Spelunkers, a young adult novel with speculative elements, is 95,000 words.
No matter how dense people might seem, the human body is mostly empty space.
As 14-year-old Arne Kumpel begins high school, he’s pretty sure his life can’t get any emptier. His mom has abandoned them, his brother has disappeared, his dad got fired and their house is in foreclosure. At freshman orientation, a pretty girl he’s never met walks up and smacks him across the face. Hard.
Just as he’s wishing the world would swallow him up, it actually does.
Arne discovers he’s a Spelunker—able to take advantage of his subatomic emptiness to enter solid stone. The only catch is that he must stay connected to the outside world or risk being trapped underground forever. Arne teams up with Bridget (the girl with the wicked forehand) to search for his brother. They find him trapped in the treacherous Superstition Mountains along with a massive gold deposit—the fabled Lost Dutchman’s “Mine.”
When Bridget is kidnapped by a shadowy group bent on keeping Arne away from the gold, he must figure out how to get her back without becoming a permanent resident of the chilly underground world.