PW #365: Young Adult Contemporary: DEAR HUMAN BOY

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Aimee L. Salter

Mentee Name: Natalie VanderHeydt


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 84,000 words


When Ellie loses her notebook of secret letters, her mystery pen-pal insists they meet. But when she gets there, Ellie isn’t alone. She and seven others are trapped by the only boy she’s ever confided in. Armed with a gun and tools for revenge, he shares exactly how they hurt him. And what he plans to do about it.


Letter 1

Once upon a time we didn’t have all this suckery. We got a few things wrong.
Can one person change anything? Is there anybody out there?


Human Girl

Letter 2

I’m out here, or is it in here? I found this letter in a book that nobody ever reads. I don’t know how old this is, or if anyone cares that I’m writing back, but what the hell. Is there anybody out there still?


Human Boy?

March 24, 8:05AM

Roars of conversation, a notch too loud, echo through the wide hallway. I square my shoulders.

I can do this. I can ignore the cloud of doom floating above me. I can act like everything’s perfect. I’m acting is all. My role: Carefree High School Senior, Ellie Henry.

The two things I need to forget about if I’m going to pull this off:

1. Seeing dad passed out on the couch
2. The notebook being lost (or worse, stolen)

If something isn’t how I want it to be, I can just change it with a lie—that’s a life hack. So if Farah doesn’t ask the right questions, I don’t have to say anything. Simple. Nobody needs to know everything always. That’s impossible even.

Except—Farah can tell when I’m lying.

I start towards the classroom; my legs are bags of sand as I turn the corner.


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