NAME: Stacy Stokes
MENTOR: Gina Ciocca
TITLE: WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS
GENRE: YA Contemporary
WORD COUNT: 63,000
PITCH: Taylor thinks her life is over when her best friend betrays her – until an accident leaves her stranded on a seemingly endless staircase into the sky. As each step plunges her into the past and the mystery behind her best friend’s deception unfolds, Taylor must face the truth about her life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable.
Unless the staircase breaks her first.
I never noticed my pointy elbows until they became yet another reason for people to avoid me. They were thorny things, jutting out from my sides like a barbed wire defense system. I flattened them against my body.
It didn’t help.
A line of three girls made an unnecessary show of skirting past me, exchanging smirks with the subtlety of elephants. Once out of view I heard the hiss of heated whispers passing between them.
That was her, right? She’s the girl?
I fought the urge to shoot venom right back at them, but I didn’t want to waste my words on three girls I didn’t care about yesterday. Besides, Sunny was the one who caused this mess.
No one was at Sunny’s locker when I passed by. Without the swarm of bodies and hum of morning activity it looked like any other locker in any other hallway. The only sign that it meant something more was the key-scratched heart and initials I carved into the tan paint earlier that year.
I <3 J
My heart lurched. Had Sunny gotten to him, too?
The hallways seemed longer, twisting labyrinth-like between the classroom wings. Posters hung above archways, their edges curling into the hand painted letters like they were ashamed of the drips and wrinkles in the hand-painted writing announcing the upcoming spring formal. I straightened my shoulders. I would not be like the posters.