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Super Intern Contest – GRACEFUL DEATH

Wednesday, 13 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Genre: Paranormal YA
Word count: 71,000  


Dear Agent,

In GRACEFUL DEATH, fifteen-year-old Grace thinks insomnia is her biggest problem, until she starts seeing shadow people that can’t be real. A black clad doppelganger splitting off from Raf, her best friend/secret crush, causing mischief? Yikes. Determined to sleep and end these hallucinations, Grace accepts a joint from Raf. One puff of the not-so-normal joint shatters the gateway between the normal world and the spirit world, inviting the dead into her bedroom.

Blue souls surround her. Their overwhelming emotions leaching Grace’s life away. Moments before her last breath, the Grim-freaking-Reaper appears. She can either believe his oath to help and go with him or join the blue souls in death. She chooses the Grim Reaper. He whisks her away to a scary powerful Underworld demon whose plans include using Grace to transport souls.But becoming Death Jr. was never in her life plan. She may have been tricked into donning Death’s hoodie, promised a restful night’s sleep and unimaginable power, but the perks come at the cost of an innocent soul.

Overwhelmed, Grace turns to Raf and discovers he knows about her trip to the Underworld and so much more. Too bad he’s got a thing against sharing. Alone and losing her effing mind, she can no longer put off using the hoodie and stealing a soul. Revealing her life is in as much jeopardy as her victims.

GRACEFUL DEATH is a young adult paranormal novel complete at 71,000 words. My previous manuscript won the 2010 Sourcebooks Fire YALitChat writing contest and will be published as A Shimmer of Angels by Month9Books in November of 2012. I am also an active member of YALitChat.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my novel.

250-word excerpt:

My insomnia is killing me from the inside out.

The weight of my backpack causes me to stumble, though all that’s inside are a notebook, a few pens, and a handful of papers with red F’s and notes from teachers wanting me to “see them after class”. This has been the norm off an on for almost five months now. I know the drill. So I ignore every one of them.

I take the long way to… English, I think. And the long way is to avoid Pen, my best friend. She doesn’t need to see me this nut-so.

My breath weighs heavy inside my chest. A surge of dizziness clocks me like a heavyweight punch to the jaw. Is way on my feet, watching the Santa Cruz High School crowd thin.

Not in the hallway. Anywhere but here.

“Whoa.” A girl I recognize from Geometry approaches. Her body jerks and jumps. I blink in the hopes she’ll even out. She doesn’t.

“Doing okay there, Grace?” The guy beside her leans in. His eyes remind me of a toad’s, too far apart. But then again, the right side of his face is melting, so who am I to judge?

The girl’s lipstick wavers from orange to purple while I think up the right thing to say. “No problem guys.” The corner of my lip twitches. “Just dreading Grabowski’s class.” I lie as plain faced as I can, hoping they can’t see condensation on the back of my neck.

Filed: Contests, Misc

One Comment

    This is an intriguing premise. I love the idea of her being Death Jr. I like the voice in this, but I’m wondering about the tone of the novel. At times this query seems lighter than the content in it. Just make sure your query sounds like the voice of the story, the tone too.


    This is a bit confusing. Are these the shadows that were alluded to in the query that she’s seeing? His face melting and her lips turning color seem more than a shadow to me. I’m not sure you’re starting at the right place. The beginning is her telling us what’s in her back-pack. I like the stuff after it, with her seeing things in people, but I’m still confused by it all. I think it needs to be made more clear from the start. I probably wouldn’t have read much more being as confused as I was.

    Thank you for sharing your work ;o)

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