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Monday, 19 May 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake


Genre: MG Magical Realism
Word Count: 30,000


When twelve-year-old Sam Heans finds a tattered datebook on the sidewalk, it doesn’t take long for him to realize it’s everything but ordinary. The book contains clues of things that will happen to him—or so he thinks. The book isn’t predicting Sam’s future, it’s instructing; telling him to do things that either put his neck on the line, or humiliate him in front of the entire school. He’d stop following its instructions, only he’s convinced that finding the book was fate.

But in order to learn the book’s true message, Sam must follow all of its instructions to find answers, even if that means doing some unthinkable things, like swinging off Dead Man’s Jump into the river, or trying out for the lead female part in the play. If he doesn’t, Sam will miss out on guidance that will help him put his timid ways aside and keep him from living a life filled with regrets.

ONE OF THOSE TIMES should appeal to fans of Rebecca Stead’s WHEN YOU REACH ME and Ellen Potter’s SLOB.

First 250:

Sometimes people can do the dumbest things, for no reason at all. Like last year when Joe Pentel tried to drink an entire gallon of chocolate milk in under an hour without chucking it up. Which wasn’t pretty, by the way. Not me though. I’m way too big of a wimp for that sort of stuff. So you might be wondering why I’m about to do something that will most likely bring my twelve-year no-hospital streak to a painful end.

Because it was written in the datebook.

Apr 14 – Soar

If I’ve learned anything by now, it’s that no matter how crazy it seems the datebook’s advice is always right. Either that or it’s trying to kill me. To be honest, I’m still a bit fuzzy on that part.

So that’s how I found myself squeezing the brakes on my bike, my eyes slammed shut, sitting on the edge of the ridiculously steep hill behind my house. I squinted over my handlebars, and my stomach turned. A tiny speck at the bottom marked the flimsy ramp that my best friend and I had just thrown together using some scraps of wood from my garage.

“What if you die?” Rye asked.

He looked anxious, like it was him on the bike. I faked a laugh.

“You have the lens cap off, right?”


I let off the brakes and started down the hill, mashing the pedals on my BMX to pick up speed, which I’d need if I wanted to clear the creek bed.


Filed: Misc

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