Thursday, February 02, 2012

Face-Lift 987

Guess the Plot

Toni Valentine's Rent-a-Boy Service

1. Need the lawn mowed? Dog crap collected? Garage cleaned? Stuck with her dead sister's five sons, Toni decides she might as well make use of them.

2. At the Winston Academy for Girls, the demand for dependable male meat is high and Toni Valentine is ready to provide the supply. Plus, running her own successful business pretty much guarantees an "A" in economics.

3. Toni has the perfect moneymaking idea: renting strapping young men out for menial tasks like lawn care, snow shovelling, and fulfilling the prom dreams of ugly girls. But there are a few kinks in the Redbox-like kiosks she designed. For starters, she probably should have drilled some air holes.

4. Shelley thought renting boys out to girls who could never score a date a good way to boost her allowance. Then the drug companies started paying her big bucks for healthy young guinea pigs. Will the boys fight back, or is therapeutic marijuana just too attractive?

5. Grant told Leslie that he was a single dad, raising Brian after his wife died. Only problem: he's never been married and has no kids. Solution: Toni Valentine's Rent-A-Boy! When Leslie meets his wonderful 'son', she's sure to hop in the sack.

6. Tommy Valentine and his buddies are terrific at mowing and raking, but none of them has a lick of business sense. When Bobby's meddling sister Toni takes over their marketing, her ambiguous blurb on Craigslist lands them jobs they never imagined.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Meet Tonya Valentine, tomboy to the core. Toni understands boys, seeing as she practically is one, choosing burp competitions over shopping and video games over manicures. [Hey, you don't have to be a tomboy to prefer video games to manicures, not when they're making video games for girls these days. For instance, this site has such games as Laundry Day, Belle's Beauty Boutique, and Super Shopping.] and So when she's forced to attend an all-girls school her senior year, she's not exactly peeing her basketball shorts from excitement. [Peeing from excitement is considered a girly thing. If you want to convey her tomboyness, it should be she doesn't exactly have a hard-on from excitement.]

At least she's still got her guys on the weekends, but Toni feels like her absence during the week is pushing her out of the group. When she stumbles across the broken-hearted Emma Elizabeth Swanson III crying in the stairwell at her new school, freshly dumped by her boyfriend, Toni figures out a way to merge her old life with her new one. She offers up Micah, her best friend, as a fake date to make Emma's ex-boyfriend jealous. [That plan will never work.]

When the plan works, [Okay, I was wrong. For once.] Toni is inspired to start up a Rent-a-Boy service at her new school. Need a fake date? Rent a boy. Need a guy to piss off the parents? Rent a boy. [Need a male to take your math and science tests? Rent a boy.] [Ba dum ching.] In a place like the Winston Academy for Girls, the demand for dependable male meat is high and Toni Valentine is ready to provide the supply, with a few rules of course, number one being: 1) No sex stuff. NOT THAT KIND OF SERVICE! [If you promote your service with phrases like "depend- able male meat," your customers are going to accuse you of false advertising if they don't get sex stuff.]

When Micah turns into the most popular product, [I'm deeply offended by your calling boys "meat" and "products." Boys may be insensitive clods, but they're people.] Toni discovers she may have feelings for him. Too bad he's got his eye on Emma. Turns out, Toni doesn't understand boys at all. Not one bit.

Toni Valentine's Rent-a-Boy Service is a contemporary YA novel complete at 56,000 words. Thank you again for your time and consideration!



If your customers want sex stuff, can you really expect your high school-boy employees to deny them?

I certainly hope Micah ends up with sweet Emma, and not with that mercenary, Toni. Otherwise I'll be throwing the book against the wall.

It sounds like it would be a cute story, possibly to a somewhat younger crowd than high school upperclassmen.

It's not clear how Toni's business solves her problem of feeling left out on weekdays, as she wouldn't be going along on the fake dates. In fact, most of the girls would want to rent boys on the weekend, which would further reduce the time Toni gets to spend with her boy-friends.


Anonymous said...

Dear EE:

You're offended by boys being called "meat" and "product" yet you suggest girls need boys to take math and science tests? Tsk tsk.

Science and math-loving Girl

Anonymous said...

Good lord, have we reached the day when "peed her shorts" is an acceptable corruption of "peed in her shorts"? Oh, the degradation.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

This could be cute if it's humorous. Trouble is, it sounds middle-grades. Either that, or, if it's YA, you're going to have to deal with the sex stuff. Otherwise, as EE pointed out, it strains credulity.

I'm also not getting a feel for the main character. She sounds too feminine for a "tomboy". And that's such an old-fashioned term. Back in the day, it tended to mean a girl who preferred to play real games instead of burping baby dolls. Thus "tomboy" meant pretty much nine girls out of ten, and the tenth was probably having her arm twisted.

(To forestall the dread Anonymous: Okay, maybe you were the tenth girl, and you weren't having your arm twisted! I don't know what goes on behind closed doors.)

Anonymous said...

The peed shorts imagery = yucky. Also, that adds to my uncertainty whether this book will really be considered appropriate for youth by the adults who generally buy books for them. The query makes me fear the text is full of sex-related issues that aren't handled very gracefully.

none said...

I assumed Micah was Tonya in disguise and this was a comedy of errors. My mistake.

Ech, yeah, I have the same problems EE has with some of the language, tbh. In fact there are a lot of what appear to be double entendres here.

Also, if Tonya is missing hanging out with these boys, shouldn't she be making arrangements to hang out with them, rather than for other people to hang out with them?

150 said...

I assumed Micah was Tonya in disguise

Would read!

Lisa Aldin said...

Author speaking here. Hey. I was trying to be funny with the languange here. Clearly it back-fired.

Yes, it's supposed to be a comedy. And Toni's guy friends start pushing her out the group completely so she starts the business as an excuse to talk to them more and also to help Micah get money for college. Toni's trying to merge her old life (the boys) with her new one (the girls).

I'm also starting to wonder if this would work better cleaned-up as a middle-grade book...

I was thinking of this as a PG-13 rated Risky Business.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Btw, how does a girl get to be a III? I've known boy III's and even a boy IV, and yes, it sounds pretentious as hell, but the III's and the IV I've known have all been, well, poor.

Presumably the rich, private school types are well aware that in traditional, Emily Post pretentious usage, you were supposed to move up in rank as the older generations dropped off-- so that even in this day of longer life spans few boys would remain IV's for long.

(Unless you are a king or queen, in which case you keep your Roman numeral for the ages. Louis XIV, Elizabeth II.)

"Jr." was used in colonial times for girls who had their mother's names (the most famous being Ann Putnam Jr. of Salem Witch Trial notoriety) but it's no longer used, and therefore "III" wouldn't be either.

Put me down as number IV in being grossed out by the ref to peeing her pants. Assume that XIIs, if not Cs, of agents will feel the same. And get that capital "S" off of "so".

Khazar-khum said...

If Micah is her friend, why doesn't she keep him for herself? Or does she not realize how she feels until she sees him with sticky-sweet Emma?

Heather Marsten said...

Your cartoon made me laugh - the blond wig and lipstick - excellent with those glasses.

This may be a bit mature for YA- not sure the male for hire thing would work and in a prep school, if one girl rents a guy, after the first time he is rented out, wouldn't the other girls realize that this guy is a rental and tease the renter for her inability to get a "real" date? From what I gather, girls can be rather nasty to each other.

Dave Fragments said...

Wow is this going to point out a gender preference. I don't find the "peed her pants" reference offensive at all. In fact, it might be an asset among the young reading groups that snicker at silliness like that. So don't beat me up over that.

She's a Tomboy and wants to spend more time with the guys so she creates a dating service to fulfill the demands of the "girly" girls who want status dates. In doing so, she learns a valuable lesson about boys and girls.

And it's a teen romance with lots of teen angst and poking fun at traditional things like dates and proms and dances and all that.

I think the query is a bit too broad but not too humorous. This is going to be good as a light and breezy book. At least that's the impression I get. Tighten the query. I like the concept.

Jo-Ann said...

I second the comments made already, particularly about the MG feel to it (or, to use that dreaded term, tween). A story about a teen male escort service might be offensive to some - and therefore turn it into a bestseller. Does the term "rent boy" mean the same in the US as it does in Britain?

BTW, EE, you look faaaabulous in drag, darling. More, please!

And I'm not going to even dignify the remark about using a boy to take math/sci tests with a response.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Dave, as every children's book writer eventually learns to his or her sorrow, what matters is not what kids like but what adults like.

Principally female adults, since they're overwhelmingly the decision makers at every step from acquiring the manuscripts to buying the books.