We are thrilled to finally share the news that we have selected the winners of the Groundwood Books Girls with Grit teen writing contest! Our thanks to everyone who entered and to our contest partner, teen writing website Figment.
Congratulations to our winners:
Grand Prize: Phoebe by Maya Quai Abondya Rose
- A book cover for her story, designed by a Groundwood Books designer
- A specially printed, limited edition of her story and book cover
- Feedback from a Groundwood Books editor
- Her story posted on the Groundwood Books website (see below!)
Whispers by Nadege Richards
Living by Kat Connolly
Forever with Two R’s by Xena Pulliam
Read on for an excerpt from our winning story, Phoebe by Maya Quai Abondya Rose. To read all four stories, download the PDF!
The passenger window of the car is cold as I press my right hand against it. Mist pools around it, leaving a clear imprint of my palm on the window when I pull it away. Then the condensation begins to fade, the bottom disappearing first and my fist contracts. The right side is vanishing faster than the left. I bite down the urge to wipe it all away with one smooth, final motion. To make it the same. To make it match. To make it even.
The glass resonates in my hand. I wipe my fingers against my palm, trying to kill the memory of the cold in it, but it only makes it worse. I raise my left hand and subtly place it on the window. The feeling is still uneven. I cringe.
I snatch my hands away from the window and rub them on my pants, trying to rid them of the feeling of the glass. It doesn’t go away. I rub harder. At the same speed. At the same time. To make it even. My fingers find a discontinuity in the fabric of my jeans and I look down at it. There’s a brown dot of something on it. My fingers squeal in disgust. They’re dirty. I hold them hovering in the air in front of me. Don’t touch my face, don’t touch anything.
My breathing quickens and heat drops into my stomach. I take deep breaths, hoping to calm the anxiety and rage roaring in my ears. I fill my lungs desperately, trying to separate my thoughts into rationality, trying to bring myself back from the edge.
I place one of my fingernails next to the spot and press it into it. It comes off on my evenly bitten nail, leaving a two-dimensional point of a dirty brown where it had been. A stain. My thin shield of calm cracks. I need to wash them. Now. Let me out of the car. And the chocolate or dirt or mud or vomit or whatever is underneath my fingernail now. I can feel it pressing against the tender skin of the tip of my finger and a shudder passes through me. I remove it with the back of my other fingernail and wipe it on the seam of the car seat. I flick it away.
The back of my throat burns. I want to cry. I clench my teeth as I feel the pressure at the back of my eyes. I still feel the point of pressure under my fingernail and on the back of the other one. I dig at the skin of my fingertip with my fingernail, trying to rid it of whatever particle still remains. It doesn’t work. I scrape and tear at the skin, trying desperately to make it go away. I can feel the tears coming to the back of my eyes. I close my eyes to fight them back. The driver doesn’t notice. Good.