THE INVISIBLE SOUNDS, YA Contemporary

Name: Gerardo Delgadillo
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Title: THE INVISIBLE SOUNDS
Word Count: 81,000 words
Themes: Deafness
 

35-Word Pitch: After a freak accident leaves her deaf, sixteen-year-old Alex must give up mixing music, or re-learn how to DJ without sounds.
 

First 500 words:

Perfection. I must put up a perfect mix.

As Ma drives me in her beat-up Chevy to the junior competition that could kick off my DJ career, I can’t stop thinking about the techno samples and their order and the transitions.

She leans forward and grips the wheel harder, her long jet-black hair cascading over her shoulders. “¿Estás bien, Alejandra?

“Yeah, I’m okay.” I want her to call me Alex like everybody else, but she doesn’t like it.

She peers at me and frowns. “Español, Alejandra.

Sí, Ma. Estoy bien.”

Ma insists I speak Español because “I’ll forget my Spanish.” Since we moved to Los Angeles five years ago, I practice it every single day, video-calling with my friends back in Mexico. And they tell me I speak like a gringa—Chicano accent and all, but they’re just messing with me.

Ma faces me as the car stops at a red light. “¿Segura?” She asks if I’m sure I’m okay.

I open my mouth but don’t dare say a word because it took a big effort to convince her to drive me across the city.

She cocks her head. “Responde.

Estoy segura,” I say.

Locking her brown eyes on mine for a moment, she sighs and turns her attention to the road.

When the car moves, I power down my window and let the fresh night air fill my lungs. A few people stroll here and there, and lamps light the street, passing by the window, one after the other. But we’re going too slowly.

Vamos a llegar tarde.” I say we’ll be late.

Ma glances at me. “No me gusta tu pasatiempo.” She doesn’t like my ‘passtime.’

I hate when Ma calls my DJing—my passion—a passtime. “No es un pasatiempo,” I say through gritted teeth.

She shakes her head. “Eso no deja dinero.

I shift in my seat and ignore her. Ever since I told her I wanted to a DJ, she insists there’s no money in DJIng, and that I’m too young to be a DJ. I started mixing last year, when I was fifteen years old, but famous DJs start even younger.

We enter a shady part of the city with abandoned buildings. The trash on the street, and the lack of people and cars give me shivers. I check behind us. Nobody, as if we’ve entered a ghost town. I set my headphones around my neck and drum my fingers in my lap, doing a mental exercise, counting the beats per minute of the first sample.

As the car turns, rusty warehouses come into view, and people rush on the sidewalks, heading to a warehouse with a rainbow of lights coming from inside. We line up behind a million cars moving so slowly, I worry I’ll miss the contest.

I grab the door handle. “Aquí me bajo,” I say I’ll get out here.

Ma stares at me. “No.”

I’m already late, I think I am, but Ma’s glare keeps me in place.

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14 thoughts on “THE INVISIBLE SOUNDS, YA Contemporary

  1. Brent Taylor says:

    I’d love to read this. Please send your query letter and the full manuscript as a Microsoft word doc to brent [at] triadaus [dot] com with “Pitch América” in the subject line.

    Like

  2. Caitie F says:

    You had me at the pitch! I’d love to see the query and first 50 pages as a word attachment to querycaitie(at)lizadawson(dot)com

    Like

  3. Jennifer Johnson-Blalock says:

    Looove music stories. Could you please send the full manuscript attached as a Word doc with your query in the body of the email to queryjennifer[at]lizadawson[dot]com? Thank you! (Caitie and I will sort things out internally, never fear!)

    Like

  4. Ammi-Joan Paquette says:

    Terrific voice and a great opening! I’d love to see the query and first 3 chapters sent my way via the webform at emliterary.com

    Like

  5. Pete Knapp says:

    The voice here is great — I’d love to keep reading! Please send the query and full manuscript attached as a Word doc to queries (at) parkliterary (dot) com. Please include Pitch America in the subject. Thank you!

    Like

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