Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Rebecca Petruck
Mentee Name: Jennifer Bryson
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Contemporary Adventure/Humor
Word Count: 40,000
When a downtrodden squirrel meets a talking GMO peanut, rumors of a bagel monster no longer seem far-fetched. Armed with a dollhouse fork and a lot of heart, the unlikely duo must work together to uncover the secrets of a biohacker’s lab before a friend-turned-foe destroys their only chance at solving the peanut’s mysterious origins.
The squirrel two trees over claimed a talking bagel chased her out of the yard at the old Admiral Inn, but Jeremy didn’t believe it. Food couldn’t talk, much less run. The idea was ridiculous. If food was alive, what would it even eat?
His oldest brother, Thump, suggested it ate squirrels.
Jeremy squinted at the inn and wrinkled his nose. He smelled nuts, sweet fall leaves, and a hint of bacon. It did not smell like danger—or bagels.
He grabbed several acorns near the iron fence, then spied a perfect pecan in the frost-kissed weeds on the other side. Sticking a foot between the bars, he tried to scrape the nut closer. A shadow fell across his leg, and he froze.
A claw slid onto his shoulder.
Jeremy yelped and bonked his head on the post. He whirled, clutching his pile of nuts. They wobbled but did not fall.
“Got you,” Thump said, snickering. He twisted a nut from Jeremy’s stack and tossed it to the scruffy squirrel beside him. Digger popped it in his cheek and grinned.
“Go ahead and eat them,” Jeremy said, holding out his breakfast.
“What are you up to?” Thump backed away, checking over his shoulder. “Is Momma watching?’
“I’m not up to anything,” Jeremy said. “I just licked them first, that’s all.”
Digger gagged and spit out the nut. Jeremy shoved the rest into his mouth and scampered off before his brothers could grab him.