Monday, October 8, 2012

Small Press Finalist #14 - Ideal High

YA contemporary


A summer’s worth of mourning is not nearly enough after a suspicious fire kills several of Taryn's classmates at the end of junior year. Now her only plan is to resign as vice president-elect and get her senior year over with as quickly and privately as possible. Way too soon she’s compelled to come out from under her paisley comforter to take her late boyfriend's place as student body president. It seems the only way to fix what’s broken at Ideal High.

If in-school rivalries and an old-school principal aren't enough, she's forced to deal with former best friend, Chelsea, and all her anxiety over the fire. Throw in a hot cowboy who, unfortunately, only wants to talk about the tragedy and it’s not long before Taryn is wondering why she dragged herself from the safety of her warm bed. At least there her mascara could run in private.

When Chelsea goes from head-cheerleader-popular to the lowest ranks of the bullied, Taryn must decide whether risking her pride and hard-won status is worth facing both the truth about the tragedy and the possibility that Chelsea needs a true friend. Doing so could mean Ideal High finally lives up to its name.

First 150 Words:

Taryn forced a glance at the pull-down screen behind her and was sorry she had. Whose idea was it to broadcast the super-sized faces of the dead to the far corners of the school’s auditorium? Everybody knew they were gone. Why emphasize the obvious even for the sake of a memorial? And why no rain on this joyless day? Never a good Texas thunderstorm when you needed one.

Instead, light poured through the ribbon of windows high along the back wall, criss-crossing the podium where she stood. Leaned was more like it. She squinted at the sheet of paper in front of her, trying to make out the first name. Not that it mattered. She knew the list by heart.

“Ashley Benton.” When she finally focused through the glare to speak into the microphone, the name echoed across the vast room.

All eyes riveted on the screen as Taryn pictured the name and the face heading straight to the heart of each student, parent, faculty member, and community leader standing at attention.

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