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PW #222: YA Contemporary: A BROTHER’S OATH

Monday, 2 November 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

 Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Trisha Leaver
Mentee Name: Anne Slease
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 58,000


Fifteen-year-old Dylan Truman is used to his brother’s erratic moods; he’s been dodging nasty comebacks and the occasional flying fist for years, never imagining Cole’s behavior would become dangerous. That is until Dylan finds a loaded handgun stashed in Cole’s sock drawer. Cole insists the gun is “for protection” and, desperate to gain his brother’s trust, Dylan promises to keep his secret. But when Cole’s behavior turns deadly, Dylan must decide if a brother’s oath is worth keeping.


“GET OFF ME, YOU STUPID PRICK!” I yelled. Inside my head, not out loud. I’m not an idiot.

Instead, I simply sputtered, “I just…wanted…my socks back,” twisting my face away from the nauseating stench of bologna, Mountain Dew, and un-brushed teeth invading my personal space. Cole’s mammoth fists locked onto my skinny wrists, his enormous knee pressing so hard into my chest, I could feel my lungs slowly deflating like a punctured balloon.

He’d pinned me down again, this time on his bedroom floor. I’d learned fighting back wouldn’t help. Neither would calling Mom. No, over the last fifteen years, I’d learned my older brother had his own agenda, and the rest of us were just the backstage crew for his one-man show: Cole Truman, Total Asshole.

“Dylan? You up? Your bus will be here in twenty minutes!” Mom yelled.

“Yeah, Dylan, get up! Your bus will be here in twenty minutes,” Cole echoed in a crappy Mom imitation. “And stay the hell out of my room, dickhead!”

Gasping for air, I peeled myself up off Cole’s cluttered floor, dodging multiple landmines of laundry but stumbling over his massive Air Jordans as I scrambled out of his room. Thankful to have escaped with my life, I leaned against my locked bedroom door with the familiar sound of Cole’s laughter taunting me.


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