Dear Insightful Agent:
Eve Thomas loves her five younger siblings—she just can’t stop killing them. At sixteen, she’s crippled by an agonizing form of OCD linked to her eidetic memory, one that makes her see herself committing the most perverse acts.
But Eve is stronger than the dark thoughts she can’t forget. Born on a commune called Nova Vita, an Amish-like community with unforgiving rules, she’s learned to hide the worst of her anxiety. She believes life in rural Virginia is as close to paradise as she’ll ever get—until her brother falls ill with a genetic disease the sect won’t treat, and she begins to question her faith.
While using an off-limits computer to research her brother’s illness, she’s approached by one of the sect’s migrant workers, a resourceful eighteen-year-old named Mana Aquino.
Mana suspects that the sect’s brilliant leader, Bishop Conner, murdered his sister years ago. Desperate to know the truth, he offers to sneak medicine to Eve’s brother if she’ll find, memorize, and draw the schematics for the Bishop’s latest invention—a groundbreaking solar generator the Bishop believes will save the world. With the schematics in hand, Mana will force the Bishop to confess what happened to his sister and two other missing migrant girls.
If Eve accepts Mana’s offer, she’ll deceive the people she loves to expose a crime that could destroy her home. If she refuses, her beloved brother’s as good as dead.
Complete at 83,000 words, my YA Psychological Thriller SUN AND BONE is Gated meets The Butterfly Clues, with a dash of Eleanor and Park. Told in two voices, it was shortlisted for the Janklow & Nesbit UK Debut Novel Competition.
I hold an MA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University and have published reviews of children’s books in The NY Times.
Thanks for considering!
First 250 Words:
Dying children can’t shock me.
Whether I’m stabbing them with a kitchen knife or they’re burning in a house fire. Whether it’s me or a disease or a natural disaster doing the killing. It happens every day in the dark corners of my obsessive mind.
Though I’m ninety-nine percent sure I would never act on these thoughts, for a few seconds I see myself suffocating my six-year-old sister instead of helping Mama wrestle her into the kitchen chair. While the Attendants stand by, waiting to fill a vial with Theresa’s blood, I blink four times to make the image retreat.
“Let me go!” Theresa shouts, bucking like a wild animal.
Her bare foot wallops my gut. For a second, I can’t breathe.
“Theresa Marie Thomas, you cooperate right now,” Mama says in a voice that could freeze the sun. “The Healer is watching you.”
My sister must be more scared of Mama or The Healer than the needle because she stops thrashing. Once the tip pierces the crook of her arm, her hazel eyes widen. The thin red stream shooting up into the glass is beautiful, though it seems wrong for the blood to leave her body.
After we release Theresa, I avoid Mama’s eyes and mouth a prayer, then tap the back of the chair four times. Not because I want to, but because I can’t stop myself. That way it won’t be my fault if Theresa tests positive.
Sarah’s next. Nearly nine, she’d rather live with nonbelievers than let anyone see she’s scared.