Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Juliana Brandt
Mentee Name: Julie Artz
Title: QUEST FOR THE KALEVALA
Word Count: 60,000
Eleven-year-old Kai and his annoying nerd-sister only agree on one thing: moving to Helsinki equals epic disaster. But when they discover a mysterious book of Finnish folklore, the squabbling siblings must overcome their rivalry and protect the book’s ancient secret before their dad’s power-hungry boss uses it to tear the earth—and their family—apart.
The basketball thuds against the driveway as I run warm-up drills. I line my toes up with a crack in the pavement, but before I can shoot a free throw, someone draws a rasping breath behind me. I spin, holding the ball out for protection, half expecting to find an evil hag or an ax-murderer lurking in the eerie fog. But nothing’s there except a pale circle of sun hiding behind clouds so low they touch the treetops.
Finland officially creeps me out.
Dad never mentioned a cold sun or endless fog when he described the “unusual atmospheric disturbances” he came here to study. I’ll ask him about it if I ever see him. He headed straight to the lab after the shuttle dropped us off, only coming home long enough to sleep.
Curtains swish in the neighbor’s window. A gaunt, wrinkled face stares out, gawking at me with unblinking, washed-out eyes. I dribble a few times, my gaze flicking from her to the ball, then aim for a patch of ivy on the cement wall of our house. An imaginary hoop will have to do—I haven’t spotted a single basketball court since we arrived last week.
I chase down my rebound and shoot, but I can’t ignore the spooky audience. She’s still there, her lips moving behind the glass, when a voice echoes all around me.
The ball drops from my fingertips as I race for the door.