8. PHOEBE FRANZ’S GUIDE TO PASSPORTS, PAGEANTS, AND PARENTAL DISASTERS – Middle Grade Contemporary

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Mentor Name: Joy McCullough-Carranza

Mentee Name: Elizabeth Dimit

Title: PHOEBE FRANZ’S GUIDE TO PASSPORTS, PAGEANTS, AND PARENTAL DISASTERS

Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 35,000

Pitch:

Travel-loving, house-cleaning Phoebe Franz enters a local beauty pageant to win first prize: a trip to Ecuador. Even though she’s not-so-skinny and slightly scared of sequins, Phoebe’s determined to persevere. If she doesn’t, she may be stuck scrubbing her competitors’ toilets forever.

Excerpt:

The giant, glittery sign said: Enter the Three Corners Princess Pageant! Open to Girls Grades 6-8.

But it should have said: WARNING! STAY AWAY! THIS PAGEANT IS NOT ALL SPARKLES AND SUNSHINE!

Maybe my brain knew, and it was trying to warn me. Maybe that’s why I walked right past the bulletin board at Three Corners Middle School. But my friend Lacey skidded to a stop so quickly, I ran into her. The thing had hypnotized her with its mind-melting glitter.

“Watch it, girl!” I rubbed my nose where it had hit her bony shoulder blade.

“Phoebe, look at this!” She pointed to the sign.

“I can’t see anything. That sign is blinding me.” I held my hands up to block the sparkles.

She nudged me with her elbow, her gray eyes round as Oreos. “A pageant! Think of the dresses! And the makeup! Let’s do it!”

I glanced back at the poster, then at my friend. And I laughed. “Get real. Think of me on stage, in a pageant gown.” I shuddered. “Or a bikini.”

Lacey scrunched her forehead and looked down at her flat chest. “We don’t have to wear bikinis, do we?”

“They do on TV.” I saw an awful lot of belly buttons when I watched the Miss Universe pageant last week.

“Oh, I don’t think Mom would let me sign up.” She gazed at the sign again. “It would’ve been so fun.”

I sighed with relief. Now Lacey wouldn’t pester me all summer. “Let’s go to my house. Daddy’s got a new recipe.”

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