PW #348: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery: I KILLED BRENDA MORRIS

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Destiny Cole

Mentee Name: Jamie McHenry


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Mystery

Word Count: 64,000 words


Jana Lee didn’t mean to kill Brenda. Yes, she crafted a poison during chemistry and yes, she slipped it into Brenda’s drink at the party Saturday night, but she wasn’t supposed to die. Or was she? Now with a murder investigation narrowing in on her and friends exposing secrets she thought were long-buried, things in Jana’s life couldn’t be going much worse.

Riverdale meets One of Us Is Lying.


Brenda Morris wasn’t supposed to die Saturday night. She was supposed to take a drink, cough a few times, realize something was sour in her Smirnoff, and then maybe puke her guts out. Sure, she’d be angry about the drink, but her overreaction would be her own fault, not mine. This was to be her punishment and my payback. Ha, ha. The prank a full year in the making would finally offer vindication for the torture I’d endured at her beckoning.

But the poison didn’t work as expected.

She coughed like she was supposed to—and gagged while flailing her arms erratically. Everyone laughed. But I mean, it was funny. As much as I hated her, Brenda was quite the comedian when she wanted to be. For just a moment, I resented the fact that my joke had somehow backfired and she was, yet again, getting the best of me. But then she clutched her neck and tumbled to the floor, her perfectly shaped legs spreading awkwardly as if they’d been pulled apart by a string. As I watched in horror, Brenda’s eyes turned dark and hollow, staring back at me with insistent blame.

Sandra Keller, the star of every high school musical, screamed first. Of course she would.



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