View Full Version : Love YA? Looking for a beta reader for a YA Contemp Romance

05-26-2011, 04:04 AM

I am looking for a beta reader for my YA Contemporary Romance, titled Aerial Mystique. It’s currently 52,000 words.

I am more than willing to do a swap and read/crit something for you too. I am looking for impressions/thoughts on the story, plot, characters and anything else that stands out to you. I would prefer readers of the YA genre.

It’s about a failed ballerina who runs away and joins the circus and falls for a knife-thrower with a troubled past.

Sample of work (to see what you’d be getting yourself into):

I took the paperwork and sat in a holding room with cold metal folding chairs and about a half dozen other people. Some began stretching and practicing their routines in the cramped room. But I sat in my chair, hunched over working my way through the questions. I had most of what they were looking for, a free hand stand for more than ten seconds, one-hundred and eighty degree splits, a backbend from standing. A line at the bottom in bold print caught my attention, “Can you do four shows a day and keep smiling, even when you’re sick, injured or tired?” I checked yes, based on personal experience. A tall, thin woman came in and collected the paperwork. She handed it to a bald man standing next to her. He wore a button down shirt with a plaid bow tie.

“Welcome. I am Del, the artistic director for Aerial Mystique,” he said. “You.” He pointed at me. “Do your parents know you’re here?”

“I’m eighteen,” I said instead of answering his question. He nodded. I knew I looked younger. My eyes were too big, giving me an innocent look and the pale pink leotard didn’t help.

One by one, people were called for their auditions. I still had no idea what I was doing here and sat glued to my chair. It would be rude to leave now, they already had my application. I heard my name and almost jumped. I stood quickly and followed the thin, almost regal woman into a large gymnasium. She and Del sat at a folding table with the applications spread in front of them.

“Okay, let’s see what you can do,” he said.

I stood awkwardly in front of them, unsure what to do. I considered doing a pirouette, but it seemed too cliché. I decided to perform the act I had been rehearsing for Sleeping Beauty, proving that I truly had no other marketable skills. I knew this wasn’t what he was looking for, especially with the eccentric group around me, but couldn’t muster up the energy to care. It wasn’t like I was actually planning on getting hired and joining the circus.

I went to center stage and lowered my head. I could feel their eyes studying me, sensing their patience was just about up. I lifted my arms above my head, curving my wrists and pointed my toes out to the sides. I carefully raised one leg and brought it all the way up so my foot was up next to my head. At least I had stretched that morning. I swung my leg down quickly and as soon as my foot touched the ground, I leapt off and nimbly turned my body as I soared through the air.

“Stop,” I heard Del say. My heart fell and I stopped mid step. A lump rose up in my throat. I guessed there was only so much rejection I could take in one day. I walked back to center stage and stood in front of him. He squinted at me. “I have an idea.” He leaned over and whispered something to the lady next to him. She pursed her lips and nodded. I figured I was cut and was about ready to walk out. “Gabriel,” he said. I looked around, wondering who he was talking to. “Gab-riel,” he repeated in a clear, loud voice.

A guy who looked a few years older than me sat on the floor in the corner. He lifted his head from a tattered copy of Wuthering Heights. He set the book down and picked up a half dozen knives that were sitting beside him. My heart rate picked up. His pale blue eyes pierced into me like I was his target. He had black hair and pale skin, but my eyes were focused on the knives in his hands that he handled with ease. He walked straight towards me and I instinctively took a step back. Was I so bad that Del wanted to kill me for sport?

I felt someone wheel a large wooden frame behind me, about the size of a door. Gabriel stopped about twenty feet from me and his eyes bored into mine. They were blank and empty like there was nothing there. I looked at Del, trying to understand what he intended.

“Gabriel’s very good with knives,” he said answering my unspoken question. One side of his mouth tilted up. “You can be the eye candy.” If he meant for me to stand here and be impaled by Gabriel, who was clearly a little off, he was crazy.

“I– ” I began to stammer. Gabriel spoke for the first time.

“Be very still,” he said. His voice was soft and deep at the same time.

I felt someone position me so that my back was up against the wood. I pressed my hands into it to keep from shaking. Gabriel stared intently with a possessed look in his eyes. He held all the knives but one in his left hand, and with his right, he raised the knife overhead and swung it sharply, releasing it straight at me. I watched it move in slow motion end over end and though he warned me to stay still, I still flinched a little when it struck loudly next to my head. My pulse thundered in my ears. He smirked and worked quickly, transferring each knife from his left hand to his right as he threw them straight at me. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction flinching or reacting in any way, so I remained completely still as each knife landed, perfectly contouring the shape of my body. Some of them were only inches from me.

“Beautiful,” Del roared, clapping loudly. “Such courage,” he said to me. I had forgotten to breathe while Gabriel held me in his sights. I stepped away from the board. “Most people duck or scream their first time with Gabriel. This could work,” he said nodding to himself.

“I’m really not here to become a human pin cushion,” I said approaching his table.

“Nonsense,” he waved me away. “Gabriel rarely hits anyone. You can start with this, and we’ll try to find your thing. You’re clearly talented, but not really our style. Not yet. I have a feeling about you though.” And with that, he stood and left.

The woman ushered me to follow her where we would discuss my employment. I looked behind me to see that Gabriel was already back to his book.