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PW #217: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy: SISTERS OF THE SEA

Thursday, 3 November 2016  |  Posted by Heather Cashman

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Alexandra Alessandri
Mentee Name: Suzi Guina
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 60,000


While visiting Faial, twelve-year-old Isabel learns she’s descended from Portuguese mermaids and can transform. But the legacy has a darker side. When her great-grandmother’s prophesies of natural disasters leave her gravely ill, Isabel turns to the mermaids before she loses Vis-Avó forever.


Isabel scanned her bookshelf, looking for more books to pack. She should bring something she hadn’t already read for their eight weeks in Faial. But she kept coming back to her old favorites. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland. Inkheart. Goblet of Fire. Isabel hugged them to her chest, inhaling the familiar smell of the paper. If she couldn’t have Amelia with her this summer, at least she could have September, Meggie, and Hermione.

Except, for once, they didn’t seem like enough. Not quite.

Isabel’s stomach twisted. I hope Amelia makes it over before we leave.

Her eyes drifted to the open album on her bed. Isabel dropped her comfort reads on her backpack and flipped through her mom’s pictures again, lingering on images of black-sand beaches and windswept waves, seaside cottages and smiling Portuguese relatives she’d never met. Faial.

Would they smile that way at her?

She stopped at a photo of a dark mountain hunched in a bleak, gray landscape with a lone, lean tower rising from it. Farol, her mom had written. It might as well have been hieroglyphics.


Isabel whirled around as Amelia walked in holding two brightly wrapped packages.

“You made it!” Isabel shoved her backpack and album aside for Amelia.

“I can’t stay. My mom’s waiting outside, but I wanted to bring you a present.” Amelia held out one of the packages. “Open this one now. The other one’s for later.”

Isabel tore open the sparkly paper, and a lump rose in her throat when she saw what it was.

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