I know my query’s a little long, so I’d appreciate some advice on how to cut it down. All feedback is appreciated! Thanks in advance!
Every night, Marlowe has the same dream. She watches a family burn to death in a house fire. She doesn’t know if it’s her family. She doesn’t know if she loves them. She’d tell you that she doesn’t know why, in this dream, she’s always holding a match.
But that would be a lie.
The Diana Banesbury School for Exceptional Young Women is one of the last surviving members of its kind—a rigorous ivy and brick institution intended to propel its few lucky, wealthy students straight to the Ivy Leagues. So when popular, charismatic megalomaniac Marlowe Brady decides to stop sleeping, everyone notices. But when chronically depressed loner Gwyneth Rosewood decides to stop sleeping, eating, drinking, and living altogether, no one does. No one, except Marlowe, whose unwanted intervention lands them both in the school’s infirmary, where they meet Sloane Mischlin, a snarky thrill-seeker with a mysterious black eye, and Ellie Bishop, an ambitious student volunteer who suggests an unconventional solution to Marlowe’s insomnia: lucid dreaming, the ability to control one’s dreams.
Together, the girls form a club in the pursuit of lucid dreaming, and at Marlowe’s insistence, move into an abandoned classroom in the woods around the school where they can dream undisturbed. But as they grow closer and their abilities to lucid dream improve, Marlowe’s behavior becomes strange and restrictive, and Gwyn begins to suspect she has ulterior motives for bringing them together. As Gwyn leads the charge to uncover Marlowe’s motives and past, Marlowe works to maintain her control over the three of them by isolating them from each other and fostering their dependence on her, using gas lighting and manipulation to render them incapable of discerning reality from dream. To prevent the end she’s planned for them, the three girls must work together and find a way to wake themselves from her influence.
LUCID, a 98,000 word YA contemporary psychological suspense, may appeal to readers who enjoyed the characterization of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys or the atmosphere of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, and includes an LGBT relationship between two of the four main characters.
Marlowe Brady lay awake at three in the morning in the fourth bed in the first of two rows in the Goldfinch dormitory of The Diana Banesbury School for Exceptional Young Women. It was November ninth. She was wearing silk pajamas, and doing fairly well considering the circumstances. The circumstances were that she’d been awake since November sixth.
In the first fifty hours, nothing very interesting had happened. But during the fifty-sixth, a fly landed on the bulb of the green shaded lamp on her bedside table.
At first, Marlowe tried to watch it without turning her head, by shifting her eyes as far in its direction as they’d go. But this gave her a headache, so eventually she resigned to face it, pressing her cheek against the pillow, her dark hair falling over darker eyes.
People didn’t tend to believe that insects had free will, or made decisions, but Marlowe had never doubted. Sometimes she would mentally urge the fly to move in one direction or the other, and most of the time it wouldn’t. But on the rare occasion that it did, she became re-invigorated by the illusion that her will had been so strong that it’d been unable to resist, that it was the sheer force of her own thoughts that pushed it back onto the heat of the glass bulb when it wandered off. She indulged in the idea that this small living thing would burn itself alive if she wanted it.
Not that she did.