Entry Nickname: Truth and Consequences
Word Count: 62,000
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Thespian Beatrice wants a boyfriend-free senior year until she clashes with football star Ben, and sparks fly. This is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing set in the fictional town of Messina, Pennsylvania, where Friday night football is the only game in town. The novel’s format incorporates two stories; Ben and Beatrice’s budding romance during homecoming week, and Juan’s five-year journey of coming to terms with being a part of his father's secret family. By the end of the novel, the two stories merge and become one. This will appeal to fans who like non-linear storytelling and multiple POVs.
Seniors Beatrice Good and Ben Darcy can agree on one thing--relationships have expiration dates. As college application due dates loom, Beatrice intends to avoid the strangling ties of romance. However, it's homecoming week, and the whirlwind courtship of her cousin, Hero, and Ben’s teammate, Claudio, awakens a slumbering attraction between Beatrice and Ben. Meanwhile, everyone at Messina High knows that football star Juan is the other son of Carlos Donn. So when Juan moves in with his father and half-brother (and teammate), the football team’s social balance shifts and jealousies erupt. Juan ignores the pettiness until his nemesis, Claudio, asks Hero Good to the homecoming dance.
Beatrice slipped into the auditorium. Shuffling feet and chattering voices rang out in the cavernous space. Finally, the seats stopped squeaking as the students of Messina High sat and waited.
Beatrice felt her cousin reach for her hand and squeeze. Beatrice returned the gesture. Little pins shimmied across her skin. She closed her eyes. Please, please, please.
A man of insignificant stature bounded onto the stage. The sound system crackled and students straightened in their seats. Assistant principal Dogberry’s booming voice echoed and screeched as he yelled into the microphone. “Hello, nice day to see everyone. May I have your attendance, please? I have the pleasurable distraction to announce this year’s homecoming court princes.”
Snickers and guffaws rippled through the student body. Somewhere deep in the heart of the crowd, a rumbling chant emerged. Dawg Barree. Dawg Barree. Dawg Barree. Teachers shushed and students giggled.
Beatrice leaned forward and strained to catch his words. Trust Dogberry to muck up the announcement. As the cacophony of good humor spread like a contagion, no one heard the names of the six senior girls.
Mr. Dogberry preened and straightened his spine as the chanting continued. A lithe figure joined the clueless administrator on the auditorium stage and a hush fell, quelling the mob’s mirth. The auditorium speakers sprang to life again. Senior class advisor, Ms. Kott pried the microphone from Mr. Dogberry’s sausage-like fingers and repeated the names of the homecoming court princesses.
Beatrice’s heartbeat synchronized with the drumroll of stamping feet.
Title: Degrees of Broken
Entry Nickname: You Had Me at Salty Fries
Word Count: 88K
Genre: YA Contemporary
17-year-old Tory Lawrence no longer bothers to unpack her suitcases and moving boxes. After nineteen of her mom’s “new beginnings,” this mid-year move certainly won’t be the last. Except with graduation looming, and no after-plan, Tory needs it to be. More and more, photography appears to be her calling, but Ethan—a guy with a wild past full of scars and stories he doesn’t want to talk about—just might be too.
Together, Tory and Ethan find sanctuary in one another. She becomes his confessional, and he provides diversion and safety from her mother’s alcoholic drama. For the first time, Tory matters to someone, and with her photography talent, she has a voice. A real future, free of her mother’s whims and abuse, seems possible. But Ethan’s secrets—especially the one about his part in his own mother’s death—may have broken him more than Tory can imagine, and when move #20 is announced, the scars from his past may destroy everything.
I knew I’d regret looking down, but avoiding Brooke’s smooth, tan leg next to mine was like trying not to look directly at a solar eclipse. Sure enough, it only reminded me I was a mutt among the purebreds and didn’t belong next to her or breathing the same air she swung her ponytail around in. Even better, all the perfect things she said to her perfect friends combined with the stink of gym clothes and the fog of her sugary perfume and made a pre-barf feeling climb up my throat. So I pretended that watching people doing sit-ups was just my kind of awesome and told myself no one could tell that my face had gone all hot and sweaty.
Just for a second, I wondered if the real me would ever catch up with the online and in-my-head-version of myself who had easy-breezy, clever friend pickup lines. After nineteen moves and no sign of it happening yet, it seemed doubtful.
My mom, on the other hand, only got better at making besties out of the secretaries of every new school. Her whole wide-eyed confusion routine about the enrollment process always got sympathy. So did her stories about my dad constantly dragging us to new houses before she could unpack from the previous ones. Not one person ever grasped the contradictoriness of those two things, so to hell with the facts.