Hi! I’m a journalist turned author, looking for someone to critique my middle grade adventure novel. Outside of writing, I’m an avid biker and puzzler.
I write for middle grade readers because that was the time in my life when I was most excited about reading. I would literally go to the library with a suitcase every week!
I love feisty characters, like Ella in Ella Enchanted, emotional depth, a la Sara Zarr’s books, excellent worldbuilding, like Becky Chambers, and a fair amount of angst.
Hard nos: Incest, sexual abuse
The Museum of Found Things is the story of a twelve-year-old Jewish worrywart named Lana, who gets picked up up by the Argonaut, a scavenger ship of magical preservationists, determined to live life as they did before the magic vanished. This older middle grade fantasy novel, set in the Rockaways of New York, runs about 70,000 words long. I’ve often described it to my friends as a post-climate change Peter Pan meets Ramona Quimby. It’s a standalone book, but could serve as the first in a series.
By day, Lana goes to school and shares Apartment 16B with her harried mother, unemployed uncle and cranky grandmother, but by night Lana spends her time with a ragtag crew of magical refugees, who will not age as long as they remain in the ‘current,’ each running from something — or someone. The Argonaut, which is marooned in the East coast skies, is being chased by the Aether, a goblin ship in pursuit of the Argonaut’s captain, Olly, who is running from her inheritance as goblin queen. When Lana’s classmate and fellow Argonaut visitor Isaac is kidnapped by the goblins, and her uncle is accused of kidnapping him, Lana must decide which world, human or magical, matters most to her. On the Argonaut, Lana discovers a whole new nostalgia-tinted world, and Lana soon learns that preservation sometimes means deciding what is worth keeping and what must be thrown away.
Rules To Follow When Flying On The Argonaut, excerpted:
4. When the Argonaut appears outside your window for the first time, make as few sounds as possible. The others won’t be able to see it. They will not understand you.
Chapter One: The Thumping
The neighbors were thumping upstairs again. Lana shifted in her squeaky twin-size bed, in that
floating place halfway between asleep and awake, and she worked on finding a space in the
blanket where she wouldn’t be able to hear anything from 17B.
The thumping happened every few nights, so loud it sounded like the neighbors might
fall through the floor.
Lana could hear her mother pacing in the kitchen and the sound of David slumping onto
the plastic-covered couch. “Rach, it’s not worth it,” he said. “They’ll be done soon.”
“Yeah, and then they’ll start up tomorrow night!” Lana’s mother said.
Grammy picked up the broom and whacked it at the ceiling. “They! Can’t! Just! Do!
This!” she said, each word punctuated with a whack, further indenting the ugly mark on the
ceiling that had been created from other such whackings.
Lana got out of her bed and crossed the room to her window. If she craned her head out
of it, the view wouldn’t be of the grey apartment building being built across the street, but of the sky, which tonight was an inky dark blue, the moon a twisted sliver of cheese. The sound of
people on the streets arguing or sharing braided pretzels. Couples fought, a dog barked. A car
drove down the street, blaring hip-hop.
Science journalist by day, would love to write more books for kids, some young adult, etc. Also thinking about a sequel to this book.
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