PW #210: YA Contemporary: IF ONE OF THEM IS DEAD
Mentor Name: Kim Graff
Mentee Name: Courtney Gilfillian
Title: IF ONE OF THEM IS DEAD
Word Count: 50,000
After a disastrous hookup leads to vicious gossip, seventeen-year-old Melissa wants revenge. With the help of her bestie, Jack, she creates an app to expose everyone’s secrets. But Melissa doesn’t expect Jack to get revenge on the wrong person—or her conscience to get in the way. Melissa has to stop Jack before it’s too late, sacrificing the app and their friendship, or she risks getting handcuffs for graduation, and seeing Valley Pines from behind bars instead of through a rearview mirror.
In high school there are girls who are gods. They command everyone’s attention with a swish of a skirt and a pout of the lips. My little sister, Stephanie, is one of those girls. So are her friends. Pay attention, they say. Look at me. You don’t want to cross these girls when they’re angry. These girls will key your car, sext your boyfriend, and pour Diet Coke in your locker. Only diet, they’re not like you—you fatass.
No one knows, but I’m above all of these girls—I know all of their secrets. I know who spiked the punch at the last school-sponsored event, whose mom is an alcoholic, and who cheated on their last History test. When you know things in high school it rattles you. You can feel it in your bones when you look at someone. It’s this shuffling sound in your ears that never goes away. Sometimes it’s the tick-tick-tick sound a dial lock makes when it spins. High school can drive you insane.
Every day at Trumbull High, you see the same people and they remember you for the same shit. Instead of being known for something good, you’re known for your worst moments.
My worst moment reared up last week at an end-of-summer party and punched me in the face.