Title: LEAVING PEACESYLVANIA
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 75,000
Lark is the perfect hippie, growing up on a picturesque commune with her nine siblings, celebrating individuality, frolicking in peace and free love. Except she can’t stop thinking that there’s more to life than permissive parents and low expectations. She wants to experience the real world and challenge herself. So she registers for public school.
The mainstream is full of surprises. School’s more rigid than she could have imagined. She even meets a boy she can be serious about. Jeremiah’s genuine and kind. And a Republican. They really click, though their philosophical differences drive a wedge between them.
Thankfully Jeremiah accepts her as she is. When there’s a crisis on the commune and Lark starts to question her mental and emotional stability, he becomes the rock she never knew she needed. With the future uncertain, Lark must learn to accept help and to be herself no matter the outcome.
My to-do list has grown dauntingly long. The darkening grapes are just another reminder of how quickly this summer is ending.
I scoot a few feet to my left to stay in the grapevine’s long narrow patch of shade. I tap my pen on my worn notebook and look over the master list.
1. Registration forms.
2. Break things off with Petey. Again.
3. Get out of grape harvest.
4. Learn math. All of it.
5. Help Dad get help.
6. SAT prep.
7. Read giant stack of books.
8. Sew new wardrobe.
9. Reveal secret plan.
“Lark! It’s quittin’ time!” My half-brother, Sean, shouts louder than he needs to. It startles the pen right out of my fingers.
“Jesus, Sean. You have to stop sneaking up on me!” I stand up and do a quick tick-check on my bare arms and legs. It’s really freaking hot, and my honey-colored mass of curly, partially dreaded, partially braided hair makes my back feel immediately sticky.
I reach behind Sean and grab the ratty bandana that’s always in his back pocket and use it to tie up my hair.
“I definitely just used that to wipe my nose,” he says. He’s filthy from head to toe, wearing his grime like it’s a badge of hard work.
“Whatever,” I smile, “I love your snot.”
“You’re so gross,” he says.
“Says the one with half of his lunch still stuck in his beard,” I tease.
“I’m thinking of shaving it,” he says.
I raise my eyebrows at him; he normally loves the Peacesylvania aesthetic.