Seventeen-year-old Kara Delancey manages her OCD with a sense of humor and fiercely loyal friends, especially the boy next door. Kara’s been best friends with Riley Jenner since they cage-fought in the same playpen. They share everything from an addiction to game shows to their own signature dance style (picture drunk ninjas with an inner ear infection). Sure, Riley has buff biceps and sex-bait eyes; he's also the boy who ate her glue stick in preschool and barfed on her birthday cake in the third grade. They have a friendship that predates hormones and hotness, a bond that's stronger than their growing attraction to each other. Or so she thought.
Everything changes when Kara's sister dies in a tragic accident her junior year. As her family falls apart, her relationship with Riley grows deeper. He’s always there for her, even when her OCD goes manic: panic attacks drive her to quit the gymnastics team she loves; excessive double checking results in an ACT score that's so low, she couldn't get into college with a crowbar; and compulsions lead to a humiliating driver’s ed accident and a new nickname--Beware-A-Kara. But when Kara’s anxiety ultimately causes her to sabotage her budding romance with Riley, she’s completely on her own. Now it’s up to her to fight her way back to normal before she loses something more--her life.
Please consider my 84,000-word YA contemporary novel NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE BUT ME. I’ve pasted the first 250 words per the contest rules. Thank you for your consideration.
NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE BUT ME
Riley Jenner is more obvious than a fat guy in a Speedo. At least, he is to me.
I can always tell when he likes a girl by the way his eyebrows do this split-second twitch. I know that he’s bluffing when he holds his poker cards with two hands, and that he’ll always throw a curveball on a three and two count. I can guess what songs are on his latest playlist and which of my miniskirts he thinks are too short.
After being friends our whole lives, we’re like those twins who communicate with their own secret language. So when he starts to get weird on me, I know something’s up. All I’ve got to do is read the closed captioning of his body language.
He plops down on the couch next to me and takes a swig from his can of Cherry Coke.
I pretend I don’t hear him. Jeopardy’s on and Alex Trebek is announcing the first round categories.
I fix my eyes on the game board, hoping Annoying Best Friends is one of the categories. I could kill in that column.
“I know what you’re doing. Knock it off.”
He tilts his head like he’s draining water from his ear. “What do you mean? I’m not doing anything. I’m just enjoying my drink.” He raises the can like I need proof and takes another slug.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see him snicker.
“Very funny,” I say.