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PW #209: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy: THE CURIOUS CURSE OF THE LONELY LIBRARY

Thursday, 3 November 2016  |  Posted by Heather Cashman

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Ashley Martin
Mentee: Kaitlin Hundscheid
Category/Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 52,000


When twelve-year-old Theodore visits a cursed library where book characters come alive, he thinks he’s stumbled into bookworm heaven. But when the curse lands a demolition notice on the door, Theodore must race to outsmart storybook villains before the library is destroyed.


Theodore Plumford didn’t mind staying in a strange town with relatives he barely knew. He didn’t mind shuffling through the grocery store the minute his parents departed for their anniversary trip. But he did mind interruptions while he read, and his younger brother Hugo was the biggest interruption in the world.

As his aunt pushed the cart and his siblings filled it with their favorite foods, Theodore wandered behind them with his nose stuck in a book.

“Keep up, Theodore.” Aunt Mabel pushed her cart through the aisles like a battering ram.

“Yeah, Theodore, keep up,” mimicked Hugo.

“Just read it in the car,” whispered Lucy, the youngest Plumford.

But Theodore only buried his face further into Ivanhoe.

At this instant a knight, urging his horse to speed, appeared on the plain advancing towards the lists. A hundred voices exclaimed, “A champion! a champion!”

The words jumped as Hugo bumped Theodore’s elbow. “Leave me alone,” said Theodore. He turned the page.

“Whatever, you’re not really reading.” Hugo yanked the book from Theodore’s grasp.

“Give it back.”

“So you can find out who falls in loooove?” asked Hugo, his voice high and squeaky. He ruffled the pages and grinned.

Theodore flinched. It was an ancient library copy he’d bought for a quarter, but did Hugo care about the book’s fragile pages, or that he’d lost Theodore’s spot?


Theodore swiped the book from his brother and flipped back to the end. “Go find those bacon potato chips you were whining about—”

“Theodore, look out!” cried Lucy.

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