I am submitting HAPPILY EVER, a 41,000 word, upper-middle grade contemporary/adventure novel for your consideration. Disaster strikes on a remote wilderness camp trip. Two girls struggle for survival and play a deadly game of cat and mouse with would-be-rescuers.
Thirteen-year-old Hali Davidson isn’t against her dad’s plan for a fresh start in a new community after the year they’ve had. In the car accident that killed her mother, Hali suffered a concussion that left her colorblind. She finds comfort in her emotionless grey world, so she chooses social isolation over trying to fit in.
In an effort to convince her dad she’s trying to move on, Hali reluctantly agrees to go on a wilderness camping trip with her classmate, Taylor, and her family. But disaster strikes on the river. Forced to care for Taylor’s injured mother, Hali’s carefully constructed predictable world is shattered, and flashes of color come flooding back. When would-be rescuers show up in their camp, Hali must step out of the shadows and learn to trust herself and others, or it may cost more lives, including her own.
HAPPILY EVER won honorable mention in the 2016 Rate Your Story Awesome Opening contest. I am a 2018 #WriteMentor mentee, and a member of SCBWI and KIDLIT College.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
I blame the hummingbird cake. It’s said that just one bite will have your insides humming, but I didn’t have to taste it. It sat on a glass pedestal in the middle of the table, two layers of creamy, white frosting with purple and yellow pansies tucked around the base. If I’d left Taylor’s house five minutes earlier, I wouldn’t have seen the cake. I wouldn’t have been invited on the stupid camping trip. And I wouldn’t have been reminded of my mom.
An interesting thing about color. It’s wavelengths of reflected light that allow us to see it at all. When the light from an object hits the retina and travels to your brain, it sends the message back as to what color you see. Sounds simple, but what the scientific explanation fails to mention, is that color can trigger memories and emotions. Some good and some you’d rather not remember.
My favorite color used to be blue. They say blue creates a calming effect that helps soothe the mind and body. I was wearing a blue shirt the day my mom and I drove out to Aunt Jen’s farm. My mom wore a bright yellow dress. The color of sunshine, joy and happiness. Her white, straw hat, with its handful of purple and pink pansies on the brim, sat in the patch of sunlight on the backseat beside me. We were singing along to our road trip playlist, our version of carpool karaoke.
The last thing I remembered when the truck hit our car was the flash of color exploding in my head. Red, orange, yellow, green and gold. When I woke up in the hospital two days later, all I could see was grey.
Clear. Transparent. Symbolizes clarity
Sunlight slants through the bank of windows and despite the fan at the back of the classroom, the air feels stale and smells like gym socks. I glance at the large, ancient-looking analog clock on the wall behind Ms. Whalen to discover what I already know. It’s almost time for the bell. Shoes scuff the floor as everyone stirs from slouching to upright, ready to spring out of their seats. The minute hand clicks as it moves forward. One minute to the next.
I cross my fingers. Make time stop.
“On the whole, I was impressed by the surprise journal assignment,” Ms. Whalen says. The soles of her wrinkled and worn Hush Puppies squeak against the floor as she drops a marked paper on each desk. She pauses by my chair and places a paper, face-down, on my desk.
I roll it over.
Wednesday, May 24
Grey. Cloudy with showers.
Beside my journal entry, is a note from Ms. Whalen: “See me.”
My heart soars. I brush my finger over each of her handwritten letters and feel the preciseness of the depressions they make on my paper. Journal writing is finally going to pay off.