Author: Connie MacElroy
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Jill (16) has been disguised as a zombie since second grade. It’s the only way she can stay with her transformed family, since living/zombie families are not accepted. Keeping her secret while growing up in an all-zombie community hasn’t been easy, but things get tougher when she’s admitted into a newly formed integrated high school.
She’s caught off guard by the temptations of real food (instead of brainchow) and living boys. Dave, the football team’s quarterback, stuns her with athletic grace no zombie can match. And, since his team is integrated, he doesn’t have the prejudices most of the living do… including the school’s administration.
Even the zombies on staff treat “zits” as second-class citizens. But, if the football team is mixed, shouldn’t there be zombie cheerleaders? Jill decides if she can form a squad, it can be a step toward equal rights for zombies.
Getting permission is tough. Finding routines for shambling zombies is harder. Dealing with the insults and dirty tricks from the living girls is toughest of all. It would be impossible without the help of Dave and other sympathetic “pumpers.”
But every success makes Jill more conspicuous and raising the chance that she’ll be torn away from her family and they will become outcasts. And her biggest challenge is her longing to be herself, a living girl.
BrainZ is a 60,000-word YA paranormal romance. Thank you for considering it.
First 250 words
Jill sat on the edge of her bed and fingered the tray of prosthetics. A cheek with a gouge. Part of a lip. The shoulder scar she’d hated since fifth grade.
She snatched up the ragged, scarred nose and placed it in front of her own small nose. She looked in the mirror. Most of one nostril had been torn free.
“I’m not wearing this,” she told her mom. Not on the first day of junior year. Not when living boys were there to gawk at her.
She dropped the nose back onto the tray.
Her mother aimed her good eye at her. “Then you’ll have to stay home.”
“I’ll wear last year’s nose, okay?” It was a fair compromise. If her mom wanted more decomposition – and she would – she could do it with make-up.
“I recycled it.”
Jill twisted her face into a scowl. She stood and strode over to the makeup chair, but she couldn’t get herself to sit down.
“Fine,” her mom said. “I still have the old molds. I’ll make a replacement nose. It will be ready in three days.”
Three days was a lifetime. She hadn’t seen Betsy all summer. Worse, she’d have to wait to meet the living boys she’d been dreaming about.
Jill threw herself into the chair, slumped, and folded her arms.
Her mother went right to work, her hands practiced at turning her daughter into a zombie.