It's time for some good news on the writing front, and here it is, from Dave King, one of the best editors in the entire world!
WHAT WORKS: Oh, nearly everything, but perhaps this sums it up best: I’m a middle-aged editor living in the Massachusetts countryside, where most of my social life takes place at either the library, the local hardware store, or the town dump. (Actually, the Ashfield town dump is probably not what you’d imagine.) I was still drawn in by the coming-of-age story of a young woman who moves among the upper echelons of Manhattan’s monied wastrels.
Of course, she moves in other circles as well, and one of the things that drew me in was your near-perfect pitch for character creation. Becks, the Ruffians, Connor and Kay, Alfred, even minor characters like Stewart and Blaine are all beautifully, clearly developed. And likable, which is difficult to do with the more shallow, self-centered characters like Becks or Kyle. (You do a very good poor little rich girl.) The relationship between A. and her mother – especially the scene on the way home after A. hits the deer – was beautifully done, as was the love scene between A. and Connor or the scene between A. and Kay in the amusement park.
Then there’s A. herself. From the start, you’ve captured (at least as far as this middle-aged, Massachusetts editor can tell) the fear, the lost hopelessness, the confusion of a young girl’s coming of age. You’ve also resisted the temptation to simply spin generic banalities about growing up and becoming an individual. The longstanding tension between A. and her mother, the way their relationship revolves around money, the secrets her mother has been harboring all of her life, all give concreteness and reality to A.’s transition into maturity.
There are a lot of little strengths as well. You manage your plot exceptionally well for someone writing such a character-driven story. Both the news (SPOILERS THAT I'VE TAKEN OUT!) well-crafted surprises, and you keep the tension up until the end. Your descriptions are vivid and visceral, with some very nicely turned phrases (“Beck’s father was a boldfaced name,” for instance). Your dialogue is crisp and feels authentic.
In short, you have written a remarkably strong novel.
Yaaaay! No rest for the wicked, am still working on many projects. But this gets me ever-closer getting an agent. Fingers crossed!