Title: PRIME GRADE
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction
Word Count: 81,000
Our leaders made a deal. Now it’s coming due. Sacrifice the many to save the few. Set in 2074, PRIME GRADE is an 81,000 word YA Speculative Fiction about the government’s Faustian bargain to save humanity through population reduction and a group of teenage rebels’ bid to save those slotted for death.
When sixteen-year-old Delle Jacobs gets a prime grade – the highest possible score – on her final examination, she’s earned a top placement with the government. She’s not surprised when a man comes to take her away – at least, not until he hides her in the Detroit slums and tells her she’s an addict.
The next morning, Delle starts to sweat, vomit and hallucinate. Emerging from her detox, she meets Oren, a young insurgent in the underground Garden Movement. The Gardeners, not the government, have taken Delle. Oren explains how the government injects opiates into the Food Cube, the country’s only food source, and the Gardeners are close to uncovering the government’s grand plan. In a hidden garden, Oren gives Delle her first taste of real food and convinces her to join the rebellion.
When they reach the Gardeners’ Boston base, Delle discovers why they need her, and it’s not for her prime grade. They have her father, a government scientist, and Delle’s the leverage they need to make him talk. Delle can’t dwell on Oren’s betrayal because her father’s secrets are all-consuming. He’s helped the government develop a mass-euthanizing device – the End Cube. One bite and you’re dead.
PRIME GRADE, a stand-alone story with series potential, would appeal to readers of Veronica Roth's Divergent series and Marie Lu's Legend. I graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, and I work as an attorney and human resources director in Boston.
As soon as I stepped behind the curtain, I fed the schematic through the grader. I rubbed my arms while I waited, gliding my fingers across the goose-bumps. Why do they keep it so cold in the Testing Center? At least I had something to do with my shaky hands.
I didn’t remember it taking so long at my other Examinations. Maybe Final Examination was different. No clue why. We’d been culled so many times you’d think all the computer had to do was look up my prior scores and spit out my grade.
A drop of sweat snaked its way down my forehead. Weird. I was sweating and freezing at the same time. The sweat burned when it got in my eye, but I didn’t blink. I kept my eyes fixed on the projection. It read “Processing.”
D.O.B.: JULY 28, 2058
FINAL GRADE: PRIME
Well, there it was. The same. But not the same. Because it was Final Grade. I knew I should feel something. Pride, excitement, glee. Primes were practically mythic – usually one per grade at most. Kids in the Metro grew up dreaming of a Prime grade and its elite Bureau placement. I’d dreamt of it. But for me, it was more of an expectation, a base line. What mattered came after. I guess I did feel something. Dread.
I was supposed to drag my finger across the “OK” bar hovering in the air. I didn’t think I could lift my arm.