Manuscript Status: 2 months delivery
Mentor Name: Alexandra Alessandri/Dannie Morin
Mentee Name: Jeigh Meredith
Category: Young Adult
Word Count: 85,000
Sixteen-year-old Tenny’s ability to taste music should help her become a concert pianist, but it hasn’t. When her new crush, Egan, morphs into a fiery phoenix, Tenny discovers her synesthesia is meant for more than perfect auditions. She must learn to control her growing power before Egan steals it, along with her talent—or her life.
Performing is a funny thing. It’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. The blinding light that reflects off the grand piano is great for hiding the judges from sight. I can almost pretend this is just another rehearsal. But the oppressive heat reminds me I’m on, and I’d better not mess up. Some performers hate stage lights.
Not me. I like the heat.
It centers me, refines my performance until I’m nothing but pure music. I know I’m doing well—I can taste it. This chord is smooth and smoky Gouda. That run is tart pineapple. And the end is all sugar. It’s always sweet at an audition, and for me, I mean literally.
My synesthesia makes all music taste like something.
I hold my hands in position at the end of my piece. The music hangs over the performance hall like a fine dusting of powdered sugar. Inside, hope begins to churn.
My fingers tremble as I stand. The judges won’t notice, and even if they did, they wouldn’t fault me. This is a big audition—the final tiebreaker round for official pianist of the Missoula Youth Symphony. Hopefuls came from all over Montana. Of the ninety-four applicants, only two of us remain.
I take center stage, bowing to the three judges in the front row. I wipe my sweaty palms against my navy pencil skirt. I’m not nervous. That performance was solid. It was flawless.
But. There’s always a but.