Friday, August 21, 2020

"You're Next"

Kylie Schachte is a graduate from Sarah Lawrence College and an active member of the Pitch Wars online community as both an alum & mentor. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, cat, and giant dog.

Schachte applied the Page 69 Test to You're Next, her first novel, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Kids in school thought I was weird. Scary. I’d never had a ton of friends, but there had been the usual crowd I ate lunch with and sat next to in class. Suddenly they didn’t want to talk to me, didn’t want to hear me go over my obsessive conspiracy theories yet again. But some people started bringing me cases to solve. They heard what I did for Lucy, and even though Matt Caine never got arrested, never paid for what he did, they all knew that I was right. I threw myself into the work, glad to tackle cheating boyfriends and stolen laptops if it meant I could ignore the dumpster fire of my life.
So, does the Page 69 Test work for You’re Next? I’m going to give a very author-y sort of answer which is...sort of.

Page 69 gives us a peek into the main character Flora Calhoun’s back story, as you can see in the quote above. Flora is a sixteen-year-old detective--a notion that probably leaves a lot of potential readers with some questions. What exactly is a teen detective? She doesn’t actually work for the police, right? How did this happen, and why are her parents okay with it?

A number of those questions are actually answered on page 69--we learn a bit about Flora’s troubled past, and how that led her to her obsession with justice. The quote above is a pretty good distillation of who Flora is and what she’s all about. You’re Next is very much driven by Flora and her worldview, so in that sense...yeah, if you’re down with what you see of her on page 69, you’ll probably enjoy the book.

A counterargument would be that You’re Next is a very fast-paced book, full of underground fight clubs, shadowed alleyways, and car chase scenes. Page 69 has caught the story in one of the rarer quiet moments, so you might not realize just how much of a rush the rest of the book is if you judge it by this page alone.

But lots of classic mysteries are solely focused on the pacing & solving the puzzle of the central mystery. In many Agatha Christie or Raymond Chandler novels, for instance, we know very little of the protagonist and their interior life. It was really important to me that You’re Next not just be about the murder, but about the girl who decided to fight back. So maybe page 69 isn’t such a bad place to begin, after all.
Visit Kylie Schachte's website.

My Book, The Movie: You're Next.

--Marshal Zeringue