If your entry is not listed below and you are one of the 25 that didn't make it through this round, we invite you to join our Round 3 Critique Clinic to find out why. The critique clinics are an amazing opportunity to get feedback from agented, published, and debut authors who are donating their time and expertise to help you. Please see the list of participating authors and post your entry number and first five sentences in the comments by clicking here.
If you your entry is listed below, please add a comment to this post including your entry number and the first four sentences from your YA or MG novel.
TOP 25 FINALISTS
#1 Kat Zhang
Adie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath. Our first few years were our happiest—then came the worries: the tightness around our parents’ mouths, the frowns lining our kindergarden teacher’s forehead, the question everyone whispered when they thought we couldn’t hear.
Why aren’t they settling?
#2 Creepy Query Girl
‘How do you punish someone who’s already dead?’ Gretchen Grey tightened her grip around an umbrella handle while she waited for her parents to arrive. Her haunted blue eyes examined the London townhouse where she had grown up.
#11 L.J. Boldyrev
There’s a dead girl in the trunk and all I can think about is how white the trees are. There ain’t no street lamps on this stretch of road, but still the trees glow like they’re lit from the ground up.
“Not much farther,” Jack says.
My hope of living a normal life in Lindenville faded faster than my fifteen dollar jeans the moment I got to the school bus stop. How could anything be normal after you hear you’re living with a dead girl?
“That’s Laura’s house. You don’t belong there.”
#18 Jenn Fitzgerald
Madame Bhut’s Finishing School in the town of Whut was known across Amalthea as a respectable place to send your daughter if you were hoping to marry her to a gentleman, not for producing evil queens with ideas of world domination. That is, until Priscilla Martin escaped.
Even before she escaped, Priscilla was less than a model student.
Amidst the never-ending fires and screams of defiant terror, Abby collapsed to the ground – feet twisting inward, eyes unwilling to stay open, and desperately wishing to pass out. Exhausted from the chase, tired of the hiding. For fifteen years, she had never felt her stomach cave in from hunger like it did now; even the stench of death and decay rooted beneath her skin as if it were her own that was blackened with Consumption.
The challenge began like all the rest, although the dead corpse-look was different. Ana wished she could ignore it, pretend it didn’t exist, but that never worked. She could feel them.
#28 Cambria Dillon
Whoever said cell phones made life easier was full of BS. If it were true, then I wouldn’t have spent the past fourteen minutes sitting on my bed, half-naked, wondering why my thumb couldn’t do something as simple as press a button.
Girls did this sort of thing every day.
#29 Leah Odze Epstein
The day my parents tricked Rachel into signing herself into the “Program,” they tricked me, too, bringing me with them as a decoy. I should have known something was off when my father called a family meeting the night before. The last time we had a family meeting, my father told us our mom needed to go to the hospital for a little while so she could stop drinking.
Ellyssa, a.k.a. Subject 62, sprinted through the dark alley after escaping from her long-term captors who she’d thought of as family for eighteen years. Not a family in the traditional sense, but family nevertheless.
The sirens piercing the night an hour earlier had finally faded, but she still didn’t stop.
#31 Holly Dodson
Mandy Samkirk had no warning of the life-changing events about to unfold; only the lingering worry from a recurring dream that nagged at her thoughts. She could still feel the shadow of evil that hung like an impenetrable cloud in the sky, the smell of decay. Cries for help echoed through her mind with panic so thick it was palpable.
I died before I was even born.
It was April 13th, not a Friday, but it might as well have been. My mom was in labor with me as my parents’ car raced down the two-lane wooded road that passes for a highway in our part of Michigan.
#43 Angela Ackerman (YA)
When Mom and Dad started throwing around the D word, I never imagined an old folk’s home would become my Post Divorce Relocation. I mean as far as top choices go, it’s right up there with a land fill. The kids at my old school would say this is karma and I had it coming.
#47 Margaret Nichols
The bonfire in the middle of the grand plaza of New Tikal sent sparks up to greet the low-hanging stars; the stars Mau B'ah-Pakal hoped were still speaking to him, because no one else was. He had failed his friends, offended the Emperor, and worst of all - he could barely think it - had he really shoved his grandmother?
The plaza was full of people celebrating the equinox, but Mau couldn't hide in the crowd.
There was no mistaking the darkness on the eastern horizon; they were coming.
Malaysa clutched the balcony railing as she stared out over the land in the predawn glow from the sky. The tinkling of metal tubes continued to ring out in the air; they were what had woken her up.
Jacob shook the bamboo bars of his cage again, but they held fast. I couldn't look at him; not even when he whispered, "Blake, please."
I focused on Will, leaning casually against the cottonwood tree, a smile twitching the edge of his mouth as he watched Jacob.
I know you’ve been wanting to hear the latest gossip from this end of the underworld, but the truth is, there hasn’t been much going on since his Evil Lordship succumbed to death by piano. Hopefully you’ll be pleased that I’ve been trying not to complain about the piano not landing on Grok instead (and that I’ve only been taunting him in the gruel line at breakfast). Also, no matter what you’ve heard, I was not the one who gave him that atomic wedgie.
#61 Ara Burklund
Homo sapiens sluttiwhen drunkus--the subspecies to which I apparently belong.
My best friend Ani handed me a tall, clear-glass cup of Armenian coffee, the kind her mom used for readings down at the Psychic Connection. "So did you at least use a condom?"
# 66 Christine
Dragons are actually more curious than cats.
They proved it now, in the darkest corners of the Dreugan caves where the clan pretended to sleep. It was fairly difficult – the pretending – because of the human baby that was trying to wiggle her chubby hand into the black dragon’s mouth.
We stood side by side in the dark, me holding a pack of matches, my best friend holding the gas can.
“Burn it.” Finn’s voice was soft in the eerie nighttime silence, but full of edgy anticipation.
#73 Angela Ackerman (MG)
Not many people look down at a dead goldfish and wonder if that’s how they looked the day they died. Then again, I suppose not many people drown and then come back to life, either.
Only four days after The Accident, I ended up crammed around a toilet with Mom, Dad and my little brother to attend Gingersnap’s funeral.
#79 Renee Pace
I am suffocating inside my plastic lined steel barred cage; dying with the thickening silence and quiet sobbing coming from the other room. Locked inside for more than half of the day, my body twitches for the feel of the brisk air that causes my drool to freeze to my face. Big footsteps lumber down the stairs and instinctively I cower as far back inside my cage as possible, lowering my body to the pee-stained blanket in an attempt to make my big frame small while keeping my eyes downcast.
#86 Alison Wells
First off, I just want to say that I did not invite the aliens to drop into my backyard. At least not on purpose. So it's not like Ty and I were prepared to deal with the situation.
#97 Annie McElfresh
Life lines. Most people think of them as options game show contestants use to help themselves win a million dollars or something else just as equally lame. Me?
#100 girl jordyn
In seventh grade math they taught us that a triangle is the sturdiest shape, stronger than rectangles or pentagons or anything else. And that made sense to me. I understood, almost instinctively, what we spent multiple class periods on; I knew that three points were stronger than two, that the third corner gave the shape an added strength it wouldn’t otherwise have.