Nineteen-year-old Adam is recovering from a suicide attempt. His five-year-old sister, Evelyn, found him bleeding on the floor.
The second sentence is a disconnect from the first, for me, almost like it starts a new paragraph. The subject and tense both change. Don't know what to do about it, but it has struck me the same the four or five times I've seen it in the past week. Not a cohesive opening, for me.
Every night, Adam tucks her into bed and hopes to find a way to make it up to her.
This is kind of sweet.
His only chance to do this might be Richard White, a young and eager psychologist,
I don't believe this. For one, he's already making it up to her by tucking her in. What does he need White for? You don't say.
but their prepaid appointments are running out fast.
A little jarring. Prepaid by whom? Why is it important that they be prepaid? Makes me think of a phone card. Why is it important that they are "running out fast"? Is nothing being accomplished? What needs to be accomplished?
One day in the waiting room, everything changes.
I don't believe you. Everything
changes? Does he still have a nose? A face?
A teenage girl sits across from him with red and white striped stockings, oversized sunglasses, and a sweatshirt on in the middle of summer.
Seems a little incongruous to describe her in such detail when you have previously introduced three characters with absolutely no description of them.
Richard insists Adam take a chance and talk to her. Adam learns her name is Cherith, and she’s the young love of his life.
Love of his life is, of course, cliche, and is an author's aside (how would he know this?). And the word "young" sticks out; as in the variance in description, why give ages of your main character and his sister and then just call the girlfriend "young" and "teenage"?
Even when Cherith says she has cancer, Adam promises to stay.
Stay where?? In the waiting room? Stay is vague.
Suddenly will raise some agents' eyebrows as being an overused and non-specific word. And here it doesn't seem to fit; at once he's having nightmares? All of a sudden he's having nightmares?
he’s haunted by vivid nightmares.
Can one be suddenly haunted? Omit "vivid"; are there any other kinds of nightmares besides vivid?
He’s forced to replay his suicide attempt
Who is forcing him? Or, what is forcing him. Can a nightmare force?
again and again, and see the pain he caused Evelyn.
Which is not dramatic, since you have already demonstrated remorse and remedial activity on his part.
He asks Eve about school every day,
This is mundane for a query, we need bigger action.
finds time to play dolls with her every night, and tries to find the perfect way to apologize for what he put her through.
Again, this is just repeating what you said above about tucking her in. Put this with that, or omit.
When Cherith collapses on Valentine’s night, the dreams change.
This makes it seem that the dreams are ongoing, that he has no waking life, that he is dreaming when she collapses. Is that what you mean to convey. If so, be clear. So far you only describe night
Every time he closes his eyes, he finds Cherith in a carnival made completely of lights, or he’s dancing with her under the violet skies and in the red grass blades of what he believes is heaven.
So now it seems that yes, you have morphed his dream world into the waking life of visions. Again, if this is the case please make clear your main character's transformation. And, I must say, he is sounding a bit like a victim, just being taken for some sort of ride. The story with his sister seems clearer and more interesting than this love of his life story, so far.
Soon, his visions seep into real life,
Wait a minute, haven't they already done so??
and Adam can’t discern the difference between dreams and reality.
All Cherith wants to hear is that Adam won’t hurt himself if she dies,
I can't seem to care what Cherith wants. I know nothing about her.
but he desperately wants to believe his dreams are showing him a world where they can be together forever.
He seems delusional and I feel sorry for him. Maybe that's why he wanted to kill himself? We never find out. I think he should stick with helping his sister.