Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA Entry 33: Lovesense

YA Magical Realism


Seventeen-year-old Rae has spent her whole life with the ability to
smell when a relationship will sour by looking at a photograph of the
couple (rotting fish, anyone?). She uses her “lovesense” to run an
anonymous love-guru business at school. But after years of smelling
more stinky socks than roses, Rae is ready to give up on love
altogether. Until, that is, she finds an old picture in her attic that
smelling of apricots and honey. Even better? She's in the photo.

Rae seeks the identity of her mysterious playmate with the dedication
she usually reserves for the 100-meter hurdles, but as the semester
progresses, all she finds is trouble. She’s falling for her goofy
teammate, Sam—even though he’s already been crossed off her list of
possibilities. And, with just weeks until the city-county track
championships, her love-guru business is exposed. She is forced to
convince all her friends (and the administration) that she isn't a
psycho gypsy freak—or, worse, that she hasn't been taking advantage of
them for years.

Suspended from school, banned from the track championships, and
alienated from her classmates, Rae has one last opportunity to set
things right before her chance at love rots like stink on cheese.

First 150 Words:

No more reading relationships at work, I remind myself as I tap my
cross-trainers in time with the photo processor’s whir, whir, flip.
It spews three hundred prints of Mary Brighten and her fiancĂ© but I’m
not looking, especially after last week’s debacle with Mom’s friend
Barb. Trust me, being the first to know that your mom’s best friend’s
husband is leaving her for their pool boy sucks the big one.

Craning my neck I see the “Alfred’s has the Answer” digital clock:
forty-seven minutes ‘til the bride waltzes in. The whir is louder than
our cheesy elevator music, and my nose, even though I’m telling it no,
is taking in bigger and bigger breaths. I pop another Altoid into my
already crammed mouth. I don’t want to know! Think about Barb. But I’m
like a crack addict needing my next hit. And there isn’t an addiction
recovery program to save me.


  1. Um, yes.

    Yes, yes, yes!

    Me love this idea and I kinda wish I could have the whole book so I can finish it one sitting. Love the voice in your query. And your first 150 were awesome because I'd be doing the same thing. (Sniffing photos like a drug. Can you imagine people catching you do that? You've got a picture of their dad or something and you're sitting there smelling it, haha!) Though, I'd hate to pick one up and smell butt, I think this is such a funny and cool concept, and your voice has me.

    So you have my vote!

  2. Heck, I just love the title! What a great, unique idea :)

  3. This is completely unnecessary, but since I know you're either querying now, or will be very soon, you have a typo in the first paragraph of your query.

    That aside, the freaking typo doesn't even matter because this whole thing rocked my socks. FABULOUS!

  4. This concept is so odd and FUN too. I've never seen anything like it. Unique concept + great voice? I'm sold!

    You've got my vote!

  5. Read this query before and thought it was great. Now the first 150 words--still great! I hope this baby gets picked up so I can buy the book!

  6. I just love this more and more the more I see it. You totally deserve to move on! Congrats on the votes!

  7. I remember this from WriteOn - I loved it then, and I love it now. Not surprised to see you with two votes. Such a fantastic concept - I would read in a heartbeat. Nice job.

  8. I know this might get me in trouble, voting for an entry that already has three, but I vote for you, anyway! :) (In my defense, this has been on my short list from day one.) I thought the concept here was fantastic, and I especially liked how the query gave us a sense of escalating conflict over the course of the manuscript.

    As for suggestions, someone already pointed out the typo in the first query paragraph (should be "that smells of apricots and honey," of course), but I also thought the simile at the end of the query, "like stink on cheese," was one scent reference too many.

    Lastly, I don't think this is magical realism. While you've basically given us a contemporary with a fantastical/magical twist, I think magical realism requires an unexplained suspension of the laws of the universe, as in Lauren Oliver's BEFORE I FALL and Gayle Forman's IF I STAY. Rae essentially has a superpower, which, in my opinion, falls more under the category of fantasy (albeit contemporary fantasy, in this case). But that's just my opinion, and if you want to stick with the genre description, that's fine. It's your manuscript, after all.

    Good luck in the next round!

  9. I am so stoked you received all 4 votes. Totally deserve it. I know I wanted to read this whole book the minute I read your query. ;0) Congrats!


Um...big fan, BIG FAN of comments!


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