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PW #377: Young Adult Contemporary, #ownvoices: THE ART OF INSANITY

Thursday, 2 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Katherine Fleet

Mentee Name: Christine Webb


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary, #ownvoices

Word Count: 79,000


Natalie didn’t plan to be alive for senior year. Now, she’ll do anything to keep her suicide attempt and bipolar diagnosis a secret, even complying with the blackmail demands of an eccentric sophomore. But with an art scholarship, her prized reputation, and the perfect guy on the line, convincing everyone she’s not crazy might cost Natalie her own sanity. WHEN WE COLLIDED meets IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY in this humorous #ownvoices novel.


The car accident this summer wasn’t an accident.

Secrets have weight, and that one’s heavy. Most of my secrets are light. For example, I dropped a bottle of nail polish behind the couch last year. Now my mom will find a small puddle of Lime-So-Sublime on the floor if she ever decides to remodel. I plan to blame it on the cat.

Which reminds me: I need to get a cat.

Let’s see…other secrets…I pretend high heels are comfortable even though I get blisters whenever I wear them. My recovering ankle has given me an excuse to wear tennis shoes to school for the foreseeable future, so the accident wasn’t all bad.

One more example: My brother’s beta fish is not the same one he asked me to feed when he left for spring break. The pet store had a near-perfect match, and Brent isn’t very observant. Rest in peace, original Finny.

See? Pretty tame secrets. Until now.

“Natalie,” my mom says, “remember what we discussed—not telling people about…you know.”

She’s sitting with my brother and me as we eat our traditional first-day-of-school omelets. What’s odd is that my big secret—the car accident—isn’t the one my mom’s warning me to keep this morning. According to her, I have a bigger one.

Filed: PW Entries

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