Genre: YA dark contemporary
Word Count: 68,000
Logline: When thirteen-year-old Zoey escaped after being held prisoner by a sexual predator for six months it made the national news. When another girl who looks eerily like Zoey goes missing two years later, Zoey must conquer her crippling anxiety to find the missing girl and stop the kidnapper by whatever means necessary.
I can do this. I can.
Stay calm. It'll be okay. You're not dying. It'll pass like it always does.
"God, look at the freak show," a girl says. Don't think. Walk. One foot in front of the other. I keep my eyes on the floor and wipe sweaty palms on my new black leggings. They leave dark splotches behind. My stomach churns and threatens to expel the Cheerios I had for breakfast. My boot clad feet clomp through the unfamiliar hallway searching for the classroom listed on my schedule. First Hour: Study Hall: Room: Library. I blow a strand of hair out of my eyes. Every time I look up, I see the world through a curtain of purple bangs. Dark kohl I put on with a shaky hand this morning rings my eyes and I rub at my right one. A smudge of black on my finger reminds me I probably look like a deranged raccoon now. Being hidden behind black eyeliner and purple hair doesn’t help the rise of the panic inside.
A bubble of hot anxiety pushes against my chest. I finger my necklace, the sharp points of the Star of David dig into my palm as I walk. A tiny brown Buddha bounces next to the silver cross and the Virgin Mary charm makes tiny clicks. I pray to all four. Please don’t let me pass out. But the bubble swells. Unrelenting. A door materializes off to the side and I race to it.
I have to get out. Now.
Welcome to the first day of high school, Zoey. Congratulations, you made it for a whole ten minutes.