Title: Trading Stitches
Age and Genre: YA Dark Thriller
Word Count: 89,000
Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is nothing more than a motivational saying for most people, but for Marc Cheeks, it may be his only hope for surviving his teen years.
Since his mother died, Marc has heard his troubled father repeat the cliché. During his recovery from a near fatal stabbing, Marc suspects the cliché is family fact. He becomes physically stronger, but strength comes with a cost. Anger consumes his father. Insanity holds his uncle. Cancer stole his grandfather. Marc fears what awaits him.
When his dad inexplicably takes his own life, Marc races to understand his father’s final words: “Find your kismet. It doesn’t have to be a curse.”
Marc enlists the help of his best friend, the girl next door, and a local bartender to decipher clues left in a journal written by Marc’s dad. Despite offers to help Marc, his institutionalized uncle yields more questions than answer.
As the curse continually places Marc in harm’s way, he begins to doubt his ability to escape his fate. His desperate search for his Kismet, a soulmate thought to be the answer, leads him to two girls in his life: the girl next door and the creepy teen occupying the cell next to his uncle in the insane asylum.
Unfortunately, not everyone Marc wants him to succeed. One or two even want him dead. Marc is forced to risk his own life plus the lives of all those helping him only to discover that pesky, old curse might not be his alone.
He must decide not only how many lives, but who’s life is worth the answer to his father’s final words.
First 250 Words:
I thought it was a rule people didn’t use a kid’s dead mother against them. I guess my dad didn’t get the memo.
“You’re using too much starch.” I tugged my collar. The fibers ran their scratchy fingers along the back of my neck.
Dad scrunched his face and stared cockeyed. “What?”
He yanked the wheel sharp left and the balding Michelin tires squealed. Heads turned as our rusty Nissan pulled into the school’s gravel parking lot. The rickety fender clung to the truck. A painful daily reminder of the past four years. It begged to be fixed, but Dad ignored it.
“We’re learning about starch in Home Economics,” I said. “Does this shirt even need it?”
He rolled his eyes, “I don’t know, Marc. That’s a question for your mom.”
I hated when he did that. A car accident ripped her from us four years ago, but he only mentioned her when he didn’t want to answer a question.
“Do other dudes know you’re learning this stuff.” My dad wiped down his scruffy face. “It’s going to get you beat up.”
“How’s that different than any other day?” I scoffed.
“Guys still pestering you?”
“It’s called bullying.” The peeling latch jiggled in my palm. “Like you care.”
His fist slammed the faded dashboard. “I do care! Besides, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Right?”
“No one believes that, Dad.”
“I do. Your grandfather did,” he said. “One day you will, too.”
Dead grandfather card for the win.