Title: The School
Age and Genre: YA/Contemporary
Word Count: 62,000
In my 60K word YA contemporary novel, Veronica Mars meets the Firm as a high achieving student’s media project exposes corruption in her school, implicating the mayor of her city as well as her own mother. Caught between the FBI’s demands that she surrender evidence and the Russian gangsters that want her silenced forever, Asia Bowman is running out of time in THE SCHOOL.
In THE SCHOOL, the former Major League Baseball hero mayor of a beleaguered California town runs a federally funded charter school aiming to serve poor students. High achieving student media journalist Asia Bowman is happy to do her part to promote the program’s success. She doesn’t even mind that her mother is dating the mayor and working as an assistant in the principal’s office. Asia and her best friend Jamie have successful futures planned, including college, careers in broadcasting, and getting out of their poor, nowhere town forever. Yet when schoolresources disappear, her favorite teacher is killed, and an FBI agent accuses her mother of embezzlement, Asia’s dreams for her future threaten to crumble as she hustles to stay one step ahead of the law and the Russian mob in order to keep her mother and herself alive.
Millions of people watched me lie. You were probably one of them. Did you believe the things I said? I’ll tell a secret. There is no such thing as reality television. Reality belongs to the one who tells the best story.
The studio people in Los Angeles did my hair so that it lay flat. They twisted it into a bun worthy of a ballerina. Mom would be happy when she saw that at least my hair was tamed. They powdered my face, glossed my lips, curled my eyelashes. When they were done I was a geisha girl, unrecognizable to myself. It was what I imagine getting ready for prom would have been like.
After sitting in the green room by myself for half an hour a man took me to the set. I sat under lights as hot as the sun.
You can’t tell from watching a screen how bright the lights are on the people beneath them. The lights would melt my makeup if I stayed on the stage too long. Then my mask would slide into my lap and everyone would see the real me.
I thought about wearing the friendship bracelet Jamie made me in ninth grade. If she saw it she would know that I still cared and would maybe want to be my friend again. I didn’t end up wearing it. Jamie knew I was sorry. It just wasn’t enough in her mind to make up for what I did and what happened after.
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