NAME: Sara Biren
MENTOR: Gina Ciocca, Elizabeth Prats
TITLE: CLOUD 9
GENRE: YA Contemporary
WORD COUNT: 57K
PITCH: Cat makes her annual escape to Cloud 9, a 1950s-inspired campground, where everything is “just fine.” But this summer she can’t hide from her troubles – or that she’s falling for her old friend Brad.
The milkshake at the entrance of Cloud 9 meant freedom.
Cloud 9 was like no place else, strange and wonderful and perfect – an entire campground and waterpark thrown back to the 1950s, set smack dab in the middle of the rustic Minnesota Northwoods. Nothing could top seeing that massive rotating chocolate milkshake for the first time each summer. It towered high above the road, complete with whipped cream, red and white striped straw, and a cherry that blinked Welcome!
That milkshake meant lazy days. It meant leaving my lonely, pathetic life in Minneapolis behind for three whole months. It meant escape. I faced the window so my mother could not see my grin. I couldn’t wait to get out of the truck and get into summer.
Mom drove past the milkshake toward a low building of coral and teal bricks. A sign on the building, a huge fluffy white cloud, flashed Keenan’s Cloud 9 in blinking blue letters. She pulled into a parking spot under a long striped awning but did not turn off the engine.
“Wait,” I said. I turned toward her. “You’re not driving me in?”
“Cat, really,” she said. She sighed. “I’m sure your grandparents have no desire to see me. I love them, you know that, but it’s still too hard.”
Right. So hard that she couldn’t take fifteen minutes out of her important life and say hello to her ex-husband’s parents who had loved her like their own daughter?
“Fine,” I said. “That’s just fine.”