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PW #213: Middle Grade Contemporary: CIRCUS GIRL

Wednesday, 1 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Mae Respicio

Mentee Name: Landon Spencer


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 40,000 words


12-year-old Robin would rather be invisible than ridiculed. When she loses her spot at the stables that have been her haven away from middle school hell, her only chance to ride again is an enchanting equestrian circus. But to stay, she’ll have to find her voice and take her greatest risks yet, both inside and outside the ring. Liar & Spy meets Water for Elephants. A whole new kind of horse book, written by a former Cavalia performer.


It’s not like I’ve never had friends.

I used to have a best friend. Jason and I would swap Pony Club books, eat almost-ripe grapes off the vine in the field behind his house, and test each other on horse trivia. I’ll see your history of the Lipizzaner stallions and raise you an Appaloosa Complex.

Then last year he moved to Tallahassee.

Maybe I should’ve had a spare. Like a tire.

Or maybe it doesn’t really matter.

Mom’s always trying to help me “get noticed” by the cool girls. She imagines I’m just a few smart moves away from winning the affection of Jaqueline Harris, whose teeth sparkle almost as brightly as the bling on her back jean pocket, and Felisha Hart, the only girl in 7th grade who wears lipstick.

But Mom’s totally deluded for three reasons.

Reason #1: The last thing I want is to get noticed.

People like Milton the Mouse get noticed. Or Crazy Maysie, the new girl who came from some kind of nuthouse with her hair cut short like a boy’s and a tattoo on the back of her neck. To be popular, you can’t just stand out. You have to stand out in just the right way.

Reason #2: Those cool girls that Mom wants me to be friends with? They’re not really that cool.

Filed: PW Entries

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