PW #201: Middle Grade Magical Realism: DOPPELGÄNGER

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Jessica Vitalis/Amanda Hill/Cindy Baldwin
Mentee: Kit Rosewater
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Magical Realism
Word Count: 48,000


The vitiligo on Tami’s skin has always made her lonely. When her new classmates mistake her for their missing friend Renee, Tami’s strange connection to her doppelgänger grants instant popularity—along with access to Renee’s dark secret. If Tami sets things straight, she’ll lose her newfound friends. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose herself.


The blots on my skin are moving.

They inch down my arm, shimmy around my elbow, and creep up my shoulder.

Danger, they say.

Hush, I say back.

We step into the sizzling afternoon. Book in hand, I duck away from the sun, hiding underneath the canopy of our cottonwood tree. Its roots surge from the ground and ripple through the grass like ocean waves cresting on shore. I settle into the spot where the gnarled wood bends into a perfect reading chair.

Today’s book is The Princess Bride. I first heard it when I was little, when Dad read me all the classics. Together we slipped through the closet to Narnia and opened the brick wall behind the Leaky Cauldron. The best books are places, Dad says. Since I’m eleven now, I get to explore my favorite “places” whenever I want. Too bad Mom and Dad won’t count that as Geography.

My thumbs pin down the pages as the words pull me inside. I race along a ravine with the Man in Black, a disguised pirate who’s stolen Princess Buttercup. The high wind screams in my ears. The prince’s horsemen gallop behind us. I hold my breath and grin. Tonight, when the sun sinks into the horizon and the sidewalks fill with trick-or-treaters, I’ll hide my blots behind a mask and become the Man in Black.

A ray of tangerine sunlight peeks through the branches and pinches my skin. The blots shrink behind my sleeves.



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