This is the first page. Joe is an 8th grader in this. I like this as the beginning, but in many respects the voice sounds too "academic" and I think it needs to be less formal, although the conversation here takes place with his English teacher...
Working Title – The Shadow People
“Joe! Sit up! What time did you get to sleep last night?” the teacher scolded. Joe struggled to straighten up, nearly sliding out of his chair. The dark circles under his eyes and his disheveled hair were signs that it had once again been a late night for him, and it was hard for him to pay attention in class when he was this tired. “Please see me after class.”
When the bell rang about twenty minutes later, Joe was still groggy. He wandered up to Mrs. ___’s desk, sure he was about to get a lecture about how important getting a good night’s sleep was. He really didn’t want to be bothered, and the last thing he needed was another lecture, but he knew it would be worse for him and that he would get in more trouble if he tried to ignore her.
“You wanted to see me?”
“Joe, what’s going on with you lately? You’re falling asleep and your grades are starting to slip. I’m really getting worried. Is there something going on that I can help you with? Is there anything you need to talk about? You’re usually such a good student, and I hate to see you in this condition. What’s going on?”
“I’m okay, Mrs. _____. I guess I’ve just been playing too many video games lately, and sometimes the time just slips away from me. I just got the newest Night Stalker game last weekend, and it’s really intense. Before I knew it last night, it was four o’clock, and then I tried to get to sleep, but I couldn’t get the game out of my mind. Just please, don’t call my mom. I promise it won’t happen again.”