13. FORTUNE IT FORWARD – Middle Grade Magical Realism

Assorted_Uzi_Water_Guns_lgMentor Name: Ronni Arno Blaisdell

Mentee Name: Nicole Mogavero


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Magical Realism

Word Count: 43,000


Twelve-year-old Dom’s fortune cookies are mysteriously accurate, helping him avoid the spray of cafeteria tuna-fish puke and moldy taco cheese. But they’re tough to decode. The harder he tries, the worse things get, and accidentally touching the lunch lady’s butt is only the start of Dom’s troubles.


For Dominic Massini, Sundays stunk. Not like when you’re in the kitchen and you catch a nasty whiff from the garbage, but the lid is closed, so it isn’t full-on toxic. No, Sundays were more like gorilla breath—when the gorilla’s mouth is an inch away from your schnoz—because Sundays meant schoolwork.

While Dom trudged home from the Mid-Manhattan Library under a gray sky promising snow, he thought this particular Sunday stunk like gorilla breath and open garbage. It was the last day before his return to seventh grade from winter recess, and he’d had—what’s that vocabulary word for nine times something?—nonuple the regular amount of studying. Yeah, he’d finished all his actual homework the day after Christmas, and yeah, he’d memorized chapters’ worth of quizzables since then, but he needed today to make sure everything had been nailed to his brain. And glued. And duct-taped. With some shrink wrap around it, just in case.

Dom passed a fenced-in playground, its basketball court jam-packed with kids bundled in parkas and fuzzy hats and gloves. He spied his best friends Matt and Tyler in the crowd. A part of Dom wanted desperately to join them. So much so, he stopped walking and wove his fingers through the chain-links. But he couldn’t. He was Responsible Dom now, and that meant homework, not hoops. So he sighed, exhaling a cloudy blast of air, shoved his hands in his pockets, and fast-walked home before he could change his mind.

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