Here is my response to ABNA Expert Reviewer #2. While he wasn't all negative, he was pretty insulting. And I say "he" rather than "she" because I really get the feeling that a guy wrote this. I don't know why. The few males who have read my book loved it...
ABNA Expert Reviewer
What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?Writing is good and solid. The attempt to portray the thinking and logic of an American teenage is quite good. Dialogue flows well and the idea of introducing Turkish culture through the book should be a good hook.
Thank you. I get the feeling that you might think that I'm not American...
What aspect needs the most work?The beginning sequence at the Izmir airport: The political agenda of the author comes through too easily. did Rachel really lack the intelligence or initiative to pick up a guidebook with pictures? Or to have the confidence in dressing comfortably as opposed to the over dressed, overly made up look of the women at the airport? And where are her parents? no sobbing goodbyes or missing her parents, or being confused by plane transfers for Rachel?
The conversation between her and hannah is good but stretches out a bit too long.
At 17 it seems curious that neither of the girls has a love interest.
Rachel seems a bit too average - not exceptional at schoolwork, not an ambitious girl who is planning for college, not interested in clothes, makeup or researching a place she will be spending a month in. The reader needs to throw their emotions and self into Rachel if she is their way of seeing Turkey. If she seems too ditzy or boring it will be hard to identify with her.
1. My POLITICAL agenda!!???? I do have opinions about politics and political opinions. In case you want to know, I started a PhD in political science. However, in spite of advice to raise politically-charged issues in this book, I very intentionally did NOT do so because there are too many books and movies with political agendas. So there.
2. Even if Rachel had bought a guidebook with pictures, she wouldn't have truly known what to expect.
3. And the confidence to dress comfortably? First of all, Rachel is 17. She cares what she looks like and cares what people think of her. She wants to fit in. How dare you insult her intelligence? It is BECAUSE she is intelligent that she notices that her outfit doesn't seem appropriate for the situation. Americans who live outside of the United States (as well as people who aren't Americans to begin with) can pick out American travelers in airports worldwide. It's not because of their American accents. It's because Americans tend to wear sweatpants or jeans, flip-flops or running shoes, and t-shirts. And they also typically walk while eating and while holding disposable coffee cups. Of course not all Americans wear this "uniform," but the ones who do stick out.
4. Sobbing goodbyes? Are 17-year-olds about to go on a foreign exchange program for a month all supposed to sob at the airport? Sorry, I didn't know that.
What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?Interesting. The idea of introducing Turkey though the eyes of a naive but seemingly not too bright american teenager could be a good one if written well.
However, I think the sequence at the airport needs some work to make the girl not seem quite so ignorant of a culture she has seemingly researched online.
Hahahahahaha!!!! Interesting. Such an ambivalent word. I find it a bit insulting that you say that Rachel's not too bright, given that you've only just met her. She is not particularly ambitious and doesn't know what she wants out of life, but I imagine that is not unusual for a 17-year-old. And do you really think you can learn everything you need to know about a culture by researching it online? Then why bother traveling?