Seventeen-year-old Rae can look at a photograph of a couple and determine the length of their relationship by its smell. It’s a strange “lovesense” she’s always had. The nastier the breakup, the worse the stench. It’s why she owns more nose plugs than an Olympic swimmer and dreads her photo counter job.
Trying to make the best of her lovesense, she runs an anonymous and “technically” illegal love guru business at school. As Rae focuses on passing English, conquering the 100-meter hurdles, and running her business she becomes more and more convinced that love doesn’t exist unless you qualify for senior citizen discounts. The relationships she reads smell like bat guano, diaper genies, and sewage. That is, until she discovers a picture of a little boy and girl playing in the sandbox. Rae smells something good. And this time, she’s in the photograph.
Operation Find Sandbox Boy commences as Rae scopes out and eliminates most of the Junior class. But just as she begins to open herself to the idea of love, her secret talent and illegal school activities are exposed. Now she’s suspended from school, banned from the most important track meet of the year, and rumored to be a psycho gypsy freak.
Rae must embrace her lovesense if she’s ever going to find and convince her match that she isn’t a freak.
LOVESENSE is a YA magical realism novel complete at 59,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
I’m tapping my cross trainers in time with the photo processor’s whir, whir, flip as it spews three hundred prints of the same two smiling faces. No more reading into relationships at work, I remind myself. Never again, especially after last week’s debacle with Mom’s friend Barb. Trust me, being the first to know that your mom’s best friend’s husband is leaving her for their pool boy sucks the big one.
When I see a photo of a couple, my nose goes into overdrive and then my eyes cross. Next thing I know, I’ve read when their relationship will sour like the stink on cheese. The nastier the breakup, the worse the stench. I’d much rather look at engagement pictures and see what the rest of the world sees: two people in love. But I’m not that lucky.
I sneak a quick look at the screen. One hundred thirty-seven copies done. Not even halfway there. Needing a distraction beyond my burning, Altoids-crammed mouth, I spray Windex on the counter and put my weight into cleaning the glass to a streak free shine. Whir, whir, flip. The machine is louder than our cheesy elevator music. Don’t think about the photo.
Craning my neck I see the “Alfred’s has the Answer” digital clock: forty-seven minutes to bride time. The whir is getting louder, and my nose, even though I’m telling it not to, is taking in bigger and bigger breaths. I’m like a crack addict needing my next hit. And there isn't an addiction recovery program to save me either.