Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #38

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Word Count: 35,000


When twelve-year-old Becca and her ten-year-old brother Johnny are uprooted from the tiny Polynesian island they’ve always called home, they slam into much bigger challenges than figuring out who can rip through steeper swells, who the next chief of the island should be, or whose grades will be good enough to avoid the Captain’s wrath.

Having a white father and a Pacific Islander mother was never a big deal for Becca or Johnny in Polynesia, but it matters a lot to everyone in Arizona. Just when the siblings begin to figure out how to survive their adventure in the desert, a death in the family forces them to re-evaluate the importance of popularity.  

HOW IT LOOKS FROM HERE is told from the alternating perspectives of Becca and Johnny.

First 250:

I broke three of Quentin’s rules on my last day at Lupelele Elementary. First: never disobey the Captain. Second: never fight a girl. Third: never lose a fight to a girl. In twenty minutes, about how long it would have taken me to run from one side of the island to the other, I pretty much guaranteed that I’d be laughed at till I graduated from fifth grade.

After I’d cleared out my locker for the last time, I headed across the playground to meet my sister. A crowd on the other side of the courtyard was chanting in a rhythm that could only signal one thing: a fight. We only had about two or three fights per year at our school, and the last time one had broken out, I was grounded for two weeks—and I wasn’t even in it. Quentin thought it was bad for the chief’s grandson to be connected to a fight in any way. Even as a bystander. Stupid rules.

As the chanting grew louder, I weighed my potential punishment against the thrill of seeing a fight up close. The decision took me half a second. I threw my backpack down and ran toward the fight.

I elbowed my way toward the front of the crowd. Faith, the biggest girl in the sixth grade, held down her unlucky opponent with a knee between the girl’s shoulders.

What were the chances of a girl fight?

1 comment:

  1. I worry there's not enough here to stand out. The writing is good, and I was liking the voice, but what's the hook here to make this jump off the page over other MG coming-of-age?