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PW #204: Middle Grade Contemporary #GirlsinSTEM: A REASON TO STAY

Wednesday, 1 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: K. A. Reynolds

Mentee Name: Melanie Pendleton


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary #GirlsinSTEM

Word Count: 47,000 words


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?


Things That Make Me Sad

1) hurt animals
2) pollution
3) bullies
4) habitat destruction
5) liars
6) my mother abandoning me

The year I was born, scientists discovered a new planet. They named it Eris, which is also the name of a Greek goddess. Jessica used to say it was funny I came into the world the same year as a planet that shares its name with the goddess of chaos and conflict. She’d laugh and say it was a sign because I had a disagreeable nature as a baby. Just like the goddess. I never got why that was funny. Who says that about their kid? Then again, I never understood my mom.

“Rory,” Grams says. Her reflection glances at me in the passenger-side window as the car speeds down the interstate. “Try to keep an open mind, okay?”

I want to tell her to keep her eyes on the road. That’s how accidents happen. But then I’d have to speak to her and I’m not doing that right now. This must be what Jessica meant about my disagreeable nature.

“Rory,” Grams says again, this time more firmly. I still don’t look at her. I fold my arms and shrug. That must be good enough because she turns her attention back to driving. After a few minutes, she sighs. “It’s not forever. It’s just for the summer.”

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