PW #368: Young Adult Contemporary: BETWEEN NEVER AND ALWAYS

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: RuthAnne Snow
Mentee Name: Tosha Sumner
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 83,000


Track star Callie has spent her whole life outrunning rumors that her late father used performance enhancing drugs. Callie knows who her dad was—an honorable, fierce competitor. But when an injury derails Callie’s plans to attend an elite training camp, she’s not only stuck at home, she’s confronted with evidence that her father might not have been the hero she’s believed in after all.


I could do anything for fifteen seconds.

Ignoring the burning sensation engulfing my thighs and lungs, I pumped my arms and concentrated on staying two steps behind Reed Barkley as we rounded the last turn of the sunbaked track.

“Go, Callie!” my teammates screamed from the infield.

One hundred meters to go.

Sweat from Reed’s soaked hair splattered my cheek. Running intervals with this smelly pack of guys was punishment for being the best high school miler in North Carolina and one of the top ten girls in the country, but every torturous millisecond would be worth it when I finally won States.

“Forty-eight, forty-nine,” Coach Torpey yelled from the finish line. “Last one. Pick it up!”

This was the point where most people would consider quitting.

I dug deeper, focused on outrunning the “Whitfield Curse” that would haunt me until I won that elusive State title. False start freshman year. Tripped on the final lap as a sophomore. This would be my year.

Or I’d die trying, because I’d heard the whispers, seen the tweets, and read the comments on MileSplit about me being doomed by a bad streak of luck that someone thought deserved a special name — the annoyingly harsh Whitfield Curse.

Zach Rigsby glanced over his shoulder as Reed passed him, probably wondering if he could hold me off. “Shit,” he gasped as I overtook him with twenty meters to go.


Author: Heather Cashman

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather's imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels, so she's going back to college for a Creative Writing degree. Her novels range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction, she dabbles in picture books, and is currently seeking representation. ~Member SCBWI

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  1. Sounds interesting! Could you send me the official query in the body of an email, the first 50 pages in an attached Word doc, and “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line to laura(at)triadaus(dot)com? Thanks!

    –Laura Crockett, TriadaUS Literary Agency

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  2. I would love to see this! Please include the query and synopsis in the body of the email, attach the manuscript, and send to with Subject line “Pitch Wars Request: BETWEEN NEVER AND ALWAYS.” Thanks!

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