The Writer’s Voice: Team Brenda #8 – NINETEEN MINUTES


Genre: YA Psychological Thriller

Word Count: 63,000 

Query: 

Nineteen minutes. That’s all the time it took for eighteen-year-old Brynn’s life to unravel. Nineteen minutes that left her scarred and three people dead, including Will, her boyfriend. Nineteen minutes she can’t seem to remember.

Now, after nearly a year in a psychiatric hospital, she returns to her idyllic hometown along the coast of Maine. Determined to move on, she plans to spend her final summer before college enjoying some fun and sun with her sister and friends. Unfortunately, not everyone is as anxious to forget about the past. There’s the police who are still investigating the accident, Will’s trouble-making cousin who doesn’t think it was an accident at all, and then, there’s Will, who seems to be reaching out to her from beyond the grave.

At first, she thinks it’s all in her head, a nasty side effect of her new medication. But as the hauntings intensify and the body count multiplies, she’s forced to face the fact that a killer may be closer to her than she realizes.

Excerpt: 

Maybe I’m invisible. I watch the minute hand creep another fraction of an inch around the black and white clock affixed high on the wall above my doctor’s head. Thirty seven minutes. That’s how long I’ve been sitting here listening to the two adults in the room speak to one another without so much as acknowledging my presence. I’ve gotten good at watching time. Stalker good. It’s my little obsession now. Something crazy I do in an effort to convince myself I’m NOT crazy.

I pick at my cuticles—slicing and biting at the paper-thin skin—and sneak a peek at my father, seated to my right. He looks happy. Too happy. His face is contorted in the same awestruck expression little kids get when a clown manages to transform a balloon into a poodle. You’d think he’d been the one stuck in a ten by ten cell for the last nine months and the doctor had just signed his release papers.

“I’ve arranged an appointment for Brynn to meet with a psychiatrist in your area next week,” Dr. Halstead advises my father while extending a manicured hand to slip him a business card. Her voice is soft and syrupy, like honey, like the color of her over-processed hair. “It’s important that she continue her current course of treatment.”

Dad nods like a deranged bobble-head doll while I continue to mangle my nails. He doesn’t realize my current course of treatment involves alternating bouts of solitary confinement and group therapy with kids infinitely more screwed up than I am.

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