Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 61,000
Doug Stelley is a Questling level 48 elf, he can find calculus derivatives in his sleep, and he’s infatuated with Deanna Hanemann, the hottest girl at Crestview High. When he misreads her signals, Doug asks Deanna to the prom – and gets shot down, pwned like a n00b. His best friend Cameron thinks he’s crazy, but Doug refuses to believe that he isn’t good enough for her. Unexpected help comes when Doug meets swagged-out Kalani James, a famous rapper with a knack for writing hit songs and ignoring texts from underwear models. When Doug gets him to the hospital after a head injury, Kalani tries to thank him with money, but Doug has a different request. He wants Kalani to teach him how to get girls.
Kalani reluctantly agrees, and with a superstar rapper tweaking his every move, Doug launches his steady rise up the high school hierarchy. But leaving the nerd life won’t be easy. Cameron thinks he’s a sellout. On top of that, a cute underclassman catches Doug’s eye, and she happens to play a level 59 wizard.
Just as it becomes too much for Doug to juggle, Kalani’s inability to write a follow-up club jam threatens to brand him as a one-hit wonder. Doug soon figures out a way to save his friend’s career, but doing so will send his new reputation back to level one.
“Remember, the Questling character exhibition is this weekend.” Cameron was talking, but I wasn’t listening. I had one headphone in as I scanned the halls. I knew she’d be coming this way soon; we had first hour calculus together. “We have to be sharp because those shadow dwarf pansies win it every year and it pisses me off.”
The door at the end of the hallway opened and she appeared. Deanna Hanemann – blond, tight clothes, dancer’s legs; she’d make the hottest elven princess ever. I’d been imagining it since freshman year.
“Later man.” I didn’t even wait for a reply before I rushed away from Cameron. I had to get to class before her to stake out my spot. When the girl in question was a dime then you had to be strategic. Every guy knew that.
I plugged in my other headphone. “The Spectacle” by Kalani James blared in my head. It was the latest rap song about how great it was to have tons of girlfriends – something I’d never know about. But it was catchy and it boosted my confidence, and I needed every bit that I could get.
Since calculus was my best subject, I imagined that my self-esteem could easily be represented on a standard graph with an x and y-axis. On any given day, it could be plotted around negative one thousand, give or take a few. Today, however, I felt somewhere in the positive numbers, all because I was equipped with the perfect thing to say.