MENTOR: Stephanie Garber
MENTEE: Kate Bucklein
TITLE: A SEA OF HOLLOW HEARTS
CATEGORY/GENRE: YA Epic Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 88,000
After being marooned by his pirate crew, Alek finds himself stuck on an island with a girl he doesn’t trust. She comes with a curse that binds them together. To break it they’ll have to commandeer a ship, find five lost relics, and avoid killing each other in the process.
It took eight hundred and thirty-nine steps to wander the circumference of the isle, and Alek thought he knew every one of them. He’d paced around it yesterday after washing ashore with saltwater in his ears and brine on his tongue. He’d etched carvings into palm trees with bird nests or coconuts to keep track of food. The single pond of fresh water would probably last him two weeks. Three if he rationed what he drank.
And now there was a girl.
He stood with his hands on his hips a distance from her collapsed figure. The shadows of several palm trees reached for her across the sand. The rise and fall of her stomach was steady enough he knew he didn’t need to try to revive her.
Alek shaded his eyes and scanned the empty ocean. There was no way he could have missed a ship. No storms had passed, so it was unlikely she’d been shipwrecked. Maybe she’d been marooned, just like him. The balmy breeze rushed at his face, carrying the scent of gunpowder. He dismissed the thought as wishful thinking. He just missed the blazing stench.
The girl moaned, drawing his eyes back to her. He trudged her way but stopped when his shadow touched the fingers of her outstretched arm. The brand on the inside of her right wrist was familiar. This wasn’t the first time he had seen the triangles, one inside the other, but for the moment its source escaped him.