|Reviews for The Puberty Diaries|
| shika-paprika chapter 7 . 4/13/2017
Finally got around to finishing this story and it was an enjoyable read from start to finish. Personally, I think if you really enjoy writing something, there's a good chance the reader will enjoy it as well. It has crude, but somewhat witty humor throughout. I love that Tequila's grandmother appeared in the last two chapters, she's a real piece of work. While it's humorous, it also includes several relatable topics like dealing with self-esteem and body image. The one complaint I have is I would've liked to see more of Linda or at least she more of her character. Tequila claims that she likes to cause drama, not just with her but everyone. If you need ideas, I'd suggest writing a chapter picks up on that a little more. But whether you want to write it or not is up to you. Great work as always.
| PeachesForMe chapter 7 . 4/5/2017
The opening part about food and not fitting into clothes is honestly awesome lol. I know the feeling too well of knowing you like to eat but also knowing that eating lots of food will make you not fit into your clothes...the struggle. Your story highlights teen struggles really well and I enjoyed reading this!
| PeachesForMe chapter 6 . 4/5/2017
The dialogue is so realistic and that makes this story really enjoyable! Annoying phrases like "those ones" catch the reader's eye and are, well, annoying, but isn't that how a lot of pre-teens and teenagers speak like? The dialogue makes your characters more personable and life-like.
One piece of critique- you should probably drop some descriptions after quotes and just opt for trust ol' "said". "Replied" is okay but if someone is saying something in response to someone else, it's obvious that they are replying. Readers usually just skip through the "said" thing so you don't need words that are super fancy and diverse.
Will review the next chapter. Really like this!
| shika-paprika chapter 5 . 3/20/2017
Well, that was an interesting chapter to say the least. With the addition of Linda as the bratty rival to Tequila, it really feels like a teen sitcom. I like that you didn't make her overly bratty and she's not described as a typical skinny white girl. "legs so ashy that I could've smoked them", found this kinda funny. The one thing I'm confused about is this line: "By the way, your new body is goals." Reread that a couple times and I'm still not sure what it means.
Tequila's reason for using larger tampons is definitely... different. It may or may not be relatable to other readers, but it did serve a nice backstory on how she learned about sex. Great writing as always, I'll review the next chapter when I get a chance.
| shika-paprika chapter 4 . 3/20/2017
So, we have some more characters added to this. Mrs. Chelsea, while I like her as a character, I'd never want her as a teacher. It's one thing to deal with chatty students, but chatty teachers? There's nothing interesting about Mr. Ambrose as it's implied in the story. It's nice that he's more mature than Mrs. Chelsea, but I think you should've gave him some personality so he stands out from the other teachers, especially since he's appears to be youngest.
The lusty boy talk from the locker room was pretty accurate. Nothing more annoying than listening to guy go on and on about a bunch of nonsense.
| Ghost Divsion chapter 2 . 3/2/2017
I found the conversation around the kitchen table between your main character and her family very entertaining to read. In addition, I feel like you did a good job constructing what the actual views of a moderate American family are like i.e not super crazy slanted to the left or right. This helps keep the story grounded in reality and is honestly something that isn't done too much anymore. The only (minor) gripe I would have is the time skip you put in between this chapter and your last without making it obvious beforehand.
| Ghost Divsion chapter 1 . 3/2/2017
I don't normally read stories like this, mainly because I have a hard time relating to the main character, especially so in this case seeing as how I'm a dude. However, despite that difficulty I still found myself drawn into my story by your excellent use of detail. I was vividly able to imagine the incident happening as I read it, which is always a good thing. Overall, this story is pretty good and I look forward to reading more of it.
| Dan Levinson chapter 3 . 3/1/2017
I enjoyed reading the first few chapters. I'd say you've done an excellent job establishing your main character's voice, and providing an entertaining and original family dynamic that makes me want to spend more time with these characters. At times Tequila thought process seems quite mature for her age, but you dealt with that in the second chapter by clarifying that our narrator seems to be an adult Tequila who is reflecting on these moments. You might want to bring that in a little earlier. However, I was still taken aback by the "Fuck me for twenty-four hours straight" line. That seemed like a big leap for a girl just coming into her sexuality. Of course, I've never been a teenage girl, so I could be totally wrong there.
Where I think the story could really benefit is from a better sense of pacing and forward momentum. As it stands, I could easily see this working as a series of separate coming-of-age stories from different points in Tequila's life, which together form a larger narrative without having to directly lead into each other chapter by chapter. Because thus far the focus seems more on individual moments in time rather than on tying those moments together into a forward-moving story. I'm not saying that's necessarily what you should do, but it's an option.
That said, if you do want this to be a straightforward novel, it's imperative that I have some sense of what the story is about aside from Tequila's "coming of age" experiences. So far there's no real motivating factors for her character aside from her desire to fit in, and therefore no real momentum carrying me as a reader through the pages. The prose is also a bit overwritten, and I think if you tighten it up, you can improve the sense of pacing. Take this section:
"The bus always stopped right on the edge of my school's campus. I instinctively thanked the bus driver and disembarked. I proceeded to make haste towards a small strip-mall just across the street from school, for there was a Starbucks there that I routinely frequented every morning (since Mom and Dad never allowed me to drink caffeine at home except on weekends)."
There are several redundancies you can trim out. Since the bus stops at the edge of campus, you don't need to tell us the strip-mall is across the street "from school," just "across the street." "I proceeded to make haste" is another one. Rather, use simply "I proceeded," or, "I hastened." Also, "routinely frequented every morning."
Here's an example of how I'd edit this:
"The bus always stopped at the edge of campus. I thanked the driver, disembarked, and then hastened across the street to Starbucks - housed in a small strip mall - for my secret caffeine fix (my parents forbid the stuff, except on weekends)."
Of course you might execute it quite differently, and that's fine. But it could definitely use some tightening. Keep an eye out for these spots throughout, so they don't slow the pacing. Also make sure to avoid cliche phrases. There's a lot of "as usual"s, a lot of eye rolling, and many sort of generic or overused ways of describing things, like "he raised his hands in defeat" - a phrase we've all probably read a thousand times. Challenge yourself to find new ways to describe these things, or to create unique behavior that provides real characterization. GG doesn't entirely make sense as a character, because you describe him as both a bully, and self-deprecating, and a wuss, but we don't see any self-deprecation or complexity. He just comes off as a pretty boilerplate jerky teenager.
And as for grandma, I was surprised to hear her use such a distinctly "down home" American phrase like, "Anywho," when I had initially assumed her to be a first generation immigrant. Not that she can't, but it's so out of place that if she does use it, maybe you can use it as a characterization beat - that she loves using American-sounding phrases.
The last thing I'd mention is that the missing summer months left me confused. Why hasn't Tequila seen her friends all summer? Why hasn't she noticed her breasts growing at all? I think there's an easy fix, however. If you throw in a line about being on vacation, perhaps, it would explain both points - why she hasn't seen her friends, and why having her bedroom view obstructed by her growing bust would seem so sudden and unexpected.
All in all this is some solid work, and I encourage you to keep going with it. I hope my comments can prove helpful in some way.
| shika-paprika chapter 3 . 2/21/2017
Ah, puberty. A "fun" process that every adolescent goes through. And I'd say you did a pretty good job depicting it so far, from dealing with periods to hormones. Interesting group of characters. You got Tequila as the sassy, but awkward main character, it was fun reading her narration. In any first person story, it's important to have the narrator's personality shine as they're telling it. You have the mom who wants what's best for her daughter, but her reasoning is questionable, especially when they were discussing birth control. I like her grandmother, hoping to see more of her later on. You have Tequila's quirky friends and GG as the typical teen douche. Very good imagery, especially in the first character when you're describing Tequila's awkward discovery of her first period, and I like the humor in this.