PW #252: YA Contemporary: LONG SLEEVE LOVE
Manuscript Status: 2 week delivery
Mentor Name: Kate Karyus Quinn and Mindy McGinnis
Mentee Name: Jim O’Donnell
Title: LONG SLEEVE LOVE
Category: Young Adult
Word Count: 78,000
Cassy’s an overachieving cheerleader pursuing perfection. Chris’s a brilliant, black, bisexual quarterback searching for acceptance. Gwen’s a heroin addict. When the three upper-middle-class seventeen-year-olds use each other to attain their goals, they endure overdoses, arrests, and assaults. If they don’t seek the help they need, they risk losing everything, including their lives.
I’m flying. I’m falling. I’m safe. Repeat. I’m flying. I’m falling. I’m safe. Repeat. I’m flying. I’m falling. I’m safe.
Five, four, three, two, up. Scorpion. Hold.
Wind brushes my cheeks, pushing the black tips of my hair back to blonde roots. Otherwise, I’m a statue, swaying only slightly from the heaves of exhausted boys beneath me.
The crowd claps, cheers, thinking we’re done. The bass creeps in under their feet, quieting their hands. Now I’m a metronome, the boys hold my left heel and thigh, ratcheting side to side. Lawrence positions himself behind me. The tick and tock of my inverted-pendulum increases in speed and violence as the bass picks up the tempo.
The bass cuts. I freeze. Lawrence ducks, grabs the wraps on my ankles. I fall to the left, keep the scorpion, now upside down, only my hair betraying the pose when Lawrence jerks up for the toss.
The treble kicks in, slicing through the humid, late-summer air, touching me at the peak of the toss. There’s very little I love more than being this high.
I catch a glimpse of the team beneath me. Brooklyn’s a blur of crimson and black, bending through her sixth, seventh, or – I don’t know – thirteenth flip. Melissa’s doing a floor routine that’d make Olympians’ jaws drop, and she’s doing it on an abrasive, poly-something-or-nother track. All the talent below me, and still, I know everyone’s eyes are glued to me.
I won’t lie – I love it.