Who is X? Read at your own risk to discover the truth…
Actually, there’s no risk of spoilers because I never published the ending of this series and I never will. I know, it’s unthinkable. It’s also not my fault. My 2014 series Pretenders was supposed to be four books. I wrote and released two. As I was outlining the third I got the dreaded call. My editor was leaving my publisher to start her own imprint. There was more to the conversation but my ears were ringing so loudly I couldn’t hear it. The bottom line: The series was over. I fought for a chance to write the conclusion but was shut down. My agent didn’t think it was a big deal. He didn’t think anyone would care. I did. Guess who was right. Over the years I’ve answered countless messages from unsatisfied readers by promising to reveal the mysterious identity of X. This is me delivering on that promise.
First a quick premise recap:
Nominated by the students and faculty, the Phoenix Five are Noble High Schools’ best-at-everything freshmen – or are they? One of the five students broke into the safe in the teachers’ lounge, stole all of the Phoenix Five students’ private journals, and then published them in a book. The Phoenix Five return to Noble High as sophomores, excited about new clothes and high goals, to discover that their secrets are out, and their private journals exposed; now everyone will know the five of them are pretenders. The five students are, for all appearances, normal with a twist: Jagger’s parents are in jail, so he lives in the back room of a pet store; Lily has been homeschooled all her life and doesn’t want anything normal ever again; Sheridan is beautiful but channels celebrities because she has no confidence; Duffy is a jock who will do anything to make the varsity basketball team, and Vanessa is an overachiever striving for perfection while trying to keep her family together. As the lives of the Phoenix Five intersect and interweave, each character creates his/her own view of their interactions – and the possible answer to the question on everyone’s mind – who stole the journals and WHY? The ramifications of all the illegal activities, lies, crushes, friendships, and honest feelings – that remains to be seen.
By the end of book two, the character’s lives were pretty messed up.
Vanessa: Hacked into the school’s computers and changed her grades. She also improved Lily’s grades and Lily has no idea.
Lily: Bad grades are important now that she’s speaking out about the pressure student face. How will it look when she gets people to underachieve and she has straight As?
Duffy: He’s finally paid off his debt to Anton and can enjoy all the attention he’s getting from the girls. He’s such a ladies man that he’s a legend to the guys on his basketball team. What he doesn’t know is that those “girls” were hired by Anton to help him sell clothes and cologne. But he’ll find out soon enough. And it won’t be pretty.
Sheridan: Publically embarrassed when her dress splits during a school performance. Can you say fat shamed?
Jagger: After lying to everyone about having no parents and living off the streets, he catches his rich father having an affair with his girlfriend’s mother.
Book 3 was going to be called Fake It To The Limit and the above stories would continue to unfold. The question was, which story would lead a character to a place where exposing these journals made sense? To be honest, I had no idea who it was going to be when I wrote the first two. It was only after I outlined the third that it became clear.
Who would you choose and why? Post your ideas in the comments section and I’ll reveal the answer, along with the playlists I made for each character, next Wednesday.
I know you hate me. But come one. Let’s have some fun! I can’t do everything around here.