F-17: Young Adult: BEDTIME STORIES

Genre: Historical YA

Word Count: 86,000

Pitch: A disillusioned, mixed-race teen in 1970’s Hawaii discovers a priest is abusing her best friend. The adults are in denial so she takes matters into her own hands.


I sit in the front pew of the chapel at Saint Ignatius and consider the enormity of my stupidity. It’s difficult to concentrate while Jack’s nose blowing competes with Father Greeley’s mainland drawl.

Adults act like there’s a contract. They never say it in so many words, but everybody knows the drill. Follow the rules (obey your parents, listen to your teachers and priests and cops, tell the truth, do the right thing, blah blah blah) and you’ll live happily ever after. They hold it over you from the time you can walk, the unspoken threat that your status as a good person is precarious. Your chance to graduate into the ranks of the good and successful people, those people you’re supposed to look up to, is uncertain, given whichever of your many imperfections is being corrected at the moment. In spite of the mountains of evidence that the adults are pretty imperfect, too, I followed all the rules and the orders: this was not supposed to happen. I was such a sucker.

When your mom dies, everyone you know, and lots of people you don’t, feel the need to share their half-baked thoughts on mortality and life with you. While sharing these pearls, they feel free to touch you, and occasionally smear sweat, tears or even snot on you. To make sure everybody gets a shot, Jack and I stand in a row behind Father Greeley while everybody files past. We perform this time-honored tradition in the church rec room, a big space with small windows, acoustic tiles on the ceiling and linoleum on the floor. The sour smell of coffee left too long on the burner hangs in the air.


  1. Carrie Howland |

    I move forward 4 spaces! Please send to carrieassistant@donadio.com as a word document.

  2. I move my pawn seven spaces.

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