Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Jessica Bayliss
Mentee Name: Adrianna Cuevas
Title: THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF ARI LOPEZ
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, #ownvoices
Word Count: 48,000 words
Military kid Ari Lopez is used to moving around, but not to a town where animals turn into people. He must choose between protecting himself or saving his new friends from a shape-shifting witch. Cuban/Panamanian folklore meets ANIMORPHS.
The talking birds in my new town are more obnoxious than the birds in my four previous towns combined. And if the raven sitting on my bedroom window doesn’t stop heckling me, I’m going to pelt it with my dad’s old Army compass.
“Hey, new kid. I hear the old lady that lives in this house likes to cook raccoons and armadillos for dinner,” the raven chirps, hopping back and forth on the windowsill. It bobs its black head at the packing boxes in my room.
“I know for a fact that’s not true,” I mutter, kicking a box of comic books and dart guns under my bed. “My abuela is probably the best cook in all of Texas.”
“Fine. Don’t believe me,” the raven replies, tapping his beak against the glass of the open window. “Maybe I’ll visit you in the hospital when they have to remove your small intestine from eating too much barbecued road kill.”
I clench my jaw and kick another box under my bed. This raven is keeping me from breaking my unpacking record. Moving between four different Army bases, I’ve perfected my packing skills. I know that you shouldn’t pack your underwear in the same box as your video games unless you want your neighbor to see if you prefer blue or gray briefs when he comes over to check out the new kid.
But the secret to my success? Don’t bother unpacking half your boxes when you get to your new location. That way you’re ready to go when your mom announces the inevitable.