Because of your interest in YA contemporary that deals with complicated family relationships and emotional coming-of-age, THE DISTANCE THAT REMAINS, complete at 70,000 words, might be a good fit for your list.

Sixteen-year-old Tesla, mediocre cross-country runner, accidentally qualifies for varsity. Unless a blister counts as a career-ending injury, Tess is stuck trying to prove she belongs—to herself, her teammates, and her coach—who’s also her mom.

Tess dedicates herself to helping her team qualify for State, an accomplishment that will finally make her mom proud. But then she meets Kelvin. He’s edgy and charming, and she falls hard. Plus, they’re both named for units of measurement, obviously making them soul mates. As their relationship deepens, she spends less time running and more time ensuring Kelvin loves her. She skips team activities, arrives late to practices, and eventually stops showing up at all.

When her mother is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, Tess clings to her relationship with Kelvin, even though it’s turned emotionally abusive. She quits cross country and distances herself from family. Unable to help her team make State, Tess struggles to find the strength she needs to leave Kelvin. Unless she recognizes she’s worthy of love, she risks her last chance to prove herself before her mother no longer recognizes who Tess is and what she is capable of becoming.

I am a member of the SCBWI and Northern Colorado Writers. My manuscript was chosen for the 2019 Writementor competition.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Laura Creighton McFadden

 

Chapter 1

I only have two goals:

  1. Don’t make varsity.
  2. Still run fast enough that Mom’s frustration doesn’t chase me off the course.

My breath steadies and my body settles into a familiar rhythm on the grassy path. Two new girls jockey for position ahead of me, wasting their energy on zipping around each other, looking for openings. I hang back and let them battle it out. I’m solidly in 8thposition as I head onto the track for the last 200 meters of our cross-country time trials. Perfect. JV team, my home for the last two years. Comfortable, predictable.

Without warning, the girl ahead of me biffs it. Like, knees and palms landing hard and sliding against the track biffing. Mortifying, much? Before I can react, I sail across the finish line ahead of her. It’s hard to tell who’s more shocked: Coach or me. Coach’s face freezes with an open mouth and widened eyes, clutching her clipboard.

7thplace.

I qualified for varsity.

Damn.

The girl sits on the track, legs stretched out in front of her. Blood oozes down the side of her knee.  I walk back and hold out my hand to help her up, then recoil from her intense glare. Man, if looks could kill. It’s not like Itripped her. And I don’t even want to be on varsity.

You can have it, Faltering Freshman.I return her glare. It’s her fault I’m in this position. My eyes flick to Mom, still clutching her clipboard. Beyond the initial shock, her expression is hard to read. Maybe she’s happy for me?

“You beat me on a fluke.” The girl hops up on one foot, blood still trickling down her leg. “Don’t get comfortable. I’ll displace you at our first meet.”

My best friend Bri drapes her arm over my shoulders and frowns at the freshman. “Try not to stumble over your own feet next time.” She waves the girl away and turns to me. “You cannot let that jerk take your place.”

“You know I’m not a varsity runner.” The stopwatch doesn’t lie. Just ask Mom.

Bri laughs. “Whether you like it or not, Tess, you ARE a varsity runner. I’ve been waiting for this for two years.” She flips her long, dark ponytail out of her face and grins. “We are finally on the same team.”

I wish I could match her enthusiasm but doubt sits heavy on my chest. With my speed (or lack thereof), this isn’t a position I can hold onto. “Be careful what you wish for.”

Emma smashes me in a running tackle. “You made it! Our team is going to be AWESOME this year!” She twirls around me. “Coach said that girl’s varsity has a chance to make it to State this year. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.” My two best friends fist pump the air and yell.

But they don’t know what I know. We’ll never make it with me on the team.