Monday, May 19, 2014

Team Kimberly #3: PERCEPTION

Genre: YA Magical Realism
Word Count: 76,000


Evan Evans can’t decide what scares him more: keeling over from his rare liver disorder or dying a virgin. When he gets drunk to ask a girl out, he ends up with disturbing dreams, a hangover, and a video of his escapades on a gossip blog.

Now Evan’s grounded. His liver’s failing. And his secretive virtual support group is pissed the video highlights his symptoms. Things go from bad to weird when the nightmares come true, including a classmate’s death and a post-funeral make out session with the blogger who exposed him.

Evan’s certain he could’ve prevented the tragedy, if he’d understood what his dreams meant. And he can’t resist his attraction to the school snitch’s confidence, curves, or the hints that she’s not the one pulling the strings online. While questioning who to trust with the dangerous secrets of his illness, he’s confronted by a specialist conducting unregulated clinical trials and a government informant desperate to record his dreams. Evan must face his disease, its effects on everyone he cares about, and the choice between a longer life on someone else’s terms, or freedom with no hope of recovery.

PERCEPTION is Holly Black's White Cat meets Jennifer Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

First 250:

That first sip tasted like change, cool with only a hint of bitter.

No one at the party expected me to take a beer, least of all me. My liver’s shot from this genetic disorder I have, so alcohol is high on the list of things not allowed in my body. But after hours at the beach, alone by the fire and surrounded by couples making out, I fished a can from the cooler and cracked it open before my conscience could stop me.

I’d wasted three years in the shadows. Before senior year started, I had to ask a girl out. A little liquid courage seemed like a step in the right direction.

“Oh, shit! Evan Evans has a beer! Somebody take a picture.” Jake laughed.

I flipped Jake off and walked to the shoreline. We’d snuck into Hanna Park through the woods, far from the lights of the condos farther south. Away from the bonfire, the night was all black water and white moonlight catching on the breakers. The memory of coconut sunscreen clung to the breeze, warm but welcome.

I chugged the rest of the beer, ignoring my churning stomach. Powdery dry sand weighed down my feet, and my toe caught when I crossed onto the hard-packed dampness. I pulled a thin red ribbon from beneath my foot. It slipped from my fingers and caught on the wind, twisting and swirling toward a girl sitting alone on a rental chair. 

I couldn’t tell who it was, but I started toward her. Better to talk one-on-one than to crash and burn in front of the crowd.

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