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PW #328: Young Adult Thriller: CALCULATED

Friday, 4 November 2016  |  Posted by Nikki Roberti

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Pintip Dunn
Mentee: Nova McBee
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Thriller
Word Count: 105,000


Eighteen-year-old math prodigy, Phoenix, could predict all the possibilities around her—except the betrayal of her family. Now, exploited by the world’s most wanted smuggler, she discovers the numbers in her head can do more than make money. They’re also good for revenge. 

Inspired by The Count of Monte Cristo.


I had planned to start by telling you my name. But that won’t work. I’ve had too many. I don’t know who I am, much less which name suits a girl like me. So I’ll start by telling you what they call me. Double-Eight. Like the digits. 88.

It’s been a thousand days since I’ve seen my ocean. Measured its waves. Calculated the tide. Smelled its salt. In other words, it’s been a thousand days since I’ve been home.

I live in China—wait, living implies choice. I exist in China. Taken from my home in America. And my existence depends on my gift.

I don’t believe in luck, but that’s what people say I have. Of course, all they see is my ability to make millions of dollars, not the constant bombarding of numbers that rules my inner world.

Being born a math prodigy has only brought me grief—loved ones turned into traitors, peers into smugglers, dreams into nightmares. I’m not even a girl, just a slot machine for power and money. I’ve learned to live with my gift, even maneuver in it, but if I had known, I’d have opted to be a high school dropout.

My mother would disagree. She said I have this rare gift for a reason. I remember her blue eyes, full of faith. “You’ll change the world, little seagull.”

Good thing she’s dead. If she knew what my mathematical genius is being used for, she’d break the walls of her grave.


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