It Should Have Been You

Book Cover

YOUNG ADULT SUSPENSE/THRILLER ROMANCE MYSTERY CRIME FAMILY

Contemporary

Lynn Slaughter

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Logline

Five months after the murder of her twin sister, a piano prodigy, seventeen-year-old Clara starts receiving threatening emails. Convinced that her email stalker blames her for her sister's death, she undertakes her own investigation. Can she solve the murder before it's too late?

Genre

Young Adult,Suspense/Thriller,Romance,Mystery,Crime,Family

Short Summary

Clara rebuffs a guy who wants to date her because she's "the dangerous chick" suspected of murdering her twin. Then, in her high school newspaper office, she receives a threatening email in her staff inbox: "IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU... BUT SOON."


After her twin's murderer is identified, Clara thinks her problems are solved-- until she's kidnapped by her cyberstalker who wanted revenge for a whole different reason. With the help of his estranged girlfriend, she manages to fend him off and escape.

Setting

Ohio- college town

Based on a True Story

No

Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain

Plot - Other Elements

Coming of Age,Happy Ending,Meaningful Message,Twist

Mature Audience Themes

Information not completed

Main Character Details

Name: Clara Seibert

Age: Seventeen

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Aspiring,Modest,Funny,Romantic,Sarcastic,Educated,Honorable,Insecure,Empathetic,Engaging,Underdog,Strong Moral Code

Additional Character Details

Name: Ben Marchetta

Age: 17

Gender: Male

Role: Emotional

Key Traits: Masculine,Modest,Charming,Complex,Confident,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Heartthrob,Secretive,Romantic,Sexy

Additional Character Details

Name: Tony Sweigart

Age: 17

Gender: Male

Role: antagonist

Key Traits: Aggressive,Charming,Confident,Crazy,Masculine,Villainous,Narcisstic,Sexy,Power Hungry,Outspoken,Skillful,Decisive,Heartthrob,Educated,Leader,Secretive,Seductive,Manipulative,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf

Additional Character Details

Name: Detective Luis Martino

Age: 47

Gender: Male

Role: antagonist

Key Traits: Masculine,Aggressive,Decisive,Educated,Leader,Skillful,Blunt

Development Pitch

Clara has spent her life both at home and in public living in the shadow of her piano prodigy twin. When her twin is murdered, rumors swirl that Clara was involved. She takes refuge in ghostwriting her advice column for her school newspaper where she can be funny, snarky, and helpful-- and where she can escape into other people's problems and gain a respite from her own. In addition to dealing with her cyberstalker, nearly losing her life uncovering the identity of her sister's killer, and then getting kidnapped by her stalker and fighting for her life, she must deal with a family coming apart at the seams in the wake of her sister's death, survivor's guilt, and her own struggle to feel good about herself. Meantime, she falls hard for a boy who turns out to have secrets of his own. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU has plenty of suspense, romance, danger, and a startling plot twist-- but it also tells the story of a young woman learning to feel good about herself and her own worth.

About The Author

After a long career as a professional dancer and dance educator, Lynn Slaughter earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2016. She writes coming of age romantic mysteries and is the author of It Should Have Been You, a Silver Falchion finalist; While I Danced, an EPIC finalist; and Leisha’s Song (forthcoming from Fire and Ice, June 2021). Her short story, “Missed Cue,” appears in Malice Domestic’s 2020 anthology, Murder Most Theatrical. She lives in Kentucky where she’s at work on her next novel, Deadly Setup, and serves as President of Derby Rotten Scoundrels, the local chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Target Audiences

Age: 13-17,18-34

Target Gender: Female Leaning

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: with a Publisher

Publisher: Page Street

Year Published: 2018

Hard Copy Available

Yes

ISBN

978-1-62414-535-3

Genre

SUSPENSE, THRILLER, ROMANCE

Brief

Five months after Moura's unsolved murder, her twin sister receives threatening emails from someone who apparently believes she is the guilty one. Clara tries to investigate the crime on her own to prove her innocence, stop threats and live in peace. She finds out who the killer is but realizes the threatening emails had nothing to do with her sister.

Overall Rating

FAIR

Point of View

FIRST PERSON

Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: FAIR

Premise: FAIR

Structure: FAIR

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

It does.

Draw of Story

The book begins with an interesting scene of the murderer recounting the moments that preceded the crime. We don't know who he is, which intrigues us even more and sets the film's tone. Right after that, we skip 5 months to find Clara trying to survive high school's difficult environment. These are two appealing points for the target audience.

Possible Drawbacks

The investigation part ends up sounding repetitive. It would occupy a considerable time of the second act in the film, but the revelations do not actually seem to advance the story.

Use of Special Effects

THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

Primary Hook of Story

The unsolved murder of one of the twins and the impact of this crime on Clara's relationships and school life.

Fanbase Potential

Clara is an interesting character who advises people with problems in their relationships through her column in the school newspaper. She also doesn't fear the enemy when she starts to investigate her sister's murder independently. This strong female character could attract fans.

Awards Potential

The film would have the potential in categories focused on the suspense and teenage thriller genres. If the narrative were polished, intensifying the drama of a girl who loses her twin sister and finds herself being blamed and compared to her, the range of categories for awards could increase.

Envisioned Budget

LOW BUDGET

Similar Films/TV Series

ZODIAC: AN ORDINARY MAN BEGINS TO INVESTIGATE AND FIND EVIDENCE ABOUT THE IDENTITY OF A MURDERER. SISTERS: A MODEL TRIES TO PROVE HER TWIN SISTER'S INNOCENCE IN A MURDER CASE.

What’s New About the Story

The book has several elements that permeate the universe of this teenager. A romance, the family conflict, Clara's own sadness at the lack of her sister, the difficult day-to-day life in a high school, but the fact that she gives advice anonymously to other young people in a newspaper column advances the plot in a singular way.

Lead Characters

Clara is this strong girl, who lives her own conflicts, deals with her own fears, but does not hesitate to face the enemy to prove her truth. She is an interesting character, but the secondary ones could be further developed. They sound too plain.

Uniqueness of Story

It is an entertaining teen thriller but not a rare gem. The story would need to focus more on the narrative's most relevant elements to enhance these qualities.

Possible Formats

Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Streaming

Analyst Recommendation

WORK IN PROGRESS

Justification

While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

The plot starts with an exciting tone, in which the killer (anonymously) reveals details of the crime. This beginning indicates a tone for the rest of the book but ends up getting lost. The tough teenage universe and the family drama end up stealing the spotlight on the following pages. Not that they are not attractive, but the suspense tone presented at the beginning could be maintained inside Clara's house and in the school universe itself. Since we don't know who the twin sister's killer is, and as Clara begins to receive threats by email, this suspense tone could be sustained in any environment in the story. This eternal eminence of the appearance of the murderer, this game in which the public tries to discover who the murder is, allied to the melancholy of a family devastated by the early death of the young twin, could reach a level of psychological suspense. The melancholy of the loss is a great addition to this type of suspense if properly used. The secondary characters could be further explored. Moura herself appears just a few times, in memories or flashbacks. We don't know much about her. Clara's mother is a fundamental factor in Clara's guilt feeling due to the constant painful comparisons that this mother imposes on her daughter. However, the mother seems too shallow for this role. The final revelation is somewhat frustrating, though surprising. The film's climax delivers a surprise that we definitely don't care about. The fact that the threats are coming for a credible but small reason seems to lessen the rest of the book's weight. We already have enough elements in the story to make it robust as a psychological thriller mixed with the teen universe, so the author could use the weapons he/she already has in hand for the end. This climax could still be surprising, without the need for a parallel story disconnected from the central plot. Perhaps those advice requests Clara receives by email could contain some puzzling information that would lead to the killer or bring a stronger dramatic revelation in the end. As it appears, this subplot looks like a parallel story, unimportant to the central plot. The story is appealing for the suspense/thriller genre and the target audience but needs improvement to be more concise and consistent.