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PW #300A Young Adult Mystery: THROWAWAY GIRLS

Thursday, 2 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Names: Sonia Hartl and Annette Christie

Mentee Name: Andrea Contos


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Mystery

Word Count: 87,000


Caroline’s the model prep school student—with a secret girlfriend she isn’t allowed to have and a second home in a rundown bar. But her plans to graduate and abandon her perfect persona derail when her wealthy best friend goes missing. As Caroline searches for the girl everyone wants to find, she uncovers a pattern of girls no one’s looking for. When she tracks their disappearances to her secret life, it leads to the brutal truth: she’s the link between them all. FAR FROM YOU meets DAMAGE DONE.


Everything started with the body at the edge of the lake. I know that now.

But back then, all I knew was the rush and gurgle of water where the stream fed into the lake. The gentle sway of yellow irises as the wind lifted their downturned petals. And the way the body’s legs bobbed in time with the lap of water against the shore, like the girl’s spirit was still trying to run from whatever had brought her there.

Left her there.

Hastily pulled half onto the shore.

Eyes closed. Mouth open. Full lips a watercolor blend of pink roses and the sky before a storm.

I knew what dead bodies looked like—even then. I found Edna Drake’s body when she collapsed from a heart attack next to her mailbox when I was seven. At ten, I’d watched Old Henry crumple halfway to his mailbox—but that was because Mrs. Old Henry didn’t appreciate him smoking all her Menthol Lights. He bled out not five feet from me, still-burning cigarette threatening to catch on the brown grass.

By twelve I’d seen two of mom’s boyfriends OD—one in our trailer, the other behind it. I left the second for her to deal with.

But this girl wasn’t like the others.



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