My writer’s group talked it over, considered the short list of suggestions, and acknowledged that there really isn’t much else out there like this story right now. It’s set in an odd time for YA (though a big year for the U.S.), in an out of the way place, and is layered enough that most titles only describe part of the story: the thing in the cave, Lillian’s character arc, the history of the area, or how the thing in the cave came to be there.
We settled on Recompense, a word that most closely covers all the elements of the story and speaks, at least in some small way, to the events in our country in 1952.
I still call it Gold Hill in my mind and suspect I might for a long time to come. I still feel close to Lillian, Cassandra, Nate, and Jimmy. I still identify with each of them in one way or another. I hope one day they will fly free so others might get to know them as well. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The urge to keep picking at it, improving it, changing words here and there is still present, but muted now. Perhaps, after incorporating beta reader suggestions, it is time to let Recompense be done.