Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller
Word Count: 106,000
A fifteen-year-old dead girl wakes up in Afterlife with no memory of her friends, her family, or her name. All she knows is that she’s too young to die, and she absolutely hates Afterlife’s suffocating serenity. She’ll do anything to escape – even agree to serve as Guardian to the lip-glossed and venomous Valerie Wittier in a North Shore Chicago suburb. Unseen and unheard, she must prevent Valerie from making fatal errors that, if not amended, will lead to a school shooting that kills six freshmen. But though Valerie holds the power to prevent – not cause – others to die, she’s too selfish and headstrong to care.
Feeling helpless and incompetent, the Guardian watches the week spin out of control in a kaleidoscope of rumors, fights, rivalry, and romance. She tries to redirect Valerie and save those in jeopardy of dying, but seems continually distracted by Valerie’s best friend, Grace Hewitt, aka Miss Perpetual Bystander. It’s Grace’s ambivalence towards wrongdoing (and blatant denial about her feelings for the reckless Will Pendergrass, who clearly adores her) that infuriates her to the point of obsession. By the time this amnesiac protagonist realizes she’s presiding over the last week of her life, it may be too late to save everyone involved.
THE BEAUTY OF DESTRUCTION is a YA paranormal thriller in the vein of LOVELY BONES meets NINETEEN MINUTES.
My first 250:
Any minute now, Valerie Wittier will wake up, and I’ll remind her of what she’s done. I keep trying to picture her reaction: defiant, affronted, belligerent. Remorseful crosses my mind, but I don’t consider it seriously. Remorse doesn’t fit Valerie Wittier. While I’d like to think death has changed that, I’m not counting on it.
Just ahead, three Lights shine down from an impossibly high ceiling in a pitch-black room. They form a single cone-shaped beam and a perfect circle around Valerie’s body where she sleeps peacefully. Her face is wiped clean of her usual mascara, lip gloss, and manipulative smile. Her breathing is even and rhythmic. She looks so childlike and innocent lying there. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think we were alike. I might even feel sorry for her. Waking up to find out you’re fifteen and dead isn’t exactly easy. But I know too much about this girl to fall for that.
Open your eyes. The Lights’ unspoken demand rattles through me like a booming crack of thunder. My heart races a little as Valerie begins to twitch beneath the spotlight.
I don’t really understand why the Lights chose her to go back and save the others. She’s got to be the least reliable of the eight kids trapped together in that science room. Even now she rubs her lids and stretches her arms like this is some lazy Saturday morning. I could see Valerie being the kind of girl that likes to keep people waiting just because she can.