PW #201: YA Contemporary: CAST IN SHADOW

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Phil Stamper
Mentee Name: Lucinda Troy
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 61,000


Tomoe Ikeda is as skilled in her ninja training as she is at getting into trouble. But when a failed heist ignites a feud with rival shinobi, the conflict threatens not only her school, but her life. Being a twenty-first century ninja wasn’t supposed to be this complicated.



So many myths surrounded us. Silent assassins. Invisible spies. Mercenaries without allegiance or honor. It all sounded very dramatic.

But really, all I wanted was to win my bet.

I stared at the ceiling, letting my body sink into stillness. Silent. Focused. I’d bandaged the nicks I’d gotten from training with Parker-sensei. They’d heal fast enough. But my sternum ached with each measured breath. That would take longer to go away, although I’d deserved nothing less for losing control of my momentum. A rookie shinobi mistake.

My heartbeat sped up at the thought of my clumsiness. My skin tingled with a mixture of embarrassment and shame. Angrily, I pushed it from my mind. I forced myself to take deep, even breaths. Concentrated on tonight’s goal. If I wanted to slip out of the dorms, the other girls had to think I was asleep. Despite the mess of a day, a smile tugged at my lips.

My fingers ghosted over the homemade smoke bomb tucked in my pocket. I couldn’t wait to try it out.

When the last of the girls around me settled into a heavy sleep, I made my move. Soundlessly, I unwrapped myself from my bedding and pulled on black jeans, a black t-shirt, and black shoes. Color that blended with the night. I’d hoped for an overcast evening, but the light from a bright, full moon filtered through the windows. It made my job infinitely harder.

Good thing I loved a challenge.

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