Don’t Leave Me Behind by Jack Kay
Even in 2027, time travel is still science fiction. But when Michelle Tracer gains access to a prototype machine, fantasy becomes a surreal reality. The college sophomore finds herself in the body of a teenage student at Amat High 16 years in her past. The machine thrusts her into the life of this stranger, leaving her stranded and alone in a place she’s only read about in history books.
There was nowhere else she would have rather gone. Michelle never saw herself as strange or abnormal, but she always kept her morbid fascination a secret. Then again, she never imagined that she would find herself face to face with the most infamous teenager of the millennia: Leon Thomas.
On May 1, 2012 Leon will commit the deadliest school shooting in American history. Michelle cannot help but gravitate towards him after having spent years studying the event that shook the country to its core. Now she sees the opportunity to witness what actually happened. Yet the closer they become the more she sees who he really is, causing her to question her own role in shooting that she is convinced must take place. Michelle may have a strong influence on Leon, but what she doesn’t expect is the impact he will have on her; leaving her conflicted whether her presence there is saving lives, or dooming them.
Arielle & David: There have been so many time travel stories, so you are working in an area that has been well trodden. But you have used time travel in a new and interesting way to address a hot button topic that’s on everyone’s mind these days: school shootings. And you’ve set up a fascinating dynamic in which our heroine may be actually able to stop a bunch of kids from getting killed. Fascinating. It’s also a well constructed pitch, which leads me to believe that you can put together a well constructed novel. What can improved? We don’t really see what our heroine’s driving force is, what she desperately wants, and what’s stopping her from getting it. You definitely could use some comparable titles. Is this a YA or adult book? Publishing is absolutely assessed with categorization. Readers, agents and editors will be different if this book is YA than if it is trying to reach an adult audience. Of course, everyone wants a crossover book, but you have to start in the sweet spot, wherever that is. Also, I’d like to know more about who Leon is, and why Michelle finds herself influenced by him. What exactly is her morbid fascination? That is a little unclear right now. And why isn’t more of this story focused on her trying to stop Leon from killing a bunch of kids?