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Super Intern Contest – PELE AND YO-YO

Wednesday, 13 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Genre: MG, Contemporary
Word count: 56,000 


Dear Ms. Chapman,

Thirteen-year-old Ramon Mendes Figueroa is on track to become the principal cellist in the honors orchestra when an ugly break-up between his young uncle, El Guapo, and his cello instructor, Stefany, sends her to a new job a thousand miles away. Ramon doesn’t know if he can learn the difficult music without the Shakira-look-alike Stefany, plus he worries that his grandma might not be able to afford his continuing cello lessons.

Enter Yo-Yo, the stray dog who adopts Ramon the ill-fated night of the break-up.  Ramon names the dog after his idol, Yo-Yo Ma, and feels a new, stronger drive to follow his dreams.  But El Guapo threatens to ruin everything when he takes Yo-Yo to the shelter. And as if that weren’t enough, the dog is adopted by a new girl at school, the only gringa on the local Latina soccer team, who renames him Pele.

When Ramon’s middle school friends discover who has the dog, they want Ramon to steal Yo-Yo back, and Ramon must decide for himself the right thing to do.

PELE AND YO-YO is an upper middle grade novel complete at 56,000 words.  I earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington and have a book of poetry, By the Nest, published by The Word Works in 2009.

Thanks for your time and consideration. 

250-word excerpt:

My best friend, Julio, always said if he had a dog he’d name him Pele because Pele is the king of soccer, and Julio loved soccer more than he loved his very own birthday.

And then I would say if I had a dog I’d name him Yo-Yo, because Yo-Yo Ma is the king of cello, and I loved playing the cello more than I loved playing soccer.

Whenever we saw an awesome dog at the park, we’d argue about which name fit best, until I’d say to Julio, “Ay, loco, you mom’s allergic,” and he’d say to me, “Tonto, Ramon! You know your landlord says no animales.” Then I’d punch his arm and he’d punch me back, like thirteen-year-old boys are supposed to, until the dog was out of sight.

On the day I found my dog Yo-Yo, Julio missed watching the Barca vs. Real Madrid game.

He never let me forget, but he didn’t stay mad at me very long. He couldn’t because it wasn’t like I’d kidnapped him and made him go dog shopping or something.

It wasn’t my fault he missed the game.

It was partly my grandma’s fault.

My grandma, Abuela, had told Stefany to watch us even though I’m old enough to watch myself.

It was also partly Stefany’s fault but Julio thought she was too pretty to blame. And Julio was a Barca fan, so when he heard Read Madrid beat Barcelona anyway, he couldn’t care so much, right?

Filed: Contests, Misc

One Comment

    Oh, I’ve seen this before. I thought it was cute then. Still is. This is a well-written query. It highlights all the right stuff for us.


    I love the beginning of this. It’s full of voice. The writing in the 250 is really good too. It’s easy to read and flows well. It’s a little young for my taste, but it’s written well. I probably would have read more.

    Thank you for sharing your work ;o)

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