After seven months at British school in Hong Kong, fourteen-year-old Lila Becker wants to escape and never come back. Ridiculed and bullied, she’s not just a new kid; she’s an American new kid with a stupid nickname and coke-bottle glasses that keep fogging up.
When her mother has to make an emergency trip back to America to be with her dying grandmother, Lila is dumped off on a remote corner of Lantau Island with a distant relative for the summer. To make matters worse, living on Lantau means she’s hours away from her brother’s hot British friend, Christian, the only person who’s made Lila’s time in Hong Kong even remotely bearable.
Everything changes, though, when Christian shows up on Lantau with two other boys—one an unlikely friend, the other, Lila’s worst enemy— and Lila finds herself part of a love triangle she wasn’t anticipating. She also finds a job she wasn’t expecting as the only female carrier for a team hired to haul supplies up the mountain. And guess what? Christian’s one of the team members.
There’s just one problem. Her guardian doesn’t like the idea of her spending the summer with boys. Instead, she forces her to befriend the next door neighbor, an awkward Chinese girl named Rainbow. Lila’s more than willing to ditch Rainbow if it will help change her image and make her more attractive to Christian. But when one decision lands her lost on the mountain overnight with the three boys in the middle of a typhoon, she must reevaluate not only herself, but those she calls friends.
Set in the eclectic melting pot of Hong Kong, where I lived for thirteen years, Up Lantau Running is a 56,000-word upper middle grade novel that’s a culture-shocked, modern-day When Zachary Beaver Came to Town.
I received a BA in Creative Writing (emphasis on Children’s Literature) and a minor in Publishing and Printing Arts. For the past eight years I lived in China where my husband worked at an international secondary school. This gave me the opportunity to rub shoulders with a wonderful mix of international teens and tweens. I blog at
Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my novel.
At the top of the stone steps, I take a deep breath. It’s over. The worst seven months of my life are actually over. St. Peter’s Secondary School, behind me, is a smudge of gray stone. I look out over high rises riddled with windows. The cul-de-sac at the foot of the steps swarms with red Hong Kong taxis. I clutch the rail of the stairway as a kid in brown shorts and a crumpled white dress shirt pushes past me.
“You’re about to get a pasting,” he mutters, starting down the stairs.
I push my slipping glasses back onto the bridge of my nose. “What?”
Thwap! “Get a move on, Miss America!”
I glance back in time to see Paul Wilcox raising a school-issued notebook, ready to swat me again.
“Lay off!” I cry, slapping him away.
Paul only laughs.
I stumble forward, but Paul keeps up, whacking me with the notebook every few steps. “Are all Americans as beautiful as you?”
“Shut up!” As I swing around to face him, the weight of my pack throws me off kilter. I reach for the railing, but it slips through my sweaty hands. The sky, the leafy trees tip upside down. The back of my head grazes the stairs, my backpack crunches; the world whips by in greens and grays.
Panting, I blink up at a blurry sky. I’ve stopped moving. I touch my face. No glasses.
Paul’s voice rises above the shouts and laughter: “Definite passion killers, those knickers.”