Title: THE GOODNIGHT IRENES
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word count: 88,000
My main character’s Most Stressful Relationship is:
Just the thought of her mother Mary makes Keelie’s skin crawl and her stomach clench. It’s not just the lying and manipulating, or even that she murdered Keelie’s friend. It’s the lack of self-control, the lives she’s destroyed. It’s that possibility which scares Keelie the most. The connection. The blood, the genetics, the undeniable statistics. Mary’s a violent offender with mental health issues: issues that are passed down to one in ten children born to women like her.
Children like Keelie. And Keelie can’t help but remember that her mom first started to lose it when she was the age Keelie is now.
The reams of leather straps and black beads on Keelie’s wrists aren’t a fashion statement. They’re only there to mask the scars and reminders of the messed-up year she just survived. Her best friend was murdered right in front of her, and Keelie’s bat-shit crazy mom is locked up for the crime. Hissing just beneath the surface, a spidery voice tells her she’ll probably end up as crazy as her mother.
Keelie leans on her father and brother, painting and writing poetry to keep the monsters at bay, but the guilt claws deep. After months of wanting to splatter herself against the universe, a small flame of hope fights against the fear and anger eating at her. Then emo queen Prue Dailey spots the slash scars hiding under the jewelry and invites Keelie into the dark world of The Goodnight Irenes, a girls only death wish club.
She chooses life over oblivion, and when Prue's best friend sides with Keelie and leaves the club, they learn how determined Prue is to bring everyone down with her.
Then Keelie finds out she’s repressed some of the ugliest memories of her friend’s murder. Her father has kept other secrets, as well. Hard-won family trust crumbles, and Keelie falters back into brokenness. She must decide if she will forgive her family and look to the future with her supportive new boyfriend, or if she’ll give in to the darkness that’s calling her.
First 250 Words:
There are reasons for things
Even if none are apparent
Who can say why life draws a map of cold, long dead stars on our hearts?
Who can say why we yearn after that oblivion?
Even when we're standing on lush grasses
warm breezes on our face,
warm hands cradling us,
still, oblivion calls.
And its song is sweet
I scanned the lunch hall, searching, yearning.
This place is so not North Carolina.
Thirty-nine weeks yawned ahead of me in this bear trap of boredom. Scenic Hanover, New Hampshire. A town so small, I couldn’t find it on a map when Dad told us we were moving here. The place settled on me like an ill-fitting hand-me-down coat, more familiar as the days crept past, but not comfortable. Not one bit. Just another waystation before real life started. Whatever and wherever my real life might be.
Thirty-nine weeks until graduation, until escape.
Stop it, idiot.
Stop looking for her.
But I couldn’t stop looking for Beth.
Longing for a ghost.
The hair on my neck bristled. At the next table, a posse of glossy clones pretended not to watch me. Food sprawled across the surface of their table, purses scattered, perfect nails clack, clack, clacking on their phones. They kept casting furtive, side-eyed glances my way.
Why is this school smaller than a snow globe?
And where the hell is Reese?
An angry growl lurked in my throat as I grabbed my books. The weekend couldn’t come soon enough.