Title: A BRIEF ILLNESS
Age and Genre: Contemporary YA
Word Count: 66,000
Seventeen-year-old Rory Brooks meticulously planned out her entire summer: days at the lake and endless nights at bonfires with her best friend. Her perfectly arranged plans are derailed when her mother ships her off to Alaska for three months with her emotionally distant father and his new start-up family. Her summer is then obliterated when her grandmother Harriet, the only person on her dad’s side of the family she actually knows, has a massive stroke.
Rory is thrown into the role of part time caregiver for her grandmother. Then, in one of her more lucid moments, Gran asks Rory to find someone named “Ace.” The only problem is, nobody seems to have heard of him, or they aren’t admitting to it. With little more to go on than a box of old romance novels, an obituary citing “a brief illness,” as cause of death, and a folder full of short stories— Rory realizes that she knows hardly anything about her declining grandmother. With summer coming to an end, and Gran’s health rapidly declining, Rory enlists the help of Dylan—the romantic boy next door—to find out just who “Ace” is and why his secrets are worth keeping.
First 250 Words:
Yes, it’s sooo beautiful, and sooo scenic. The air is clean, and the vast expanse of green trees and blue skies are the exact things you see in magazines. Alaska has never been that to me though. For me, it’s always been the place I was supposed to visit each summer and every other holiday. I’d been able to avoid it the summer before, and was hoping that this summer would work the same way, and it would have if I hadn’t gotten in trouble.
I walked off the plane into Anchorage International Airport, and considered getting a return flight to somewhere exotic, and thenremembered I’m in high school and I don’t have that kind of money. Unfortunately for me, my parents completely missed the mark on getting filthy rich by the time I needed things like a brand new car and lavish Tahitian hotel with a private beach. So, as fate would have it, instead of booking a flight somewhere sandy and warm, I walked slowly down the long corridor to an entire summer alone with my dad and his new start-up family, complete with wife and twelve-year-old stepdaughter.
Stuffed Grizzly and Polar bears stood tall within the restraints of glass display cases, their snarling teeth and massive claws scared the little kids that ran by. There was beautiful, vibrant Native art lining the walls, with words like Tlingit and Athabaskan beneath them in elegant script. Floor to ceiling windows allowed me to look right out into the morning.