Genre: YA Mystery
Word Count: 52,000
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:
I don’t fear open spaces; I'll put on my turquoise boots and wander for days in the West Texas Desert. I don’t fear swamps; I could sleep in Spanish moss covered trees with alligators snapping below me, and I wouldn’t flinch once. But I do fear that my dead parents wouldn’t understand me. I fear their world of high society and how smoothly they fit into it. So I’m facing my fear. I’m immersing myself in the life they lived, so different from mine, and I’m trying to figure out who took them from me. I will find that person.
Jane had come to terms with her parents’ death. She had accepted that her youth would be spent moving from one Texas town to the next, her grandfather crunching tortilla chips while driving their RV and telling her stories of Texas history.
But when she discovers her grandfather lied about the most important thing - how she lost her parents - she packs her bag, slips on her turquoise cowgirl boots, and leaves the only stability she’s ever had, her grandfather and the constant open road. Jane drives straight through Texas to Michigan, where she was born and where her parents died.
In Traverse City, Michigan she finds all the things she’s never had: people who know her past, stories about her parents, and the mixture of self-doubt and excitement that inevitably comes with a first crush. But what she wants more than anything is to find out the truth about her parents’ death, and everyone in town, except her, seems to have a different opinion about it, some say murder and some say murder-suicide. Trying to navigate a world full of social niceties and resort houses on Lake Michigan, she begins to wonder if her parents could have loved someone like her, someone from a rugged landscape of jutting rocks and harsh light and with a personality to match. It’s only when she is finally confronted with the truth that she realizes how much her grandfather loves her and wanted to protect her from the danger she must now face.
First 250 words:
I held the newspaper article up for my grandfather to see. It was soft to the touch from age, creased down the middle. “I’m leaving.” I grabbed my backpack from the RV’s floor, swinging it over my shoulder, knocking over an empty mug that cracked into large pieces on the brown linoleum floor.
“Jane, I’m sorry.” He shook his head. The dim light from our trailer’s only lamp made it difficult to see his weathered face.
“How you could lie to me?” I stormed out, the almost weightless screen door swinging behind me.
“Get back in here,” he said, following me. “It’s dangerous there.”
“You don’t know where I’m going,” I said without turning around.
“I know,” he said, and I stopped.
Of course he knew. Where else would I go?
“I always thought you’d go with me,” I said looking at him, hating the pleading in my voice.
I gave him a second to reply. A second is forever to give someone when they have hurt you that much. He put his hands on his hips, shook his head and looked out to the desert, as if the words he needed might be there.
I got into the old truck and peeled out, trying to ignore him standing there, looking small and insignificant beneath the West Texas starry sky and bright moon. He’d always been bigger than life to me. I turned the radio up so that I could feel the vibrations in my arms, legs, and right into that aching spot in my chest. I needed it like that.