Title: The Fakers
Entry Nickname: FBI Ruined My Love Life
Word count: 77,000
Genre: YA Contemporary/Humor
Sixteen-year-old Daisy Kranzer is pretty much the exact opposite of a Mormon. As the crass, opinionated daughter of an FBI agent, she has a wicked right hook, she knows how to keep her true identity a secret, and she swears like a sailor. But when Daisy's mom is assigned to a special undercover operation in Pleasant Park, Utah, Daisy's unique set of skills won't cut it. She'll need to appear every bit as Mormon as the perfectly perky teenagers or risk blowing her mom's cover.
At first, fitting in is low on Daisy's priority list—especially when she meets a hunky Mormon boy named Cooper who seems more than eager to do some very un-Mormon things with her. But when Daisy finds out that Cooper is actually the son of the man her mom is investigating for the FBI, things get complicated. Daisy's mom, desperate for help with the op, asks Daisy to use her relationship with Cooper to obtain information about his dad. The only problem? Cooper is feeling guilty about his make-out sessions with Daisy and wants nothing to do with her. If she wants to win him back and help the FBI, she'll have to prove she can be the straight-laced Mormon girl Cooper is looking for, despite her dirty mouth and short shorts—and the fact that she's not actually Mormon at all.
Real Mormons don't swear.
“Oh, hell no,” I said. Of course, I didn't know about the swearing thing yet. Or the Mormon thing, for that matter.
“Sorry, Daisy. We don't have a choice. Orders are orders.” Mom's forehead wrinkled in what had to be faux concern. I kept looking for the sparkle in her eyes that would give away her excitement. Not only was this her first assignment after being stuck behind a desk for five months, it was her first operation as lead agent. She had to be stoked.
I, on the other hand, was the opposite of stoked. I stared down at the manila folder splayed across the kitchen table, the words at the top of the page taunting me.
UNITED STATES FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
OPERATION 2137(b): AQUAMARINE
LOCATION: PLEASANT PARK, UTAH
I closed the file and pushed it away from me. Aside from being 2,136 miles from our home in Virginia (I knew this thanks to my new arch nemesis: El Folder Manila), Utah was about as far from Daisy-friendly as it got.
“The name of the town is Pleasant Park, Mom. Pleasant Park.” I shuddered. You can't trust a place that insists on including a fluffy adjective in its name.
Mom pulled her chestnut hair back into a tight bun at the base of her neck, her fingers swirling her hair with practiced expertise. The 'do made her Irish cheekbones pop, which I doubted was intentional, and also made her look ridiculously intimidating, which was definitely intentional.
~ VERSUS ~
Title: Under the Surface
Entry nickname: Like Atlantis, Only Totally Creepy
Word count: 64K
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction
Seventeen-year-old Lauren Williams, self-proclaimed rebel and professional mother-disappointer, needs an escape.
When Lauren hears about the legend of Lake Modoc, she’s intrigued; exploring the forgotten underwater town is exactly the kind of adventure to take her mind off her dismal grades and the history teacher who has it out for her. Together with her two best friends, Lauren hops on a boat (somewhat illegally), and sets out to discover the Atlantis of Owego County.
One problem: Lauren must bring her eight-year-old sister, Roxie, along for the ride. And in the spilt second Lauren and her friends find the creepy, algae-covered church steeple under the lake, Roxie disappears from the boat. Silently, impossibly, Roxie is gone.
While the police and the county focus their efforts on dragging the lake, Lauren is wracked with grief. She becomes obsessed with uncovering the secrets behind Roxie’s increasingly mysterious disappearance. The further she digs, the more she realizes that century-old secret towns buried under lakes like being buried. Unwittingly, Lauren unleashes the old town’s scandalous, malevolent history—and if she doesn’t find her sister soon, that history is doomed to repeat itself. With Roxie’s life hanging by a thread, Lauren must dive under the surface to save her sister… or live under the weight of her death forever.
First 250 words:
The water stretches out in a dark blanket before me, rippling slightly in the cool breeze. I breathe deeply, closing my eyes and letting the wind play with the ends of my hair. I feel tranquil—free.
“Ugh, damn it! These tubes are impossible,” Carly shouts beside me, breaking my meditation.
“Jesus. You ruined my yoga vibe.”
“You’re not here to do yoga, which, by the way, you’d never do anyway. Can you help for two seconds?” Carly pushes her red curls out of her face, bent over the water’s edge.
“Hey, you’re the one who wanted to overachieve on this assignment. I would’ve been fine using tap water,” I say, taking a tentative step toward her.
“Tap water is too easy. I want a challenge.” The glass tubes she’s holding cascade into the lake.
“Well, consider yourself challenged.”
Carly has been my best friend since that time we had the misfortune of being dressed in the same hideous sweater on picture day in the second grade, but it’s times like these I ponder our actual compatibility as human beings.
I crouch down next to her and help her fish the test tubes out of the water. Flecks of dirt and algae cling to their outsides, so I wipe a few on my t-shirt before handing them back to her. “Here, nerd. Go do science.”
“You’re my lab partner. You’re required to do science, too. Here,” she says, extracting a test tube rack from the messenger bag lying next to her.