Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 71,000
Pitch: When Justin is sent to live with a grandmother he can’t remember, he vows to escape. Leaving becomes difficult, however, when he realizes that Margaret suffers from dementia and needs his help.
Blue elastic waist pants cover my grandmother’s flat butt, and her flowered shirt screams Old Lady Special. She’s definitely a Wal-martian, even though I haven’t seen a Wally World since we left the interstate nearly an hour ago. That’s how far we are from civilization.
Wooden steps groan as I follow her up to the porch. I drop my suitcases and backpack
onto decaying, splintered boards. A scraggly plant has pushed its way through a crack but now droops with exhaustion near my feet.
When Dad told me I’d be living with his mother, I figured it would be a nice house. Not as big or new as his, maybe, but nice. This looks like the kind of place with a meth lab in the kitchen.
It’s daytime, but a porch light has been left on. One of the glass panes around the bulb is broken. Under it, a faded sign reads “Beware! Guard Cat on Duty.”
My grandmother turns toward me and beams. Her eyes—green like Dad’s—study me
through red framed glasses. “Welcome to Meow Manor, Justin.”
Her laugh is almost a cackle. A chill creeps over me, even though it’s warm for October and I’m wearing a hoodie.
I can’t live in a shack in Red Dirt, Oklahoma with an old woman I don’t remember. I’ve got to get out of here.
While my grandmother digs in her supersized red purse and mutters about keys, I check out other houses on the block. It wouldn’t require a tornado to knock down half of them.