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Boxed In Diana Hurlburt

Description

Racing fangirl Tallis has given up on talking her parents into letting her train to become a jockey. As summer starts up, she’s ready to skateboard, play bass in her punk band, and ignore her senior year to-do list. She didn’t anticipate landing a dream job exercising horses for a local farm...or falling in love with a Thoroughbred trainer’s daughter.

Jessa's a beautiful, ambitious cheerleader who didn't inherit her mother's love for horses--but opposites attract, and Tallis finds herself gearing up for her first real relationship. Then Jessa drops a bombshell that leaves Tallis wondering whether love is worth pursuing if it isn't meant to last.

Length

  • 73604 words
  • About 294 pages
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Swoon Index Ranking

  • Heat

    7

  • Tears

    6

  • Laughs

    8

  • Thrills

    7

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13 comments on "Boxed In"

Phoebe on March 13, 2017, 7:47 p.m. said:

Phoebe


You seriously have such a talent for dialogue and establishing strong character voices! Tallis is absolutely believable, adorable, and its just so easy to root for her in every facet of her life. The character relationships are also really strong- the parental relationship and the sort of dichotomy between Tallis and her parents vs Tallis and Mrs. Taylor were great and so, so relatable. I've definitely been that person who has had more external support for goals from friends parents than my own at times, so Mrs. Taylor is just a great character imo.

Jessa and Tallis are adorable. Seeing Jessa warm up over the course of the book is really lovely, and Tallis was basically already IN DEEP when Jessa was wearing a short skirt at the beginning of the book lbr.

Great horseshit, I enjoyed it even if I didn't understand any of it. The explanation on the bidding-before-the-race type of horse could use a little polishing, I spent a while trying to suss it out before moving on.

The plot is obviously super character driven. I enjoy that there's character development related conflict, but I think the overall plot could have used a few more er... crescendo moments, for lack of a better term off the top of my head. The biggest conflict spike felt like the one where Jessa and Tallis argue after their first kiss, but there were a few other scenes that could be amped up just to make the pacing feel a little less mellow. But I'll echo a review above and say I'm happy that the conflict wasn't anything related to them being gay, they just were. That's nice. That wasn't their defining characteristic, it just so happened that they were super super gay.

Anyway, I smiled a lot and enjoyed Tallis's horsemania, which I sort of imagine is what hanging out with you might be like these days :)

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Diana Hurlburt on March 13, 2017, 8:27 p.m. said:

Diana Hurlburt


I am...so pleased that you like Gwen Taylor! She's about my most beloved side character ever, and her scenes with Tallis are some of my favorites. Plot with a capital P is definitely what will get the most attention when this receives revisions; obviously there's a way to write a fluffy summer romance book while still achieving those dramatic highs and lows, and I will find it!

Thank you so much for giving it a look, and for your comments in-text. Dad Voice is the pinnacle of my skill. :D

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Karah Rachelle on Feb. 24, 2017, 4:22 p.m. said:

Karah Rachelle


Right away, I love your narrative voice and attention to detail. It reads quickly and I'm drawn in by the strong personalities of your characters. I also really love the text message convos at the beginning of each chapter. One note: I'm super pro-cursing, but I also think certain words (like the f one) work best sprinkled in like pepper. I haven't read more than two chapters, but I did a find/replace check in my own manuscript to see how many I used throughout and per act. I'm not sure if you've done this, but it might be something to think about. Looking forward to reading more!

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Diana Hurlburt on Feb. 24, 2017, 9:47 p.m. said:

Diana Hurlburt


That is...a good point! I know some salty-mouthed teenagers, but that's definitely not true across the board. :D

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Karah Rachelle on Feb. 24, 2017, 10:19 p.m. said:

Karah Rachelle


It's mostly just for readers. Many find it jarring if there's too much, especially in YA. A healthy sampling is good. Ha ha!

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ignitesthestars on Feb. 24, 2017, 12:53 a.m. said:

ignitesthestars


I MEAN you have a whole stream of consciousness thing of the things i love about this book, which is most of the things. the depth of character of Tallis in particular stood out - the way her jumpy thoughts still tie in together in a very natural way as opposed to a 'lol so random' thing, her conflicts with her friends and parents (a source of drama, but not overly dramatic), and her relationship with her queerness.

like i ADORE how both tallis and jessa were just. gay and that's not the source of the conflict. and at the same time, you have this storyline with tallis and her mom in particular about how she's not allowed to do something she loves, and her mum saying she won't support her that parallels and echoes those gay fears and worries? idk i just appreciate that tallis is allowed to both be gay as fuck, but also if a teen gay is picking this book up this book who isn't having such a chill experience, there are feelings and emotions and difficulties that they can still relate to.

for improvements, i think i'd like to see a bit more of jessa's inner life? it's not really until we're about halfway through the book that i really started to feel like we were getting a grasp on her state of mind + why she's into tallis. i know we're getting her from tallis' first person pov and that can restrict it a bit, but it's sort of like...tallis is SO fleshed out, and jessa just needs a little more of a push to get her there? SPECIFIC I KNOW

the other thing was the ending, which was a little abrupt for me. i was surprised to find myself at the end, and while a part of that was because i was SUPER INTO IT, it also felt like it came up very sudden and abruptly. i think it could use a little more of a plateau? i like the open-endedness of it, but i could stand to be eased there a little smoother.

your prose and your place was stunning as always, and i have already pointed out the stuff that particularly delighted me!

i have loved all your horseshit characters and want more of all of them, but these two in particular i really crave to see how things turn out (SEQUEL).

anyway reading this was lovely ok thank u for more gay horsehit

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Diana Hurlburt on Feb. 24, 2017, 11:52 a.m. said:

Diana Hurlburt


Yeah, as you probably know by now, pacing is not one of my strong points. I tend to agree about the final three or so chapters; as they stand, they were rearranged a few times, but it still feels like a precipice. While I want to retain the feeling of possibility, I think the two main plot threads of Tallis-and-Jessa and Tallis-and-parents need to be tied up more firmly and evenly.

As to Jessa--when I've thought about overhauls for this project, Jessa generally centers. I didn't want to write a dual POV story for various reasons, but of course that's no excuse for opacity where non-POV characters are concerned. I think when I do revise, I'll dispense with the camp setting and keep things centered around the farm to give Jessa more opportunities/reason to feel certain Ways about certain Things, which will hopefully turn into more character development earlier on.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and feedback! <3

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Thealison on Feb. 20, 2017, 11:10 a.m. said:

Thealison


I like it! I like the way she talks about being a fan of something. I'm into the story and I don't want to put it down.

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Diana Hurlburt on Feb. 21, 2017, 1:31 p.m. said:

Diana Hurlburt


Thanks, Alison! I hope you continue to enjoy. :)

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Chen Yan Chang on Nov. 23, 2016, 7:19 p.m. said:

Chen Yan Chang


Diana Hurlburt’s BOXED IN is a fun and cool story about a girl who loves horses and punk and girls. Tallis is such an awesome and cool character as she navigates her life this summer. It’s fun to see her passion for horses despite her parents being against her dreams of being a jockey. There’s a lot of horse information in the story so either the writer did a lot of research or she is a big fan herself!
*Here are some of my thoughts as I read the book:
1. Right away, I’m loving Tallis’ voice and attitude. She is full of personality that’s exciting to read about. I like how she’s a diverse character who loves something (horses) that not many from her ethnic background would love.
2. I love her interaction with Jessa when they are both sent sent to the principal’s office but for different reasons. I like how opposite these girls are despite both being black and gay. One is girly, does cheerleading, and has big plans for her future while the other is punk, loves music and horses, and has no plans for college. Yet, they can talk and joke and get along.
3. It’s awesome to see her great relationship with her brother Leo and her parents.
4. I love her interactions with her friends/band.
5. Haha, I love her passion for horses. She’s so starstuck meeting the horses. Wow, her conversation with Jessa’s mom. Tallis is such a dork for horses!
6. I do feel that these teens are mature at times in their dialogue. Sometimes the things the characters talk about, I wouldn’t get the references. Also, sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the horse talk. I wonder if it would be better if they were older, like college aged?
7. It’s cute when Tallis and Jessa are hanging out in Tallis’ room full of horse things!
8. Yay, kiss!
9. I feel bad for Tallis when she has that argument with her mom about college and her future :(
10. So far in your book, you have great descriptions!
11. I’m currently unsure about the point of summer camp in the book. Is it to bring the two girls together more often?
12. The text messages in the beginning of the chapters are cute but they don’t add to the story. There seems to be no thematic connection to the chapters.
13. Tallis and Jessa are cute and flirty together! I would like to see more depth in their relationship.
14. It’s great seeing Tallis happy!
15. At times, I feel Tallis acts like a brat with her mom. Her mom wants the best for her and that includes her daughter’s health and safety. In the end, I feel their issues aren’t as resolved at the end of the story.
*This has been a fun read. It’s great to see Tallis experience a lot in this one summer and make memories. It’s amazing to see someone with so much passion for her hobbies. I hope Tallis gets the future she wants and that her parents are there to support it!

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