When sixteen-year-old Joel Scrivener is bullied at school due to recurring nightmares, with his brother Jonathan leading the viral attack, he must man-up and prove he's not a broken boy or he'll lose his last chance with Amber Walker.
Running has been Joel’s go-to option since his parents divorced, his mother has taken to dating every jerk in a fifty-mile radius, and he’s basically failing his sophomore year of high school because his mother makes them move all the time. If he retreats to his books and poetry as a way out now though, he’ll lose everything, including Amber, the girl he’s secretly loved since they nearly kissed in the basement closet before her father caught them and tossed him out in the front yard. If he faces his decade-old problems, he’ll uncover the root cause everyone in his family, including himself, missed that began the nightmares as well as a secret from his past so terrible, it may prevent him from becoming the man he realizes Amber needs. What Joel does to overcome his problems will determine whether he will finally win Amber's heart, or lose her forever.
THE PACKING HOUSE is a gritty YA contemporary stand-alone with sequel potential, complete at 82,000 words that is BOY TOY meets TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY.
FIRST 250 WORDS:
1 | Monster
My brother’s being nice to me all of a sudden.
Either that or he’s trying to get me in trouble.
I mean to find out which one.
The tell-tale sign? This morning he gave me a forbidden Mϕnster drink he stole from the fridge. One of the jerks my mother dates stashes them at our place, but they’re off limits for us. Like police lights rolling red-blue-red-blue from every reflective surface off limits. He’s gonna get a beating for sure.
I corner him in our sparse room pinning him to the wall. Not like he has anywhere to hide behind crates that are makeshift furniture and mattresses on the floor for beds. The smell of tuna hits me like an uppercut.
Jonathan’s blue eyes try to work on me the same way he would sweet talk one of his many girlfriends. The same brother who gave me his last quarter at the arcade more than once, who lets me pick the topping on the rare occasion when our mother breaks down and orders pizza—pepperoni, which he despises. And more times besides flashes through my mind.
“Gah! Jonathan,” I say, releasing him with a jolt as I block my nose with my shirt and back away. “What died in here?” He plays the silent act flopping on the bed. Just asking for it.
I shouldn’t get so worked up over a drink that tastes like ass. It’s wannabe beer, not even a legal issue. Carbonated cough syrup. Why do I let it get to me? Because it’s one more thing. Another excuse to thump the life out of me. I could lose the library over this. Hell if I’m giving up the one thing that keeps me sane.
FINAL ROUND PICKS:
Thank you to @CupidLC @Monica_BW @BrendaDrake and @KristaVanDolzer for hosting this writer's contest. I think everyone involved has learned a lot from the experience. I know I have!
Here's the breakdown (I hope I have this correct!)
19, 22, 30, 34, 70, 97, 115, 138, 166, 186 (Alt): 54
3, 46, 55, 61, 79, 137, 150, 158, 180, 38 (Alt): 151
12, 18, 29, 31, 76, 84, 85, 185, 6, 26 (Alt): 194
35, 45, 50, 64, 75, 117, 122, 146, 149, 152 (Alt): 101