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PW #234: Middle Grade Science Fiction: SHIFTING GEARS

Thursday, 3 November 2016  |  Posted by Heather Cashman

Manuscript status: Completed

Mentors: Wade White & Timanda Wertz
Mentee: Triona Murphy
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Science Fiction
Word Count: 57,000


When 12-year-old mechanical genius Edie accidentally hitches a ride to a parallel world, she discovers a secret organization that keeps thousands of Earths safe from dimensional cross-contamination. She’s determined to join up, but first she must prove herself on a mission to a world where people have tails, gravity doesn’t work right, and failure means never making it home.


Graduation at Bradford Middle School is a big fat hairy deal. It’s almost as elaborate as high school graduations. Personally, I don’t get it. High school isn’t that different from middle school, so does moving up really require several thousand balloons, gown rentals for the graduating eighth graders, and a three-hour-long ceremony with speeches from nearly everyone in the school? But as a seventh grader moving up to eighth, my presence was required whether I liked it or not.

The kids sat on folding chairs on the gym floor, facing the raised podium, and the parents perched uncomfortably on the bleachers. Our principal Mrs. Newell started off with a very long speech about promising futures and all these shining faces looking up at her. It didn’t seem to occur to her that maybe they were shining because it was, like, eighty-five degrees in the gym. I surreptitiously wiped the sweat off my forehead with the sleeve of my blouse and did my best to look attentive until Mrs. Newell got to the part about parental involvement being key to student success.

A glance at the top row of the bleachers told me that my dad hadn’t gotten the memo. He had his phone out and was tapping it with this concerned look on his face, which meant there was a 99.9% chance he was bored out of his mind and playing a video game.


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