Genre: YA ContemporaryWord Count: 65,000
16-year-old Dorothy Weil knows there’s something worse than being seen as a loser: not being seen at all. Her social anxiety disorder makes it nearly impossible to make friends, and her parents don’t even bother to ask her opinion when her dad decides to take a six-month sabbatical in London. But when Dorothy’s therapist suggests that she use the opportunity to reinvent herself, something inside of Dorothy clicks.
In London, Dorothy introduces herself as Kenzie, the name of the most popular girl in school back home. And somehow, pretending to be Kenzie allows Dorothy to become the person she’s always wanted to be: popular, funny, outgoing. Then Dorothy’s father decides to tutor a freshman at the university, Jonathon North, and it’s as if he can see right through Kenzie’s shiny exterior to the dull girl underneath. Even worse, Dorothy finds herself caring what Jonathon thinks of her.
When Dorothy is caught in the middle of a violent protest, her father sends Jonathon to rescue her. But when the tables turn and Dorothy ends up saving Jonathon, she unintentionally exposes her true self in the process. Now she must choose between the good opinion of everyone she’s worked so hard to fool and the one opinion that really matters: her own.
REINVENTING DOROTHY WEIL is a 65,000-word contemporary YA novel. I have personally battled social anxiety disorder, the most common anxiety disorder among teens and adults, and I believe many teens will relate to Dorothy’s struggle. In addition to my work at the consulate general in Yekaterinburg, Russia, I volunteer for a book club for Russian high school students. I have written and edited professionally for several newspapers, magazines and websites (most recently at the Marine Corps magazine Leatherneck), and I have a Master’s degree from the University of London.
Dorothy stared at the essay question in front of her and laughed.
Q: If you could have any of the following super powers, which would it be and why?
C) The ability to fly
D) Time travel
The question was supposed to be fun. It was the freebie at the end of every English test, ten points that guaranteed even the biggest slacker wouldn’t get a zero. She should just pick one, write a quick essay, and turn it in. But for someone who overanalyzed everything, nothing was ever that simple.
Invisibility. Dorothy didn’t need a super power for that; she’d spent most of her life perfecting the art of invisibility. The only benefit to it—aside from avoiding unwanted attention (and for Dorothy, all attention was unwanted)—was that you got to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations, which brought her to telepathy. You didn’t need to eavesdrop if you could read minds, and you didn’t need to read minds if you were invisible. People seemed to forget that Dorothy was present most of the time, which meant she overheard more conversations than she wanted to.She knew the approximate bra size of every girl in the junior class, thanks to her seat next to two football players in History. She knew who’d lost their virginity at Homecoming, who was doing drugs, whose parents were going through a messy divorce, and who had a you-know-what the size of a cocktail weenie.