Title: HAVING IT ALL
Genre: YA Historical
Word Count: 87,000 words
Would my Main Character use hot or cold to battle her biggest obstacle?
Cold, definitely. Cold means blizzards and ice storms and polar vortex winds. Cold means time spent in libraries and bookstores, exploring floor-to-ceiling shelves crammed with knowledge and enlightenment. Cold means fireplaces and cozy reading nooks and hours upon hours devoted to scholarship.
Cold means staying indoors.
Cold relieves ongoing pressure from Dad, invitations to kayak, hike, swim, bike, run. It minimizes Mom’s nagging, repeated calls to “get some fresh air.”
It is no accident the world’s most prominent universities – our most respected sites of scholastic excellence – are located in cold climates.
Cold breeds focus.
It will safeguard my academic success.
Sixteen-year-old calculus prodigy Shayna Morgan has her sights set on MIT, but in 1986, the Math Department admitted a grand total of three girls. When she applies next year, Shayna wants to be one of them.
Her plan is simple: study. All of the time. She shuns parties, dating, Duran Duran concerts, the mall, friendships, and sometimes, basic hygiene. The plan works—until her family moves to California. There, Shayna meets home-schooled neighbor Heather “Johnson,” who turns out to be Heather La Mére, a glamorous teen celebrity in hiding. The two form an unlikely bond as Heather introduces Shayna to a world beyond the Pythagorean theorem, and Shayna offers Heather a vicarious glimpse into high school life.
When paparazzi blow Heather’s cover, she confesses her dream: she wants to attend public high school, and she needs Shayna’s help. But Shayna’s focused on solving a near-impossible math proof for her MIT application, the Mandelbrot Set. And with paparazzi still swarming, she can’t afford to earn a national reputation as a cover girl’s friend. With the solution to the proof just out of reach, Shayna must decide: should she focus on her dream—and retreat back into a world of derivatives and the quadratic formula—or fight for the friend who brought balance into her life?
Set in pre-TMZ 1987, HAVING IT ALL will appeal to young adult fans of stories featuring strong female friendships, like SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson and OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord.
First 250 words:
I’d been a California resident for roughly three minutes when the most famous teenager in America smiled and waved at me.
At me. Shayna Morgan.
I didn’t recognize her, of course. Not because of her Jackie O sunglasses or that ridiculous baseball cap. And no, not because I was too busy admiring my brand new apartment complex.
Because I wasn’t.
No, I failed to recognize television star Heather La Mére because I was the first-ever sophomore elected captain of the Madison High School Mathlete team, two-time state champion in Number Theory, silver medal winner in Algebraic Expression, and the proud owner of three graphing calculators, two Isaac Newton biographies, and one antique, stainless-steel protractor.
I didn’t exactly spend my days reading Tiger Beat magazine. If I did, I might have recognized the girl Teen People rated “Third Cutest, 1986.” Or I might have suspected the baggy, acid-washed overalls and the ratty Culture Club t-shirt were very deliberately masking a lean, toned figure. I might have realized her shoes —blindingly white, canvas Keds —were just a part of the disguise.
But these details failed to trigger even the slightest suspicion. Until that moment, my social circle included Math Team members and the founder of the Madison High Astro-Physics Club. To put it mildly, no sane person would ever predict a cover model would reach out to me.
But she did.
To my absolute horror, she did.