Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!


PW #224: Middle Grade Contemporary Mystery: THE CAROUSEL KEEPER

Thursday, 3 November 2016  |  Posted by Heather Cashman

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Rebecca Wells
Mentee: Hope Grietzer
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Word Count: 43,000


Following a family tragedy, Maggie makes a secret wish on the rumored-to-be-magic carousel at her uncle’s island amusement park. When mysterious sabotage endangers the wooden horses and her wish, Maggie must race to unmask the culprits. The carousel’s fate, the park’s destiny, and even Maggie’s future will depend on finding her courage.


Maggie hurried ahead of her mother, slipping between the jumble of elbows and beach bags crowding the wooden pier. One last dodge around some boys in soccer jerseys and a group of teens sucking down sodas and there it was—the ocean.

Seagulls cried overhead and waves splashed like fireworks against the rocky shore. The whole world was as blue as a robin’s egg. Maggie climbed on the bottom rung of the pier railing and breathed the salt-soaked air. This place was nothing like Ohio, and somewhere out there, hidden beyond the horizon, an entire amusement park waited for her on an island poking out of the sea.

A tiny candle of hope flickered in her chest. She slipped her fingers into the pocket of her jeans, touching the creased newspaper clipping nestled inside.

“There you are.” Her mom joined her at the railing and handed her the soft, salty loops of a pretzel wrapped in wax paper. “I thought you might need a snack.”

“Is that the ferry?” Maggie asked, nodding toward a weathered ship moored at the end of the pier.

“Sure looks like it.” Her mom stood on tiptoe and scanned the flock of tourists departing from the boat. “But I don’t see your Uncle Jon. Maybe he met your father at the ticket booth. Stay…”

“I know, stay right here.”

Maggie waited until her mother was out of sight, then set down her pretzel and tugged the newspaper clipping from her pocket.


Filed: Pitch Wars

Leave a reply


We’d love your comments but ask that you please keep it polite. Although your views are definitely your own, we do not condone harassment or bullying and don’t want to see it here. We reserve the right to delete any comments for any reason, including being abusive, profane or off topic.

We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

Pitch Wars takes a stand. ANTI-BULLYING. Click here to review our policy

Pitch Wars 2020

Blog Archives

Blog Categories

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.