Mentee Name: Victoria Piontek
Category: Middle Grade
Word Count: 33,000
Thirteen-year-old Sparrow is so desperate for a place to belong she will do whatever she can to find her family, even if it means using her forbidden gift to connect with the spirit of her lost mother. But death is a perilous ally.
They buried Sparrow’s mama the day the gypsies came. A day so hot, some say the swamp started to bubble. The water of the everglades rose in the air and hung there, a steaming mist that cloaked the little town of Beulah in a persistent haze.
Sparrow watched as they lowered Mama’s casket through the lingering precipitation and into the ground. As the casket creaked and swayed on the ropes that held it fast, the vapors swirled in a way that had nothing to do with the weather. Among those rising vapors, Sparrow searched for Mama. She felt with deep certainty that she would see Mama again, and she had good reason for this conviction. Sparrow saw spirits.
In fact, she had seen one ghost, the Boy, with such lifelong regularity and clarity that he was as sure as the beat of her young heart.
He was even with her at that moment, as real and as solid as the preacher who presided over Mama’s grave. The Boy was so unlike the murky wisps of typical spirits that she marveled no one else saw him.
Though, the two of them had always been different. She, a girl who looked at death. He, a ghost who looked like life.
For Sparrow, the only reminder that he was a ghost was his impenetrable silence. He was her greatest secret, yet he told no secrets himself.