Title: Her Only Escape
Word Count: 82,000
Genre: YA Contemporary Thriller (Diverse)
When seventeen-year-old Samantha Powell goes for a swim in the chilly Willamette River, the last thing she expects is a dead girl trying to drown her. Despite her friends’ claim that it was only a CPR dummy, Samantha knows exactly what she saw. And she can’t get the girl out of her mind. Especially when her best friend, Jenna, suddenly vanishes.
The police dismiss Jenna's missing person case as another Oregon runaway. But Samantha disagrees; she knows Jenna wouldn’t split town. With the help of Caleb, her crush, Samantha investigates the case on her own. And when hallucinations of the girl from the river connect to other missing person cases, Samantha is convinced time is running out. Desperate for the truth, she and Caleb plot breaking into her school's counseling files and police case records. Working together brings her and Caleb closer, which comforts her, until she finds out that he's hiding a shocking accusation Jenna made the week before she went missing.
Now Samantha has to decide who to trust and what to believe. And when more evidence stacks up, revealing Samantha was the intended victim, it’s not just about saving her friend anymore. If she fails, she might be the next to disappear, but to succeed she’ll have to confront her fears.
First 250 words:
Home isn’t an option. At least not one I’m given. Within five minutes of my text, Jenna crouches over me while Micah rummages through my closet.
“You’re going to the river now or—” Jenna rips the covers from my head.
“Later. I pick later.”
“Has later ever become an actual later?” Jenna doesn’t look amused.
“For the record, yes. Practically all the time.” Never.
“You’re losing your best friend status to Micah real quick.”
“Hey! What happened to the trifecta?” Hurt flitting across Micah’s eyes as she exits the closet.
Jenna playfully swipes Micah's face. “Oh, Micah,” Jenna says.
“Just go without me.”
“We thought you’d say that, so we chose three devastatingly embarrassing rumors to spread if you don’t go,” Jenna says.
“One is gastrointestinal.” Micah crawls on the other side of me so that I’m now flanked between them.
“Let’s flip a coin…” Jenna tugs hard at my blanket and flashes a quarter. “Aah… Tails… you’re jacked with all three.”
I let my covers fly across the room, giving them both the stink eye. Micah pounces on me, squirting Mixed Chicks detangler in her hands and fingers them through my curls. When she’s done, she fishes three swimsuits out of her bag.
“Red, orange, or black?”
“I’ll freeze.” Micah gives me her I’m not playing look and launches my pillow at me. “Black.” I roll my eyes and snatch the suit from her hands, resisting the urge to jump out the window, hop over the fence, and make a run for the bike path.