Title: WONDERLAND ACRES
Category/Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Word Count: 41,000
My Main Character would use sun or snow to battle their biggest obstacle:
Tinker would use the sun because of the added daylight hours of summer to have more time working on fixing the roller coaster. Being homeless, Tinker prefers the sun to the snow.
What twelve-year-old Andrew “Tinker” Beals hates the most about being homeless, besides the obvious, is the stereotypes. His mother is neither a drunk nor a drug addict, and he has never stood on the corner with a cardboard sign begging for money.
When Tinker defends himself during a violent robbery at the homeless camp, he and his best friend Colleen flee with their families. They stumble upon an abandoned amusement park, Wonderland Acres. Once a thriving theme park, all that remains is an old roller coaster track and a few broken down rides. When they move into the amusement park, Tinker’s mother reveals she has always wanted to ride a roller coaster. Tinker does not know what the future may hold and worries it will be her one shot at coaster riding. However, fixing the roller coaster could expose his homelessness to his peers, and the world, a secret Tinker has tried to keep his entire life.
When other families move into Wonderland Acres, it attracts the police, who begin the eviction process. Tinker has two weeks to make the roller coaster operational before the city evicts them, and he loses his opportunity to grant his mother’s wish. He will need to decide if he is willing to reveal his secret in order to get the help needed to accomplish his goal.
First 250 words:
Sitting in front of the campfire, I make a suit of armor out of cardboard and duct tape for one of the littler kids at camp. A cardboard sword lies by my side but will do little to protect me from the danger lurking in our camp, mainly Leroy Carlton.
“Tinker,” my friend Colleen calls me as she points down the path where Leroy staggers towards us; he’s barely upright. The moonlight illuminates the path.
Leroy Carlton is a tyrant who hits like a jackhammer. His tattoos span from the top of his head down to his toes; every inch of visible skin has ink. Rumor is he received all his tattoos in prison. He drinks whiskey from the sunrise to the sunset, only stopping when there isn’t a drop left.
“Gimme your money.” Leroy demands. He reeks of stale booze and body odor. I’ve never seen him bathe.
“It is give me not gimme and no,” I say as I stare at the misspelled tattoo on his neck.
“I forgot we got us a honor student.” He slurs his words.
I want to continue to correct his grammar but I know it will lead to more than just name-calling. To be honest, calling me an honor student doesn’t bother me because I am one.
“I said gimme your money.” He clutches my shirt with his nicotine-stained fingers, pushing me to the ground. “I know you got some, I seen you collecting cans.”
“Just give him the money,” Colleen pleads with me.