Title: DOUBLE MINDED
Word count: 94,000
Genre: YA Spec Fic
Sixteen-year-old Sydney Reynolds fought hard for her spot in an exclusive college-run summer science program. Nothing could make her give up the rock-star-neurologist future it promises. Not even discovering the program is a cover for a dangerous experiment in mind reading and mind control.
Especially once she finds out how good she is at it.
With the help of these new skills, Sydney plans to say goodbye to her socially awkward, self-doubting days and hello to a confident, accolade-filled future. That is, until Dean--the attractive yet maddeningly unpredictable student aide for the project--begins to suspect her unusual abilities may be a side effect of mind tampering.
Subsequent tests reveal several false memory implants in Sydney's brain, proving that not only are her memories not her memories, but that someone is using her as a spy to steal information about the program without her knowledge. To free herself from her invisible bonds and protect the project's research from being used to enslave minds, Sydney must track down the one who's been digging around inside her head.
But the more pieces of her true past she uncovers, the further she feels from the bright, shiny future she's planned. Surrounded by people literally playing head games, she has no idea who she can trust. Including herself.
First 250 words:
It would've been nice to believe the professors who created my summer program weren’t actually trying to kill me, but I wouldn’t put money on it.
I inched closer to the tree, leaning my forehead against the scratchy bark. World-renowned neurologist, Dr. Sydney Reynolds, world-renowned neurologist, Dr. Sydney Reynolds.
Chanting the (God willing) prophetic words over and over forced me to remember why I returned for yet another session of the agonizing get-to-know-you games the Renew Your Mind Summer Scholar Program couldn’t seem to get enough of. If I didn’t know better, I’d think they wanted to drive me OUT of my mind, not renew it.
An unbearable clamminess clung to my skin and my eye had already begun to twitch. I rubbed it as I peeked around the knobby bark shielding me from the other thirty high school students milling around UCLA’s MacGowan Hall courtyard. They all looked so at ease, so comfortable with the simple social agenda that threatened to derail my detailed academic plan, destroy my future career path, and therefore end my entire life.
“We’ll begin in two minutes,” Dean Michaels called out in his usual hollow telemarketer voice. He ran every RYM meeting (pronounced rhyme by all the members) with that distant, I'm-better-than-you demeanor. Apparently college sophomores were too cool to associate with low-life high schoolers.
I pulled the hair tie from my ponytail and let the dark strands fall over my face as I retreated behind the tree trunk once again.