PW #302: Young Adult Contemporary (speculative elements): HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

Manuscript Status: 2 Week Delivery

Mentor: Kit Frick

Mentee: Kay L. McCray


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary (speculative elements)

Word Count: 88,000


Elite snowboarder Ina Nilsen puts her Olympic dreams on the line for a chance to go back and prevent the school shooting that ended her best friend’s life. To succeed she’ll have to learn to forgive and truly care about those who’ve hurt her the most. THE HATE LIST meets BEFORE I FALL.


My best friend won’t look at me.

Her troubled eyes focus on the yellow lines in the road like they’re the only things worth seeing. A crease appears between her eyebrows as the miles tick down towards Westville High.

I did this to her. It started last night during our disaster of a phone call with one bitter remark from me about my mom’s dilemma. Aimee’s been absorbing my mom-and-me-troubles for the last three weeks. Why’d she chose last night to bite back?

I slouch in my seat with a frown of my own. The overbearing woods along the road filter out most of the feeble morning light.

“Why don’t you just say it?” I snap, suddenly hating myself a little more. Snapping is not a normal part of my chats with Aimee.

Her eyes remain on the road, her mouth remains in a tight line, but that crease grows a little deeper. The moment of unrequited conversation stretches to a breaking point, then a heavy sigh slips through her teeth. For the first time this morning, her eyes flash in my direction.

“You already know, Ina,” she says, but with a lot less snapping.

And I do know. I know, okay.

But it’s not her mom wasting away on a deep emotional and moral level in Westville Regional’s drug and alcohol rehab. I slouch even more and begin studying the trees butting up against the road, like they’re suddenly the only things worth seeing.


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