The Beta Club: Meadowlark (YA) - Come Critique!


It's Beta Club Tuesday!  YA on the agenda today.  Read on and let the author know what you think!  Remember, this will be the only Beta Club of the week, so give it all you got.  ;)

For newbies:  If you haven't been here on beta club day yet, don't be afraid to jump in with your comments.  All feedback is welcome as long as it's constructive.  And if anyone has an itch to be critiqued, the rules for submitting to the Beta Club are under the "Free Critiques" heading at the top of the page.


Alright, please read through the author's excerpt, then provide your feedback in the comments.  My detailed critique is below. 

Author: Georgia Cranston (Check her out here.)
Title: Meadowlark
Genre: YA


I hear her voice before I see her.  A slow mournful song, thick with loss and longing. 
I put down the trap I'm setting, lifting my head towards the sound coming from further up the path.  The notes are strong, pleading; They call to me.  I move quickly through the tree's and up the trail, her voice pulling me along on invisible threads until I am standing at the edge of a wash looking down.
She's kneeling in the mud and snow at the edge of the river below me, her hands grasped tightly to the hand of a girl laying beside her. 
"Lark."  I say to myself, her name caught in my throat.  I've seen her at the market with her mother and sister.  Her mother sells herbs and medicines while Lark and her sister sing for coins.  I've only ever spoken to her one time, a mumbled apology for bumping into her.  She'd just smiled her forgiveness and we both moved on.  I always wished I had said more, I've imagined a thousand conversations...  I just never had the courage.
My legs move, before I can even think.  I climb down off the trail into the wash, being careful where I step.  The rocks and dirt have become loose this spring with the melting snow.
I hadn't thought she'd noticed as I came up behind her, but just as I approach she quiets her singing and turns to look at me over her shoulder.  Her eyes are a storm.  Grey and green, with flecks of gold, staring at me between strands of yellow hair. 
She turns her gaze back to the hand she's holding. Her sister Wren, I realize.  The girl is dead.  Her leg twisted at an unnatural angle, her eyes staring into nothing.  Blood spread out beneath her head, a steaming crimson pool carving little canyons into the snow. 
"She tripped."  Lark looks towards the trail high above us.  "She tripped and fell over the edge.  I was singing for her...  Wren loves when I sing, I thought if she could just hear me..."  Her voice breaks.
I kneel beside Lark in the mud, gathering her into my arms, this girl I barely know.  She blinks, a tear slowly trails down her cheek.  And I just sit.  Staring.  Frozen;  Not sure what to do, because nothing I can do would ever make this right .   Her shoulders drop, and she turns to press her face into my chest letting her sister's hand go.  Her tears come quickly then, soaking into my jacket.  Her body heaves and shakes with each sob.  Her knuckles are clenched, white, grasping onto my shirt.  I wish I could shield her from her pain but all I can do is whisper her name into her hair.  

Below is my detailed critique.  Please select FULL SCREEN to view, then once the document is open RIGHT CLICK to ZOOM and view the comments.

Alright, so what do you think?  Are you hooked?  What did the author do well?  What things could  be improved?  Agree or disagree with my crit?

Thanks ahead of time to all of you who comment and thanks to the author for volunteering!



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