PW #225: Middle Grade Contemporary: DIRT ROAD DIVA

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Miriam Spitzer Franklin

Mentee Name: Jaime Formato


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 50,000


Acting at an exclusive theatre school in the city is twelve-year-old Destiny’s ticket out of the boonies. Her ambitious bubble bursts when she meets the director, a woman filled with prejudice and greed. To be successful on the stage, Destiny must silence her own voice and betray lifelong friends. She always said she’d sacrifice anything to become a star. . . but now she’s not so sure.


I spun in the fake leather office chair, waiting for our ancient computer to boot. It took a couple go-rounds, but just as I started to get dizzy, the screen lit up. Time to procrastinate. Before I can even think about homework, there’s a little routine that goes something like this: check my email, meme and be memed, read the buzz on, stalk the Jonesville Thespian Society, then watch videos from NYU’s School of the Arts.

On this day, though, no videos were watched. As I checked out the cast photos from the Jonesville Thespian Society’s latest production of Oklahoma! a bright red blinking exclamation point popped up at the top of the screen. Major announcement: There were openings in the 6th grade drama class. 

Whaaat?  I about swallowed my tongue when I read that. There are never openings—that place is harder to get into than last year’s sneakers. A ton of their grads end up on Broadway, so most of the JTS students were on the waiting list before they were even born. It’s kind of a big deal.

I. Was. Dying. Who just so happens to be a 6th grader in need of some drama? This girl, right here. I had to tell Mom. Immediately. The chair flew out behind me as I jumped to my feet. It may or may not have knocked over the lamp.


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