PW #363: Young Adult Contemporary: NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Manuscript Status: Six Weeks, Maximum

Mentor: Dionne McCulloch & Fiona McLaren
Mentee: Megan Peterson
Category/Genre: Young AdultContemporary
Word Count: 72,000


17-year-old Piper isn’t just the beloved daughter of a freak show family; she also wants to be its main attraction. When she’s kidnapped and held prisoner by a woman who insists Piper call her “Mom,” her world shifts. Imagined and repressed memories surface and she must untangle them or risk never finding her family again. But the only thing worse than never going home is the fear she may already be there. WE WERE LIARS meets LIVING DEAD GIRL.


A bed.

A window seat.

A chipped desk with daisy stickers on the drawers.

These things belonged to me, I’m told.

“Belong,” the woman emphasizes. “You chose the daisy stickers yourself.”

She takes me from the room and down a hallway, the walls so close they want to crush me. She wears all beige and not a stitch of make-up. She’s probably in a religious cult that thinks only whores wear color. My bladder aches, and I can’t remember the last time I peed. Her shoes squeak against the floor, her skirt rustles. My ears ring from the roar of it all.

The woman pushes open a door. “Go on in.” The white walls and floor blind me, and I blink until my eyes adjust. “I’ll leave you alone. There are clean towels in the cabinet and soap in the shower. Use whatever you like. This is your bathroom now.”

She looks at me expectantly.

Finally, the door closes, and the click echoes around the room. The urine soaks through my pants before I can get to the toilet.

I stick out my middle finger, make sure whoever’s watching can see it.

Mom told me this might happen. “The world can be an evil place,” she said. “I’m the only one you can trust. Me and your father. Never forget that.”


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