I’m always excited when my clients publish books! Earlier this month, W. R. Cummings published her first novel, The Box in the Corner, a gritty YA that I admitted to procrastinating on because I didn’t want it to end! I’ll be honest, gritty YA isn’t really my thing, and in the last year I’ve read several that were very bleak. I wasn’t sure I’d be the right editor for this book. But when Whitney sent me her first 1,000 words, I got sucked in by Charlie’s voice and her predicament. Then I met the other characters, and I was hooked!
The Box in the Corner paints a realistic view of life on the streets. This book is not meant for young readers. It includes strong language, references to drug use, and some sexual content. It also includes humor, hope, and healing.
I really appreciate that Charlie and Ben have separate character arcs while their love develops. And Ozzie—who at times reminded me of Sirius Black, Earl from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Fred from Big Hero 6—might possibly get my award for best supporting character this year.
I was honored to copyedit this book! Today I’ll share the blurb with you and page 70, so you can get a feel for the novel. If you’d like to read more, click the cover to be taken to Amazon.
Life on the streets has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Charlie. But when she meets a boy with split personalities, it gets even harder.
The way Ben sees the world through eyes of kindness and grace draws Charlie in. But his bursts in and out of mania become too much for her to handle. Each time he chases her through the city with a knife, she wonders how much longer she’ll be able to stay.
Desperate to escape Ben’s insanity, Charlie hunts down a psychotherapist who claims to have a cure. If Ben’s mental chains can be broken, Charlie might finally be able to tell him she loves him. Their lives could turn around. But if Ben can’t shake his past, Charlie might end up with a slit throat instead of a happily ever after.
I’ve spent every moment with him for almost three years, and he’s never even looked my direction. Never even hinted at it. But two hours away from his friends and he’s hooking up with the first crackhead he can find.
When Ozzie emerged from the bathroom a while later, he sat on the end of the bed and sighed. We didn’t talk, but I knew he was as angry as I was. It was one thing for us to guess at what Luca was doing with Ben’s body. But it was something completely different for us to see it firsthand.
I felt Ozzie crawl up to the other side of the mattress and get under the blankets. He turned away from me, squirmed for a few minutes, and then was snoring as loudly as usual. I lay there, staring at the ceiling, for what felt like hours.
I didn’t realize I’d fallen asleep until Ben shook me.
“Charlie,” he muttered. “Wake up.”
At first, I didn’t know where I was. My eyes were swollen and I could hardly see.
Then I saw the armchair in the corner of the room, and the pain of the night before came rushing back to me. I felt sick. I rolled out of bed, careful not to disturb Ozzie, and stalked past Ben to the door. I held the door open so he could follow.
“Want to tell me what happened last night?” he said the moment we were on the other side of the door.
I looked out at the city horizon. “Not particularly.”
“What do you mean not particularly? Why was Ozzie in bed with you?”
I whipped around, gawking at him before I could stop myself. “What did you say?”
“Why was Ozzie sleeping with you? He knows he’s supposed to sleep on the floor in situations like this. He knows he’s not supposed to make you feel uncomfortable.”
“Are you kidding me? Are you freaking KIDDING ME, Ben? That’s what you want to know? You want to know if Ozzie and I messed around last night?”
Ben’s face twisted with confusion. His anger slowly dissipated and turned into something much less offensive. He took a step back, as if he thought I might start swinging.
Want more? Start from the beginning here.
Note: As a freelance copyeditor, I often don’t see my clients’ final works until they have been printed. The author gets to choose which edits to accept or reject, and I don’t perform the final proofread. If you spot an error in one of my clients’ books, feel free to contact me, and I’ll send word to the author.