Title: MAD WORLD
Genre: YA historical romance
Word count: 55,000
Sixteen-year-old Taylor Amare thinks she's already living her happily-ever-after in 1960s Texas. So when her longtime boyfriend Lawrence Douglas starts hearing voices in his head, she'll give anything to get her fairy tale back.
Diagnosed with rapidly progressing paranoid schizophrenia, Law experiences difficulty distinguishing between reality and fantasy, leaving Taylor somewhere in the middle. The small, misinformed town turns against them, thanks to a zealous family with a vendetta, but Taylor does everything she can to protect Law from their cruelty and violence. She finds herself longing for days of roller coasters and midnight rendezvous at the custard stand, instead of fighting to hold onto her life and having a boyfriend who forgets her name.
His hallucinations progress into delusions that everyone's trying to kill him, a notion that doesn't seem so far off to Taylor. He says she makes the bad things go away, but she knows all the love in the world can't pull him out of his twisted reveries. With the town pastor threatening an exorcism and imaginary people telling Law to kill himself in increasingly convincing terms, Taylor's tempted to escape into her own delusion: that things will get better.
But she's going to fight like hell to make that perfect, impossible dream a reality.
My daddy used to say there were two kinds of love: the kind that makes your heart race, and the kind that stops it. I said he was going funny, that there was no difference.
But ever since I fell in love with Lawrence Douglas, I knew he was right.
When Law is around, my breath catches. Butterflies—violent, deranged butterflies—attack my stomach in such an overwhelming swarm that I lose my train of thought. Words regularly escape me under his gaze, those gray eyes I swear God worked overtime making. But my heart failure usually takes precedence. I feel my chest still, then furiously pump as much love as possible when it can finally move again.
This isn't your typical high school, sex under the bleachers, lust-filled, quote-unquote romance. This is as real as the sun in the sky.
I stare out my bedroom window, waiting for something to happen. Crimson streaks the sky like a bloodstain, a splattering of red on a navy blue canvas. Across the street, most of the uniform homes have their lights turned off, curtains drawn. Doors still open, though. This is Texas. Tales of crooks and thieves get told alongside Snow White.
No cars move. No people walk by. Still, I hold out hope. Because in the distance, just before the line of trees, a giant Ferris wheel stands erect. The Zipper, shorter but more terrifying, sits next to it.
And Law said he'd take me.