PW #234: Middle Grade Contemporary #OwnVoices: WHAT IF A FISH

Manuscript Status: Finished


Mentor Name: Jen Vincent

Mentee Name: Anika Fajardo


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary #OwnVoices

Word Count: 33,000 words


Eddie Aguado is convinced winning the Arne Hopkins Dock Fishing Tournament will bring him closer to his dad who died when Eddie was four. With his father’s fishing gear, help from his older half-brother, and his trusty encyclopedia, he’s up for the challenge. But when an ailing grandmother in Colombia takes him miles from home, Eddie finds himself far from ready—and even further from his father.


The water by the shore smells like the bottom of the garbage pail after I take out the trash. I scrunch up my nose. Clomping on the wooden boards, I head to one end of the T-shaped dock. A father with a small child points across the lake and a man in a dirty blue cap blasts country music from an old radio. I lean my elbows on the railing and pull a smooth metal disc out of my pocket, running my thumb over the engraved letters. I don’t have to look at the words to know what they say. Eduardo Aguado León. My father.

“What are you doing?” someone says so loudly I can’t pretend I didn’t hear.

I drop my father’s medal back into my pocket and stare. It’s the purple-haired girl from the get-to-know-you games at day camp this morning. She was hard to miss.

“Quiet,” I say. “You’ll scare the fish.”

“Oh, and that thing won’t?” She nods her chin toward the radio.

She has a point.

“What’s that?” she asks. She’s looking at the flyer stapled to the railing where my elbows rest. The 14th Annual Arne Hopkins Dock Fishing Tournament—the one I have just decided I’m going to win.



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