Title: The Freshman Reinvention
Category and Genre: YA/Contemporary
Word Count: 95,000
Pubic-Head, Jew-Fro, Big Brown One…AHHHH! If Jennifer Arnold knew how to make her classmates stop bullying her, to stop breaking her with each nasty name and rumor, she’d do it. If only she were strong enough, courageous enough to believe in herself, but a lifetime of emotional abuse from home and bullying from school have left her hollow and splintered.
Just when she needs her most, Jen meets Becca Orlin. Beautiful, self-assured and fearless, Becca quickly becomes her new best friend. While at overnight camp for the summer, Becca helps Jen discover her inner strength, tackle her body image issues, and accentuate her outer beauty.
In the fall, when her friendship with Becca evolves into a secret romantic relationship, Jennifer grapples with understanding her sexuality and morals. Their reinvention plan works though, and nearly all bullying at school ceases. Jen confronts her burgeoning fortitude when debating whether or not to share her clandestine relationship with her best friends. If she can’t, she will be forced to continue to hide what is quickly becoming the most life altering relationship she has ever known. However, her secret being divulged and resuscitating the now defunct abuse scares Jen into a claustrophobic silence and traps her in a cocoon of lies.
Although her relationship with Becca soothes her raw soul from years of abrasion, Jen’s damaged psyche could prevent her from knowing true completeness within herself and with another. Her determination to reinvent herself and conquer her debilitating issues brought Jen and Becca together, but those issues might also be what drives them apart.
First 250 Words:
The pain is instantaneous, a microscopic blowfish swimming peacefully in my body until someone yells hate in my direction, causing the puffer to balloon and impale me with one thousand venomous spikes. I yearn for a life without torment.
“Have a great summer, Pubic Head,” he yells at my back after I pass him on my way out of this god forsaken hellhole of a school.
“Yeah B.B.O. Maybe you’ll learn how to tame that Jew Fro,” sneers one of his cronies. Their gang of goons erupts with laughter. “Or just shave it off and save yourself from looking like my jock.”
They can’t see my beet-red face or smell the sweat that dampens me instantly or feel the tremors wracking my body. Nor can they see my desperate soul leaking out through the fresh wounds ripped open by their words, bleeding me dry.
This is what I know about life at fourteen: It Sucks. Capital S.
But the way I see it, I can continue spending my time wallowing in my misery, focusing on nothing except the epic Greek tragedy that is my life, or I can try to forge a new path. A path that leads to a life not filled with self-loathing or urgent wishes to be born into a different body or a different family in a different town in a different state where people aren’t assholes. There’s only one debilitating question that stymies me every time I have this illusion. How?