Title: THROWAWAY GIRL
Genre: YA THRILLER
Word Count: 79,000
Is Your Antagonist hot or cold:
All my life, she hid her hatred. I didn’t expect her to be so callous after Dad died. That a daughter of perfect Monique Patterson dared to be born with a deformed hand wasn’t in her realm of acceptance. She never said it, but she couldn’t veil the loathing behind her icy glares. She wouldn’t give a shit if I died tomorrow unless there was money in it. My mother was a coldhearted bitch, but I’d no idea she was insane. I always thought my princess sister was wacked. Obviously, the crazy apple didn’t fall far from the psycho tree.
I'm pleased to offer you THROWAWAY GIRL, a YA thriller that explores belonging, family, and diversity through the eyes of a varsity swimmer with a birth defect. A dark retelling of the fairytale Toads and Diamonds, it creates a sinister atmosphere tinged with madness and combines the driven determination for a better life of Ruth Sepetys' Out of the Easy with the unexpected grisly twist of Edgar Allan Poe's Telltale Heart.
Eleven fingers give Anna Patterson an edge in the pool and her goal is to win States. Not for the trophy, but for the scholarship that will take her away from her abusive mother and change her miserable life. But when she discovers a homeless girl and her baby huddled beneath the river bridge, Anna's life changes sooner than expected and not for the better. The girl leaves her baby on Anna's doorstep and her quest to reunite him with his mother plunges her into the dangerous world of homeless kids. She finds the girl crying over the baby's father, dead in a dark alley. Someone is murdering homeless kids for their organs.
Though Anna's a champion in the pool, she's a neophyte on the street. So she teams with a street-savvy girl with a badass attitude and a knife, and a motorcycle knight with the sexiest eyes she's ever seen, to take down the killers. But kidnapped anyway, Anna comes face-to-face with the leader of the black market organ traffickers and must choose between two evils to save her homeless friends. When the gun goes off she swims faster than she's ever swum before because this time it's not for a scholarship. It's the race for her life.
First 250 words:
A baby’s cry breaks the twilight’s frigid stillness. It’s not something I expect to hear under the river bridge in February. I lean over the icy stone wall.
The Laurel River rushes below and a girl crouches against the stone pillars cradling a baby in her tattered jacket.
What’s she doing at the river in this friggin’ cold? I lower the scarf from my lips and the winter wind pierces my cheeks.“Are you okay?” My breath comes out in frozen clouds.
She looks up but I can’t tell from her wide eyes if she’s surprised or scared.
A lock of hair, still damp from swim practice, slips from my hat as I ease down the riverbank. Each footstep sends swirls of snow into the coming night. “Do you need help?” Face-to-face, the girl looks a little younger than me, maybe fifteen.
Clothes-filled plastic bags line the perimeter of a canvas tent near a rusty charcoal grill.
They can’t be living here. My life isn’t perfect, but I could never do this.
The baby cries again.
“I’m Anna Patterson. Your baby sounds hungry.” I rummage to the bottom of my backpack with my good hand. “Sorry. This is all I have.”
Eyes wild with hunger, the girl grabs the energy bar and rips the wrapper open with her teeth. She takes a bite and swallows hard, barely chewing. “Thank you.”
“You need food for the baby.”
Tears magnify the girl’s blue eyes and she straightens her sagging shoulders. “I’m not stupid!”