Title: GAME ON! (previously MASH-UP)
Genre: Upper Middle Grade Mystery/Science Fiction
Word Count: 67,700
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:
My most fearsome obstacle? My little sister, Maxine.
Normally, Maxine was just annoying, but one day my science teacher handed out these sunglasses that turned everyone wearing them into their favorite avatar. Imagine a mash-up of every popular video game character out there taking over your school. Awesome! My gaming bud, Aaron, and I were psyched for an epic battle. But Maxine freaked and set off to shut down the game. Then Aaron admitted he thought Maxine was cute and she brainwashed him into helping her rather than hanging with me. Not cool.
Twelve-year-old Jared lives for video games. Science? Not so much. So when he walks into school to find his science teacher handing out sunglasses as part of a marketing trial, he’s suspicious. The sunglasses seem like just a cool accessory until the system that runs them is secretly activated. Suddenly, everyone wearing them appears as their favorite game avatar. Laser guns, fireballs, and swords arm Thompson Middle School for a real life video game mash-up. It’s Jared’s dream come true.
But before Jared can jump into the fray, he has to find his little sister. Maxine’s a bookworm, not a gamer. Her straight-A report card won’t help her fend off the ninjas and space marines battling in the halls. Jared would love to see Maxine try to take on the gamers, but Mom’s punishment would be extreme…no electronics. When Jared finds Maxine, she refuses to hide. She’s decided the game is trouble, and searches for a way to shut it down. She’s even crazy enough to expect Jared’s help.
Jared’s first instinct is to stick her someplace safe so he can play. But as the school descends into chaos and people vanish, Jared has a decision to make: get his game on, or help his little sister on her mission to take down the Best. Game. Ever.
Lots of guys called themselves gamers, but how serious were they? Me, I was dead serious.
When my best bud, Aaron, and I started playing LEGO: The Lord of the Rings, I read the books. Yeah, that was plural. The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. That’s a lot of pages.
My first plan was to watch the movies, but Mom didn’t go for it. “We’ll buy the DVD’s as a reward after you read the books,” she’d said.
Most guys would’ve given up right there. They’d play the game clueless, never knowing what was coming. Not me. After reading the books and watching the movies, I was pretty much a Lord of the Rings expert. Everyone at school who plays the game comes to me when they get stuck.
But today was Tuesday. There were four full school days until Aaron and I could get into a serious game marathon. The weight of class time and homework between me and Friday afternoon made my feet drag.
I trudged through the steel doors of Thompson Middle School, then froze. Aaron slammed into my back, then followed my gaze to the center of the lobby and snorted.
My tall, balding, evil science teacher stood there wearing rock star sunglasses. Black ones, with mirrored lenses and frames that wrapped around the sides. Mr. Sykes held a second pair high over his head. He yelled something I couldn’t make out over the start-of-school-day confusion, but a crowd of kids stood listening to him.