Entry Nickname: Partners-in-Magic
Word Count: 75K
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
When twelve-year-old Sam heals a dying cat with her bare hands, her world gets turned on its head. Magic exists in boring upstate New York—that’s a surprise. Sam has magical powers—that’s a bigger surprise. But the biggest surprise of all is that Sam used to know all this, before a magical accident destroyed her memory.
Sam learns she used to have a best friend named Gabe. When Gabe reappears in her life, Sam can’t figure out why she ever liked this smirking, snarky elf. Unfortunately, she’s stuck with him. Sam’s guardian Aunt Jo explains: as Spellbinders, they must hold hands with a partner to perform most spells, and Gabe is Sam’s partner. For life.
To make matters worse, Spellbinders are disappearing. When Aunt Jo is kidnapped, too, Sam and Gabe set out to rescue her. But the path to Jo is dangerous. They don’t know whom to trust, they can’t quite control their own powers yet, and they seem to have their own set of kidnappers on their trail. If they have any chance of rescuing Aunt Jo and discovering who is behind these disappearances, Sam and Gabe must follow the oldest Spellbinder maxim in history: collaborate or perish.
Unlike most twelve-year-olds, Samantha Jacobson had a stalker. He was small, grey and white, and quite possibly the most irritating stray in cat history. He watched Sam every morning as she tried to tame her straggly mane of hair into a ponytail. He watched her every evening as she kissed a photograph of her mother goodnight. No matter where she was, what she was doing, or how many locked doors stood between them, the stalker cat would find his way to her side and stare. She called the cat Creep.
It was week 4 of Creep-gate, and Sam felt like a prisoner in her own house (complete with her own furry prison guard). It was also the last day of 6th grade, which meant her problem was about to get a lot worse. She would soon have to endure eight more hours of disapproving cat-stares each day.
While her teachers talked about summer assignments, Sam huddled over her notebook writing a plea to Aunt Jo for help with her “Creep problem.” She planned to deliver it that evening at dinner. This was a desperate move and Sam knew it. Aunt Jo loved cats and had a particular soft spot for mangy strays like Creep. All the strays in upstate New York had free rein on their property. At least six of them had colonized the sprawling vegetable gardens outside Sam’s window.
Sam fiddled with her glasses and bit her lip. Hopefully, Aunt Jo wasn’t kidding when she said she appreciated a well-reasoned argument.