PW #356: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy: SALTWATER BLOOD

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Chelsea Bobulski
Mentee: Laura Robson
Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 82,000


Sixteen-year-old Astrid Stroud is cursed with magic she can’t control. When she gets hurt, her body heals itself—by taking someone else’s life. Astrid’s brother Liam fears her grisly abilities, but when he finds himself tangled in a plot to kill her, both Strouds begin to wonder what exactly makes someone a monster. THE SCORPIO RACES meets THIS SAVAGE SONG.


For the first nine years of his life, Liam Stroud was afraid of the steely winter days when the sun never rose, afraid his parents would realize they got married too young, and afraid his classmates would see the woebegone, tattered Stroud home and laugh.

Once he got older, Liam was afraid his little sister was going to kill him.

If Liam was made of fear, his sister, Astrid, was made of something else entirely. Spit. Salt. The spray of a storm-angered sea. But before he’d seen the very darkest parts of her, he’d only ever seen his reckless, aggravating, beloved little sister.

When the family took walks on the beach, Liam kept his eyes on his feet. He watched every loose rock underneath him. He held his breath.

Astrid darted away from their parents, leapt over surf-smoothed stones, teased the frigid arctic waves that almost, almost caught her.

She played this game on every walk, and because she always won, their parents always laughed. They never told her to stop. They never understood why it made Liam’s heart squeeze in his chest, press against his lungs, pulse with his nauseated stomach.

They never quite got why Liam was afraid that one day, Astrid would play her game with the waves, and she would lose.

Until she did.


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