Title: Walk and Roll
Word Count: 50K
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Suicidal, alienated, and co-dependent as hell, high school senior Jake Alpert isn’t anyone’s idea of emotional stability. His parents are clueless as to how to help, and his therapist has run out of drugs to prescribe. Not even Jake’s best (okay, only) friend Scott can get him to be much more than a wallflower.
But the eternally optimistic Mia Fields chooses to look past Jake’s tough exterior. Soon, she and Jake are ditching class in favor of the beach and roller-skating through the mall long after it has closed. And Jake, well, he’s happier than he ever was on his meds.
Then Mia gets accepted to her dream college 3000 miles away, and suddenly, their relationship has an expiration date. As summer approaches, Jake becomes terrified that his depression will come rushing back the moment his girlfriend steps on that plane. Which is why he’s determined to do whatever is necessary to make her stay.
Jake gets his wish, in a sense, when Mia is diagnosed with a rare condition known as POTS. But the illness won’t just complicate Mia’s college plans. There’s also a good chance it could leave her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
In the hours between Mia’s diagnosis and her discharge, Jake must decide whether love or happiness is more important. Because the longer he stays with Mia in the hospital, the more even his happiness starts to feel like just another memory.
First 250 Words:
First off, your prompt is ridiculous. Three hundred and fifty words? Really? You’re going to base my college admission on whether or not I can condense the most important day of my life into three hundred and fifty words?
I’ll tell you right now: Mia Fields deserves more than that.
Two years ago, when we were both seniors in high school, she sent your university an application so stellar that you accepted her into your prestigious pre-med program. I bet that someone in your office still has files listing her high school GPA and extra-curricular activities. Maybe someone even has a copy of how she answered this question. If, of course, you’ve been using this same stupid prompt for that long.
I don’t know what she wrote, but I can guarantee you that her answer would have changed by now. Why? It’s simple really.
Because whatever she wrote then occurred before that day in the hospital, that day when she was first diagnosed.
That day changed everything, not just for Mia but for all of us. For those of us who loved her most, that diagnosis cracked our worlds into “before” and “after.”
All that to say, what you have in your hands isn’t really an essay. It started out that way, but it’s not quite how it ended up. You’re still welcome to read it if you want. But if not, I understand. I’m sure there are a thousand other applicants eager to tell you in five polished paragraphs all about the time they volunteered at their local soup kitchen.