Title: CATCH MY GRIFT
Genre: YA contemporary
Word Count: 80,000
Julep Dupree is not a real person. In fact, Julep isn't even her real name. She's a grifter, a con artist, an expert forger, and a sophomore at St. Agatha High. The downside of St. Agatha's is that its private-school price tag is a bit higher than Julep's father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, can afford. So Julep makes up the difference by running petty scams for her classmates, while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.
But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and a missing dad, Julep's carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha's resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, Julep struggles to trace her dad's trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has left at stake, Julep must tap all her resources and use every grift in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her.
Two thousand and change years ago, some guy said, “let the lily-white goodie-two-shoes among you cast the first stone.” As it turns out, every persecutor there felt guilty enough about missing his son’s bar mitzvah to drop his rock in shame. Or at least that’s how the story goes. My theory is that the ancient Hebrew word for goodie-two-shoes is more accurately translated as “wuss.” But in either case, it worked. The harlot got off scot-free.
People like to think this story is about the power of compassion and forgiveness. And maybe it is, if you tilt your head and squint at it in just the right light. But what it’s really about is that everyone has something in her past she’s not proud of--well, that, and that any good con man with enough rope can hang an entire mob.
But my story doesn’t start with the mob. It starts with a pair of borrowed pumps and the front walk of a black-shuttered Colonial.
I am Ms. Jena Fischer, the youngest attorney at Lewis, Duncan, and Chase Law. Or at least I am for the next thirty minutes. Then I’ll turn back into Julep Dupree, sophomore at St. Agatha’s Preparatory School and all-around fixer. (Julep’s not my real name, either, but that’s a story for another time.)
You may be wondering why I’m standing in front of a stranger’s house pretending to be someone I’m not. The truth is I have a soft spot for harlots.