Monday, January 21, 2013

Bouncer Post #54

Genre: MG Contemporary
Word Count: 38,000


Not many twelve-year-old girls have posters of the founding fathers hanging on their bedroom walls. But Lilly Petunia Washington isn't your average twelve year old. Lilly is an Abe Lincoln fangirl who's been able to recite the U.S. Presidents since she was three and their birthdays since she was four. With parents named George and Martha Washington, Lilly's love of all things history is hardly a surprise.

With the first day of middle school rapidly approaching, Lilly joins her best friend, Madison James, on a trip to her family's historic farmhouse in the country for one last summer hurrah. In a rush to find a lost IPad filled with the latest boy band hits, she trips on a wooden floor plank. Examining the cause of her fall, she finds a mysterious diary hidden underneath the loose board. And not just any diary. A diary written over one hundred fifty years ago by twelve-year-old Lizzy Johnson, who just happened to be born on the same day Abe Lincoln was assassinated. Commence fangirl freak-out.

Convinced the diary pinpoints the location of an unfound time capsule containing never before found Civil War artifacts on the middle school campus, Lilly attempts to persuade the principal to dig it up. When he refuses her requests, Lilly takes matters into her own hands. Her wild quest to find the time capsule has the potential to turn her into a superstar. That is, if she isn't expelled first.

LILLY WASHINGTON'S PRESIDENTIAL ADVENTURE is a Middle Grade novel complete at 38,000 words.

First 250:

T minus three days until the first day of middle school. New school. New kids. New teachers. Higher expectations. Initiation. Ugh. Every time I think about it, my stomach flips upside down, like I’ve just gotten off a roller coaster. The first day of sixth grade is no joke.

I glance at the Mt. Rushmore calendar hanging next to my desk. It’s August 27, Lyndon B. Johnson’s birthday. With a Sharpie pen, I put red circles around all of the presidential birthdays this month. There are five of them.

Pushing thoughts of school from my mind, I walk in a circle around my room, gathering items and throwing them into my blue duffle bag. I’m heading out to the country with my best friend, Madison James, this weekend. Her grandmother owns a farm a half hour outside of town. I plan on taking advantage of my last weekend of freedom before school starts.

When I have packed half of everything I own, I try to close the bag, but it’s seriously over-stuffed and the sleeve of my favorite green t-shirt gets stuck in the zipper. I yank on it a few more times, then give up, leaving the mouth of the bag gaping open, like it’s puking a rainbow of rumpled clothing. The bag is so heavy, I drag it down the stairs and it it thump, thump, thumps on each step down.

At the bottom of the stairs, a video game is blasting so loud my ears ring.

"Where are you off to?"


  1. I just love this concept. "Abe Lincoln fangirl"...hilarious! And her best friend is named Madison James! So much fun. I really like the new beginning (at least I remember it reading differently when I saw it before).

    This is so National Treasure for MG. :) Love it!

  2. I don't have anything to critique, I just wanted to say that I think this is a super cute concept and I like the voice, and I would keep reading. Good luck!

  3. What a fantastic idea! This book would be a hit for sure! Good luck!

  4. What a terrific idea for turning kids onto history!

    Your query and first 250 words are so good. I don't have any ideas for improvement.

    Good luck!

  5. Wow - the query had me cracking up. The plot is so unique and unlike anything I've heard before. Madison James - LOL! I had a smile throughout the whole thing.

    I love how it's a historical adventure, and it practically overflows with middle grade fun. I don't have much to say about the query. I love it. While the stakes don't appear too high, it still seems like a fun read.

    As for your first 250, I love the voice of your MC. She comes to life immediately and already I have a sense as to where the story is going.

    I would love to read this - good job!

    -Copernicus (post #43)

  6. Overall you have a really strong query. It does a great job of laying out the plot and telling me how this story is going to be original (“Abe Lincoln fangirl” = great!). I’m not sure you need the line about the lost iPad filled with boy band hits, though—I think you can just skip to Lilly finding the diary hidden underneath a loose floor board.

    As for the first page, I loved the Mt. Rushmore calendar and that she knows all the presidential birthdays—what a great introduction to Lilly’s quirky personality! Unfortunately, the rest of the sample felt pretty generic to me. I know it’s not actually her first day of school, but even a reference to that felt kind of tired, and I wasn’t sure why we needed so many details about how many clothes she was packing for her trip. So it got me wondering whether this was the best place to start what, from the query, sounds like a really fun book.

    Best of luck going forward!