Genre: YA Mystery
Word Count: 72,000
Is your antagonist hot or cold?
My antagonist is definitely hot. She is highly emotional and moody and can go from zero to sixty in seconds. She’s a good actress and can disguise her feelings when it benefits her, but underneath her mask, she’s a bomb waiting to explode.
When seventeen-year-old Ayla’s mom runs off and marries Mel, a woman Ayla’s never met, she inherits a new stepsister, Taylor, and a life of deception, drama, and danger.
At first, Ayla’s jealous of Taylor—she’s rich, popular, and a former beauty queen—but soon they become friends, bonding over hair, clothes, boys, and their own family issues. When Taylor relays horror stories about Mel and her narcissistic tendencies, Ayla is totally freaked out. Things gets worse when she finds out her mom is having doubts of her own, and regrets marrying Mel.
When people tied to Mel and Taylor mysteriously die, Ayla wonders if it’s a coincidence, or if the people now inhabiting her home are keeping sinister secrets. Ayla fears she’s being set up to take the fall for what she suspects are murders, and realizes she’s either paranoid or about to be implicated. With some digging, she finds out the strangers under her own roof aren’t at all who they claim to be. Facing the reality that her new family may be monsters, Ayla must fight to reveal the truth or die trying.
First 250 words:
Some monsters lurk in shadows, waiting to slither up to you and grab you with their dirty claws when you least expect it. Other monsters hide in plain sight, laughing with you, crying beside you, feigning affection as a weapon of manipulation. They’re the most terrifying monsters of all.
# # #
“Time to go, Ayla! We’re going to be late!”
I grabbed my phone off the dresser and checked myself in the mirror. Were combat boots and ripped jeans a good fashion choice for meeting your new family for the first time?
A day ago, I didn’t even know I had a stepmother or a stepsister and now I was struggling with what I was going to wear to meet them. The piles of clothes littered across my room didn’t offer many options either. The only skirts I owned were super short and all my tights were torn. And I wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress. What I was wearing would have to do.
“I’m ready.” I stood in the front hall as my mother rummaged through a beaded vintage purse she only used for weddings and funerals. She was in a low-cut, black lace dress, super high heels, and was actually wearing lipstick. She looked like a total stranger and I was definitely underdressed.
“Huh … oh good,” she said, barely looking up. “Have you seen my keys?”
“You mean the ones hanging right there on the hook by the door?” Was she serious?