Mentor Name: Joy McCullough-Carranza
Mentee Name: Shanna Rogers
Title: FOR SALE BY MINOR
Category: Middle Grade
Word Count: 40,000
Twelve-year-old construction whiz Rory and her design-savvy brother Mag tackle a renovation to save their family property. But flipping a house is harder than it looks on TV, and in order to nail down their futures, they’ll also have to repair their fixer-upper family.
My sixth-grade graduation diploma read “Aurora Ariel Rapunzel Perkins.” I Sharpie-d over it and printed “Rory” underneath. Much better.
Last-day-of-school pandemonium raged at the school’s front gates. Shouts echoed in the breezeway and more elbows knocked me in the head than usual. I ducked and darted past the parking lot pileup and started for home.
At the stoplight I pulled the straps of my backpack until it sat comfortably high on my shoulders. Kids who wore theirs low—or worse, over one shoulder—were toying with scoliosis. Then I rolled my sleeveless turtleneck down ever-so-slightly to try and catch a breeze. Ninety-seven degrees today and not nearly enough shade, so I jumped from one twiggy shadow to the next along the sidewalk.
Hot asphalt and wood fumes swirled around the construction site I passed every day. Today they were installing upper decks. I squinted.
Wait a second…
I marched up to a bulgy man in a hard hat. “I’d like to speak to the supervisor.”
“You’re looking at him. Can I help you?”
This was not said in a genuine, helpful manner, but rather implied that I might be lost. Or intellectually challenged.
“That deck is a hazard,” I said. “You realize you’re missing the proper flashing on your cantilevered joists?”
He cocked his head. “Did Javier put you up to this?”
“I don’t know a Javier. I do know that deck has inadequate support.”