Title: WE ARE OPPORTUNITY
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word count: 60,000
At 10:01 AM seventeen-year-old JROTC cadet sergeant Claire is outside, training with her track team in the snow. Fellow senior Tomás starts the day in detention after supergluing the drawers of his teacher’s desk shut. His twin sister and her girlfriend are in the auditorium along with the rest of Opportunity High to listen to the principal’s start-of-term speech.
At 10:04 AM a former student locks the doors to that same auditorium, pulls out a gun, and starts shooting.
At 10:07 AM the whole world stops and turns to Opportunity High. As SWAT teams, terrified parents, and media swarm upon the school, Claire struggles to remember her courage and make herself useful registering survivors. Tomás frantically tries to pick the locks to the auditorium to save his sister and all his friends.
Inside, however, the game of life and death has just begun when it turns out the shooter is not shooting blindly; he has a carefully structured plan to deal with anyone who ever got in his way—student or teacher, family or foe. At gunpoint, secrets unravel and loyalties are tested. Because it’s not just survival at stake, it’s hope and friendship and a thousand tomorrows.
WE ARE OPPORTUNITY takes place over the course of fifty-four minutes, following four alternating points of view.
10.01 – 10.02 AM
The grassy fields around the track are sculpted out of shards of ice. The starter gun shatters the silence, releasing the runners from their blocks.
No one has told Coach Lindt about winter. With our first meet coming up, he’s convinced the only way to get us in shape is to practice, come rain or, as it happens, something that looks suspiciously like a dusting of snow.
At least it beats sitting in the main hall for yet another of Principal Trenton’s long and arduous speeches about virtue and the proper behavior of young ladies and gentlemen. Gag.
Don’t get me wrong, I can think of certain people who would do well to listen, but after three years at Opportunity, I can recite those speeches from memory. Responsibility, opportunity (“no pun intended”), and her favorite, our school motto: We Shape the Future. She’s the only one who pretends there’s another purpose to high school than making the best of it, then getting out. ASAP.
“Claire, attention.” Coach’s voice draws me back to my side of the Tartan track, and I pick up the pace. “Your best isn’t good enough.”
Footsteps and Chris’s laugh color the still morning air. “Did you freeze up over winter break, sarge? A snail could catch up with you floundering like that.”
He slows down a little, falls into step with me, and it annoys me that I have to catch my breath before I answer him, eloquently, “Oh shut up.”