Name: Mike Hays
Title: Battle of Wonderland Gardens
Genre: Upper Middle Grade Contemporary Fiction
Tagline: Deep in the heart of the Wonderland Gardens Retirement Community, a demon possessing the body of the elderly owner kidnaps 13-year old Ellis Brown's arch enemy, Alicia Swanson, with plan to switch to a younger body. Ellis must recruit the gifts and talents of the residents to rescue Alicia, while also driving the demon and its band of nine ravens from Wonderland Gardens forever.
First 250 words:
Ellis Brown smiled at his brilliance. He practically giggled as he parked his bike and walked the sidewalk to the front doors of the Wonderland Gardens Retirement Community. A Saturday summer morning and before him was a whole retirement home of elderly potential customers to buy his youth theatre tickets to Alice in Wonderland, The Musical.
He would finally savor a sweet victory in the ticket sales contest. A small victory, true, but small victories are still victories. His classmate, Alicia Swanson, always won, especially against Ellis. He clenched his fists just thinking about it. With each step, painful memories of crushing defeats at her hands jumped into his head.
She beat him out for the lead in every show and every science fair ribbon. His step picked up a little faster. He lost spelling bees and every math and art contests to her. He breathing turned fast and shallow with the memory of the most painful loss at Alicia’s hand. She had beaten him out for starting quarterback on the 7th grade football team two years ago. Even after last fall when he led the 8th grade football team to the championship as the starting quarterback, his friends still gave him crap over getting beat out by a girl.
He cheeks burned red. He had to beat Alicia Swanson at selling tickets this year. He had to win the top sales award. That was it; end of story. Ellis practically smashed through the glass front door as he entered the Wonderland Gardens Retirement Community.