PW #303: Young Adult Contemporary: NOT QUITE GONE

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Samantha Joyce

Mentee Name: Meghan Hardt


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 67,000


When their father vanishes at sea, seventeen-year-old Shannon and her sisters must uncover the mystery of his disappearance before their grieving mother withdraws completely and what’s left of the family shatters. Told in the sisters’ alternating points of view, with a mix of prose, verse, and forensic notes.


Two years is a long time to stay afraid.

Mr. Luongo’s marker squeaks on the whiteboard while his barely-graduated teacher’s aide passes out yellow audition fliers. “This year’s musical is West Side Story,” he says in his loudest I-Teach-Theater voice, “a tale of love and the ultimate tragedy.” He’s stamped our fliers REQUIRED FOR CREDIT. It is Advanced Acting, after all.

I knew this day would come when I chose this class.

I push the yellow paper to the corner of my desk.

I knew it.

My heart still thumps in my ears.

“And now, your assignment,” Mr. Luongo says as he picks up another marker. Blue this time. Kids snap gum and kick wads of paper beneath their desks.

Homework, he writes, just as squeaky.

I look over at Oz. He scribbles a doodle on his flyer. “Don’t be scared,” he said the first time he kissed me for real, right after I found out. Right before everything changed.

My insides curl into a fist, and my stomach twists around them.

Due tomorrow, Mr. Luongo writes.

Friday. Then one week before West Side Story tryouts. If we don’t make it, we work backstage with Bubba Richards and his crew.

I’d rather inhale Bubba Richards’s Dorito breath than sing onstage again.

But I didn’t take this class to stay afraid.

My shirt twitches in time with my heart.

A crumpled flyer lands at Oz’s feet and girls giggle behind me.

Monologue, whines Mr. Luongo’s marker. 200 words.



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