Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Names: Helene Dunbar & Beth Hull
Mentee Name: Luke Hupton
Title: THE HEART THAT FOLLOWED ME HOME
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary #ownvoices
Word Count: 65,000 words
Orwell’s anxiety over being gay is exacerbated by his rare form of OCD. He’s convinced he’s too broken to be loved until HIV+ Dexter proves him wrong. But the shadowy figure manifested by Orwell’s crumbling mental state is appearing more often and, unsure where reality stops and his fears begin, Orwell must learn to face what he dreads most, or risk losing himself – and Dexter – forever.
Dad is teetering on the top step of a ladder, pinning a rainbow flag to the window of The Beginning, the bookstore my parents have run since before I was born.
“Did you buy a bigger flag?” I ask, from behind the counter where I check my emails every morning before school.
Dad looks at Mom nervously. When I came out, they threw me a party and showered me with gifts. They covered the store in pink balloons and images of a smashed-up closet. Then they gave me a rainbow flag cake that made me run up to my room so I could scream into a very plain pillow.
They know how I feel about the flag.
“It’s the same one from last year,” says Dad, without meeting my eyes.
“No, it’s not. The one from last year covered the width of the door. This one spans the whole window. Did it grow while it was in storage?”
“Maybe we have gremlins,” Mom says. “We did have that leak in the attic at Easter.”
I glance at my screen and an ad for the Meat Market appears. Posters have slowly started to show up all over the west end, posters of muscular men in tight briefs covered in oil with a look of mischief on their faces that suggested they were in the wrong place at the right time.
I hate Pride.