PW #229: Middle Grade Fantasy, illuminated MS w/excerpts from scientific field journal: IN THE NARROWS

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: J.C. Davis, Addie Thorley
Mentee Name: Laura Lashley
Category: Middle Grade (upper)
Genre: Fantasy, illuminated manuscript with excerpts from scientific field journal
Word Count: 66,000


Tween scientist Riley has been classified and labeled: she has autism spectrum disorder, and that’s all the world sees. But when a botched interview for science camp lands Riley and her family in Pangaea, an alternate Earth where science is magic, Riley discovers her quirks are strengths. Now, Riley must use her out-of-the-box reasoning to save her family from an evil Scientist and his dangerous experiments before he destroys Earth and the magical world that’s taught her to love her differences.


Don’t panic—Rule #13 in Smart Things Other People Said. Short, to the point, and universally true. That’s why Riley added it to her list of non-original wisdom. Panic is never a useful emotion. It clouds your judgment and makes it at least 50% more likely you’ll pee your pants.

Riley stopped pacing and consulted her Pre-Interview Readiness Agenda for the hundredth time since they’d descended into the dingy, deserted station. Strategically timed peeing made the list at five different points throughout the morning. If she followed the schedule and avoided unplanned beverages, her pants should be safe.

That is, if the train ever arrived. Riley stared down the dark subway tunnel, willing it to appear. Being late to the most important interview of her pre-teen life was not on the Agenda. She pinched her fingers together and flicked them open. Now!

The train did not magically appear, but a rat did.

“It’s Saturday morning at seven a.m.” Riley’s right hand began to flap. “This train has officially violated the schedule! Where is it?”

Quinn adjusted her book bag and side-eyed her. “Maybe it’s still asleep. You know, like normal people who weren’t wrenched from their beds for moral support by cruel older sisters.” She shot Riley a look that, somehow, didn’t feel like moral support.



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