Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bouncer Round 6 #8

Genre: MG Contemporary/Adventure
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. With parents named George and Martha Washington, Lilly's status as history nerd extraordinaire 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 a 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 on the middle school campus, Lilly attempts to persuade the meanest principal ever to dig it up. But when Principal Adams refuses her requests, Lilly takes matters into her own hands. Her wild quest to find the time capsule has the potential to solve a hundred year old mystery concerning missing Civil War artifacts. And maybe even link her own family to a certain Civil War-era President. 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:

Not very many people know Thomas Jefferson invented the coat hanger. Or that Ulysses S. Grant got a twenty dollar speeding ticket for riding his horse too fast down a busy Washington street. Lucky for me, my photographic memory and talent for retaining all kinds of useless trivia is exactly what landed me a spot in the Jeopardy kid's tournament of champions this summer.

I didn't make it past the first round, though. I froze every stinking time the red light on top of the camera flashed on. Stupid nerves.

My eye wanders from the photograph of myself standing behind the Jeopardy podium to the Mt. Rushmore calendar hanging next to my desk. It’s August 27, Lyndon B. Johnson’s birthday. I draw a red circle around all of the presidential birthdays with my Sharpie pen. There are five of them this month.

“Lilly!” My mom’s voice floats upstairs. “Finish packing. You don’t want to keep Mr. James waiting.”

“Be right down!” I yell back.

My duffle bag is so full I can’t zip it all the way, so I leave it gaping open, like it’s puking a rainbow of rumpled clothing. I drag it behind me, letting it thump on each step.

Downstairs, Mario Brothers is blasting so loud on the TV that my ears ring.

“Teddy, turn that down.” My dad kicks off his sneakers in the entryway and takes off his cycling helmet. His hair is sticking up in sweaty clumps all over his head. “Where are you off to?”


  1. I love this. I love that a 12 year old girl is a Lincoln fan-girl. What a great combo of modern lingo and history nerd. Your voice is so strong.

    I have nothing to add. I think it is just great.

    Best of luck!

  2. I totally want to read more of Lilly. What a cute obsession!

    This is probably a really stupid question but: do people play Mario Bros. anymore? I'm admittedly out of the loop on this, but I kinda thought no? Just a thought.

    Carissa #24

  3. This sounds great!

    The only suggestion I have for the query is that you could leave a little of the detail out for finding the diary. It's probably enough to say that she finds it and get on with the cool stuff.

    Love her voice in the first 250, she sounds like an awesome girl to get to know. It was a little jaring to me that the first pg was past tense (because she was remembering) and then it jumps to present tense. All correct, it's just that I noticed it. Probably because I'm not always a huge fan of present, so it stands out. The only suggestion I could make is to get something present tense first, then the memory/facts are logically in past tense w/o seeming out of place.

    But this is really just a nit - I loved it and would want to read more.

  4. I want to read more! I really enjoyed the first 250. The voice is strong and I already like Lilly.

    Good luck from #20!