Title: GIRL IN THE MACHINE
Genre: YA Psychological Thriller
Word Count: 78,000
My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:
Delta’s most stressful relationship is with her handler, Mira. Mira is supposed to be helping Delta to succeed at the Turing Test and pass as human. Delta relies on Mira and needs her. In some ways, Mira is like a mother to her. At the same time, Mira constantly pushes Delta outside her comfort zone in order to keep her AI growing. It creates a lot of tension between them. Worst of all, Delta is beginning to distrust Mira’s motives. She’s not sure whether Mira has Delta’s best interests at heart or whether her corporate creator’s interests take higher priority.
Cyborg Delta Phoenix has a hundred days to accomplish her mission—fit into human society undetected—or be dismantled. To help, she’s given a program based on the memories of a dead girl named Emma. Emma is more than a program, though; she’s Delta’s guide, her confidante, and the equivalent of her soul. So when Delta discovers that the real Emma isn’t dead, just missing—and maybe in danger—she goes rogue, risking destruction to find the girl.
Along the way, she meets Justin, a boy who is almost as much of a geek as she is. Delta eventually opens her heart and her life to Justin, even letting him help her search for Emma. But she's hiding her biggest secret: that she’s a machine. Deception is just one skill Delta must master to survive, because the more she unravels the mystery of Emma, the more she uncovers her dark and twisted relationship to the girl—knowledge that pushes Delta’s fragile program right to the breaking point.
First 250 Words:
There’s a dead girl in my head. Most of the time, she’s quiet. But sometimes her voice drifts up from the depths, surfaced by my cyborg programming to provide momentary guidance or an all too human insight.
Relax, she says now. Like that’s possible.
Four minutes until the first test: stepping out of my room at the Institute and walking its long halls to the handler’s office for my daily meeting. I calculate a 56.29% chance I’ll conquer my agoraphobia and make it, instead of fleeing back to my room or dropping to the floor midway in a puddle of fear.
The analog clock on the wall by the bathroom thumps as its second hand stutters around the circle, eating up another minute while I sit perched on the edge of the bed. I breathe deeply, basking in the warm embrace of my small room and grateful for the solid metal door that stands guard against the looming hallway beyond. The door I must open and exit soon.
Three minutes now.