Pitch Madness: SJ15 – A BRIEF REVIEW OF WHY I LEFT

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Word Count: 60,000

Pitch: At the final graduation party, Daryl seized her moment… and now everything sucks. Back home for winter break, she must balance one former best friend, one surprising crush and one giant secret. Unreliable narrator.

Excerpt: Entering my bedroom was like breaching an ancient tomb.

I’d left just months before, but when I cracked open the door I felt like I should have been wearing a leather jacket and a fedora. My overstuffed armchair was loaded down with clothes that hadn’t made the final cut. My stuffed giraffe was slumped into a place of honor on my bed. A stack of graduation cards sat fanned across my desk like a royal flush.

My eyes slid to a picture on my nightstand in an electric pink frame. I picked it up, wiped away some accumulated dust and stared. It was a group photo from the first day of high school. My hair, the color of an apple slice that’s been left out on the counter, was gathered into a perfect ballerina bun on top of my head. My arm was thrown around a small Asian girl with perfect bangs, her mouth open so wide in laughter that it looked like she was screaming. Four other girls flanked us, all mugging in white Class of 2015 t-shirts like they were our as-yet unearned caps and gowns. “My Squad!!” bragged bubble script across the bottom.

I snickered. We thought we were so tough, but my mother took this picture, and then she drove the six of us to school in her minivan because there wasn’t a license among us. And yet look at the way our hips jutted out.

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