Welcome to the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase! Middle Grade entries …
For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns chose mentees and work with them for two months to make their work shine. Our amazing mentors chose one (some cases two) writer to mentor from nearly 3000 entries for this year’s for the agent showcase.
AGENTS: To make requests, simply peruse the following entries and enter what you would like to have the writers’ send you in the comments of the individual manuscript posts. Please include submission guidelines and/or additional instructions.
PLEASE only agent comments. All others save your comments until after the agent round. If you would like to cheer on your friends, go to the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars and show your support there. Thank you!
Here are the links to each entry’s post for your convenience…
PW #201: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy #ownvoices Indian-American: MIDSUMMER’S MAYHEM
Pitch: Eleven-year-old Mimi dreams of winning a baking contest judged by her celebrity chef idol. But she loses her best helper when her food-writer father returns from a trip mysteriously unable to distinguish between delicious and disgusting. Squabbling sisters, rhyming waitresses, and a golden-eyed boy in the woods mix up a recipe for mayhem in this mash-up of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Master Chef Junior. READ MORE . . .
PW #202: Middle Grade Contemporary: REACHING FOR STARLIGHT
Pitch: A mysterious riddle could lead Sam to a long-lost violin that would pay for her mom’s last-chance cancer drug. If she can’t solve the clues, she might lose her mom forever. THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY meets COUNTING THYME. READ MORE . . .
PW #203: Middle Grade Contemporary: FIRST CHAIR
Pitch: Lula James is obsessed with goals. #1: Make first chair flute so her parents will finally look at her the way they look at her brother Marcus. When Lula succeeds, she definitely gets noticed—for all the wrong reasons. New goal: Repair the relationships damaged in her pursuit of perfection, or forever be known as the “Ego Princess.” READ MORE . . .
PW #204: Middle Grade Contemporary #GirlsinSTEM: A REASON TO STAY
Pitch: Twelve-year-old future Marine Biologist Rory has always felt like a fish without a school, especially after Mom abandons her with Grams. Drowning in sadness, a summer at the lake brings messages in bottles, a new friend, and rekindled bonds. Just when Rory feels a sense of belonging, Mom resurfaces with an ultimatum: move across country with her or stay with Grams. Either choice leaves someone behind. Whose school does she choose? READ MORE . . .
PW #205: Middle Grade Contemporary #ownvoices: THE UNHITTABLE VJC
Pitch: Vivy throws a mean knuckleball and longs to play for real, but Mom fears an autistic girl can’t handle the pressure. During her trial season, Vivy must conquer the strike zone—and convince Mom she belongs on the mound. Through it all, she writes letters to her hero: Major league pitcher VJ Capello. To her surprise, he writes back. PITCH meets DEAR MR. HENSHAW. READ MORE . . .
PW #206: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy: THE DREAMON
Pitch: Trapped in a nightmare by a soul-scarfing demon, thirteen-year-old Lucy must team up with the Reachers — a group of dream-hopping commandos — to escape within seven days. If they fail, Lucy’s soul becomes the demon’s lunch. READ MORE . . .
PW #207: Middle Grade Contemporary: FAUX REAL
Pitch: It’s bad enough that 12-year-old Tru Diaz’s parents moonlight as celebrity impersonators, but things go downhill fast when her crush shows up at her family’s struggling Vegas pawn shop. Tru’s attempt to impress him with Elvis’s mortuary toe-tag backfires when someone swipes it off the counter. To keep her family from bankruptcy, Tru must track down the big-ticket pawn—even if it means crashing casinos and facing her fear of Elvi (in the plural). It’s Oceans 11 at ElvisCon. READ MORE . . .
PW #208: Middle Grade Historical: BAD HABITS
Pitch: Eleven-year-old Christopher Ponder and his best friend launch a desperate plan to escape Catholic school, but keeping their friendship intact isn’t easy in the face of a ruler-wielding, patch-eyed Sister, the events of 1963, and a whole lot of BAD HABITS. WEDNESDAY WARS meets HOLES. READ MORE . . .
PW #209: Middle Grade Adventure Thriller (STEM, Contemporary Speculative): EVIE ZIMMER, ROBOT KILLER
Pitch: After Evie’s dad loses his job to robots in Walt Disney’s masterpiece town, Progress City, she resorts to high-tech sabotage to get it back. When robots turn violent, she discovers she’s not the only hacker in town—Evie must race to outsmart him before the city she loves is destroyed. READ MORE . . .
PW #210: Middle Grade Horror: GHOST HUNTER
Pitch: Newly dead Hunter thinks her embarrassing grave is the worst of her problems, until she discovers she only has three days to warn her ghost-hunting mother about the true evil that lurks in their house, the monster that killed her. Too bad her mom, who is supposed to be a famous medium, can’t actually see ghosts, let alone hear them. READ MORE . . .
PW #211: Middle Grade Magical Realism (#ownvoices): GOLEM SCIENCE
Pitch: Eleven-year-old Rachel Shem thinks life is all about science, not religion. She wants to get nominated for the biggest of all science fairs, the Broadcom MASTERS. But when she creates a Golem – a mud monster who protects the Jewish people – she might have to admit science can’t solve everything. And she’s got to figure out the real theory of evolution quick, because Golem is growing. And becoming dangerous. READ MORE . . .
PW #212: Middle Grade Contemporary with Magical Elements: WHERE WILD MAGIC GROWS
Pitch: To 13-year-old Ivy Jade, her secret ability to see feelings glow isn’t a gift, it’s a curse – especially when her best friend’s father runs for mayor on an anti-magic platform. Her ability could help defeat his plan to harm magic, but choosing to use it might mean the end of her friendship. A SNICKER OF MAGIC meets SAVVY. READ MORE . . .
PW #213: Middle Grade Contemporary: CIRCUS GIRL
Pitch: 12-year-old Robin would rather be invisible than ridiculed. When she loses her spot at the stables that have been her haven away from middle school hell, her only chance to ride again is an enchanting equestrian circus. But to stay, she’ll have to find her voice and take her greatest risks yet, both inside and outside the ring. Liar & Spy meets Water for Elephants. A whole new kind of horse book, written by a former Cavalia performer. READ MORE . . .
PW #214: Middle Grade Historical: SUMMER OF ROCKS AND HARD PLACES
Pitch: Aided by a homeless veteran and a hidden stash of letters, twelve-year-old Casey learns his war-hero brother didn’t really die in Vietnam. To uncover the truth, Casey challenges his parents’ secrets. But the past he reopens may tear his family apart. READ MORE . . .
PW #215: Middle Grade Adventure, Fantasy, #ownvoices: THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF ARI LOPEZ
Pitch: Military kid Ari Lopez is used to moving around, but not to a town where animals turn into people. He must choose between protecting himself or saving his new friends from a shape-shifting witch. Cuban/Panamanian folklore meets ANIMORPHS. READ MORE . . .
PW #216: Middle Grade Contemporary #ownvoices: ME AND MY DRUM
Pitch: Twelve-year-old Mika’s life turns upside-down after her mother’s very public schizophrenic breakdown. As she prepares for the all-boys drum corps auditions, Mika must learn a new rhythm—one without Mom and with a father she barely knows, one with beats of forgiveness, healing, and hope. READ MORE . . .
PW #217: Middle Grade Speculative Adventure: SURF MONKS OF NEW HAWAI’I
Pitch: Exiled on a city of sinking cruise ships, orphan Pallie daydreams about New Hawai’i—forbidden to Tourists like her. When they receive the first radio transmission since the world went dark, there’s finally hope of rescue—until Pallie fries the radio. Going undercover as a Local, she sneaks ashore to find its replacement and instead discovers the family she’s always craved. Torn between feuding worlds, Pallie must choose before her secret’s exposed and she loses them both. READ MORE . . .
PW #218: Middle Grade Contemporary verse: HOME IS WHERE
Pitch: Since Grandma died, Emma’s mom has been sleep-walking through life. When Mom suddenly packs up Emma and her little sister, driving them cross-country to visit Kentucky relatives, it’s up to Emma to get them back to Dad before Mom puts down roots in a place that’s nothing like home. For fans of Sharon Creech. READ MORE . . .
PW #219: Middle Grade Contemporary: LISA PIZZA’S PERNICIOUS CURSE
Pitch: When twelve-year-old Lisa tries to contact her mom at a séance, she unleashes a curse complete with exploding appliances, rampaging waterfowl, and one dragonish teacher. Dubbing themselves Curseologists, Lisa and her best friend must stop the curse before it separates them forever and claims her family’s restaurant as its next victim. READ MORE . . .
PW #220: Middle Grade Historical Fantasy: THE HUNTER’S HEIR
Pitch: Hidden away in a pirate-founded 1930s harbor town, twelve-year-old Rigley cannot control the poorly-executed enchantment that compels animals to fiercely protect him from any perceived threat. Now he must use his so-called “gift”—and trust some newfound friends—to save his kidnapped brother and stop the shadowy Daughters of Rasputin from stealing his magic to create an army of beasts. READ MORE . . .
PW #221: Middle Grade Fantasy Retelling: THE HALF MILLENIUM CURSE
Pitch: Rama and Sita Retelling. Terrified of demons, Kavindi is content living in a cage underground. She’s safer there than caught up in the demon war—that’s what her caretaker, Ms. Hiruni, tells her. But Kavindi’s trust is shaken when a mysterious girl starts visiting instead of Ms. Hiruni, claiming there are no demons or war. Unsure what to believe, Kavindi must make a decision—let fear keep her locked up forever, or discover what does exist in the outside world. READ MORE . . .
PW #222: Middle Grade Fantasy: THE LOOM OF FATE
Pitch: Transported back to the Viking era, twelve-year-old Banjo must learn to work with his school rival and resist the temptation to get everything he desires, or risk plunging the past and future into chaos. READ MORE . . .
PW #223: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy: WEST OF THE SEA
Pitch: The local gossips say 12-year-old Haven West’s Mama ran away from their drought-ravaged, small Texas town. But Haven knows what she saw—Mama looked distinctly reptilian the night she left. When Haven falls into the Brazos River and transforms as well, she discovers the family secret: they’re kitskas, an evolution of selkies. With her new gills and visions of prehistoric creatures to guide her, Haven may be the only who can find Mama alive. HOUR OF THE BEES meets BREADCRUMBS. READ MORE . . .
PW #224: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy #ownvoices: MY BROTHER, THE OLMEC
Pitch: When her annoyingly perfect brother is eaten by a forgotten Olmec god, eleven-year-old Marty is the only one who can save him. To rescue Daniel, Marty must abandon plans for a lazy summer and babysit the egotistical god. Marty uncovers family secrets, travels to spirit realms, and proves she is more powerful than anyone thinks. Eva Ibbotson meets Mexican mythology in this hilarious fantasy. READ MORE . . .
PW #225: Middle Grade Contemporary: DIRT ROAD DIVA
Pitch: Acting at an exclusive theatre school in the city is twelve-year-old Destiny’s ticket out of the boonies. Her ambitious bubble bursts when she meets the director, a woman filled with prejudice and greed. To be successful on the stage, Destiny must silence her own voice and betray lifelong friends. She always said she’d sacrifice anything to become a star. . . but now she’s not so sure. READ MORE . . .
PW #226: Middle Grade #ownvoices contemporary graphic novel/prose hybrid: RULES FOR MAKING CAKES
Pitch: For Jingwen, immigrating to a country that speaks English-that-sounds-like-Martian is a recipe for loneliness. But roping his little brother into secretly baking cakes that remind him of home and their late Papa, when Mama’s warned him not to, will be a recipe for disaster. EL DEAFO meets the immigrant experience. READ MORE . . .
PW #227: Middle Grade Fantasy: A WOLF FOR A SPELL
Pitch: Zima knows the only thing more dangerous than a human, is a witch. But when her brother is shot by a hunter, she risks a deal with Baba Yaga for the spell to save him—but the shifty witch has a mission of her own, and she needs a wolf to complete it. READ MORE . . .
PW #228: Middle Grade Fantasy: PENELOPE CHARMING AND THE POISONED GLASS SLIPPERS
Pitch: Being Cinderella’s daughter isn’t a Happily-Ever-After for eleven-year-old Penelope. After her mom’s glass slippers are poisoned, Penelope must face a candy-magic wielding witch, survive a giant’s Beanstalk Forest, and outrun escaped villains to deliver the cure before her mom falls into a deathly slumber and the villains destroy Fablewood. READ MORE . . .
PW #229: Middle Grade Contemporary with magical elements: THE SOUND INSIDE
Pitch: Firefly Mountain’s a special place—it strums, taps, and hums special songs only twelve-year-old Cassie Banner can hear. But the fireflies disappeared years ago, taking bits of magic with them. As development now threatens the town’s existence, Cassie must untangle secrets to set everything right again. READ MORE . . .
PW #230: Middle Grade Horror: THE CABIN
Pitch: Summer vacation: sunscreen? Check. Bug spray? Check. Vengeful ghost? Check … ? Good thing eleven-year-old Laney is a paranormal investigator. When a specter imprisons her family in their isolated rental cabin, she must use all her skills and bravery to uncover dark secrets and help this tortured spirit—or face its wrath for eternity. READ MORE . . .
PW #231: Middle Grade Fantasy: ANYA KOZLOVA AND THE DRAGON
Pitch: A 12-year-old Jewish girl must go up against a bloodthirsty Viking and vengeful Tsar to protect the lonely dragon who saved her life. READ MORE . . .
PW #232: Middle Grade Contemporary Adventure/Humor: CANADA OR BUST
Pitch: Puny eleven-year-old Hollis Fitcher has one goal—become a pro-wrestling legend! When the WWE announces an open tryout in Canada, Hollis hatches a plan and hits the road in a veggie-oil powered Winnebago with his best friend and lovesick uncle. Battling time, enemy spies, and loose Underoos, Hollis must “deathlock” his impetuous ways or risk not only his wrestling dreams but his closest friendship. READ MORE . . .
PW #233: Middle Grade Contemporary: SUMMER BY THE SLICE
Pitch: Twelve-year-old cousins Abby and Brandon first meet when they learn one of them will inherit their uncle’s pizza empire. They just have to outsmart and outcook one another to claim all the dough. But when a greedy pizza rival turns up the heat and threatens their uncle’s legacy, they decide to join forces, family-style. Told in alternating POVs, it’s The Westing Game meets Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. READ MORE . . .
PW #234: Middle Grade Contemporary #OwnVoices: WHAT IF A FISH
Pitch: 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. READ MORE . . .
PW #235: PW #236: Middle Grade Contemporary: FIGHT FOR THE DOG
Pitch: Emmet sneaks a weak puppy from Daddy’s kennels and secretly raises it in the woods, hoping to save his father’s dog breeding business. But as his love for the puppy grows, so does his shame of Daddy’s other business—training dogs to fight. When Daddy finds out, Emmet must risk his family’s loyalty and livelihood to save his puppy’s life. READ MORE . . .
PW #236: Middle Grade Fantasy: THE PECULIAR PREDICAMENT OF PENELOPE PENDRAGON
Pitch: CORALINE meets the THIEF OF ALWAYS when Penelope, an orphan haunted by nightmares, discovers the Betwixt – a hallway between worlds inhabited by Fear himself. Armed with a magical storybook, Penelope must embark on a journey to uncover old family secrets hidden in the Betwixt’s gloomy corridors, or risk losing everything she loves. Again. READ MORE . . .
PW #237: Middle Grade Science Fiction: FRENCH BRAIDS AND OTHER ENTANGLEMENTS
Pitch: An anxiety-ridden math prodigy wants to help her dad find a healthy alt-Earth before their generations-old “temporary” colony on the moon runs out of water. She’d also like a best friend, another resource in short supply. When she discovers the vlog of a girl her age on an obviously alternative Earth, she knows she should tell her dad right away, but can’t resist starting a conversation that turns into real friendship. But when their worlds become entangled at a quantum level, the girls must untangle the cosmic knots and hope friendship can be stronger than Newton’s laws. READ MORE . . .
PW #238: Middle Grade Science Fiction: THE THIRD KEY OF THERIZINIA
Pitch: Did 12-year-old Peanut Martin know his family was part of a secret organization that works with aliens? No. Is he looking forward to his unexpected first mission? Um, not really. But when an angry extraterrestrial holds your best friend hostage, you’ve got to step up your game. Peanut must survive the trip into space, a carnivorous plant, a traitor, and a broken hearing aid in order to deliver an ancient key and save his friend – and possibly all life on Earth. No pressure! READ MORE . . .
PW #239: Middle Grade Fantasy #ownvoices: ETTA, INVISIBLE
Pitch: EL DEAFO meets WEST SIDE STORY when twelve-year-old Etta, a quiet girl with fluctuating hearing loss, crosses neighborhood lines to help a boy stop a magic train from spreading fear around Chicago. Now she must become as brave as the hero in the comic she writes––or else watch fear twist through her city, her new friendship, and her heart. READ MORE . . .
PW #240: Middle Grade Contemporary #ownvoices: MIRACLE
Pitch: Amie’s spent her life perfectly in tune with what her father wanted for her. But after Ba-ba dies, Amie must discover who she is when playing solo. Being the conductor of her own life means new friends, new interests, and becoming the person Ba-ba knew she was all along. READ MORE . . .
PW #241: Middle Grade Contemporary: THE NOT-SO-HOT POTATO
Pitch: After a hotdog-flinging mishap, thirteen-year-old Ben faces suspension at his new school in Idaho. Coach offers one way out: volunteer as the dorky potato mascot. Ben agrees—as long as it remains a secret. But if he can’t keep his story straight as he juggles two identities, he risks losing his friends and his chances of ever fitting in. READ MORE . . .
PW #242: Middle Grade Mystery: SIXTH GRADE SECRET SERVICE
Pitch: Twelve-year-old ABRAHAM TRUMAN comes from a long line of secret service agents. Unfortunately, every calamity involving a president happened during a Truman’s watch. When the student president goes missing, Abe must put the past behind him to find her before the class bully turns their school into a dictatorship. READ MORE . . .