Tuesday, January 19, 2016

DOWN WITH THE SHINE Goodreads Giveaway!



 
 


    Goodreads Book Giveaway
 

   

        Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn
   

   

     


          Down With the Shine
     
     


          by Kate Karyus Quinn
     

     

         
            Giveaway ends February 12, 2016.
         
         
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.
         
     
   
   



    Enter Giveaway



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

PitchWars Critique - AFTER SHOCK

PitchWars is at its heart about the writing community. And even though at the end of the day Mindy McGinnis and I were only able to choose two mentees, we still wanted a way to give feedback to the many many many others who had been kind enough to share their work with us. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback.

I'm happy to say that quite a few people have been generous enough to take us up on this offer! So, through November, Mindy and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Make sure to look for them on both of our blogs as we'll be posting totally different critiques.

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I am now offering manuscript critique services which you can find out more about here.

You'll see my comments in red.


Dear Ms. Quinn:

Three months ago Nash Adams lost his girlfriend in a fiery car crash. Moving on from Tara’s death has been nearly impossible, but Nash is finally ready to try—until the day that Tara shows up at his baseball game. Great opening!

But the person that Nash sees isn't actually Tara: she's Natalie Grey, the new girl in town who looks exactly like Tara. But even with the resemblance to someone she’s never met, Natalie’s convinced that it’s all one big coincidence. Sometimes people look like each other; it’s no big deal. But as they grow closer, Nash and Natalie find out that the similarity between the two girls isn’t just skin-deep—and it’s definitely a big deal. Okay, it's a big deal how? What exactly is at stake here? You may have a big twist that you don't want to spoil, but right now I think you need a bit more to intrigue an agent.
With his past—and future—suddenly taking the form of a single person, Nash has to decide how far he’s willing to go for the girl he loved...and the one he’s falling for. This is great, but again I want to know specifically what he's being asked to do. Is it his life on the line? Something else? This just feels a bit too vague.
Told from two points of view, AFTER SHOCK is a YA paranormal romance, complete at 87,000 words. The story will appeal to fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout and Kimberly Derting. Great comps.
I am submitting my work to multiple agents. You really don't need this - it's generally assumed you're submitting to other agents. You can contact me at (phone number), or at (email). You can just put phone and email under your signature. 
Thank you for your consideration.  No bio??


The Story: Two Months After Tara Died 
Nash: After seems redundant to have "after Tara Died" above and then "after" again here
March: 31st, 2015  You might want to avoid putting the year just because that can date a book.

2:37 PM 
“STRIKE TWO!” The umpire yells as my pitch glides smoothly over the plate. 
“There you go, Nash! You got it!” Coach shouts from the dugout. Mom shouts it too, 

because they’re one and the same. 
I take a deep breath. Last batter, last out, last game I’ll ever play. Would love a little bit of a hint here as toy why this is his last game.

Last opportunity for a strikeout.
Pitchers, as a whole, heavily rely on one of three techniques to rack up outs: Flyballs, 

groundballs, or strikeouts.

Flyball pitchers give up a lot of home runs when they’re off; they’re temperamental.
Groundball guys give up a lot of base hits when they’re not pitching well; they’re too 

emotional.

Strikeout pitchers, though? When they’re off, all they do is give up runs. They’re 

temperamental and too emotional and run their mouths about shit that they have no idea about. Great voice here.

And I’m the all-time school leader in strikeouts. You can probably guess which kind of 

pitcher/person I am from that.

I check on the runner at first, taking my time. There’s no rush, nowhere to go. The truth is that there’s nowhere I’d rather be—at least anymore—than standing on this mound, watching the runner return to his base, getting ready for the next pitch.
I turn my body back towards the plate, watch as the batter steps back into the box, and wait for Kelsey Isle’s sign.

I think the voice here is really great. The baseball stuff seems solid (says someone who knows only the basics about it). I'd definitely keep reading to see what happens next.

Monday, November 23, 2015

PitchWars Critique - MY SISTER'S DATING A SERIAL KILLER

PitchWars is at its heart about the writing community. And even though at the end of the day Mindy McGinnis and I were only able to choose two mentees, we still wanted a way to give feedback to the many many many others who had been kind enough to share their work with us. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback.

I'm happy to say that quite a few people have been generous enough to take us up on this offer! So, through November, Mindy and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Make sure to look for them on both of our blogs as we'll be posting totally different critiques.

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I am now offering manuscript critique services which you can find out more about here.

You'll see my comments in red.


Dear Agent,

MY SISTER'S DATING A SERIAL KILLER (64,000 words) is a fast-paced YA thriller with a soupçon of magical realism. So this title feels a little lifetime movie-ish to me. Or else meant to be a bit comedic. Not sure if either of those is your intention. 

Sixteen-year-old Cammie insists her eighteen-year-old sister is being a lovesick jerk, as usual, and denies anything’s wrong with her psychopathic boyfriend—the richest and scariest guy in Sleepy Valley SC. I am really confused by this sentence - it is unclear exactly who is denying that there's anything wrong with the psychopathic boyfriend. I read it like five times and was still confused. Reading further I see it's meant to be the sister. I'd suggest giving the sister's name to help clarify and also making breaking this up into 2 sentences. Cammie’s watched too much CSI to buy her sister’s romantic tripe. He burned down the pastor’s barn and experimented with small animals in his basement lab.Two things everyone knows are marks of a serial killer. 

Too bad Cammie’s cried wolf too many times about suspects who turned out to be innocent, so just about nobody, including the police chief, believes the sixteen-year-old’s you already told us that she's sixteen claim her sister’s boyfriend is a serial killer. When a magical spirit appears to help, Cammie freaks out because not only is she alone in the struggle to jail a serial killer—she’s seeing things. If Cammie doesn’t hurry and get enough evidence to send her sister’s boyfriend to the slammer, both girls could end up in tiny pieces in his basement lab.So is most of the story Cammie trying to get evidence to prove her sister's boyfriend is a psycho? If so maybe focus more on that, which is the heart of the story.

The University of South Florida's PALM PRINTS, published one of my short mystery/thriller stories, RIVERWALK published another online. I also took first place in a Virginia Romance Writers contest and second place for a YA novel in a Florida State Writing Competition.

Thank you for considering MY SISTER'S DATING A SERIAL KILLER.

Sincerely,


  
MY SISTER’S DATING A SERIAL KILLER
Chapter 1
Road Kill
      A Mercedes convertible turns onto Donner Woods Road behind me. I don't think this first sentences is doing you any favors. It has no voice. No mood. Even, "The Mercedes had been following me for the last five miles, shadowing me turn for turn all the way to my own street." That at least gives us a hint of danger. 
      I, Cammie Carter, am about to die. This might be a better first sentence.
      Panic sends my mind flashing back to watching the pastor’s barn burning down. Everybody huddled there has This isn't happening right now, so should be "had" horrified looks on their faces except one person. The roaring fire shows showed a gleam in his eyes and a grin of excitement on his face. He’s the barn burner. This might have more impact if we had any clue who he is.
      I flip the right gear to a faster speed on the racing bike my parents gave me last week for my sweet sixteen. So she's on a bike? Like peddling not motorcycle? This also would be great to know sooner - like in that first sentence, because bike vs. car is not a good battle to be in (well if you're the bike it's not).
      A second flashback directly referring to the flashback seems a bit clumsy lands me in my hometown library in Sleepy Valley SC. The barnburner, AKA driver of the convertible honing in on me, grins from behind a bookshelf after Jeb Fox tells the librarian, “Chickens disappearing from my hen house and our terrier is gone.”
      The driver of that car heading straight for me has at least two of the characteristics of a serial killer listed on page 64 of my Forensics Manual.
      AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap blasts on his car radio. Tall trees and heavy underbrush dim light in the forest and muffle sounds, so nobody can hear it.
     There aren’t any houses on this road either, so no sense shouting, “Help.” 

You start to gain momentum here with these last few sentences. I really like the specific details you use to ground us in the story from the Forensic Manual to the song blasting from his radio. I think you need more of that toward the top of this page to really pull the reader into your story.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

PitchWars Critique - SPEAK OF THE DEAD

PitchWars is at its heart about the writing community. And even though at the end of the day Mindy McGinnis and I were only able to choose two mentees, we still wanted a way to give feedback to the many many many others who had been kind enough to share their work with us. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback.

I'm happy to say that quite a few people have been generous enough to take us up on this offer! So, through November, Mindy and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Make sure to look for them on both of our blogs as we'll be posting totally different critiques.

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I am now offering manuscript critique services which you can find out more about here.

You'll see my comments in red.


Dear Mentor,

I'm very excited to enter Pitch Wars! Thanks so much to Brenda Drake and all of the talented mentors for offering up their time and expertise for writers. Please consider my 68,000 word YA contemporary- magical realism manuscript, SPEAK OF THE DEAD.
Great start!

The moment Cyan Welles told her best friend that she could talk to dead people, she was branded the town freak. Years later, the townspeople still cross themselves when they see her, and kids still love to torture her. Even Cyan's father blames her for ruining the family name and driving her mom to suicide. The thing is, though, Cyan Welles does talk to the dead. Inside the Welles Family Funeral Home, her life-like sketches of the dearly departed request death wishes. So is she talking to ghosts or she's talking to the sketches that come to life? This isn't super clear - also this really differentiates this story from your typical sees ghost type thing so I'd put this as the top of this paragraph. And Cyan fulfills them.

When the town's local celebrity and largest philanthropist passes away, his portrait's death wish requests that Cyan befriend his grandson, local golden boy Miller Scott, and show him what's important in life. For the first time, Cyan wants to decline a death wish. How can she slip through senior year with the lowest profile possible if she hangs out with the star of Beach View High?
Great complication! 

Ultimately, Cyan can't resist helping the boy who once came to her rescue as a child. She's also seriously curious about his sudden interest in her. As the pair grow closer, secrets surface—the truth behind Miller's grandparents raising him, her sketches, his not-so-accidental car crash, and her not-so-dead mother— intertwining both of their families' past and present. Once her gift is outted for real and not just as Beach View's number one gossip topic, Cyan must decide whether she's strong enough to finally embrace her spectacular power or leave it for dead. 

This manuscript does have two LGBTQ characters. There is potential for a sequel. Thank you for your time. 

Overall this query is really strong. Great job!


            The big sleep isn't what everyone thinks, there's a lot more talking involved. Or singing. I open my eyes to an a cappella chorus of Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends." Even though it's still too dark, I can practically see the music wafting from the sketches inside my trunk. Wrapping my pillow around my head, I nudge Bella, my calico cat, from her favorite spot. This totally ticks her off, but I still can't block out Mr. Rutledge's deep baritone. Beach View's deceased choral director thinks he grew a sense of humor over night. I glance at the digital clock on my night stand. Crap. I like this opening but I think you're throwing one too many things at as really fast. We have music. And sketches. And dead choral director. If I hadn't just read the query I'm not sure I'd be able to piece together what all was happening here.
            "Hello? I said say - you're in present tense, right?, Six-ten wake up, not five-thirty," I grumble into my pillow. The singing grows louder with each verse. If I don't do something, they'll wake up Gran and even worse, Dad. So other people can hear the singing/talking sketches as well? Tossing off my comforter, I crawl to the foot of my bed and bang my fist on the trunk lid. 
             "So not funny, you guys."
            Their laughter abruptly stops with a loud knock and I freeze on all fours. The bedroom door flies open. My six-foot plus dad takes up the entire doorway, but that's not what people notice first about him. It's those icy blue eyes that sucker punch the breath right out of you.
            A quick tug at his cufflink and he says, "There will be a very important client delivery today." Those cold eyes narrow on me suddenly, like he's just noticing my position. "What are you doing?"
            "Nothing." I lean back on my heels.
            Thomas Welles eyes my trunk with disgust, and speaks through gritted teeth. "Those pictures. For God's sake Cyan, we run a funeral home, not a séance show."
            Riiight. Our little beach town would love to throw a stake burning party and take my family down if one, Beach View didn't need us so much, and two, we lived in Salem circa 1692.  It's kind of sad, really. If my dad knew I could actually do what this town gossips about me, this sentence reads a bit awkwardly Thomas Welles would find a way to monetize my bizarre gift. Maybe then he'd look at me with something besides hatred a more nuanced word than hatred here?. Surveying my room for more proof of crazy, he frowns at Bella who hasn't stopped meowing since he showed up. Perfect.
So you have great voice in this first page, but I feel like I want to be settled into the world a bit better so I know exactly what is happening here with the ghostly talking sketches. It's a really great and unique concept but right now I don't feel like you're completely selling it to me because as a reader I can't quite visualize how it all works. Overall, though, you have a solid query and a first page that with some tweaks can be equally strong.

Monday, November 16, 2015

PitchWars Critique - WILD CALLING

PitchWars is at its heart about the writing community. And even though at the end of the day Mindy McGinnis and I were only able to choose two mentees, we still wanted a way to give feedback to the many many many others who had been kind enough to share their work with us. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback.

I'm happy to say that quite a few people have been generous enough to take us up on this offer! So, through November, Mindy and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Make sure to look for them on both of our blogs as we'll be posting totally different critiques.

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I am now offering manuscript critique services which you can find out more about here.

You'll see my comments in red.



Dear Agent,

Maybelle Langton had always known her pirate captain father, Petey, was the best liar in the 18th century Caribbean, but she never thought he would betray her. I think this would make more sense as, "but she never thought he would lie to her."

When Petey is killed in a battle with the Royal Navy and he leaves Maybelle his treasure and a letter telling her about her Mam, Rose. She isn't dead as he'd always told her. She isn't even human. Rose is a selkie.

To her amazement Maybelle is half selkie and has a seal skin of her own. The seal skin wears less like it's on her body and more like it's a nice coat.

Maybelle escapes being enslaved, avenges her father, and has to find a way to stop her supernatural nature from dominating. To discover her true heritage she commands a pirate vessel across the Atlantic to find her ancestral home in Scotland. Woh! This paragraph is really underwritten and this paragraph is your book - everything else is just the set-up. So you need to expand this and explain what she wants, what she's up against, what happens if she fails. Might be nice to give a hint of other characters - friends, love interests, etc - as well.

Wild Calling WILD CALLING is complete at 63,000 words. It is a paranormal novel for young adults.

I did a creative writing course as part of my degree, and more recently completed a few online writing courses. I regularly blog spontaneous and unpolished short stories.

I hope Wild Calling interests you enough to ask me to send the whole manuscript.  Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.






Rose
I sing song after song calling to my Maybelle. I ask the oceans to take the songs to her, to call her back to me.

Chapter One


My Da, Petey Langton, was the best liar in the Caribbean; he had to be as a pirate captain. I never thought he'd lie to me. I knew he loved me, I trusted him in that unthinking way you do as a child. I was wrong. He lied to me all my life, from the very start, till the day he died. I don't think this is the best place to start your story - not if you want to then segue into a scene where Da is still alive. Either start by showing us the moment when your main character realizes her father lied to her or else move this to that point.

'Get out of there. I want you back in the ship now, Maybelle!' Da shouted. I trod tread water staring at him, he was on the river bank looking the angriest I'd ever seen him. What was wrong with swimming? I'd never tried it before, but I'd been so hot. I'd seen the village boys all laughing and splashing in the water. I had to join them. 
I'd run over the sand of the bank and leapt out. I flew over the water, shrieking. I lifted my knees up, hugging them to me, falling with a smack onto the river. It slapped my feet and I sank through the surface, nearly gasping at the freshness of the water, until my feet hit the mud of the bottom. I pushed down and flew back up through the water, my arms reaching upwards. Opening my eyes I saw the clear green water streaming past me. I broke through the river into the hot blue air, spluttering.
I yelled at Billy and the other ship's boys on the bank.
'Come in, it's great!' This is really confusing. You start with Da yelling at her to get out of water and then you go back in time to when she first decided to jump into the water. Either simply start with her getting in the water and move forward chronologically from there or else start with Da yelling and skip the reminiscences about how she got into the water.

Pirate stories are fun and I love the idea of a girl who commands a pirate vessel! However, both your query and first page need a bit of work to really make that story idea shine. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

PitchWars Critique - VITIUM

PitchWars is at its heart about the writing community. And even though at the end of the day Mindy McGinnis and I were only able to choose two mentees, we still wanted a way to give feedback to the many many many others who had been kind enough to share their work with us. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback.

I'm happy to say that quite a few people have been generous enough to take us up on this offer! So, through November, Mindy and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Make sure to look for them on both of our blogs as we'll be posting totally different critiques.

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I am now offering manuscript critique services which you can find out more about here.

You'll see my comments in red.


Dear Agent,

“All immortals must die” is a rule seventeen-year-old Superbia knows as well as her Colt M1911s. As an Aspect, one of seven super-powered assassins working for Death, she will do whatever it takes to uphold that rule--even if it means shooting, strangling and stabbing whoever stands in her way. Good. The specificity here is really nice.

When Death promised to revive her brother David, she decided she'd pay any cost to get him back. No matter how many lives she had to trade for his.

But when she’s supposed to kill an immortal child even younger than David, she hesitates. If she kills the boy, she’ll be one step closer to reviving David. If she doesn’t, she may find herself needing resurrection. Death doesn’t tolerate defiance, and with six other Aspects against her, Superbia’s demise may be all but is guaranteed. Suggested change just bc it's less wordy and more direct.

Superbia’s conundrum captures the interest of the Virtues, counterparts of the Aspects tasked with creating and protecting immortals. Both conundrum captures and counterparts feel like showy (and distracting) word choices here. Maybe just one would be okay but both together doesn't work for me. They may even give her the help she needs to revive David and rebel against Death.  But their goal is to offer immortality to all of humanity. They’re certain that eternal life will make the world a better place, just as certain as Death is that it’ll destroy it.

Either way, Superbia will need to pick a side: Life or Death. It’s a good thing she never believed in certainty. I don't really get this last line about not believing in certainty - not sure how that connects with choosing between life or death.

Vitium VITIUM - your title goes in all caps just like the comp titles is a dark, diverse YA urban fantasy, complete at 75,000 words with series potential. It will appeal to fans of STEELHEART and THE MURDER COMPLEX.

When not writing about super-powered teenage assassins, I work as a finance attorney in Boston, Massachusetts. Thank you for your time and consideration. Good bio. Short and sweet sometimes just works.

Best regards,



First Page:

As an Aspect of Death, I know exactly when I will die. Down to the very second.
But standing at the top of the New York Times Building, I’m suddenly not so sure. Ambulance sirens below me waft into my ears does sound really 'waft into ears'? and a warm April breeze caresses my face. My lungs expand as I take in a breath. It feels strangely final.
No. I won’t die—not today. And, to prove it to myself, I leap into the open air. I'm not understand this. If she knows the moment she's supposed to die - then shouldn't she know whether or not it's this moment?
The rushing winds lash against me and rip my cheeks. My arms tense and I almost want to shield myself from the cool air. But just as terror lances through me, so does adrenaline. Confidence surges beneath my skin. Some of your word choices here feel very self conscious and unnatural. It doesn't - for me - convey a teenager's voice.
“Look at the world, Dani! You run this shit!” I shout. THIS feels more teenager voice.
Screams from below interrupt my boasting. I’m pretty sure a kid points in my direction and yells for help. The people on the ground will probably be calling 911 soon. I have to act fast.
Ignore me,” I command them.
My voice strains in the gusts of air blowing around my face. They can’t hear me down on the ground, but another Aspect perk is that they don’t need to. As long as I can see them, my commands work.  And sure enough, people go back to what they’re doing—buying street meat from sidewalk vendors, laughing with friends, taking pictures.
Good.  I swing my eyes to my left Um how exactly do eyes swing to the left? and see the ledge coming fast. My target is some rich asshole—he lives in one of those penthouse condos I wouldn’t have been able to afford in my past life.
I think you need to work a bit on voice here - especially while writing the character's internal thoughts. And while this feels like a good starting spot - I wonder if you could play more with the character's jumping from the building so there's more tension in it and the reader doesn't know until the end that she isn't truly in any danger.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

PitchWars Critique - THE GOODNIGHT IRENE'S

PitchWars is at its heart about the writing community. And even though at the end of the day Mindy McGinnis and I were only able to choose two mentees, we still wanted a way to give feedback to the many many many others who had been kind enough to share their work with us. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback.

I'm happy to say that quite a few people have been generous enough to take us up on this offer! So, through November, Mindy and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Make sure to look for them on both of our blogs as we'll be posting totally different critiques.

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I am now offering manuscript critique services which you can find out more about here.

You'll see my comments in red.


Dear Agent,

Keelie Frandsen is nineteen. A twin. A high school senior. A great artist. A questionable poet. And a failed, repeat offender, suicide risk. So 19 is a bit on the older side for a YA protagonist. Also, I feel like this first paragraph could be a little punchier. We don't really get to the interesting stuff until that last sentence and while that final sentence did grab my attention I felt like it's message was a bit garbled. She's attempted suicide several times and failed? That's what it's trying to say, right? I feel like it might be better to be more clear and less clever here. 

Hanover New Hampshire is a typical Ivy League college small town, flat-voweled trust-fund babes, crew team camaraderie, deep winter snows, retired senators and a million SUV’s. Keelie  lands there in her senior year, sticking out like a screaming beacon: new to a high school smaller than a fishbowl, strong southern drawl, grubby paint stained fingers, brother so hot he’s scorching the local girls breathless. Okay there's a bit too much set-up here about New Hampshire and Keelie. All we really need to know is she's new in town and it's a rough adjustment for her senior year.

It should be the perfect antidote to a year that saw her best friend murdered and her mother jailed; the ideal place to keep her head down and stay invisible, anonymous until she can graduate. Okay, I'd start with this sentence - the stuff about the best friend and mother is interesting and also very specific. But Chris with his wild thick hair, beautiful paintings and a calmness deeper than Grannie Sue’s well opens up possibilities that the recent past never let her consider. I don't know who Chris is or what her connection to him is. And Pru Dailey has other ideas too, thinks she knows exactly why Keelie wanted to disappear. I also don't know who Pru is and what her connection to Keelie is. Along with the other girls in her very exclusive club, The Goodnight Irenes, she means to coax Keelie back into the black hole she just crawled out of and help her escape. So it's like a suicide club? Because that's interesting - but again it's not clear. In a query you don't want to make the agent have to play guessing games - everything should be crystal clear and right there on the page.
Permanently. 


First page:

There are reasons for things
Even if none are apparent
Who can say why life draws a map of cold, long dead stars on our hearts
Who can say why we yearn after that oblivion, even though we're standing on lush grasses Warm breezes on our face
Warm hands cradling us
Still oblivion calls
And its song is sweet 

This place is SO not North Carolina.
I scanned the cafeteria slowly, looking, yearning. Thirty-nine weeks in this hole. Scenic Hanover New Hampshire, the smallest town I’d ever done more than just drive past on the highway. Thirty-nine weeks until graduation and escape. I can’t imagine how I’ll make it through with my sanity intact.
Stop it, idiot.
The place became more familiar every day, but not comfortable. Not one bit. It was just another waystation before the rest of life. Whatever and wherever the rest of life might be.
Stop. Stop lookin’ for her.
But I couldn’t stop. Everywhere. Every day. Looking for Beth. Might be nice to give a hint of who Beth is and why she's looking for her.
Looking for a ghost.
If my iPod could play music loud enough to silence the chattering people in the room, having it on headphones would’ve deafened me. Sia’s voice wound around my head—whispery and rich as a dark, sweet slice of molasses pie.  
It didn’t help to ease the panic clawing at my throat. Clanking plates. Chairs scraping. Laughter and voices so loud it should have smashed windows, weird, flat accents. This sentence reads as if the loud voices should smash windows and also smash the weird flat accents.
I’d forgotten how soul destroying it was, school. Why has she forgotten?
Four days here and a trapped moth of panic still fluttered at the back of my throat.
Crowds
Noise
Smells
An avalanche of bodies pressing on you in the halls.
The choking pressure of waiting for a teacher’s attention to hone in on you, wishing you had some sorta force field to hide behind. 
Being new multiplied it by a thousand million trillion

The voice here is good. I think you are maybe hitting the same beat of being uncomfortable and unhappy a few too many times without adding anything new to it. I know it's tough in just the first page but it's always nice to get a hint of the plot and where the story is going.