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PW #233: Middle Grade Contemporary: SUMMER BY THE SLICE

Wednesday, 1 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Shanna Rogers

Mentee Name: Dana Edwards and Dan Lollis


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 47,000 words


Twelve-year-old cousins Abby and Brandon first meet when they learn one of them will inherit their uncle’s pizza empire. They just have to outsmart and outcook one another to claim all the dough. But when a greedy pizza rival turns up the heat and threatens their uncle’s legacy, they decide to join forces, family-style. Told in alternating POVs, it’s The Westing Game meets Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.


Mom walked inside the trailer with a stack of mail. Sweat beads pooled above her lip. It was ninety-two degrees outside, and since the air conditioning was on the fritz again, it was almost that hot inside. She shuffled through the envelopes. Bills mostly, except for one postcard asking Dear Resident to send money to the poor. Maybe if they knew Dear Resident was poor, they wouldn’t have wasted money on a stamp.
She handed Dad an official-looking letter with a string of names in the corner. His eyes widened and a huge smile stretched across his face even though he hadn’t opened it yet.
“This is it, Nell! My patent’s been approved!” He threw his arms around Mom. “No more free lunch, Abby! It’s Lunchables and Capri Suns from now on!” He knew I hated being one of those kids—the ones getting free lunch and breakfast at school.
Mom gave a fake grin and I could tell we were thinking the same thing—don’t get your hopes up.
Dad had spent the last two years trying to perfect Ernie’s Expanding Hair Cream for Men. Two long years stinking up the kitchen and spreading the stuff on our hairless cat, Boots, hoping he’d sprout hair like a Chia pet. But when it came to Dad’s get-rich experiments we were lucky he hadn’t burned down the trailer park or turned us into mutants.

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