** Wattys 2022 Winner! **
Vanessa Brooks, an anxious and cynical seventeen-year-old, can't wait for her life to actually begin when she leaves her rural Michigan town for college and eventually a career in somehow saving the planet from human destruction. To Vanessa, Palmer is a dead end; an economically depressed town across a wide, blue river from a toxic petrochemical complex, with decaying Victorian mansions and an eerily abandoned historic downtown.
To celebrate the last day of junior year, Vanessa and her friends jump in the city pool, but when she resurfaces her classmates have been replaced by girls in retro swimsuits and bathing caps and guys in thigh-baring briefs with cigarettes tucked behind their ears. When Pete Harrison, an unfamiliar face who seems somewhat familiar with hers, offers a dizzy and confused Vanessa a towel and a ride home, she discovers her house and family missing. She has somehow slipped into 1953, the year her grandparents graduated high school.
Using the pool and vivid imaginings of her grandfather's memories, Vanessa continues to escape to 1953- and to Pete, who, despite his unaffected kindness and optimism, has a mysterious bad reputation around town. But as she dives deeper into the summer her grandparents fell in love, she finds herself unable to return to the present without venturing even further into the past to correct a mistake that threatens her family and future.
*Content Warning: this story contains scenes of near drowning and other perils on the sea, swearing, smoking and alcohol use*
This story is complete at ~90,000 words.
Shortlisted Wattys 2021, Wattys Winner 2022
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Featured on @TeenFiction
Editor's choice list, December 2022
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