Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #36

Genre: Upper Middle Grade
Word Count: 54,000


Thirteen-year-old Marnie Mercer thinks middle school would be perfect if she
could just address a few critical issues. The lack of cell phone thing, for
one. Her yawn-inducing social status, for another. And would it be too much
to ask for a first kiss to knock her (discount store) shoes off? But when
she inherits a fortune from an unknown great-aunt, she discovers a brand new
set of complications.

Now, her best friend is convinced money corrupts, her parents need a loan,
and a group of popular girls offer Marnie access to the top of the social
pyramid, but first she'll have to complete their zany pledging checklist.
Soon she's sneaking locks of her principal's hair, stealing her teacher's
beloved laser pointer, and throwing a sure-to-get-her-grounded-for-LIFE

To make matters worse, she's finally met a guy worth his weight in gold only
he might not be so interested if he finds out how many commas separate their
allowances. Marnie needs to find a way to manage her money and her life
while staying true to herself. Otherwise, she can say goodbye to her best
friend's respect, her parents' trust, and any chance of getting her first
kiss from a boy who makes her feel priceless.

Life as a teenage heiress is one mixed bag of crazy.

First 250:

Is it totally wrong to be jealous of someone else's coffin? I mean, it's not
like I have a death wish or anything but my great-aunt's casket is seriously
blinged out. It has actual diamonds in the handles. When my time's up, I
definitely wouldn¹t mind flaming out movie-star-style, like Aunt Glinda.

Maybe if I'd ever laid eyes on her (or at least the casket I assume she's
inside) even once in the last thirteen years, I might be a little more into
paying my respects instead of calculating carats, but until two days ago, I
didn¹t even know I had an Aunt Glinda.

"Marnie, please move it along," hisses Mom, under her breath.

Whoops! I realize I've been standing over Aunt Glinda's casket for like two
whole minutes and there's a line of people backed up behind me.

"Sorry," I whisper and speed walk back to our pew.

It's a little difficult to get worked up for a stranger-relative, but from
all the nice things everyone is saying about Aunt Glinda, she sounds like
she was pretty cool. And RICH! Same with her friends. The ruby ring on the
lady next to me is practically blinding, especially when it catches the
sunlight coming in through the stained glass windows.  There are beams of
color flying all over the place, like when Mr. Martin goes crazy with his
laser pointer in history class. He so doesn't get that pointing a red dot at
Abe Lincoln's nostril does not make the Civil War more interesting. 


  1. Hi #36,

    I'd love to read some more if possible. Please send your query letter, a synopsis (~1 page) and first 3 chapters to (subject line: CAGI request: CAN'T BUY ME LOVE). I hope to hear from you.

  2. I really like the voice here; great start! The only reason I'm not going to request is that I'm not a huge fan of girls trying to impress the popular crowd and find upper MG a little tough. Good luck!!