@jenn – “Now Calder’s story is no longer what it seems.” — I think I understand now why it threw me off. We can basically infer this from the previous paragraph: things have changed.
“Now Calder’s destiny is uncertain.”
“Filled with uncertainty, Calder must find his new calling.”
“With his fate in limbo, Calder must discover his place in a new story.”
“Now Calder has lost his place in the story.”
Just some quick brainstorming. Keep in mind, it might have been just me that stumbled on that line. The “things are no longer as they seem” phrase has been seen in countless queries/jacket copy, I’m sure. And it has certainly worked for those folks. I want to read it, regardless.
@lyrwriter – I agree that your second para needs a break somewhere, possibly at the fourth sentence. I also agree that spelling training is a bit of a tongue-twister, but there don’t seem to be any good synonyms for training.
Overall, I got a pretty good grasp of what the story is, but I feel it could use a bit of trimming/tightening? Example: Could “far beyond their own” be snipped from P2S5? Perhaps take the spelling out of “spelling training” altogether? We can infer, I think, that since they are spellers, that’s what his training would be focused on.
Also: I get a good sense of mystery, despite that much of what happens is told. Why is this guy out to kill Julia? Does she still talk as a parrot? How will Albert overcome his lack of training?
That’s all for now!