Genre: Contemporary YA
Word Count: 70,000
Pitch: Neo-hippie Lark rebels from her commune in a big way when she registers for public school. She never thought she’d fall for a mainstream boy. Or that she’d lose the world she knew.
My to-do list has grown dauntingly long. The darkening grapes are just another reminder of how quickly this summer is ending.
I scoot a few feet to my left to stay in the grapevine’s long narrow patch of shade. I tap my pen on my worn notebook and look over the master list.
1. Registration forms.
2. Break things off with Petey. Again.
3. Get out of grape harvest.
4. Learn math. All of it.
5. Help Dad get help.
6. SAT prep.
7. Read giant stack of books.
8. Sew new wardrobe.
9. Reveal secret plan.
“Lark! It’s quittin’ time!” My half-brother, Sean, shouts louder than he needs to. It startles the pen right out of my fingers.
“Jesus, Sean. You have to stop sneaking up on me!” I stand up and do a quick tick-check on my bare arms and legs. It’s really freaking hot, and my honey-colored mass of curly, partially dreaded, partially braided hair makes my back feel immediately sticky.
I reach behind Sean and grab the ratty bandanna that’s always in his back pocket and use it to tie up my hair.
“I definitely just used that to wipe my nose,” he says. He’s filthy from head to toe, wearing his grime like it’s a badge of hard work.
“Whatever,” I smile, “I love your snot.”
“You’re so gross,” he says.
“Says the one with half of his lunch still stuck in his beard,” I tease.
“I’m thinking of shaving it,” he says.
I raise my eyebrows at him; he normally loves the Peacesylvania aesthetic.
MURDER MOST FOUL
Mr. Boddy is found slumped over his desk in the study. Blood oozes from a gash in his head. There is wax stuck to the side of his temple. He lies face down on an entertainment magazine opened to a scathing review of a new film.