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Friday, 7 September 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy (based on a Russian fairytale)

Word Count: 37,000
When a school bully breaks his Palekh box, Nick is thrust into medieval Russia where he must learn to appease an autocratic tsar and outmaneuver a jealous chamberlain in order to find his way home.
The bathroom door squeaked open just as I pushed the handle to flush. I opened the stall door a crack and spotted Dylan leaning against the wall, arms crossed. My stomach clenched. I took a deep breath and walked past him to the sink.
“What’re you doing in here, Strings?” he asked.
Dylan specialized in giving everyone a nickname they were guaranteed to hate. I wasn’t sure if he called me Strings because I play the violin, or because I’m so tall and skinny. Probably the second option.
“Seems pretty obvious.” I should’ve just ignored him. Sometimes he’d leave me alone if I didn’t say anything to set him off. I took a step toward him so I could reach the soap dispenser, and he chucked a handful of water at my crotch.
I jumped back, but it was too late. “Why’d you do that?”
“Seems pretty obvious,” he mimicked.

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