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PW #232: Middle Grade Contemporary: HOLE IN THE ROCK

Thursday, 3 November 2016  |  Posted by Heather Cashman

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentors: Gail Nall and Abby Cooper
Mentee: Rebecca Bischoff
Title: HOLE IN THE ROCK
Category/Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Word Count: 58,000

Pitch:

Eleven-year-old Lizza, a dedicated vegan, thinks nothing can be worse than her dad’s taxidermy business – until she sabotages it and Dad moves the family into a tourist trap cave. Now, she needs to get her family back home before they’re split apart for good.

Excerpt:

The dead deer on the billboard kept staring at me. His eyeball was the size of my head, so no matter where I moved, it followed. It made me want to hurl, which is what happened whenever I ventured into Dad’s garage and his glassy-eyed elk and bison heads tracked my every move.

Trying to steady my nerves, I gulped air and grimaced. I could practically taste the exhaust from the highway a few measly feet away from the base of my ladder. Only 6:00 a.m. and already the trickle of SUVs, minivans and jeeps threatened to turn into the daily flood of tourists who swamped my miniature desert town each summer. A bead of sweat rolled down my face. I swiped my damp brow and steadied myself. If “Mission Destroy Crapo Taxidermy” was going to succeed, I needed to stay calm.

“Hurry, Lizza!” Brooklyn called. She was holding the ladder, but she wasn’t doing a good job. The soles of my Toms were worn, so they slid around on the metal rungs every time I breathed. I was sure I’d fall any minute and turn into road kill. I loved to climb, but on rocks with decent hand and foot holds, while wearing a harness and tethered with rope. I’d climbed to places much higher than where I was now, but what I was doing today didn’t exactly feel secure.

“Where did you get this ladder?” Brooklyn asked, still intent on not doing a spectacular job of keeping me safe.

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