Genre: YA Magical Realism
Word Count: 73,000
My Main Character is most uncomfortable with:
As a cutter, Ember finds solace in long-sleeved shirts. The fabric sticks to her healing wounds, but she can deal with that as long as her secrets are hidden. What she can’t deal with? Questions. Ember always prefers snow to sun. If everyone is bundled up, she doesn’t draw attention to herself – and with all the eyes that are on her already, she will take anonymity when she can get it.
Ember Monroe finds that if she tears at her skin, she can tear down the world.
If she’s honest, that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.
Being a high school senior is hard enough for a normal girl, though Ember is not just a high schooler. At this point, she’s not quite sure what she is.
She’s the silly girl who tried to give Patrick Cole, THE Patrick Cole, a love note – the note that Jessica Lane intercepted and read to practically the whole school. Ember is the best friend of Elijah Wynters, the handsome Golden Boy-turned-Boo Radley. She’s the freak that needs to go to the counselor’s office once a week so they can check her arms for any signs of old habits; the weird girl whose Mom disappeared two weeks ago. She’s the survivor that walked in on a Reaper attack and the bearer of secrets that could unravel everything. She’s a cutter, a carver of reality and – since the day she brushed up against the magic of the Realm – A Bloodburner.
Blood that used to simply stain her sleeves now gives her the power to travel through the closed border between this world and the Realm. It is an ability possessed only by Reapers and used solely to collect Mortal Blood Debts accrued before the Truce. It is a power both Mortal and Realmer would kill for, a power that could rip the Truce apart forever.
With war smoldering on the horizon, Ember has to decide if she can trust a world she was taught to fear. When she must make a choice, she realizes the line between right and wrong is not as stark as the lines on her wrists.
Not everything she’s been told is true, not everything beautiful can be trusted, and while some things are stronger than they look…everything burns.
First 250 words:
I didn’t mean to start it like this, all blood and ribbons, sliced down to the thick-threaded muscle that holds me together. I look like I’m being unraveled, and frankly, I’m a mess. But I guess there is no pretty way to start a story when you do what I do.
I stand in the bathroom stall, breathing slowly through my nose. The air smells like lemon scented cleaning solution mixed with remnants of cheap, cotton candy perfume someone sprayed too much of during the passing period. The bell rang fifteen minutes ago, and I know I should be in class. AP History. The ironic thing is the fact that it’s AP makes it easier to leave. Mr. O’Malley assumes we’re all serious students, go-getters, not-like-the-rest-of-them-ers. So when I ask to go to the bathroom fifteen minutes after a forty-five minute lunch break, he doesn’t question me. I make good grades and I’m in the Honor Choir. Last year, I went on the Red Cross Club’s relief trip to Nicaragua. No teacher ever questions me.
I pull a bobby pin out of my long, red hair. She wouldn’t want me to do this. That’s the thought I keep pushing back as it floats to the surface of my mind. She hated it when I did this.
I look at the bobby pin. It doesn’t look threatening. A sinking feeling twists in my gut, bringing with it images of the alternate reality I’m throwing away. The day could go differently.