Friday, May 25, 2012

EVER by Jessa Russo (Plot Summary + First 500)

PLOT SUMMARY: 


Torn between loving two boys, seventeen-year-old Ever Van Ruysdael has no idea that more than just her heart is on the line. Until she discovers a countdown for her soul.

Ever’s love life has been in purgatory since the car accident that took the life of her best friend – and secret crush – Frankie, but spared hers. For the past two years, she’s had to wake up every day to Frankie’s ghost, making it impossible to mourn him or move forward with her life. But that all changes when Toby moves in next door. His honest interest in Ever makes her feel like the only girl in the world, and his relaxed confidence is hard to resist.  Faced with choosing between an exciting new relationship with Toby, or the deep, comfortable love she feels for Frankie, Ever must make a decision. 

When an ex-girlfriend enters the picture, hell-bent on getting Toby back, Ever learns that losing her heart is the least of her worries. She’s not only put her very own soul in danger, but Frankie’s soul as well. 

EVER is a YA romance with a ghostly twist, complete at 90,000 words. 


FIRST 500: 

I've lived next door to Frankie my entire life. We played together when we were little. He pulled my pigtails. I tattled; he teased. 
He's the best friend I've ever had.
I've been in love with him as long as I can remember. 
He's been dead for two years. 
Today is the second anniversary of his death. Its been exactly seven-hundred and thirty days since the car accident that took his life, and didn'ttake mine. Seven-hundred and thirty days since the only guy I've ever loved died in my arms, followed me home from the hospital, and never left my house again.
I'm in love with a ghost who has absolutely no idea I feel this way, and worse - probably still sees me like an annoying kid sister. No. Big. Deal.  
I mean, sure, it took some getting used to, but eventually I had to accept the fact that he's here for good. There's no mourning him and there's no moving on with my life. 
Two years. Two years since my life as a normal teenager went right out the window. Two years since Frankie became nearly invisible. 
Looking at him now, leaning up against the antique roll-top desk my mom insists is proper living-room decor, he's beautiful, even in death.
I watched him die. I held onto him as the last breath left his body. I cried and screamed, but no one came in time.
No one heard me. No one even knew we’d swerved off the road until an hour or so later when I pulled myself from the overturned Chevy, and crawled to the top of the hill. 
Frankie was by my side the entire time. My hands and knees were bloodied and filthy from the climb. He kept telling me to keep going when all I wanted to do was close my eyes. At the time, I’d convinced myself he was a figment of my traumatized mind. I knew his body remained pinned under the steering column. I knew he couldn't possibly be walking with me, urging me to survive. I figured that I’d just simply been unable to let him go yet. Maybe I just needed time.
Turns out he couldn’t let me go either.
I can’t tell you what it was like. I can’t tell you in words that will properly justify the earth shattering feeling of losing him … or the shock of finding out he was still here. There are no words.
I haven’t touched him since he died. We haven’t hugged. He hasn’t held me. I see him every day. I wake up in the same house with him every morning. But still, I can’t touch him. And he can’t touch me.
I know it sounds crazy, talking about my dead best friend like he’s still here.
But he is. And I’m not the only one who can see him.
When I look at him now, two years later, I feel a sense of longing that I just can’t shake. 


Thanks sooooo much to Sharon Bayliss, Krystal Wade, and Curiosity Quills for this wonderful contest! Good luck to everyone who has entered!







39 comments:

  1. Sounds intriguing... :D

    Having read the whole thing, I know how addicting EVER is:) Good luck!

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    1. Aww, shucks. I'm sure it helps that you think I'm awesome already. ;-) Heehee!

      *crit partners FTW*

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    1. Thank you Laura! I'm rooting for you to be snatched up by an agent SOON!

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  3. Interesting beginning. Love the image of him urging her on as she crawls away from the wreck.

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  4. "I've lived next door to Frankie my entire life. We played together when we were little. He pulled my pigtails. I tattled; he teased.
    He's the best friend I've ever had.
    I've been in love with him as long as I can remember.
    He's been dead for two years."

    Love the opening, very powerful. I do love a good ghost story! My novel is ghostly as well.

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    1. Awesome! I'm excited to go check yours out!!! Good luck in the contest!

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  5. Nice beginning. Sets a solemn tone for the reader. Best of luck on the contest.

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    1. Thank you! It switches from solemn to more upbeat pretty much right away, but this is definitely a very melancholy moment for the MC. She's at a bit of a turning point - which you'll learn about later on in the story. :-) Good luck to you as well!

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  6. I really love your opening and the premise! When it comes to paranormal elements, ghosts have always been my favorite by a mile.

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  7. ahh! LOVE! I really don't have any CC to offer on this. But I want to read the book!

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    1. That's so awesome to hear! Thank you, Rebekah!

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  8. Wow, you had me with that opening paragraph. LOVE it! Good luck in the contest!

    Nice to meet you + following along :)

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    1. Thanks Jess!!! That's so great to hear! Good luck to you as well!

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  9. I want to read this book. Why is there a countdown on her soul? And why/how did she put her soul in danger? I want to read a story about a ghost because I never read one before (I know, I hear the sighs) and this one sounds interesting. The way the ghost came to be and the whole situation has me wanting to know if Frankie ever learns how much Ever really loved him. Tell me, does he know??? LOL! Best wishes!

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    1. Oh my gosh, your comment has been my favorite one yet! I was cracking up as I was reading it, and the tension was building! LOL! Frankie doesn't know - yet. But the twist of that story, is that Ever doesn't know how Frankie feels either. Hint hint. ;-)

      I haven't read many ghost stories either, believe it or not. In fact, aside from anything in my youth - RL Stine, Christopher Pike, etc - I can't think of any YA ghost stories at all. I read one MG ghost story, called RUINED. Actually, its on Goodreads as YA, but I felt it was definitely YOUNGER YA. Here's a link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6261081-ruined It was an easy, quick read, and I really enjoyed it.

      I tend to gravitate more towards the supernatural (vamps, shapeshifters, etc). So its kind of funny that my first book is a ghost story. They've just always intrigued me. I'm a huge fan of haunted houses, cemeteries, stuff like that.

      Anyway, thank you for the great comment! :-)

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    2. HaHa funny. Paranormal is not my most favorite, but my first try for upper young adult is paranormal. It's nice to know I have someone walking this road with me:)

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  10. I was hooked with your first 500 words. I love her name too :) Awesome, awesome work. I have no critique for you :)

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    1. Thank you, Jade! that's awesome to hear! I love her name as well - its just something I've had in my head for a really long time. I probably should have named my daughter Ever or something! ;-)

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  11. Nice to bump into you again! I read this for the Writer's Voice contest. Your query is different? Did you always have that opening line? Either way I loved it! I love the opening lines. I also love this paragraph: "I'm in love with a ghost who has absolutely no idea I feel this way, and worse - probably still sees me like an annoying kid sister. No. Big. Deal." Good luck to you in the contest!!

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    1. Thank you, Kimberley! Yes, I think my query might have changed a bit - I'm always looking for the magical * elusive* combination of words that will get me noticed. (Haha, um, hasn't happened yet. lol!)

      Good luck to you in the contest as well!

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  12. Hello Jessa,

    Thanks for entering the contest! It sounds like a cool premise, I would encourage you to remove or change the first lines of your query. "Torn between loving two boys, seventeen-year-old Ever Van Ruysdael has no idea that more than just her heart is on the line. Until she discovers a countdown for her soul." The love triangle angle is not fresh enough to warrant being the hook, and all of this is pretty vague. I like just starting with the meat of it in the next paragraph. There seemed to be quite a lot of "telling" in the first 500. It was all intriguing stuff, but I would liked a more dynamic scene instead of her just telling her what happened.

    Good luck!

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    1. Thank you for your critiques Sharon! I appreciate them! I will be working on the things you pointed out in the next few days. Thanks again for this awesome opportunity!

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  13. Sharon makes great points, but your story is definitely intriguing. :-)

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    1. Thank you Krystal! I'll be polishing up my query and first 500 in the next few days. I love the opportunity for peer critique! Thanks so much for this great contest!

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  14. I also agree with Sharon's points and I picked up a small typo:
    screamed,, but no

    Your entry sounds intriguing and I just love the opening, great catch!

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    1. GAH! A typo! *hangs head in shame*

      Thank you for catching that! I fixed it right away. :-)

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  15. I really like your premise, it's very hauntingly sad and sweet right from the beginning. I also agree that it's a lot of telling, but it didn't really bother me too much. I definitely found myself being pulled in. Good luck with the contest and I'm now a follower!

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    1. Thank you so much! It's a very melancholy moment for Ever, and somewhat of a turning point. She's been pining for him for so long, but she's starting to really want something "normal."

      Good luck yo you as well!

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  16. I really like this premise! I don't have any quibbles with the query, although I think Sharon's thoughts on it are good ones. :)

    Good luck!

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    1. Thank you, Larissa! I'm working on the suggestions Sharon made, so hopefully it will be perfect when I'm finished with it! :-)

      Good luck to you as well!

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  17. Oooh, really cool!
    If you take the line "He's been dead for two years." out, the next line about the anniversary of his death might impact the reader more (since they both say the same thing, you don't really need both).
    Sounds like a really great read! Good luck :)

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    1. Thank you Hope! I will try that! It hadn't even occurred to me! :-)

      Good luck to you as well!

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  18. I love that opening. It really brings me in. I also like the image of his ghost encouraging her to survive. But I do agree that you may have gone on with that theme just a little long.

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    1. Thank you for the feedback, Meredith! I seem to be a bit wordy, I guess. Of course, I don't realize that until someone else points it out unfortunately! ;-) But that's why these contests are so great! I'm working on revisions now, so hopefully it will be better when I'm done.

      Good luck in the contest!

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  19. For the query - I think the premise is awesome. Personally, I would combine the two sentence hook into one sentence.

    For the excerpt - awesome. Especially the first several lines. Love it. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you Nicole! Good luck to you as well!!

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