PW #231: Middle Grade Fantasy: ANYA KOZLOVA AND THE DRAGON

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Alexandra Ott

Mentee Name: Sofiya Pasternack


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Fantasy

Word Count: 59,000


A 12-year-old Jewish girl must go up against a bloodthirsty Viking and vengeful Tsar to protect the lonely dragon who saved her life.


Anya was not a good goatherd.

For the third time, she pulled Zvezda back to the barn by his horns. The stupid goat had broken his leg four days earlier, and Anya’s grandfather wanted him to stay in the barn and rest for at least a week. But the goat had chewed off his cast and, apparently bored with the comfort of the barn, followed Anya to the onion fields and climbed onto her handcart.

She slammed the wooden barn doors shut and held them closed. Nothing happened. Maybe Zvezda was finally going to stay— 

Thump! The door shuddered as the goat rammed it with his head.

Anya rolled her eyes. Maybe not.

As she held the door shut, she looked down and caught sight of the tear Zvezda had ripped in the hem of her dress. Not only was he wasting her time with the onions, she was going to have to waste even more mending the dress that night.

“Stay there!” Anya shouted.

Her father would have known how to make the goat listen. But Papa was gone, fighting in Tartary, so Anya had to take his place with the goats. She didn’t have any of the Kozlov animal magic yet—her grandfather insisted it would come to her any time, though—and the goats would scatter in every direction. Rounding them up took hours, so Anya was relieved of herding responsibilities. Dyedushka took them grazing instead, even though her grandfather had lost both his legs at the knee, plus one of his eyes, when he had fought the tree people before Anya had been born.

Zvezda bleated and bumped the door with his head.


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