PW #347: Young Adult Fantasy: BONEWOOD

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Brianna Shrum
Mentee Name: Emily Neal
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Word Count: 98,000


STRANGER THINGS meets THE SCORPIO RACES—Sixteen-year-old Miran Salek must hunt for a cure to the taint blackening her brother’s veins inside the Bonewood, a forest haunted by nightmares, before he infects their entire island.


I pull my boot out of the heavy snow and prop my heel on my knee. Cold and wet soak my sock as I find the small split at the heel. Well, that’s just sterling.

The fresh, crunchy white is bright enough to blind with the sun breaking through the naked branches. It was a beautiful morning, off the island, no chores, no helping Da cobble shoes together, but now I’ve got two hours of walking ahead of me with an ice cube for a foot.


“Here,” I say. “Cut the shouting.” I glare at the beanpole in front of me. My stepmother Arica likes to say Konnor Mackenzay has a face chiseled by the gods, but to me he’s out of proportion. Like he stretched instead of growing like a normal boy.

Konnor shrugs his coat straight, pretending I didn’t just scare him out of his trous. The black leather of his uniform is buffed and buckled and winking in the high sun, the Mackenzay crest stamped on the shoulder. His severe look doesn’t faze me a bit. Apprentice guard or no, it’s hard to take someone seriously once you’ve pushed them into a canal. “Keep up.”

I’m barely four feet behind him and his long legs. “Pull that stick out of your ass.”

“We’re miles from the river, eejit.” He pushes his hair back. The too long curls burn russet in the sun. “If I have a stick up my ass, it’s because I don’t want to die.”

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