PW #227: Middle Grade Contemporary Humorous Fantasy: SAMTO DIES AGAIN

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Sarah Cannon
Mentee: Elle Evans
Category/Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Humorous Fantasy
Word Count: 55,000


When Samto bounces back to life after a tragic hot dog incident, he and his best friend Max decide Samto’s the hero their Cursed swamp town needs. Braving gators, snakes, fires and floods, it’s all heroic training for a boy who’s gonna save his town and break an ancient Curse—even if he dies a hundred times trying. Gordon Korman’s UNGIFTED touched by SAVVY.

First Page Excerpt: 

Somebody mashed their lips against mine.

My stomach boiled with butterflies, but my head told me something more fateful than a first kiss was going down. I pushed the lips away and wiped my mouth.

“Samto?” said a squeaky voice.

The kitchen light hurt, but I opened my eyes enough to see Max leaning over me, his face scrunched up.

“Wh— ” I tried swallowing, but my throat was scraped raw and dry. “What happened?”

“Samto! You’re alive!”

I took a deep breath, which felt like a splash of cold water in my lungs, except without the drowning. I was flat on my back on the kitchen floor.

“I was about to start mouth-to-mouth,” breathed Max. “But you don’t need it. It’s a miracle!”

Here’s how I think of my best friend Max: like a miniature action-figure, rubbery and game for anything, surviving jumps off heights that would kill the rest of us. He believes in miracles, which is why jumping usually works out for him.

“I don’t feel so good,” I said. “My stomach, ugh.”

“It hurts?” said Max. “From the compressions?”


“On your stomach. CPR. I might’ve done it wrong.”

“You did CPR on me?”

Max blinked. “Well, you were dead.”

I let my head fall back against the linoleum. My stomach was backing up and my brain felt fogged. Take it from me, being recently dead makes you slow on the uptake.


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