Title: AUSSIE OUTSIDER
Category/Genre: YA Mystery
Word count: 58,000
My main character is most uncomfortable with:
This might sound like a cop out, but Rory can’t really say that she’s uncomfortable with either snow or sun. As a former California girl turned Aussie outsider, she lives for the warm sun on her face, sweet island breezes and dazzling turquoise water. Yet her favorite memory of her mother was when they trekked up to Big Bear one Christmas Eve to sled and drink hot cocoa with noses as red as Rudolf’s. So which is worse: snow or sun? Rory cherishes snow in her memories, but lives for sun in the present.
When her mother suddenly dies, sixteen-year-old Rory Turner moves from smog-pocked Southern California to a Dr. Pepper can-size island off the coast of Australia to live with her father, whom she’s only just met.
Settling into her new home is awkward with a double scoop of awk. There’s Rory’s cryptic father, for starters. Not to mention the confusing Aussie slang and lack of normal places to hang out like movie theaters and fast food joints. Plus, someone tries to hurt her by stealing precious pictures of her mother, leaving a dead bird on her bed and even giving her food poisoning. She suspects Vicky Harper, the woman her father jilted upon learning of his daughter’s existence.
Rory’s only bright spot is Vicky’s nephew, Tark, who’s quite charming when not acting like a cactus. But when she uncovers the reason her parents split up before she was born, she fears Vicky’s pranks will turn deadly. Especially after her father’s new love interest ends up unconscious on the bowling green. If Rory can’t convince her father and Tark that Vicky is a monster, her new home could be six feet under the ground.
First 250 words:
My mom didn’t even flit across my mind when my alarm went off that morning. Instead I was thinking about how much I hated Thursdays. And quizzes in Biology, especially when I hadn’t read the chapter yet.
I wish I’d run into her bedroom and said, “I love you.”
But I didn’t. I hit the snooze button. Twice. After getting dressed, I drooped into the kitchen to slurp down a quick breakfast. Just like any other morning.
Only it wasn’t any other morning. It was the morning. The one where I should have told my mom I loved her. Not the one where I gave her the silent treatment.
She leaned against the counter, reading her texts and emails on her phone as she sipped her protein shake. Her shoulder-length hair was pulled back in a low ponytail and she wore a matching tank and shorts, with her running shoes laced on her feet. Just another weekday morning for her, too.
After opening a can of peaches, I plopped onto a barstool at the opposite end of the counter without speaking, as if I could voice my anger better with silence than a thousand heated words.
Lost in my own needy thoughts, my mom’s voice pricked me like the bristly needles of a golden barrel cactus. “Rory, how much longer are you going to punish me? It’s been almost three weeks.”
Though my lips itched to answer her, I stuffed a peach in my mouth instead.
She sighed. “I think we need to get away for a few days.”