Genre: Middle GradeWord Count: 56,000
The DeLorean. The TARDIS. A furnace? Though Johnny’s time machine isn’t fancy, he tries to save his teacher from a 1983 car crash, then discovers his father’s involvement. Will Johnny risk his own existence trying?
“Johnny Drake, are you paying attention?”Miss Anderson scolded. She had a hint of a smile, as if she’d seen the likes of me before.
But I knew she hadn’t.
I sat up and looked alert. Truth was, I hadbeen paying attention—just not to what she’d been teaching. I’d been focused on the way she limped to the blackboard, on the cane she used. I’d heard the stories: she’d gotten injured when she was fifteen, only two years older than me.
What I’d been thinking about was preventing the accident that hurt her leg.
What I’d been thinking about was time travel.
Sam Rizzo, my best friend, shot a spitball at me, bringing me back to reality: English class with Miss Anderson, lunch period next with him and Amy. He made an eating motion with his hand, as if he were furiously forking food into his mouth. This was his daily routine; the faster he shoveled the hungrier he was.
“Ten minutes,” I whispered. He slumped in his seat like he would die before then.
I went back to thinking about Miss Anderson’s leg. Rumors go around a schoolyard like flu germs, getting stronger with each new kid. These rumors have been around for as long as she’d been teaching at Lincoln Middle School. Depending on who you asked, she A) was in a car crash, B) was hit by a truck and dragged fifty feet, C) broke her leg skiing, or D) was hit by a truck while skiing and dragged fifty feet.