Name: Amanda Gernentz Hanson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Title: Fight and Flight
Word Count: 66,000 words
Themes: date rape, mental illness, running, high school, biracial issues, #ownvoices
35-Word Pitch: After being raped at a party, Calliope’s self-esteem plummets as quickly as her popularity for accusing the town’s golden boy. Now she must find a way to heal and face her attacker at the trial.
First 500 words:
“Are you going to school today?”
I sigh into the phone. If I could avoid going back to school for the rest of time, I would. But I know my mom won’t let me miss any more time. I’ve already been out for a full week.
“Yeah. I’ll be at school today.”
“Good,” Peyton replies, sounding relieved. “I’ve missed you. Do you need a ride?” Peyton Reese has been my best friend since we were in elementary school. She’s been by my side through everything important that has happened in my life. It makes sense that she wants to be next to me for this, too.
I sigh again. “No. I can just jump in the normal carpool.”
“Okay. But I’ll see you in second period, right?”
I nod, even though she can’t see me. “Yeah. Can’t wait,” I say, my voice dripping in sarcasm.
Maybe she doesn’t notice my tone, or maybe she’s choosing to ignore it. Either way, she chirps a cheerful goodbye, and then I get a triple beep in my ear. Call ended.
I settle back into my bed, blankets wrapped all around me, pillows shaped to the curve of my head. I’ve barely left this bed for the last week. I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want anything to do with the outside world.
“Calliope! ¡Vas a llegar tarde!” my mom calls from the kitchen. I groan and roll over, but then I hear her coming up the stairs. She knows me.
“Mamá, no quiero ir a la escuela.”
“Levántate.” She doesn’t need to say anything else—I know she means business. She’s been pretty good about my wanting to hide from everyone, but she has had to pull strings in order to work from home for the past week. She needs to get to the office. I’m sure she’s tired of having me sulking around anyway. Not that it changes how I feel.
I manage to shower quickly and get dressed before I hear the horn beeping from the driveway.
“Liam está aquí. ¡Vas!” My mom pulls me into a tight hug, and I squeeze her in return. I have no idea how bad school is going to be, but I have an inkling that it’s going to suck.
“Te amo, Mamá,” I say softly into her shoulder, and she gives me a final squeeze before letting go.
“También te amo, mija.” Then she’s pushing me out the door.
The first thing I do is pull my hood up, cloaking my neck and face from view. At least for the most part. I know it won’t last, but I’d like to keep people at a distance for as long as I possibly can.
“Took you long enough,” I hear from the passenger seat of the Jeep through the open window. I look at my feet, studiously ignoring Theresa Johnston while she stares at me. I pull open the rear passenger door and slide into the backseat.
“Feeling better?” Liam asks from the driver’s seat.