1 (Cade): I really love the description of every step being an anchor in the ground. This story really does give off the impression that there is a lot of pressure being put on the narrator, the ideas flashing before them of possibly turning around and leaving even though at the start of the story everything seemed calm with the idea of a GPS being reliable. It feels like even though the GPS is there, in the end it was wit that helped them find the treasures of the past anyways. I really enjoyed it though, it did feel like a very fast read and as if some climbing details were skipped over, but also he gave us a suggestion of 2 to 3 pages for this first part and to expand upon it later. I suggest showing some physical struggle of going up the mountain or some comments on how people turn back because of these struggles but the narrator found it easy. The only focus we got on climbing was some curves in the road as well as feeling light headed. I think that this struggle and possible flashbacks along with it would make the end results feel even more satisfying.

2 (Koopman): This was so sad. I didn’t quite understand what was going on at the start of the story at first, I had never been to a funeral because I’ve avoided them so it really took a second for that to click in. Now that I’m rereading it though, I can one hundred percent see that it’s a funeral for a boy who didn’t make it with some great foreshadowing to start. I also really liked the before I die list part, it felt very fitting to the connection with TJ where the first interaction is about only living once. I feel like we didn’t hear enough about TJ, on one hand I like that he was a mystery and that the fond memory of him is that he was kind from the start and that’s a good way to remember him, but at the same time the story almost starts off with TJ talking about how he is a fighter and I think the story could be more sad if there was more of an interaction from him talking about his hopes and dreams and how he knows he will make it or something- that he’s a fighter. Either way, it was a very interesting story to see how two people can both be suffering but go on different paths.

3 (Maggie): I related to this story so much, I was out to my mom about being asexual and biromantic at a very early age so I thankfully didn’t have to deal with the struggles of not understanding myself that badly when I was younger. I did feel very self conscious though because of my tomboy ways and anxiety that only let me wear certain clothes. I feel like this could also be relatable to someone like my best friend who is in a religious family who just recently came out after faking it for so many years. I just really appreciate these types of stories because a good chunk of people don’t seem to understand the struggle of not being able to be yourself. It will be a very good coming of age story. If I could give one suggestion it would be to really target the character having those anxieties. I liked the part where the character snapped their words back at their friends while also trying to convince themselves, so I would like to see that more. Maybe more in the section when their friends start to change as well. More heart racing, feeling broken, wanting to cry and scream and question everything while also just wanting to be themselves but also fit in at the same time but not understanding why they want to fit in type of situation- that might just be me though, as you have seen from my story I’m a sucker for anxiety induced situations because I can heavily relate to them.

4 (Emily): I like that this is relatable to daily life. Coming home, wanting to cook food but also not wanting to because you are tired and deciding to put it off for the next night most likely or the cycle to continue. As well as the idea of just getting home and putting something on TV just to have it on is also very relatable. I am very curious about this brother character and I really hope you expand on him and not just the problem he is going to talk about. I am curious as to why the two haven’t spoken in three years, yet the narrator has fond memories still of cooking dinner for the two of them. I also wouldn’t mind some sort of awkward silence between the two of them, like even though the television is on with cartoons all the narrator can hear is the water dripping off their brother’s coat or something. I am very interested in seeing how you continue with this, I’m super curious about what the brother’s bad news is going to end up being.