Eva Hunter knows something’s wrong long before the doctor confirms it. No seventeen-year-old wakes up to a wet bed for the fourth time in as many days and thinks, “Yep, this is totally normal.” Diagnosed as a diabetic, Eva flees her freaked-out parents and heads to diabetes camp, where the counselors are fellow “insulin junkies” and every bunk bed comes with a syringe of emergency Glucagon.
Eva’s heard that diabetes shortens her life expectancy, but she didn't think it would be quite this drastic. Two college-age counselors, who go by the camp names of Rider and Natron, teach secret nighttime lessons: letting campers drink to see how alcohol affects diabetics, giving them insulin to experience what a dangerously low blood sugar feels like, and showing them how to skirt the rules and stay alive. Eva can’t help her unfortunate attraction to Rider, who’s on a kamikaze mission to get himself thrown out of camp--preferably by getting caught with Eva--and she idolizes Natron, a girl who has everything, even diabetes, under control.
As Rider becomes increasingly unstable, the lessons grow more and more dangerous. Eva has to find a way to navigate diabetes, camp, and a lunatic counselor boyfriend--before someone ends up dead.
INSULIN JUNKIES is a 60,000-word contemporary YA novel; the first page follows this e-mail. I’ve had type 1 diabetes since 2000, and I have three YA nonfiction books published: THE DIABETES GAME (Rewarding Health, 2005), TEEN DREAM JOBS (Beyond Words Publishing, 2003), and IT’S YOUR RITE (Beyond Words Publishing, 2003). Thank you for your time and consideration.
We drive across the
high desert--open and sparse and harshly colored, the sky stretching out
forever against dry hills. I’ve been rock-climbing out here a couple times with
Dad, before everything, but I shut down that line of thinking. My head pounds
with my heartbeat; my blood sugar’s high, but I’m not in the mood for endless
fussing as my mom tries to divine the cause. Since I was diagnosed, diabetes is
all she talks about. Oregon
“I’m sure you’ll make lots of friends,” Mom says. We listen to her only classical music CD on repeat. Most song lyrics remind her of the Separation. “You’ll have more in common with them than those kids at school, I’m sure.”
Okay, I don’t love the kids I graduated with, but that doesn’t mean I’ll have any more in common with a bunch of kids who also had to hide in the bathroom and try to dry their pants with the hand-dryer. Besides, the fact that we all have diabetes doesn’t mean we’ll like each other, unless diabetes only attacks the pancreases of extremely cool kids. Since I got it, that seems unlikely. “Yeah, Mom, it’ll be great.” Every time she makes me reassure her, I get more annoyed.
Finally, thank G**, we pull up a long dusty driveway and stop in front of a cabin with a sign that reads JOHN DAY DIABETES CAMP. Mom starts to look around for parking, but I say, “You can just let me out here.”