Name: Theresa Milstein
Title: SAVING DANGER
Gener: Upper Middle Grade Contemporary
Lucretia accidentally traps 5-year-old new stepbrother, Danger, in a comic. She enters its pages to save him. But it’s an impossible task when he’s in charge of the story and won’t follow any writing rules. The inky graphic novel’s pages become more real with each passing minute. They’re becoming part of the book’s fabric. Lucretia and Danger need to face their fears about their new family in order to save them all.
First 500 Words:
First 500 Words:
I glared at my reflection in the hotel mirror. Pepto-Bismol pink glared back at me as I tugged one of the many ruffles strangling my gown. “It looks like a cupcake vomited on me.”
Grandma Rosa stood next to the whitewashed mirror. At the same time, she chuckled and stared at me sternly. An impressive feat. She responded in her faint Italian accent, “It’s not so terrible.”
I scowled. “Does she think I’m the same age as Danger?” In a few short hours, Danger would be my stepbrother. I didn’t know whether it would be worse to be stuck with him or his plastic mother for the rest of my life. “I’m thirteen—not five.”
She sighed. “Your father sure knows how to pick ‘em.” Grandmother pursed her lips, realizing her comment not only bashed Erin, soon-to-be Stepzilla, but also my real mother. “What I mean is—”
“Don’t worry about it, Grandma Rosa.” I ignored the dropping-an-anchor down-my-stomach sensation that always followed the mention of my real mother and forced a fake smile. “If this is what she thinks her junior bridesmaid should look like, I can’t wait to see her gown.” My usual clothes were black like Grandma’s though mine were younger and less shapeless. Her mourning look was pretty obvious. “What do you think she’ll say when she sees your dress?”
We didn’t have to wait long to find out. Erin, her head a mountain of curling iron curls, peeked into our beachy-looking room—without having the courtesy to knock. Her hairstyle contrasted with her t-shirt and jeans. She’d probably wait until the last minute to change into her gown. “Lulu—” Her eyes bugged out in a most cartoon-like way. “Mother Rosa, what on earth… it’s a wedding, not a funeral. You’re changing into something more festive, right?”
Grandma gazed down at her dress, as if noticing it for the first time. She placed her fist on her chest. “In the Old Country this is how widows dress.”
Erin placed her hands on her hips. “You haven’t lived in the ‘Old Country’ since you were a child.”
“I will always be Italian.”
Erin clamped her glossed lips in a grim line. She turned to me. Her voice oozed like a slug, “I need you to keep an eye on Danger. He’s bothering the boys.”
By “the boys,” she meant my dad and his brother, Giovanni, the best man.
Danger was a kindergartner who never ran out of batteries.
The only good part about this terrible ordeal would be when Grandma Rosa stayed to help while my dad and Erin cavorted on a cruise to Bermuda. I could only hope the Bermuda Triangle would somehow suck Erin in its clutches, but leave my father unharmed. When the spell broke, we’d be a family of two again. Surely, Danger would find some other home to invade.
I realized Erin still stared at me, waiting for an answer. “Sure,” I managed.