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PW #318: Young Adult Contemporary (Own Voices): OVERBOARD

Friday, 4 November 2016  |  Posted by Nikki Roberti

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Rachel Lynn Solomon & Kit Frick
Mentee: Allison Augustyn
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary (Own Voices)
Word Count: 77,000


After a failed suicide attempt, seventeen-year-old Kip is determined to have sex for the first time to feel more alive.

An Alaskan cruise seems like the perfect opportunity—and if her plan fails, she’ll jump off the ship. To save herself, Kip must confront preconceptions about sex and privilege, as well as the growing darkness in her own mind.


You can fit 3,000 people on this cruise ship, so there’s a chance at least one of them will sleep with me. People cruise for many reasons, but I’m going to Alaska to have sex for the first time, or die trying.

Strangely enough, I’ve never seen that mentioned in the brochure.

I’m serious, both about sex and the dying part. Six months ago I proved how serious I am, and I’ve been in therapy ever since. I mostly spend the hour listening to advice I won’t take, watching my left wrist scar over. It’s the only one I got to before I was interrupted.

For the record, scarred over doesn’t mean anything is actually over.

My therapist—Dr. “Call-Me-Jonathan”—told my parents I’m no longer an immediate risk. He’s not a great therapist. He knows about the wrist, but not me jumping off the boat if sex doesn’t happen.

No one does.

GJ (that’s Grandma Julia to you) and I stand in a long line of horrible prints stretched across fat bellies and sagging breasts. There are a million kids running around, but they’re way too young. Now that I see who’s actually cruising, I’m not sure my plan will work. The sun broils us all, creating an incredible smell. I’m sweating through my black jacket and jeans, down to my Converse. I’m wet, and I haven’t even gotten on the boat yet.

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