Possible opening lines from a YA novel narrated by a plant pathogen

My name is Athena. You might have heard of me: I’m the girl who ruined everything.

My name is Athena the Terrible. I know, it’s… a lot. But a lot of the time, I feel invisible. That’s partly because I actually am invisible. But it is mostly because no one gets me.

Have you ever had the kind of day where nothing—like, absolutely nothing—goes right? Like, it’s hot and dry out and you still haven’t released a single zoospore and your mom says maybe it’s time to try SSRIs and your sister Toni, who is a bitch and has TMJ, by the way, tells you you’re never going to be an actress, and Matt F. from under the big tree ignores your texts and you hear from Svetlana that his parents are only letting him date other mycorrhizal fungi? I have been crying for at least a half-hour.

My name is Athena, and until recently, I was the second-most popular girl in school. This is partly because people find me intimidating—I am an oomycete who might kill an entire forest someday—and partly because my best friend, Purple Squish, ate everyone else.

I’ve always been bad at keeping journals. I don’t really know why this time would be any different, as I still don’t have any fingers or a pen.

I always thought that falling in love would feel like floating on a cloud, or smoking a cigarette while crying and being gently carried down a beach during war, or something. No one ever told me it would be like this—terrible, fast, a great HORK and SPLOP as I shriek feed, feed, my darlings! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Why do parents always have to ruin everything? For once in my life, I was feeling optimistic. It was a Friday afternoon in September, and the future was looking pretty good, for microbes, at least. I got an A in my jazz trumpet class, infected 3 new trees, and Blorbia, the new girl from San Diego, told me she heard I was good at making out.

Ever been quarantined? Well, it sucks. I’ve been stuck in this isolation facility for days, with no one for company but a bunch of dying rhododendrons and 50,000 family members and this gardener named Blaine, who’s totally weird, with rumpled curly hair and glasses and strong hands and a slightly crooked nose that’s always buried in Das Kapital. Anyway, I think he’s going to kill us. I guess he’s kind of cute, if you squint, which I can’t.

Love, Ellie

(Image via YouTube)