Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 69,000
When sixteen-year-old Benjamin McGill is shipped off to Bay Haven, ME, to stay with his grandmother for the summer, it’s not a vacation—it’s a punishment. Ben’s bored out of his mind in his Gran’s quiet coastal town—until he finds a letter from a secret admirer with promises of a treasure hunt.
Ben follows clues to a cafe where he befriends Mitch, a long-haired metal head, and Jennifer, a chain-smoking extrovert. When Jennifer learns about the treasure hunt and invites Mitch and herself along, Ben’s summer quickly picks up, like a heavy guitar solo in the middle of a power ballad.
But when Ben starts making metal playlists on Spotify and daydreaming about Mitch’s long hair and stubbly jaw, he realizes he wants to be more than friends. Just one problem—Mitch is full of mixed messages, acting like he has a thing for Jennifer one moment, and letting his hand linger next to Ben’s the next.
Now Ben must decide if he should risk everything and tell Mitch how he feels, or play it safe and continue the games with his secret admirer, possibly losing a chance at going out with someone he’s actually met face-to-face.
“Daggers Speak Louder Than Words”
The vocals sounding through my headphones sliced through my heart. Vic Fuentes, Pierce the Veil’s lead singer, could always make me all emo with his high-pitched, I’m-on-the-edge-of-tears voice. I turned up the volume, trying to drown out my mother and step-father, who were fighting about me.
My fingers curled toward my palms as my heart pounded, matching the drums. I should’ve been with my friends at the new skatepark in Chelmsford—not grounded.
My bedroom door swung open. Scrambling, I ripped off my headphones and shoved them under the sheets, acting more like I’d just been caught rubbing one out, instead of what I was actually doing.
But it was too late. My mother stood inside my room, red eyes narrowed.
I gripped a pillow to my chest, blood rushing to my face. “Yeah?”
“Ben, you need to start packing,” she replied, staring at the floor, not appearing to notice my badly hidden iPod, which I wasn’t supposed to use because of my less-than-stellar report card.
Oh. My. God. Was this it? Was she finally leaving my step-father? About time. This was the best news since Craig Owens rejoining Chiodos. “Are we leaving right now?” I asked. “Where are we going?”
She blinked, and then shook her head. “No, you’re leaving.”
Wait—what? Was I going to my dad’s? “What do you mean?”
She swallowed. “Pack for your grandmother’s.”