Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blind Speed Dating #38 (MG)

Genre: MG, contemporary
Word Count: 30K


An old folks’ home is not where twelve-year-old Haley wants to spend her summer, but it’s where her mom works and Haley’s stuck tagging along. 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 finds out that the newest resident, a retired Marine, likes her favorite TV show. He lets her watch Cajun Pawn Stars with him for the small price of a few Oreos an episode. Haley’s summer gets exciting when she discovers sixteen-year-old Rachel who’s living at the facility because it’s cheaper than a hospital. The only problem is she’s in a coma thanks to the driver of a getaway car. Rachel’s roommate is 80-something Miss Essie who can’t remember that the year is 2013 and Jimmy Carter is no longer President. So when she tells Haley that the strange men who come to visit Rachel are actual bank robbers who want to hurt the only witness, Haley has to decide if Miss Essie might be right.
If a kid who’s stranded for the summer, a former Marine General 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. 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.

FIRST 250:

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 seventh 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 and unlocked 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.”


  1. Honorary Cupid Rumble-TumbleFebruary 28, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Struck with Honorary Cupid Rumble-Tumble’s arrow! (FULL request, 3 arrows)

  2. If it's still available, I'd love to see the first three chapters of this! Please send them via email attachment as a Word file to alison@therightsfactory.com. Thanks :)