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PW #201: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy #ownvoices Indian-American: MIDSUMMER’S MAYHEM

Wednesday, 1 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Joy McCullough

Mentee Name: Rajani LaRocca


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy #ownvoices Indian-American

Word Count: 60,000


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.


The song from the woods first called to me on a bright June morning while I sat on the back porch swing re-reading my favorite cookbook. I could only hear a few notes, a small taste of a half-remembered melody that meandered through the air, but I was hungry to hear the whole thing, and discover where it came from. I crossed the yard and stopped at the edge of the woods. As the music drifted to me like an irresistible aroma, I held my breath and stepped into the trees.

“Hey, Mimi!” My big sister Jules’s voice yanked me back to reality.

I spun around. She was dribbling a soccer ball, of course.

She leapt over the ball and ran to me. “I need your help.”

I pushed my hair out of my eyes. That’s the kind of hair I have — the kind that’s always in my face. “Did you hear that?” I asked, sure I’d heard the song again. “I want to—”

Jules grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the porch. She pointed at the driveway next door, where a moving van and a silver car were parked. “The new neighbors are here. Let’s bring them the brownies you baked this morning.”

“But those are for Dad.” Welcome Home brownies, since he’d been gone all week.

“Make him something else. Come on, don’t let them see us yet.”

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