Genre: YA contemporary
Word Count: 71,000


High-school seniors Gabe Brown and Ryan Mitchell are the only survivors of a bus crash that killed twenty students. Six months later their small town just wants to move on--especially Gabe and Ryan.

Gabe’s mayoral candidate father expects him to lead the soccer team to the State championship. His girlfriend Samantha ignores his sleep problems, temper, and subdued mood. No one seems to notice his changes, except for Ryan, Samantha’s twin, who tells everyone he’s fine. Seems his mother isn’t the only good liar in the Mitchell family.

For both, their covert text conversations become their coping mechanism. Over time, Gabe and Ryan bond over more than just nightmares, and survivor’s guilt. But when Gabe breaks their rule, visits “the boy with the most beautiful blue eyes” at work, and starts spending more time with Ryan than Samantha, feelings that could be chalked up to digital misinterpretations come to life.

With senior year drawing to a close, Gabe and Ryan must come to terms with painful and romantic feelings. Making their romance public might be just what they need to move forward. But when their romance causes Samantha, Gabe’s father, and the town to turn against them, Gabe and Ryan discover who they are meant to be and who the people they call neighbors, family, and friends really are.

First 250:

As usual, my father was late. According to him, the freeway was backed up thanks to an overturned truck. Technically, he was correct. But if he’d stayed with me for my checkup, instead of going to Atlanta to meet with a reporter, he wouldn't be stuck in traffic.

Then again, I was freakin’ relieved he wasn't here. It had been six months, a whole half year of being uncomfortable, since I broke my right arm in five places. I was excited to gain full mobility again. If my father was here, he would have made some shitty joke whenever he looked up from his sleek phone to feign interest in my recovery.

"Thank god it wasn't his right leg," he'd say. Doctor Yancey would smile the type of smile that didn’t reach her eyes, and go back to checking the multiple healed fracture points.

I had no idea when my father would get to the hospital, and with my headphones at home, I was left to entertain myself with magazines about celebrities I didn't care about, or a Facebook news-feed that grew less interesting every day.

With a few clicks, I located two names:  'Mitchell, Ryan' and 'Mitchell, Samantha'.

I should text Samantha. Tell her the good news.

For a moment, my finger hovers over Samantha’s name before quickly clicking on Ryan’s and typing a message.

‘YOU OKAY?' -- 2:08PM

Five minutes, which felt more like thirty, passed before my phone gleefully vibrated.

'I'M OKAY.' – 2:13PM

Since when did we become liars?