INTWINE: Star-Crossed DNA

Christina Moss

Book Cover

GENRE

ROMANCE SCI-FI YOUNG ADULT ADVENTURE

    Core Theme

    LOVE CONQUERS ALL.

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    THE LUX SERIES, JENNIFER ARMENTROUT; ALIENATED, MELISSA LANDERS

    CHARACTER LIST

    JULIETTE: 16. LEAD. BROKEN-HEARTED, BUT NOT HARDENED.

    SETH: 20. ALIEN. JULIETTE'S LOVE INTEREST.

    NICOLE: TEENS. JULIETTE'S BEST FRIEND.

    MATT: 8. SETH'S BROTHER.

    UNCLE MARCUS: 500+. SETH'S UNCLE, BRILLIANT RESEARCHER.

    DUNNELLA: 500. SETH'S EX-GIRLFRIEND, ANTAGONIST.

    Logline

    Girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, girl discovers boy is a from another planet where they have special abilities and live to be 900 years old. Adventure, romance and intergalactic intrigue ensues.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Female Leaning

    Setting

    Burbank, CA; Sri Lanka; London; Boston; outer space & other planets.

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Adamantine Inc.

    Year Published: 2010, 2021

    Starting Description

    Young Julie of Burbank, CA is a quiet artist who is devastated by a cheating boyfriend.

    Ending Description

    Julie meets Seth, who turns out to be a rebel rock-star prince from the planet Artigun. Seth draws Julie away from her quiet life when he flies her across the galaxy, but in doing, exposes her to deadly adventures.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    978-1-64906-009-9

    Mature Audience Themes

    Extreme Violence

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending,Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Voyage and Return

    Main Character Details

    Name: Juliette (Julie) Greenmoss

    Age: 17 years old

    Gender: Female

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Gracious,Insecure,Naive,Modest

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Seth Morrison

    Age: 20 years old

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Confident,Unapologetic,Masculine

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Matt Morrison

    Age: 8 yaers old

    Gender: Male

    Role: protagonist

    Key Traits: Faithful,Skillful,Empathetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Dunella Driscoll

    Age: 500 years old

    Gender: Female

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Aggressive,Manipulative,Power Hungry,Sexy,Villainous

    Development Pitch

    It devastates young Julie when her boyfriend cheats on her. Immersed in gloom, she spots an intriguing boy in the distance (Seth). Their eyes meet briefly and something changes inside her. Julie finds a dog who ends up saving her life and later discovers the dog belongs to Seth. After a rocky beginning with conflict and misunderstandings, Seth and Julie become friends and fall in love. But Julie has suspicions about Seth and his younger brother, Matt. And when the three of them magically avoid a deadly crash when Seth and Matt use their special powers, Julie forces Seth to confess his secrets — he’s from a planet on the other side of the galaxy. Julie later learns that he’s a rock-star prince on his planet called Artigun, where the humans live to be 900+ years old. Not good news for young Juliette who discovers that 15,000 years ago the people of Earth also lived 900+ years until someone had tampered with Earth DNA and it shortened lifespans. Seth’s Uncle Marcus, a doctor, is trying to unlock the mystery of DNA not only for his nephew and Julie but also to bring justice to the peoples of Earth. (I resolve this and other problems in later books in the INTWINE series.) The rest of the story includes colorful characters, action, danger and intrigue as Julie learns of space travel, coper-ray guns, deadly aliens, an intergalactic arts festival, a planet of artists, giant ants, talking fish, a perverted planet and the wonders and dangers of the galaxy.

    Genre

    ROMANCE, ACTION

    Brief

    A recently single teenager catches the eye of a slightly older, mysterious man. After a miscommunication involving the man's dog, young love blooms and she learns that her mystery man is an alien rockstar from another planet. Adventure ensues as the couple travels the earth, and then the galaxy, while their relationship is put to the test.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Uncle Marcus feels like a more prominent character than Drunnella, and should be highlighted in her place. Also, the development pitch feels complete after: '...bring justice to the people of earth.' Everything that comes next can likely be absorbed elsewhere, and there is no need to highlight that certain problems are solved in future books.

    Draw of Story

    The mutual early attraction between Juliette and Seth is intriguing, and invites the audience's curiosity about both of them. Additionally, the dog attaching itself to Juliette makes her likable, which gives the audience a reason to root for her right away. Tension rises ever so slightly in the pages before Juliette meets Seth which lends some excitement, and leaves us satisfied once they are finally introduced.

    Possible Drawbacks

    Seth is a bit overbearing at times, and his emotions aren't always justified. For example, during one of his very first interactions with Juliette, he screams at her for 'stealing' his dog, and his reaction is borderline abusive. His anger essentially acts as its own thread throughout the novel, with characters recognizing it, failing to act on it, and in Juliette's case even accepting it. Paring Seth's anger back just a little might let his better qualities shine through, ensuring that the audience roots for him the entire time. Additionally, the beats move so quickly that sometimes it's hard to keep up. Giving each scene time to breathe and allowing the characters to experience their adventures more fully would help to fix the pacing and ensure that the story flow is adequate. Marty feels like a bit of a caricature, and his conflict a bit unnecessary to the story. He simply exists, without much growth, payoff, or purpose throughout. Either making his character more valuable, or possibly even eliminating him altogether could help simplify the story threads. The age difference between Julie and Seth could pose a problem, because it's dwelled on a bit too much. It may be better served if they were closer to the same age, or if their relationship didn't cross the age boundary as much as it does. The last thing a love interest should be is predatory and, at almost 21, Seth runs the risk of crossing that line.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    A romance between a teenaged girl and a handsome, human-like alien is a hook in its own right, but things really kick off when Juliette travels to Artigun and learns that life on another planet isn't so different than life on earth. The intergalactic travel is handled with such care that it feels entirely plausible and its realism allows for the suspension of belief as the rest of the story shines through.

    Fanbase Potential

    YA adaptations are certainly on trend, and because of that Intwine has the potential to attract a large fanbase. However, it may be interesting to create some more difficulty for Juliette and Seth's relationship along the way. Something like a love triangle (Twilight), external forces keeping them apart (Harry Potter), strange family dynamics (Romeo and Juliet or The 100) may threaten to keep the characters apart, which could help keep audiences invested for the long haul.

    Awards Potential

    It's difficult to see this as having serious awards potential because of the genre alone. Usually, lighthearted YA romances like this one are overlooked by committees. That said, if developed properly, the characters we meet along the way could help catapult several Hollywood careers!

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    THE EXPANSE; THE LAST SUMMER; THE 100

    What’s New About the Story

    Artigun's world-building is very well done. It feels familiar enough to be believable, but unique enough to be intriguing. To make the story even more unique, it may be worth considering elevating Juliette a bit. Perhaps heightening her mind-reading power even before she meets Seth could help set her apart from typical girls, and explain some of that instant attraction. And leaning into her artistry even more could also help elevate her character and make her feel slightly more unique.

    Lead Characters

    There's nothing particularly unique about Seth or Julie alone, aside from minor things like Julie's art and Seth's good looks. But that is often expected in the genre. Intrigue arises once they notice each other and as we wait for them to finally meet. Once they do, their characters play off of one another in a way that can engage audiences as the story, and the relationship, progresses.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Unfortunately, Intwine doesn't feel like a rare gem quite yet, though it does have potential. The characters don't feel developed enough to really stand out, and the plot line generally feels rushed. For instance, Julie doesn't feel completely vital to Seth's mission and she's thrown into a whole lot of adventure seemingly without time to process it. And it happens over and over again, with Seth always coming to the rescue. Similarly, the chemistry between she and Seth lags a bit because neither feels whole enough to create the adolescent sexual tension audiences expect in a YA romance. Slowing the pace and doing a deep dive into character development, specifically motivation and relationships, could help elevate things a bit.

    Possible Formats

    TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Network, TV Series - Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    Though there's a lot of material to source from here, none of it seems fully developed. The beats move really quickly (i.e. - Massachusetts to Sri Lanka to Artigun) which makes things feel jumpy and rushed. Also, the character development is a little underdone. We don't get much from Juliette as a narrator, especially internally and Seth needs some additional motivation to move both the story and the relationship along. It'd be great to see some more richness, and perhaps endearing flaw, from him. And it'd be interesting to see both characters work slightly harder to be together.

    Tips for Improvement

    Generally, Intwine feels like several books in one. Slowing down the pacing a bit and giving each beat adequate time to unfold would raise the tension, the stakes and make the plot feel richer. Additionally, focusing a bit more on the characters themselves - their wants, needs, goals, motivations and relationships - would make the story feel meatier and a bit more complete. One way to do this would be to get much deeper into Juliette's psyche as we move the story along. Instead of using her as a device to move us from one plot point to another, it'd be great to focus on her perception and thoughts more as the story unravels around her.

    Brief

    After meeting a mysterious but handsome stranger, a brokenhearted young girl finds new faith in love. But when she learns that her new boyfriend is actually a rockstar from a planet she's never heard of, she must expand her world to include friends, and enemies, from light years away. As she joins him in his intergalactic quests, including bringing a long-awaited justice to earth, the relationship, and everything she thought she knew, is tested.

    What We Liked

    With its air of adventure and deep dive into young love, Intwine is a YA romance that preaches acceptance, suspension of belief, and the pure excitement of teenaged relationships. Young adult audiences will enjoy the progression of the nearly fairy-tale romance, and adults are likely to enjoy the nostalgia that comes along with so many firsts (first meeting, first kiss, first date, etc).

    Film: Though fitting so much adventure into a typical film adaptation could make things feel rushed, the progression of the pair's relationship alone would work well as a YA romance. Paring down some of the larger adventures and keeping the primary focus on Juliette and Seth would help this stay on trend, alongside adaptations like 'To All the Boys I've Loved Before' or 'The Kissing Booth.' That said, seeing Artigun come to life on screen is one great way to elevate this from other YA romances while still staying true to the genre.

    TV: Intwine moves quickly, which provides an opportunity for deep dives into any of the pair's adventures together. For instance, we can spend an entire season (maybe multiple) watching Seth and Juliette travel his home planet. Similarly, we can spend dozens of hours watching Juliette grapple with high school normalcy after learning that the universe is so much bigger than she imagined. There's a continuity throughout the project that could work well in a TV format, especially as the young relationship progresses and new characters - each with different goals - are introduced and interweaved.

    Key points:
    Realism of life on Artigun; Young love; Characters all have separate, distinguished goals; Satisfying conclusion; Series/franchise potential.

    Synopsis

    At the beginning of the summer JULIETTE learns that her boyfriend, JUSTIN, is cheating on her. Struggling with the betrayal and losing her best friend, NICOLE, to family time in Massachusetts, Julie finds friendship in a stray dog. She is formulating a plan to keep the dog when she sees a handsome stranger driving (SETH MORRISON). It's not long before Seth and his brother, MATT, discover their dog, REMY, at Julie’s. Seth chastises Julie for stealing his dog and as they argue a car encroaches on Remy. With some quick, mystical handwork Matt diverts the car and saves Remy. Seth takes Matt and the dog away before Julie can ask any questions. Remy finds his way back to Julie. Matt comes looking and apologizes for Seth's behavior. As they talk, Julie's brother, MARTY, walks by with a stack of books and insults her. Matt raises his hand discreetly and causes Marty's books to tumble. Before she can comment on it, Seth arrives to retrieve his brother. Remy arrives again. Seth comes to retrieve him and apologizes for his outburst. He sees Julie's art and they bond. When Marty interrupts the conversation with another of his insults, Seth mystically thwarts him. Seth takes Julie to UNCLE MARCUS' beach house in Malibu, where their relationship begins to bloom. The morning before Julie is scheduled to visit Nicole, Seth and Julie reveal their feelings. While driving Julie home, Seth alerts Matt of an impending danger and Matt uses his hand to divert a car threatening to crash directly into them. Julie demands answers about the brothers' powers and learns that Seth and Matt are from the planet Artigun. Promising to tell her everything about him eventually, Seth drops her off with a sampling of his music.

    In Massachusetts, Nicole introduces Julie to two boys from Italy, but Julie can only think of Seth. Julie and Seth reunite at the airport and Seth reveals that Matt has been kidnapped. He rushes her to his starship and prepares to fly to Sri Lanka. On the way, Julie pressures Seth to kiss her but he refuses until she turns eighteen. In Sri Lanka, Julie reunites with Remy and they learn that Matt and another boy have been taken by child traffickers. They use Remy to track the boys through the forest and learn that Matt was taken in a black van. Julie finds the van outside of a building and Seth uses his power to penetrate the walls and look inside. Julie finds Matt and KUMAR while Seth incinerates the criminals using an alien ray gun. They all escape safely. Uncle Marcus urges Julie and Seth to explore Sri Lanka, and their relationship blossoms even more. Seth surprises Julie with a trip to an idyllic river for her birthday and kisses her. He also reveals that his mother and father are King and Queen of Artigun.

    Seth receives a phone call and learns that Uncle Marcus has rescued a group of orphans from the traffickers. Julie suggests giving them a home on Artigun and they return to Sri Lanka to prepare the children for their journey. Seth leaves Matt with Julie while he takes the children to his mother and Julie learns that Seth is also a rock star.

    Seth returns to reveal that his parents want to meet Julie. He leaves Matt behind to help Uncle Marcus with his research and Julie boards the starship for Artigun. They arrive to meet DRUNNELLA in the security room, and she is hostile towards Julie.

    Seth takes Julie shopping, and they are mobbed by Seth’s adoring fans. As they prepare for an annual arts festival, Julie meets ANNA, her ladies’ maid and security detail. At the arts festival, Julie meets creatures from different planets, all of whom are kind except for HUGO, a sexual leech from the planet Zydren. Hugo makes an advance on Julie, and Seth intercepts it.

    Julie and Seth prepare to leave Artigun and Seth steps away to take a call. Drunnella leads Julie onto the starship and it takes off with Hugo piloting. Seth learns of what’s become of Julie and has Drunnella arrested for treason. Just as Julie is about to be overtaken by Hugo, Seth appears with his band and incinerates him.

    Julie recovers from her ordeal and bonds with the band. Nicole returns home from her trip and falls in love with one of the band members. Julie is dismayed to learn that people live up to 900 years on Artigun. Seth promises her that Uncle Marcus is working on research to reclaim the same lifespan for earth. Julie prepares to return to school while Seth and the band take off on a two-month tour. Alone with Nicole, they remark on their unusual summer while they wait for their beaus to return.

    About The Author

    Christina Moss was born and raised in New England, and has a ten-year tenure as a teacher and guidance counselor. She was a longtime resident of Burbank and now lives in Southern Nevada.