Title: THE SOUND INSIDE
Category/Genre: MG magical realism
Word Count: 32,000
Is your main character hot or cold?
On the outside, Cassie is as cold and calm as snow covering the mountainside, a quiet calm like a steady mountain stream. But, on the inside, she has some summer sun flaring to come out in courageous drum beats, ready to crescendo into her own song.
Dear Awesome Agent,
Twelve-year-old Cassie can hear music emerge from almost every person and thing in her tiny mountain town. Old buildings creak out history, songs sizzle up while folks cook breakfast, readers flip pages to a beat at the town’s bookstore, and the winds whisper their own special sounds—and carry a little extra magic. But even with magical music, when the fireflies disappeared ten years ago, they took Firefly Mountain’s visitors, income, and hope with them. A school assignment spurs Cassie and her best friend, Bard, to more closely investigate the vanished fireflies, and she learns some secrets are stealing her town’s perseverance—and her mom’s song and joy.
As the town’s hope dwindles, its music starts to dim. The problem is, music generates more magic, but Cassie can’t figure out her own song. If only Cassie’s sound were a bold and spunky fiddle like bookstore owner Mrs. Anne’s, high energy banjo like her father’s, steady drumbeats like Bard’s, or loyal bagpipe like her dog’s, maybe then she’d be able to solve this mystery and her mom’s problems. When everyone’s pain deepens under new development plans, Cassie must uncover a family secret and find her own sound to try to set everything right again.
Complete at 32,000 words, THE SOUND INSIDE is a middle grade novel with notes of magical realism that will appeal to fans of Natalie Lloyd’s A Snicker of Magic and Cynthia Lord’s A Handful of Stars.
First 250 words:
I swing my foot across the dirt-coated path into a rock, sending it skittering ten feet to the side, like a piano player’s fingers across the keys. The rock’s song crescendos and clunks into a huge sneakered foot, which belongs to my longest (both in time and in height) friend, Bard.
“Why’d it have to be us, Bard?”
Bard shrugs. He shifts the rock with his toe until he’s satisfied with the angle, then sails the rock ahead, making me run for it.
I lunge to trap the rock under my shoe. Almost. It scoots just ahead of my toe onto three other rocks with a tap-tap-tonk like they’re clapping because I missed.
I huff and wait for Bard to catch up. “Why did we have to draw the missing fireflies as our report topic?” I shudder as I remember drawing the slip of paper off the teacher’s desk. “Scientists can’t even figure it out. So they want to put all the pressure on two kids to write a report with no answers out there? Where’s the logic in that?”
He quirks his mouth to the side and sighs. Bard doesn’t talk much. Or at all. Not since the accident three years ago. And it’s okay. When you’re best friends, you don’t always need to say everything out loud.
His always-steady beat matches his footfalls and I wish for my own song to join in. But I only hear the echoes of a whole lot of unanswered questions.