something when suddenly Britta looks to Enat and asks if she’s her mother! This is not normal for having known the woman for what, a week? She tries to justify the action by saying they have the same hair color and same eye color. BUT, earlier in the novel it is stated that all people with magic have the same eye color, so Britta was just going by hair color?

I always feel bad for not liking books other people seem to enjoy. Maybe it’s just me, maybe there is something that I’m not quite getting. But I will not be picking up the second installment of this series when it is released. Rarely, do I ever find myself without something good to say about books I read, but this was such a case. At least the cover’s pretty.

Rating: 1/5

 

Let’s Talk About: More Happy Than Not

Title: More Happy Than Not19542841

Author: Adam Silvera

Genre: YA Contemporary

Goodreads Synopsis: In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

“The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it.”

I have…no words. Or I do. I have a million things to say and no idea how to say them or how to not make this a fifty-eight-page review. I’m pretty sure I’m still sobbing over this book. Not crying, no, there is an important distinction between crying and sobbing. And I am sobbing.

This story is truly unforgettable–no pun intended–and beautiful. I’ve been struggling lately to find good books to read, and I was never meaning to pick this one up until it was offered to me. If this book is ever offered to you, don’t pass it up. Actually no, don’t wait for it to be offered. You go down right now, and I mean right now, to your nearest bookstore or library and pick it up.

The thing about this book is that when you’re reading it you can’t possibly put it down, but it’s also sometimes hard to pick up once it is down. Maybe it’s because I’m in exam season, listening to Dear Evan Hansen, and watching Les Misérables, but it was so heartbreaking I struggled to survive. I am legitimately in the five stages of grief over this book.

This isn’t to say that it was just sad. There were countless feel-good parts, inspirational scenes, and hilarious lines. Not to mention the protagonist is a lgbtq+ person of color from a lower socioeconomic background. Are you not convinced yet?! This is one of the most human books that teaches everyone that life can sometimes beat you over the head, but happiness only be found in the darkness. The answer is never to try and change yourself or forget your past, it’s just to try every day to be more happy than not.

And, my goodness, these characters. Wonderfully written, every single one of them. I was attached to everyone, which made the heartbreak about a million times worse but it was worth it all the way. Aaron deserves so much better and even if he is fictional, I hope someone gives him the world.

Adam Silvera’s debut novel was a rollercoaster if I’ve ever seen one. I can’t wait for what he has in store next. I genuinely suggest everyone read this novel because everyone will fall in love with it.

Rating: 5/5

Dear John Green,

I wrote this letter around two or three years ago after first reading TFIOS, then ultimately all other John Green books. It never mailed it, and I had no intention of doing so. No one’s seen it, but I’m posting it now because I dug it up from the notes of my old iPad. It reminded me of my old obsession and I decided to share it with you guys. So, here we go.

Dear John Green,

I’ve been trying to come up with something great to say to you for a long time now, because nothing I could say could ever do you justice. It is quite impossible to ever express my love for you and your books, no matter how much time I have. But, FRENCH THE LLAMA I seemed to have finally come up with something I am fairly proud of. I’m not saying that this will be some sort of great work of literature or anything, but it’s the best I’ve got.

During my moments of free time in which I decide to indulge in the social media cravings I share with the rest of my generation, I tend to dwell a lot on one thought. I wonder whether the authors, actors, musicians, and celebrities I fantasize about are the people they appear to be and not psychopathic murderers who’s only care in the world are with themselves and illegal drugs. I am writing this to you, whether you know it or not because I believe you are not one of those people. I believe that if the stupid people of the world could think a bit more like you do everything would be okay. I’m sure you know this but: at any given moment of any given day someone is thinking about you and your work, someone is making tfios art, or watching your videos, or dreaming about meeting you, and that is truly wonderful. So please don’t disappoint me.

You are undeniably my favourite author. You are the reason I want to see tampon strings roll up and down with the wind and the world’s largest collection of black Santa’s. One of my favourite things about you is that you can be expected to say something like ‘pain demands to be felt’ or you can make an entire video about how giant squids make love to one another, and both scenarios would be completely normal simply because you are John Green.

First of all, I’d like to say: Mr. Green you have done a great injustice. Your books all make such truthful points about reality, society, humans, and the universe. They make me rethink everything that I used to be sure of, but they are also some of the most heart-wrenching novels I will probably ever come across. If there were words that really describe the greatness and genius of your books than I would be typing them now, but there aren’t.

It isn’t even just your books that captivate me. It’s your ideals. It’s the fact that you understand and try to make others understand that everyone is wrong at times; we as humans so often diminish the complexity of other humans; and there will come a day where all humans worked centuries for will all become nothing again, you, me, the buildings around us, the iPad I am using, and everything else will be gone.

I’ve read every single one of your YA novels, and I can surely say that I was not disappointed by any one of them. I can also promise you that I’ll read any other books that you publish. Frankly, I’d read your grocery list. I also watch your vlogs, and I’m a major Nerdfighter. Your quotes and books are what I think of throughout my every day (I hope that doesn’t come across as creepy). I would simply like you to know that you are greatly appreciated and absolutely fabulous.

And yes, I realize that the all these books are fiction and the characters cease to exist after the book ends, and it is actually kind of useless to keep grieving and pondering over characters that don’t exist and books that are only fiction, but nevertheless I do both these things all the time and there really is no possible way to stop your books from taking over my life. It’s kind of like when people say “you shouldn’t be nervous” in a nerve wracking situation. You can’t get rid of nerves simply by saying you don’t have any.

I guess it’s true that pain demands to be felt because your books caused me so much pain and I wish from the bottom of my heart that you did not kill Gus, or Alaska, or separate Margo and Q, but at the same time I’m glad you did because it made for such genius, powerful, and thought-provoking books. And the only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive. So, I forgive you. Okay, John Green?

DFTBA.

Sincerely,

A Forever Grateful Reader

Before Reading: P.S. I Still Love You

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I’ve decided to start this ‘Before Reading’ thing where I talk about a book before I read it and explain my thoughts, opinions, hopes, predictions, etc. Then after finishign it, I’ll post my actual review and compare what I anticipated to what I found. Okay, so here we go.

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Goodreads Synopsis: “Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.”

I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before a while ago, and I absolutely loved it. Finished it in one sitting and everything. But for some reason I have put off reading the next installment for a very long time.

I adore Peter, and Laura Jean is so undeniably cute with him, and I really don’t want that to be ruined with a new love interest. Let me make this clear, I am not a fan of love triangles. Although, Jenny Han did prove her ability to write them well in The Summer I Turned Pretty, so maybe it won’t be that bad.

I asked a couple of my friends what their opinions were on the sequel and I got a couple of different responses. I was told that I would love the new guy and I wouldn’t change my view on Peter in the new book. But I was also told that the new guy is one of those typical, perfect, and unrealistic characters; and also Peter did have a couple annoying parts. All these people did end up saying that they loved the book either way.

I also have hopes that this book won’t focus in too much with the two love interests that they completely neglect the family and sisterhood storylines Jenny Han perfected in the first novel. I did hear that Peter and the new love interest (I should have bothered to learn his name before writing this) are really good friends, and I love a good bromance more than most things so I hope the fact that they are romantic rivals doesn’t get in the way of that too much.

I hope this book is a nice, cute chick lit that will warm my heart and make me smile. I have no doubt that Jenny Han is an amazing author, and I genuinely have high hopes for P.S. I Still Love You. I hope to pick it up soon, especially now that I know there is a third book on the way (hopefully without yet another love interest). And you’ll be hearing my opinions soon!

My Writing Playlist

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Every day when I come home and open up my computer to start writing, I can’t begin until I have music playing, getting me in the zone, and shutting out the world. Lately there have been a couple playlists that I go to immediately on Spotify and I figured I talk about them and ask if you guys have any preferred music when you write!

1. Acoustic Covers

This one’s great because it’s relaxing without being boring and non-rhythmic. A lot of the time when I am suggested focus playlists, they are these classical instrumental songs, and truthfully I’d rather sit in silence. This playlist includes all different genres of music and is composed of 140 songs. I just put it on shuffle and get something new every time. It’s great and it’s what I’m listening to right now as I type this.

2. Moana Soundtrack

Since seeing Moana I have been totally anamoured with the movie and the music featured in it. The Rock, Lin, and Auli’i (she’s only 16 what?!) together have created one of the greatest masterpieces I have had the immense pleasure of enjoying. I honestly listen to this soundtrack at least once a day.

3. Hamilton Soundtrack

Yes, I like everyone else on this planet currently, am obsessed with Hamilton. This is more of a playlist to listen to during writing breaks though because I simply can’t resist bursting into song whenever I hear any one of the songs. Like, c’mon you expect me to work when Guns and Ships is playing in my ear? Impossible.

4. Disney Hits

I will never get enough of listening to old and new Disney songs. Even just having them in the background motivates me and warms my cold heart. Every time I listen to these songs I imagine myself in a movie montage where I reach the greatest level of happiness and success in the end.

So, there you are, the top songs I listen to while writing. I’m always looking for new music, so what playlists do you listen to non-stop?

A Little Self-Promo

Hello hello!

So, I always say I’m going to post more regularly and I never do, but trust me I’m working on it. But even a month after my last post, I am not posting any actual blog content. I’m sincerely sorry. I promise, I love this blog and I want it to keep going and growing forever and ever and ever, but I almost never have time and I’m really sorry.

But I recently found out about theprose.com! I was searching up writing contests to enter (because they’re fun and I’m broke), but I came accross the Prose challenges, and eventually the entire community of hyper-talented and super nice writers all with a common goal, to be heard. And, of course, I decided, that why not! It seemed fun, and it was totally free.

So now, I urge you to also join Prose if you’re a reader or writer, because there is really no reason not to! You can post challenges, participate in challenges for prizes, write uncensored whatever the hell you want, post and monetize your books, and all for free! Okay, I’m sorry, I literally sound like some sort of market manager for the company, but I promise this is just because I recently discovered the site and I’m genuinely in love.

Here’s my profile:

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The username is @writerjess! And I’m regularly posting my own works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry there. I will hopefully also be uploading my new novel soon! It would honestly mean the world to me if you checked out my work, because it’s what I’ve been putting my blood, sweat, and tears into so any feedback (good or bad) would be phenomenal.

Sorry for the promo! I’ll post a book review soon, I promise, I’m already started on it! (One word hint: Cleveland)

Book Trope That I HATE

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Okay, so we all know there are some clichés that appear in novels, specifically YA novels that we just can’t stand. Whether it’s the love triangle, the beautiful but slightly ‘nerdy’ protagonist who doesn’t know her own beauty, or the perfectly ordinary protagonist who turns into a super-ninja over the course of a single chapter, there are always those things that just make my eyes roll whenever I see them.

But here’s one that I’ve seen continuously and is simply unreasonable and strange. It’s when the book says something like: “The sadness was still there, but now there was something more. In the corner of his left iris, I could see a shimmer of hope.” Like, what?! Is it just me that thinks this is just not possible? A shimmer of hope? Am I just blind or something? When I look ‘into someone’s eyes’ if an expression isn’t evident on their face, I am completely lost as to what their hidden emotions are.

Even more is when the person is lying and the protagonist can somehow “notice the deceit behind their well-built façade”, like unless you are a freaking lie-detector that can sense the unsteady heart-rhythm of other people or a trained CIA spy, I’m pretty sure that someone who wants to lie well can do so without you seeing the tiny little sparkle of deception in their eyes. It’s not even like authors bother to tell this in another way. Maybe the antagonist has a tell, or breaks eye-contact, or does something that would give them away. The characters can just catch it by looking at the person’s eyes!

And okay, I’m a hypocrit, I’ve done this before to push the story forward and make the readers feel a specific emotion, but I’m not proud of it! So tell me, has this ever made your eyes roll dramatically before? Or have I just made you notice it for the first time? What YA tropes do you hate? Tell me in the comment section!

Also, just as a bit of self-promo: I’ve been posting some works I’m proud of on Prose recently. And if you’d like to check it out and maybe provide of feedback, that would be very much appreciated. Just follow this link.

 

How to Maximize Productivity

With school, writing, ACT’s, extra-curricular activities, and more it’s hard to find time for yourself and just sit down with a good book once in a while. And it’s even harder if you’re a procrastinator like me. 2016 was by far the worst academic year for me, and although my grades didn’t take a big hit, I was utterly exhausted. And sure, that’s normal for students, but if there was a way to stop finishing assignments at 3 AM and stop trying to get away with not doing assignments altogether and stop being in a permanantly bad mood because of your stress, than isn’t that much better?

Well, that’s what I decided this year. I used to be the type of person who slept ten hours a night, and ate a big breakfast every morning so it didn’t seem way out of reach to return to old habits. So far, it’s going great. A month into the new year and I’m feeling energized, motivated, and ready to take on a bunch of new challenges.

These are a couple of my tips for a productive lifestyle:

1. Drink water

Trust me, especially right when you wake up, drink a big cup of water. Not coffee, but water. This energizes you and wakes up your brain immediately. And continue to drink 2-3L of water throughout your day. Honestly, I didn’t listen to this tip for the longest time, but did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated??? Yeah, that’s ridiculous.

2. Take a shower

If you’re feeling particularly sluggish, tired, or unmotivated, just get up and go take a shower. I always feel like this just gives me a fresh start and clears my mind, making me feel so much better. Even after sitting on my laptop watching Netflix for a whole day and not wanting to do anything else, taking a nice and comfortable shower gets me in the mood to do some work.

3. Plan your tasks

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The planner I bought this year has honestly saved my life. It is just so easy to see all your tasks in one place, prioritized so you know what to do and when to do it. Even if you don’t want to invest in a physical planner (though I suggest that you do), there are apps you can download that will act as to-do lists! Plus, planning is relaxing and gives you something to do when you really can’t sit down and write an essay but you still want to feel productive.

4. Put on some music

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Now, this doesn’t actually have to be those boring ass instrumental playlists, it can be whatever music you want! Whenever I am working I need music in the background to keep me in a productive mood and pump me up, even if it’s sad music. There’s just something about it that makes time pass faster when I work. I find that without music I can maybe work for 20 minutes, but with it I can work for hours, feeling really good about myself. Personally, I listen to the ‘Acoustic Covers’ playlist on Spotify as well as various Disney songs.

5. Use incentives

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Tell yourself you’ll only read that book, or have that cookie if you finish something first. You have to be determined to work and have some self-restraint for this, but it definitely works!

6. Don’t feel bad for taking time for yourself

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Take time to de-stress and don’t feel bad about it. Do whatever works for you whether that’s watching a movie, reading a book, or going to the mall, brain breaks are just as important to your success than anything else. You won’t be able to give your best if you’re exhausted and overly-stressed. Seriously, this one is so important, don’t forget it.

7. Don’t work in your bed

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I used to do this all the time, but eventually I found that if I actually went to my desk, where light shone through the window, I would be a lot more productive. Your brain knows that your bed is the place for sleep, and if you’re lying down that’s all the more reason to just shut down and sleep while you’re trying to get something done. I know it’s comfortable, but just don’t do it! You can even make a nice study corner for yourself at your desk and if it’s super nice then you’ll be all the more willing to study there frequently.

8. Watch some motivating videos

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This actually helps so much. Find those super nice videos on YouTube of people giving study tips or having a productive lifestyle. It’ll motivate you and make you wonder why you don’t have that sort of lifestyle. Although, the danger with this one is that it’s easy to just get hooked and spend your afternoon being pumped up for work, but also watching video after video.

Alright, there are all my tips, I hope you have a productive day! If you have any advice of your own, I would love to hear it in the comment section.

My First Novel

Much like many teen readers and book bloggers, I don’t just see books as a mere hobby. I see it as a passion. I aspire to write and maybe one day influence another person just like JK Rowling, John Green, and Edgar Allen Poe have influenced me. Of course, this is a very faraway dream and my reality remains just as millions of other high school writers.

Even at a young age, I wrote simple stories alongside my friends and dreamed of owning my very own bookstore. Now I’m 15, and although that is by no means an adult age, I have been considering where writing will lead me in my future full of opportunities. Will this very blog someday be followed by millions? Will I land a journalism job at the National Geographic and travel the world? Will I write a New York Times best selling series? All doubtful, but who knows.

What I want to get at is that for the first time, I have moved on past short stories and unfinished excerpts. For the past 2 months I have written every day in hopes to finish a full-length Young Adult novel, that I eventually hope to get published. I’ve even joined NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo Youth Writers Program, gaining fantastic feedback from fellow writers.

I honestly can’t say I’ve ever dedicated myself to a project like this before, nor have I ever felt so happy doing something so challenging.

My novel is a contemporary mystery novel, which is funny to me because even though I love writing mystery, I hate reading it. Is that strange?

Anyway, here’s the cheesiest, most cliche synopsis I could muster for you guys:

Leslie Rinne and Pria Arnulf were just two inseparable high school seniors. Growing up together in a small Canadian town, they would have never expected the tragedy that was coming for them. When Pria is abducted by the killer known as The Cameraman, she has only one week to film her last goodbyes to her friends and family before she dies. And Leslie only has one week to prevent that from happening.

And also for a <1000 word excerpt:

My name is Pria Selene Arnulf, I’m 17 years old, and I have 168 hours to live.

That’s how they all started.

My name is Melissa Anne Vahn, I’m 49 years old, and I have 168 hours to live.

My name is George Kelsey Horin, I’m 87 years old, and I have 168 hours to live.

My name is Caia Lee Prescott, I’m 7 years old, and I have 168 hours to live.

Everyone was obsessed with them; they’d been going on for years. These videos released of kidnap victims, recording their last words. There had been a total of two TV shows and one Academy Award-winning film based on this killer, known as The Cameraman. Of course, the man who played The Cameraman in the movie was killed two weeks later, and his goodbye video reached a quarter of a billion views on YouTube. 

The killer went to London, New York, and Los Angeles, and took people worth mentioning, but he would also show up in random villages in South Africa and took people just shopping in the mall. Maybe the only good thing about him was that he didn’t discriminate. He fed off fear and showed people it could happen to anyone. Still, no one expected The Cameraman to show up in Bel-Bon, British Columbia, where mining and a name like ‘Bel-Bon’ were the only two things we took pride in. And surely no one expected him to take Pria Arnulf. We knew it could happen to anyone, we didn’t realize it could happen to us. 

Pria was a tall girl with red hair cropped short above her shoulders, intense dark eyes, and words that rolled off her tongue like liquid and cut through one’s soul like butter. No one doubted that she would eventually do something valuable with her life. Maybe cure cancer, or eradicate racism, or discover all the secrets of the universe through philosophy.

But, all I could think about was that she would never get any of those opportunities. Because, well, she’d be dead. I tried to start thinking about it that way, repeating the phrase over and over, getting it into my mind so when it did happen, maybe it wouldn’t hurt as much. I tried to stop thinking ‘what if’, because ‘what if’s’ didn’t exist in real life.

So, what if The Cameraman finally slipped up and the cops found him before she died?

They wouldn’t.

And what if some vigilante found him and shot him right in the head?

They wouldn’t.

And what if something came up and he had to let her go?

He wouldn’t.

And what if she escaped?

She wouldn’t.

She’d be dead.

She’d be dead.

She’d. Be. Dead.

And maybe the worst part was that everyone could see the videos. Well the worst part was that my best friend had been brutally kidnapped and threatened with death, but the fact that all the private messages, all the memories we shared, were to be publicized for the whole world to judge; the fact that even in her last moments she’d have to hold what she said and be cautious of how many people were watching; and the fact that she always hated when people saw her cry but her most vulnerable moments were what the whole world would remember her by; well that was pretty bad as well. 

I felt a steady pounding behind my eyes. My head had been hurting since the first video was released. All these thoughts of my best friend just filled up every space of my entity, crowding me wherever I went, yelling and screaming at me to do something. And the more thoughts of Pria there were, the less space there was in my body, and my heart, and my brain. They were just being squeezed, and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t cry either, or scream, or throw my fist against the wall. It was like all my tears and screams and fist-throwing abilities were just pushed down by some invisible force. 

I always knew I was always the sidekick, the follower, the quiet one. And I was okay with that, I really was. It was almost as if Pria was the moon and I was just Leslie, just another star in the sky that was lucky enough to share some of the glory.

So, what if it was me instead?

It should have been.

What do you think? Be as brutal as you want, as long as it’s honest and constructive. I am super excited to continue this journey and hopefully finish my first draft in a month of so! If you are at all interested in reading or even critiquing (I would love you forever seriously) the first 70 pages of my draft, please leave a comment and I’ll give you the link!