Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #39

Genre: Multicultural Middle Grade Mystery
Word Count: 32,000


Twelve-year-old Allen Mak is used to hiding. At home, she hides behind
her broken Chinese to avoid her grandmother’s questions. Outside home,
she hides behind a fake address to attend a better school. And when
she runs into a thief outside her uncle’s store, she hides behind a

But Allen is enrolled at school legally this year. So even though
she’s on probation for standing up to a school bully and even though
her first crush lands on the school’s dweebiest teacher, Allen’s
determined to quit hiding. And if she can find the thief, expose the
bully, get over her crush, and learn some Chinese, she might even be
able to quit for good.

First, she’ll have to figure out who else is hiding.

WEAVING A NET IS BETTER THAN PRAYING FOR FISH AT THE EDGE OF THE WATER is a multicultural middle grade mystery that will appeal to fans of Wendelin Van Draanen’s SAMMY KEYES series and Lisa Yee’s MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS.

First 250:

Reena likes Tony Arias, so I’m keeping an eye on him.

“Sure, I can tail him!” I said when she asked me after school. Then I
jumped up, zipped my jacket and flipped its hood over my head.
“Ninja-style!” I shouted. Behind us, the metal double doors of our
school banged open and another wave of kids poured into the yard.
Crouching low on one leg and splaying the other, I grinned at Reena
and raised a finger to my lips.

But she shrieked, “No!” and waved her hands in front of her face. “Get
up,” she whispered urgently. “Come on, Allie. You know that’s not what
I mean.”

“Allen,” I corrected and stood slowly. I was about to fall anyway.

She rolled her eyes. “We’re too old to be acting like tomboys.” That
was generous of her actually. Reena doesn’t usually count herself with
me as a tomboy.

“It’s my name,” I said, but I smiled. I sat down on the brick wall
beside her. Surrounded by the after school bustle and soothed by the
September breeze, we leaned into each other, a kind of sideways hug.
This was going to be the best year. I was in a new school finally, and
my best friend was here with me.

“Anyway, just watch Tony, okay?” she said. “I heard he takes the 17
bus. That’s your bus, right? Be sub- I mean, act normal.”


  1. My reaction to the title and query are the same: so much going on! It sounds cute, but I feel like the focus is missing. Is this a coming-of-age or a mystery? It's on the shorter end so I have trouble imagining it's fully fleshed out to be both.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your thought process -- very helpful!