Peer Review by Ash (United States)

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By: Josephine O'Grady

PROMPT: Polar Opposite

My alarm lets out a loud, obnoxious beep. I groan. I want to curl back up into my thick comforter and continue sleeping, but I know that that isn't an option. Sighing, I slam my hand, annoyed, on the alarm's off button and crawl out of bed, still only half-awake. My little sister is already in the kitchen eating toast when I come in. "Hi Kayla," she says cheerfully, but my phone beeps and I am instantly awake. Ignoring her, I snatch my phone with my hands, which show off my long, manicured nails that are covered in a fresh coating of sparkly pink polish. I bend my head to the phone's seductive screen and see that I have gotten a text message. It is from my friend, Ruby. It says:

haha up all nite how abt u

I write back:

lol same here :)

I next check my instagram and brighten when I see that the selfie I took with Ruby at the movies now has three more likes and two more comments. I leave a mental note reminding myself to upload more pics today.

I continue to check my other pictures.

"Kayla?" my sister says.

I don't look up. "What, Sally?"

"Aren't you gonna have breakfast?"

I pause. I am still not dressed, and the way I dressing for school is more important. Breakfast will have to wait.

"No. Not yet, anyway," I say, and turn to go to my room.

When I reach my room, I open the dresser that holds my rather large wardrobe. I pause again, and think about first impressions. Nodding slowly, I pull out a pair of dark blue skinny jeans and inspect them. Perfect. I neatly fold the jeans and place them on my bed. I next pull out a pink shirt with sequins.

"Too glittery," a voice sneers inside my head. "What do you think you are, a princess?"

 I toss the shirt in a corner of my room to give to Sally, who will wear anything. 

I finally decide on a white cami, with a black sweater over it. After dressing, I slide into my white Sanuks and put on some lipshine and a little bit of pink blush on my cheeks. After that, I brush my hair and look in the mirror. I am pleased at the reflection I see staring back at me. So I pull out my phone, take a selfie, and post it on instagram and write:

Looking good, huh?" :)

"Kayla, are you ready to go?"

"Coming Mom!" I screech, annoyed. 

As I charge out the door to the car, Mom says, " Kayla did you have breakfast?"

I pretend I don't hear her and race out to the car and sit in the front seat.

"Kayla-" Sally says.

"Not now, Sally." I cut her off and continue scrolling through instagram. Mom gets in the car and we drive off.

I look out the window and see the brick school building come into view. I hop out of the car.

"Have a good day. Learn a lot," Mom says to me.

" 'K bye," I mutter, avoiding looking at her.

Sally rolls down the car window and pokes her head out to look at me. "Kayla, I love you!" she says a little too loudly. I can see other kids turning to look. I turn away, pretending not to hear.

I walk toward the school. I look down at my phone, and see that I have another text from Ruby. It says:

R u almost here? i am waiting 4 u.

I write back:

K comin

I open the school's door to crowds of laughing, talking kids. I weave my way between them until I reach my locker. A few feet away, I spot Ruby and a few other girls laughing and talking closely. I see that they are all wearing Vineyard Vine shirts. I look away, regretting my cami and black sweater. As I listen to them talking, I pretend to be absorbed in getting my books out of my locker, waiting for them to call me over to join in their conversation. Out of the corner of my eye, I see one girl point out another girl, farther away, to the other girls. Ruby whispers something, and they all burst into laughter. I start to panic. They still haven't called me over. Who will I walk to class with if they don't? Then I hear one of them say, "Hey Kayla, listen to this!" I breathe a sigh of relief and stand up. Tossing my hair, I start walking towards them.

I could write a lot more about this character, and maybe I will in the future. But for now, that story is yours to dream up.

Message to Readers

Wow, I didn't realize how much I could possibly learn about myself by doing this prompt. Also, I don't often write stories that feature fictional characters, they are often based off of myself, so this gave me the opportunity to explore Kayla's personality from the inside out, which I needed to do because I was entirely unfamiliar with her, because she is my opposite. Does the writing feel real to you? What about the environment? I would appreciate whatever feedback you can give me, so long as the message you leave is clear. I want to get better.

Peer Review

When Kayla sees her friends wearing different clothes than her and begins to panic. A lot is revealed about her character. She wants to look good, but not stand out. She isn't a trend setter like most fashion-obsessed characters in stories end up being. She's relatively outgoing but sticks with the same group of friends and has a fair amount of anxiety regarding social interactions. Kayla is a creature of habit; there's a certain way she's suppose to do things and there's no other way to do them.

I liked the description in the first paragraph about how her phone beeping makes her instantly awake and your ensuing descriptions were pleasing. If you decide to continue with this story, I'd like to see more of Kayla's inner thoughts. She acts like a jerk to her sister but judging by the voice inside her head and how she panics when she doesn't match her friends' outfits, she's incredibly insecure and feels the need to fit in above anything else.

Reviewer Comments

I really like how you responded to this prompt. The environment is "real," as in, believable. Fictional characters tend to greatly resemble ourselves, which is why we get the saying, "write what you know." Kayla isn't a flat character but is fully fleshed and three-dimensional. I can tell you put a lot of thought and effort into this story and it didn't go to waste.