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PW #230: YA Contemporary: SURVIVING HOPE

Monday, 2 November 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

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Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentee: Eliza Knightly
Mentor: Nikki Roberti
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 84,000


Abandoned by her schizophrenic mother, sixteen-year-old Corrine is sent to a group home for troubled teens. When she meets a runaway named Dean, she sees her chance for escape. But running away means leaving everything behind—including her opportunity to prove she’s not just another system-made statistic. Orange is the New Black meets Eleanor and Park.


He had blue hair.

The new boy was flanked by two police officers who’d cuffed his hands behind his back. He wore a distorted grin and shook his head as he walked into the front hall. It was as if he were mildly amused at his misfortune, like a distracted person who’d accidentally burnt their morning toast again.

The cops steered him into the office for the ritual check-in-strip-down. He was out of sightlines now, so I couldn’t spy on him from my solitary seat in the quiet commons. It didn’t matter. I knew what they were doing in there. You couldn’t come into Hope House without being patted down. They’d make the blue boy take off his muddy sneakers and blue track jacket that matched his hair. Then they’d search his pockets and sleeves with their rough hands. If he’d had long hair, like me, they would’ve sifted their fingers through that too. The cops didn’t want any illegal substances or sharp objects brought into the group home under their watch.

I remained curled-up with a book on the ratty couch, the dirty fish tank bubbling softly behind me. The ugly fish had seen this all before too and floated, unconcerned amongst the plastic seaweed.

Clearly the administration thought this guy was trouble-—not everyone gets a police escort to the group home—but I knew instantly that he was more troubled than trouble.


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