PW #329: Young Adult Gothic: HOUSE OF SKIN AND ASH

Manuscript Status: 1 Week Delivery

Mentor Name: Cole Gibsen

Mentee Name: Cassandra Frances


Genre: Gothic

Word Count: 83,000 words


Sylvie and her sister Claire died a century ago. They get second chances at life in modern-day Melbourne after Claire finds a way to possess the bodies of teenage girls. In her new skin, Sylvie falls for larger-than-life Amy, but Claire will stop at nothing to live forever with her sister. When the original owner of Sylvie’s body wants it back Sylvie must decide who is the real monster. IMAGINARY GIRLS meets THE LOVELY BONES.


On the last night of our lives we fought the way sisters often do. Storms raged across dark continents hidden in bodices, thrashing against the brick walls constraining us.

We fought and acted out our passions on each other, safe in the knowledge forgiveness would always be ours. But the last night cracked open and we each slipped through the darkness alone. We ran away, down to the creek to a place prearranged with a lover but most importantly away from the other sister. And our bones became rocks in the ground grinding down. Our skin the bark on the trees peeling in shreds, and our eyes the blind blue of the sky above. We were the St. Aubert girls.

People used to point: “She’s the pretty one, but she’s the smart one. She’s a good girl, but this one has the devil inside her.”

But the truth was we could both be monsters.

Chapter 1

I don’t know how long it took me to realize I was dead.

I shouted at the Little Sisters, grabbed the sleeves of girls living at the convent, shook their shoulders and slapped their faces. I stood in the middle of their games and screamed. The children scattered and shrieked, but nobody knew I was there.

The worst part about being a ghost is the boredom.


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