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30. THE HALF-LIFE OF HEARTACHE – Young Adult Contemporary

Monday, 3 November 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake


Mentor Name: Kelly Loy Gilbert

Mentee Name: Lilly Barels


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 90,000


Hawaii isn’t all coconuts and rainbows. Seventeen-year-old Indigo Woods is trapped with her violent, alcoholic mother. She scrambles to find ways to escape, but it’s not until the summer newspaper internship and meeting her boss, a complicated college grad, that she finally feels relief. When a devastating car accident merges the world of the impossible with the possible, Indie must face her deepest fear: Trust. Because if she doesn’t, the relationship with her mother will be destroyed and she’ll never forgive herself.


This is the story I tell myself in the middle of the night:

One morning you will wake up to the smell of banana pancakes. You will rise out of bed easily and as you take a seat at the kitchen counter, she will turn to you with clear eyes and a pure smile.

“I love you. How did you sleep?”

“I love you too. Best sleep ever.”

And we will both be telling the truth.

They say positive affirmations manifest change, but I think that’s bullshit. The more hopeful my thoughts, the more stupid I feel. Life is quite simply one big disappointment. My bedroom is black with the red numbers of the alarm clock casting an ominous haze on my glass of water.

What’s she doing right now? Vodka because it looks like water? Wine to satisfy her sweet tooth?

I touch my left eye. Still tender and sore. Darkness has closed in on my body and the night is swallowing me whole. Why is the fan clicking?

It’s too loud and it’s too hot.

The sheets stick to my legs. I try my left side and the pillow doesn’t feel right under my head. Roll over. Shift onto my back and the mattress seems lumpy.

I bet she’s blacked-out.

I hate summer break. So much.

Filed: Pitch Wars

  • Stefanie Lieberman says:

    Please send the query, synopsis and first ten pages to submissions(at)janklow(dot)com. In the subject line of your email, please type: For Stefanie Lieberman – PITCH WARS REQUEST

  • Laura Zats says:

    I’d like to see more! Send in an attachment with three chapters with a query in the body of an email to laura@redsofaliterary.com.

  • Lana Popovic says:

    This sounds really powerful. Could you send me the full ms, please, as a PDF? “PitchWars: THE HALF-LIFE OF HEARTACHE” in the subject line, please. I look forward to reading!

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