Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Noelle StraderKaleidoscopes CollideKimberly WisnewskiYAYA Contemporary with Speculative Elements89000

Sixteen-year-old Hadley Holland dreams of becoming a professional cellist. Luckily, her chromesthesia—the ability to see colors with sound—works to her advantage as she vies for a spot in Carnegie Hall’s youth orchestra. But astrology-loving Hadley’s left on edge when a psychic instructs her to find her first love between the upcoming blue moons, or risk derailing her fate. Cello dreams included.

Connor Mahoney’s dyscalculia, the inability to accurately assess distance, gives him an invisible handicap on the basketball court, leaving him in the shadow of his golden-boy older brother. If Connor doesn’t dazzle recruiters, he won’t be eligible for a scholarship, placing an additional financial burden on his father. Fortunately, things look up when his mom’s spirit assists him on the court and transforms him into a star player.

As basketball manager, Hadley builds a quick connection with Connor—one that feels almost otherworldly. But when Hadley’s cello skills plummet and her chromesthesia colors fade, she pushes Connor away. With Hadley gone, so is Ghost Mom, and Connor is once again an ordinary player. As the window between blue moons closes, Hadley’s youth orchestra spot is in danger, and Connor risks losing what’s left of his mom. If Hadley and Connor don’t stop relying on things beyond their control and take matters in their own hands, they’ll miss out on their dreams—and their shot with each other.

Complete at 89,000 words, KALEIDOSCOPES COLLIDE is a YA Contemporary with speculative elements. Told in dual POV, it combines the romance and astrology in Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods with the familial grief and paranormal elements in How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman.

By day, I’m an orthodontist, having earned my doctorate from Harvard University. By night, I read many of the same books as my YA patients. I belong to the Florida Writer’s Association and have twice participated in Nina LaCour’s Slow Novel Lab. A NY transplant, I now call Orlando home with my husband, two kids, and calico-tabby. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Noelle Strader



CHAPTER ONE
HADLEY

It’s downright degrading. Waiting for a school bus while bracing myself (and cello) against the wind. Cold, January wind. At least in the city, I had provisional shelter in the subway station. Here in suburbia, I’m on display to all drivers zipping past. 

Hadley Holland: Frozen scarecrow with musical pursuits.

My morning routine might be tolerable if it involved a known end time. Unfortunately, the school bus’s estimated time of arrival lacks consistency. It could barrel my way any second, or crawl to a stop in fifteen minutes. 

I strike a pose as a strong gust challenges my center of gravity.

This is depleting. What I need is an energy boost. Specifically, crystal-induced. Re-working my scarf, I seek my pendant necklace, but my fingers only brush goosebumps and clavicles. My chest instinctively tightens.

I forgot it.

The necklace is on my nightstand, its chain swirled in the shape of a crescent moon. No way can I get through the school day without a crystal. Not when Carnegie’s internship could be emailing their acceptances any day now. My entire future hinges on that email.

With a hug to my cello case, I give a less than elegant three-legged run back to the house. I never thought twice about lugging the case around city streets, crawling with like-minded artists. Strange that Soundpoint feels remote when Manhattan is the actual island.

Intersecting shadows of bare branches thin out, a sign that I’m almost at the Grand Chateau. I squint up, finding it cloaked in a thin veil of sunlight. The house, nicknamed by moi, belongs to my grandparents. Mom and I moved here last summer. Now it’s just us. My grandparents left weeks ago to snowbird it in Florida.

I tromp up the porch steps, then slip a key in the rusty doorknob. Thanks to the unrelenting salt breeze off the Long Island Sound, the entire house is in desperate need of a WD-40 squirt. When the lock releases, a welcome blast of warm air finds me.

“Mom?” I call, expecting her to be puttering around, beginning her own morning. The house is pin-drop quiet. My attention pulls to Grandpa’s beach inspired artwork, two seagulls in flight. The birds resemble a steadfast couple, like it’s them against the wind. That’s when it hits me. Mom’s sleeping in. She’s tired. Of course, she’s tired.

It’s January 26th after all.

Mom and I know this date all too well. But maybe today will be fine. This year’s anniversary feels different…no, off. Not once has Mom mentioned my father’s birthday. Not that it’s my place to judge or anything; I’ve never even met my dad. He’s not a deadbeat father. He’s just dead. That variety of absent. The same type he’s been since I was in the womb.

Still, this day always gets to me. What might have been. My dad would be forty-four today, but let’s face it, he’s forever twenty-seven, barely a decade older than I am now.

Math can be so weird.