PW #245: YA Contemporary Fantasy: PAPER BONES

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Mónica Bustamante Wagner and Susan Gray Foster
Mentee Name: Kerbie Addis
Category: YA
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 61,000


Seventeen-year-old Rett is failing school—and life—as his mental health deteriorates, but a strange girl shows him kindness. Too bad she’s a sea witch cursed with a compulsion to lure humans to watery graves. If Rett can’t face his inner monsters, he’ll never survive the monster torn between kissing and killing him.

My stomach should roll into my throat, like when I ride the Ferris wheel. But looking down from the tallest building at my prep school, fifteen stories up, there’s nothing.


In the distance, the ocean crashes silently. The glow of dorm windows cancels out stars.

I imagine splattered brain tissue on the sidewalk below, trying to shock myself into feeling something. I wonder which cerebral hemisphere will be smashed. I’ll miss those words. Cerebellum. Medulla oblongata. Always found them beautiful. But I won’t miss them enough to stop this. I just have to climb over the railing and release.

Everything will end.

Pulling myself up, I throw one foot over the barrier. I barely feel the cold metal.

I could let go now. But something might go wrong; my pants could snag. Then I’d be stuck here. I’d rather not starve upside-down. Or worse, have someone find me.

I swing the other leg over. My shoelaces catch on a bolt poking from the rooftop guardrail. Of course. The one thing I didn’t think of. Tie your shoelaces before jumping off a building. Wouldn’t want to—what, trip and fall?

I shake my leg. The sneaker starts sliding off but the laces are still caught. Whatever. Let them wonder about that when they find the body. In today’s news, Everett Hyde, a Reuben Blanton Academy senior, couldn’t manage suicide without losing a shoe. Authorities assume he tripped and flailed like a moron.


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