Title: THE SUMMER I STARTED A BUSINESS, SOLVED A BANK ROBBERY, AND SHOWED UP ON CAJUN PAWN STARS
Genre: MG, contemporary
Word Count: 30K
Twelve-year-old Haley has the worst life ever—stuck for the third summer in a row at her mom’s work, a stinking old folks’ home. At least she has plenty of time to figure out a way to make enough cash to buy a cell phone and smuggling contraband in is just the ticket. It turns out old people have a sweet tooth and selling snacks to the residents is a real money-maker.
Things turn less lame when Haley gets to watch her favorite show, Cajun Pawn Stars, with the General, and it only costs her a few Oreos an episode. And when she discovers that one of the new residents is sixteen-year-old Rachel who’s in a coma thanks to the driver of a getaway car, things really get interesting. Rachel’s roommate is 80-something Miss Essie whose best day is remembering where she put her teeth and worst day is over-hearing the strange visitors who just might be bank robbers and now want to hurt the only witness.
If a kid who’s stranded for the summer, a retired Marine who’s given up on life, and an old lady with Alzheimer’s can solve a bank robbery and prevent a murder, it’s possible Haley will have the best How I Spent My Summer essay in the history of middle school.
THE SUMMER I STARTED A BUSINESS, SOLVED A BANK ROBBERY, AND SHOWED UP ON CAJUN PAWN STARS is a 30k middle grade novel. It’s a modern day Nancy Drew with some humor thrown in. I’ve been a teacher and school counselor for over twenty years. Currently, I’m a middle school counselor with the largest school system in the Southeast. I’m also a member of SCBWI.
The smell hit me as soon as I stepped into the lobby. Old people. A combination of Lysol, Old Spice, hair spray, and peppermint. If you’re not prepared, it’ll knock you over.
Go ahead and take a whiff the next time you walk into a nursing home. Wait—I’m the only almost 8th grader who has to spend her summer in one. This was going to be the worst two and a half months of my life—stuck for the third time in a row at Mom’s work.
I saw Amy walk in the front door and followed her to the beauty parlor.
“Hey, Haley. How’s your summer going?” Amy asked as she balanced the box of beauty supplies on her hip while unlocking the parlor door.
“So far it stinks. Mom won’t trust me to stay home by myself.”
Amy almost fell in when the door gave way. “She’s scared you’ll burn the house down, huh?”
I followed her in and plopped down in the first pink chair with the old-lady-helmet style hair dryer attached to it. “No. She’s afraid I’ll spend my whole summer in front of the TV watching Cajun Pawn Stars. I told her that wasn’t even possible seeing how it only comes on a couple of times a week. But as you can see, I’m here.” I pushed the buttons. ON. OFF. COOL. OFF.
Amy put her pink smock on and started mixing hair dye in a little wooden bowl. “This place isn’t so bad. I mean, I’m here.”