Genre: MG Contemporary
Word Count: 51,000
Pitch: Twelve-year-old Beth just wants to play football. When Coach makes her a kicker, she has to show him and her team that girls can be running backs too, if she can survive middle school.
Dad has always said we should turn our disadvantages into advantages. So far, I was just trying to keep from getting a concussion.
With a grunt, I got up on my feet and adjusted my pads. I put my mouthpiece back in and welcomed the now familiar taste of grass and dirt. Determined to survive practice, I hurried over to the line of scrimmage.
“Remember, you wanted to play,” said my twin brother, Brock, from across the line.
I wanted to tell him to shove it. Instead, I took a bigger bite of my grass-stained mouthpiece. He was right. All my friends tried to talk me out of playing, but I love football. The leathery new ball smell, the strategy, fake outs, touchdowns, I love everything about it. As far back as I can remember, the game has been part of my life.
“Down!” yelled Tank, my side’s quarterback for the practice game.
I got set in my stance and stared into Brock’s blue eyes so like my own. He sneered at me. As soon as the ball snapped, he’d be headed right through me. Being the smallest kid and only girl on the team, I was at a distinct disadvantage
The clash of plastic on plastic echoed in my ears. My mouthpiece flew up in the air and got a fresh dose of grassy earth, as Brock and Bubba again brought me down. I’d spent three hours a day for the last two weeks with my brother and his friends tackling me. The dizzying sight of blue sky quickly replaced by green field had become mundane. My bruises had bruises, and I loved every frustrating minute.
MURDER MOST FOUL
Mr. Boddy is curled on the floor in the library, a twisted bit of metal sticking out of his back. Clutched in his fingers is a medallion torn from a plaque. Words engraved in the metal read “Royal Navy.”