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PW #331: Young Adult Contemporary: CRASH AND RIDE

Thursday, 2 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Names: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Mentee Name: Deanna Roy


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 70,000 words


Sixteen-year-old Aveline lives on drum solos and adrenaline. But she also has to eat, and during her mother’s latest disappearance, the money runs out. When shoplifting lands her in foster care, Aveline meets Horatio, a foster teen who hasn’t spoken since he was six. The couple communicates through music, and they hatch a daring plan: steal a car to find Aveline’s missing mother in Mexico.


I really don’t want to steal anything today.

But I have to.

The Shopper Mart is silent as I walk in. I’ve arrived stupidly early this Sunday morning, and the store has only been open for five minutes. There are zero customers. I don’t count as one, obviously.

My anxiety is high, heart hammering against my Grateful Dead T-shirt. I tap a drum beat on my thighs to help me groove with the rapid rhythm in my chest. Boom tappa tap boom.

The pattern soothes me and gives cadence to my footsteps. Packages of Halloween cookies fill a table near the front. A black ghost cut from a garbage bag is strung behind the display. Its open mouth is a silent scream.

My steps are the bass, thump thump thump. My hands are the snare, filling in the spaces. I let the rhythm carry me into the aisles. I am a marcher. I am the drum. My path is set, like a formation on a football field.

I glance at the security cameras, noting a loose wire hanging from one. There’s no way it’s functional. It’s like the signs you can buy at the flea market, “This house protected by Sure Safe Security.” Just a piece of cardboard to deter the easily spooked.

Still, I’m wary. I can’t get caught. My life is about avoiding being seen. No one can look too close.

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