PW #308: Young Adult Magical Realism: CHIMERICAL

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: McKelle George
Mentee Name: Cole Bucciaglia Nagamatsu
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Magical Realism
Word Count: 87,000


No one ever leaves Corinna’s ghost-haunted town—until her neighbor Aidan disappears. But when a traveling carnival arrives, Corinna sees a way out to a vast and dangerous world where Aidan may be hiding. BONE GAP meets THE MUSEUM OF EXTRAORDINARY THINGS.


Five months after Aidan vanished, Corinna returned to Moon Crossing with his brother Aly. He stood on top of the bridge while she went under and overturned rocks, pretending to be hopeful that she’d find clues. She whisper-screamed into the creek. There was no answer but the soft sound of water laughing over stones.

She climbed back up. Aly’s breath was loud but cracked, an animal’s huffing. “What was it like to kiss? Could I try?” Aly asked. Corinna placed her hand in his hair and pressed her mouth to his. She didn’t tell him: It was more than that.

Moon Crossing was an old wooden bridge. Never had Corinna seen a car pass over it. It marked the edge of things. The apple orchards in the west and the river in the east were the town’s borders. Beyond were just hills. Corinna had never left—just knew from her parents who’d been taught by their parents that it took “time” to get elsewhere, like “time” was a ship they could step inside.

The timber underfoot shook.

The perennial fog beyond the bridge parted, revealing the front of a purple truck as dark as a starling’s throat. It turned just before the bridge and settled along the grassy ledge over the water. A caravan of candy-colored vehicles followed and tucked themselves around their leader. Rust, rough and textured like barnacles, ate away at their edges. It made Corinna’s teeth hurt.

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