The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin

Manuscript title: The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin
Genre: YA LGBTQ historical
Word count: 70,000
Awards: YARWA Rosemary Award Finalist

First page:

The steel-gray sky looms close and menacing as if daring me to step out under it, but I stare right back at that angry sky and dash toward the streetcar stop. Even when February sleet splashes over my tattered cloche, plastering strands of hair in my face, I press forward.

My heels clack over the sidewalk, drowning out the continued rumblings from my stomach. This morning, I almost pulled off a strip of wallpaper to chew and swallow on my way out of the tenement. With the stench of sauerkraut permeating the walls, it’d probably have more flavor than our nightly potato peel soup.

That’d be the first thing to change if I get this job. Being in a Fritz Lang picture—even as an extra—might lead to more work. Everyone knows him; posters for his Metropolis were peppered all over Berlin for its premiere back in 1927. With the pay at ten Reichsmark a day, we’d be able to eat again, and not just sauerkraut, but fresh bread, cheese, and maybe even a bit of meat. If all goes well, this casting call could keep our cupboards stocked for months.

The unmistakable sound of grinding metal clangs from around the corner, jolting me from my thoughts. Nein! The streetcar shouldn’t be here yet. I curse Herr Meier for detaining me. With an extra surge of energy, I bolt for it. My heeled oxford slips, stealing precious seconds, but the streetcar’s only a bit farther. A few more strides, stretched long as a panther, and I’m almost at the rear door. I’m going to make it.

Before I can, my heel wrenches in a crack on the platform. I tumble, landing in a hopeless sprawl at the edge of a slushy puddle.