Title: TERRIFYING TORA
Genre: YA Horror
Word Count: 73,000
My Main Character's Greatest Fear:
Since Tora Kuragawa was eleven, she has suffered from panic disorder and has been plagued with panic attacks. She is certain she will be murdered one day -- though she doesn't know why. To keep her sanity, she rarely speaks or leaves her house, aside from going to see her psychiatrist or to attend school. When she had an episode in front of extended family, she learned if she ever embarrasses her father in public again, she would spend another summer spent in a mental institution. More than anything, though, Tora fears being alone the rest of her life. This is why, during her sophomore year, she's willing fight through her anxiety and become someone new.
If sixteen-year-old Tora Kuragawa’s parents hadn’t forced her to dull her panic disorder with heavy meds, she might have noticed a predator nearby before he crushed her skull. As a victim of unnatural death, Tora is forced to play the reaper’s game: If she can conquer her death and let go of her life, she’ll be allowed to cross over. Failure to do so in seven days, and she’ll be banished to the Netherworld — a nightmarish realm created for the reaper’s entertainment.
Tora can’t even control where her soul goes. If someone thinks about her hard enough, she’ll be pulled to him. Her parents never bother to mourn, but a strange boy named Viktor does — the boy who ran away as she lay dying.
Haunting him seems just, but his ability to hear her changes everything. They strike a deal. He kills whatever monster took her life — “conquering” her death for her — and she’ll free him of his guilt. Before Viktor can fulfill his promise, her murderer rips her away. He forces her to watch as he tortures other girls. Tora realizes she can’t wait for Viktor. She’ll have to save herself and the other victims or they will all be exiled to the Netherworld.
Fans of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake and POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil will enjoy this book. I’m a proud book nerd and an active member of YaLitChat, HWA, and SCBWI, and Crewel World author Gennifer Albin’s personal assistant.
First 250 words:
Breathe. Air in, air out, it’s that easy. Don’t lose control. You’re not going to die; this isn’t life threatening, settle down. There’s nothing behind you. These thoughts don’t help me. I close my eyes and take a step back. All I feel is the hard wall of the cafeteria. No one’s there. I’m fine. Everything’s fine.
People laugh all around me, but not at me. Not right now, when I’m finally not making a scene. No one recognizes me this year. Which is fine, that’s what I was going for. Lose around twenty pounds, start using concealer to cover up any breakouts, and I’m no longer that chubby Asian with panic attacks, just a girl no one seems to know.
Freshman year sucked — it’s done. This is my sophomore year, and I’m not going to keep being no one. I can do this. I’ve been prepping myself for this all summer. I smile and open my eyes again; I will do this. I scan the lunchroom for my target. She’s at one of the tables to the far right, Mary Beth, the sweetest and friendliest girl in all of Iowa. All I have to do is go up and ask if I can sit at her table, start a conversation, and bam! my sophomore year will already be ten times better than my freshman.
It’s that easy.
I can do this. I grip my tray tighter and start walking across the ridiculously long room.