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PW #250: YA Magical Realism: DOWN TO THE WATER

Monday, 2 November 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status: 2-week delivery

Mentor Name: Summer Spence
Mentee Name: Courtney Leigh
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Magical Realism
Word Count: 85,000


When headstrong Laura dives deep into the underwater caves of the Blue Hole, she encounters the legendary Lake Lady, who whispers secrets that may have the power to heal her fractured family. Laura enlists her sister and friends to dive in and uncover the truth, but not everyone who goes down to the water comes back up.


The first sunburn of the summer was ritual now.

Her mom would say something about skin cancer and irresponsibility, but Laura liked the sun’s powerful light licking at her, liked that it was just as eager for their coming summer together as she was.

“I dare you to jump in the Blue Hole,” she called to her younger sister. They were on their way home from the lake’s community beach, biking it, thighs and calves and ankles rolling over skeletal spokes, pushing them home with an erratic pulse.

Neeter shook her head. “No way.”

Ignoring her, Laura veered off the county road and shot down a dirt path, dodging the low-hanging pine branch that always tried to smack her in the face, taking the final curve too fast, and skidding to a halt on the top of a rock cliff. Neeter followed, like Laura knew she would. They flicked their kickstands, and Laura walked to the edge, looking down into the Blue Hole, her favorite spot to swim in all of Lake Wren Valley.

The water there, at the bottom of the ten-foot cliff, was a rich, thick blue, odd—misplaced—next to the rest of the periwinkle lake.

Laura didn’t know how deep the Hole went, but she’d heard it was bottomless. That it went straight down to the center of things. That if she swam far enough into it, she’d hear a faint and terrible heartbeat.

Her heartbeat. The Lake Lady’s.


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