PW #312: Young Adult Contemporary: THE STRAW MAN FALLACY

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Names: Kristin Bartley Lenz and Heather Smith Meloche

Mentee Name: Julie Christensen


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 93,000 words


Seventeen-year-old Asher was raised from birth to be a white nationalist, but when his parents are arrested, a new life with his aunt forces a reckoning that can only end with one choice—allegiance to his charismatic father or abandoning everyone he’s ever loved.


When they came for us, we were ready. I’d been ready my entire life. There were three stages to the drill. Stage One, erase laptop and external hard drives. Stage Two, hide all contraband, mostly weapons, in the hole beneath my bedroom floor. Stage Three, flee to the woods. Our supplies were stashed four miles away, in the grove of knotty oaks, the entrance to our sub-terrain shelter perfectly camouflaged. I’d made that trek in the dark since I was five. Yup. When the government came for us, that’s how we’d roll.

Charlie saw the lights at the bottom of the hill and raised the alarm. His rap on our trailer door came at 4:54AM. Which gave us exactly one hour and nine minutes. Because the Moss Men never come before 6:05AM. Under the cover of darkness, they politely wait until an appropriate hour, then they strap into body armor, load their Colt-M4s, and kick down your door.

As Jeb and I gathered the guns and hard drives, Charlie returned to his trailer. He was going to catch the raid on video, to post online later. We had everything in the hole by 5:20, except my dad’s laptop, because for some reason, he was posting to the site instead of following the plan. Now it was 5:32. What was taking him so long? I stood ready at my bedroom window, which faced the woods. Jeb’s face was lined with worry, and I wondered again what they’d kept from me. “Hey,” I whispered. “Everything okay?”

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