Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Jessica Vitalis
Mentee Name: Heidi Stallman
Title: OPERATION MAGIC
Word Count: 46,000
After eleven-year-old Dakota’s dad cancels their daddy-daughter trip so he can hang out with his new family, she decides only magic can change his mind. But her BFF Shannyn declares she’s too old for make-believe, leaving Dakota to go it alone. When Jessie, an outcast with a dangerous secret, hijacks her spell book, Dakota must create her own magic. If she fails, she’ll lose Shannyn and her dad—and Jessie could lose her life.
I knew Shannyn was going to lie before she opened her mouth. It was the hesitation, followed by the shaky, don’t-hate-me smile—a look she’d perfected since we started middle school two months ago.
“I can’t come over Friday.” She twirled a curl around her finger and glanced at the boys climbing off the bus. “I have to help my sister at the Spanish Club’s bake sale.”
The cold wind bit through my jacket as I balled up my fists. “How about after the sale? We could still watch India Rodriguez two or three times before morning.”
“We made those plans ages ago, Dakota.”
“So?” I fingered the edge of Dad’s letter, tucked between the pages of my sketchbook. I hadn’t shown the letter to anyone, not even Mom. Shannyn was the only one who could help me. She was the only one who would understand.
At least she might have understood two months ago—when she was Shannon with an “o,” not a “y,” and we were best friends forever.
“I forgot,” she said, turning toward home. “We’ll do it another night, okay?”
My super psychic lie detector went off again. She didn’t forget. She was trying to get out of sleeping over. Or maybe . . . My heart did a belly flop down to my knees. “You’re going to Brooklyn’s party, aren’t you?”