Title: Olives and Other Tests
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Word Count: 59,000
Hufflepuff. Stacey’s an incredibly hard worker--working two jobs to
help pay for her mom’s specialty medical treatments--and she’d do
anything for the people she cares about, including taking a potion
that promises to swap her good health for her mother’s mysterious
Seventeen-year-old Stacey Cooper feels responsible for her
terminally-ill mother's mysterious ailment and after discovering a
magical cure on the Dark Web, Stacey must decide if her mother’s
health is worth sacrificing her own life.
I was eight when I shaved my head.
My bangs itched my eyes and though I begged to grow them, Mom refused.
“Don't be silly, Stacey,” she said. “A forehead like yours requires
I planned to fix it with tweezers. Standing at the chipped bathroom
mirror, I pulled out one clump after another.
It hurt, but I didn't care. Victory urged me on as dark locks curled
around the edge of the porcelain sink, trailing down its edge and
flopping onto the peeling vinyl.
But when I stepped back to admire my progress and realized how much
was left, I switched tactics and grabbed Mom's fancy pink razor. The
blades kept clogging and I sliced open a finger yanking hair free, but
eventually most of my hair piled around my toes.
I still remember running my hands over my head for weeks after, the
regrowth prickly. The delicious tickle of freedom where hair used to
When I emerged from the bathroom, triumphant and bleeding, I thought
she'd be proud of the way I resolved our impasse.
Instead, she burst into tears. “I've missed all the warning signs,” she sobbed.
Seeking consolation in a parenting forum online, her first post poured
out her horror about what I'd done, her worry that I seemed not to
care about my hair. Readers soothed her with stories of their own
kids’ mishaps when scissors met hair.
Looking back now, the support of those online strangers was the thin