Age Category: Middle Grade
Word Count: 42,000
Twelve-year-old Ryan’s family crumbled post-lottery win. With Granddad dying, Ryan sets out to find his missing mom. But when his insulin’s stolen, Ryan must decide if he’s willing to risk his life to reach her.
First 250 Words of Manuscript:
I’d never waste a magical wish on something like being all-powerful. I wouldn’t ask for super strength, either, or the ability to fly. For all their powers, superheroes never seem happy. If the ability to blow things up with your eyes can’t make you happy, what’s the point? No matter how many people they save, the public always turns on them eventually.
My mom never understood this. She had this thing. She thought posing like a superhero made you do better on tests because pretending you had super strength made your mind powerful, and that made you do great at everything, including algebra. Way back in the fourth grade, when I had to give a three-minute speech on tornados to my class, she showed up, pretending I needed a shot of insulin, and dragged me into the hall to make me puff my chest out like Superman.
Of course, I’d refused.
In the echoing hall she’d whispered, “Ryan! This has been researched. It works. Just do it.”
I wouldn’t look at her.
Through gritted teeth she whispered her favorite slogan, “Fake it till you make it!”
I crossed my arms, and I couldn’t help but think I’d seen Superman stand the same way. Of course, my mom didn’t notice any of this.
Finally, she had said, “You can use the bathroom. I’ll time you from the hall.”
Alone in the boy’s room, I made stupid faces in the mirror. Then, since my mom wasn’t around, I sort of squared my chin and looked up at the sky out of the corner of my eye like Superman does.