Entry Nickname: Middle Grade Leverage
Title: Team L.O.S.E.R.
Word count: 49,000
Genre: Upper Middle Grade Contemporary
I am seeking representation for my upper middle grade contemporary novel complete at 49,000 words. When the world fails you, Team L.O.S.E.R. has your back.
Eighth grade president, Corbin Webster is used to hard work. But when he’s forced to accept the position as mentor to a team of outcast sixth grade delinquents, reality smacks him upside the head. It is one thing to be told to teach his team right from wrong. It’s quite another to discover that they’re a car thief, a pick-pocket, a hacker, and a girl who cosplays a different character each day and who refuses to answer to her real name.
To foster kindness and team spirit, Corbin has them find a student who needs their help. When they choose a boy whose lunch is stolen daily, Corbin stages an intervention. There they find that this bully has his own bully at home, and that his father controls his family by starving them. In order to get proof of the real abuser’s criminal activities, and to put him away for good, Corbin must use the illegal skills that landed his group on Team Loser in the first place.
The early morning light hit the small, old houses in my neighborhood until they glowed like pastel jewels. Gramp’s scrambled eggs were a perfect bright yellow so I scooped them from the pan, and onto his plate. “Come and eat before I throw it away,” I yelled.
“Corbin Webster, do I look like a track star to you?” His cane made crabby thunks on the worn linoleum but he had to duck his head to hide a smile. He might fool the salesmen at the front door, but I knew better. Gramps put the great in great-grandpa. If it wasn’t for him, I’d be in some random person’s foster home.
“I don’t need any eggs,” he said. “Coffee is fine.”
“You’ll eat them and like it.” I tried to sound stern instead of worried. “Besides, there’s plenty.” If I didn’t watch him, he’d starve himself to make sure I didn’t go hungry. “Mrs. Sanchez brought over a dozen this morning when she dropped off the suit. She said her chickens lay too many for her to eat.”
“That’s different.” He picked up his fork and shoveled some into his mouth. “It would be a crying shame for food to go to waste.” I finished my coffee and carried my plate to the sink. Two birds perched in the mimosa tree outside the kitchen window and sang like they were in the opening credits of a Disney movie.
Gramps whistled low. “Dang boy, you look sharp. Turn around.”