PW #354: Young Adult Contemporary: THE FRIEND ZONE HYPOTHESIS
Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor: Nikki Roberti
Mentee: Katie O’Shea
Title: The Friend Zone Hypothesis
Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Word Count: 83,000
When his nerdy sidekick swipes a copy of Cosmo claiming it holds scientific secrets to winning any girl’s heart, seventeen-year-old Mikey launches an experiment to transform his status from best friend to boyfriend. One problem: Jessica Sterling is a variable who can’t be controlled.
Jessica sang at the top of her lungs as wind rolled through the windows, tangling her brown hair. She cranked the music louder and shot me an excited grin. She pushed her Wayfarers up, then stretched her hand out the window, riding the current of briny sea breeze.
Every summer started like this. Every summer for as long as I could remember.
I held on as Jessica whipped Pippi— the old Ford she’d nicknamed years ago when it belonged to her mom— into an empty space.
“Summer’s waiting!” She jumped out with it barely in park, her toes in the sand before Slade and I could open our doors.
“Yo, Jessica!” Someone called in the distance. A smile broke across her face as Derrek Alexander jogged closer, waving her over.
Jessica sprinted after him, turning at the last second to shout, “I’ll catch up with you later, Mikey!”
I shoved my clenched fists into my pockets, mentally flicking him off.
Derrek Alexander? Really? The fact that his name was actually two first names told you how big a tool he was— if his Neanderthalic exterior didn’t already. Among the female (and a respectable portion of the male) population of West Elm High, he was “The Crème de la Crème of Mancandy,” as Jessica once said.
I threatened to impale myself if she ever spoke those words again.
All I’d been thinking about was spending every minute of summer with Jessica. Summer was always ours.
Slade shook his head. “Never going to make your move, are you?”