Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 62,000
Cancer: five. Stella: zero. On the brink of death, Stella is leading a double life. At home there’s her dedicated and protective boyfriend. And at the hospital there’s the quirky boy who’s stealing her heart.
It happens quick. Like a lightning strike. An electric shock rocks my body with so much momentum I’m sure I’m having a heart attack.
But my head isn’t throbbing. The room isn’t spinning. I’m still sitting up. I’m not dead.
And then it’s gone. Like it never happened. But it did. And I know what it is.
My fork falls from my hand. It clatters against my mom’s favorite China, making a sound as loud as a well-placed shot on the first day of hunting season. Two heads turn in my direction fast as The Flash. There’s no way to recover. My mom can see the deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. She doesn’t realize what just happened, but she knows something’s wrong.
“What?” I ask, picking up my fork, two peas still lodged on one of the prongs. I give a quick shake of the head, suppressing the uncontrollable urge to toss the fork across the room. Instead I grip it in the palm of my hand, squeezing hard enough to turn my knuckles white, my fingernails digging deep into my skin.
“What’s wrong?” she asks in a trembling voice, her face a mask of confidence.
“Nothing,” I reply as calmly as I can, my shaking body betraying everything my mouth is trying not to.
“Stella?” It’s my dad this time. They’re always waiting for the bottom to fall out. And it always seems moments away from happening.
I clench my teeth together before forcing a smile on my face.