Title: HIDING IN PLAIN VIEW
Genre: MG Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Word Count: 48,000
My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:
My MC’s most stressful relationship is with his science teacher. Who does Mr. Pullman think he is? Looking up Henry’s old grades and test scores like some sort of private eye? Snooping at the secret pages of his journal, full of graphite orchids, charcoal sea urchins, and smudged periwinkles?
Henry’s grades are average. He’s quiet. So why can’t Mr. P just leave him alone? Instead, he’s nagging him about untapped potential, STEM contests and parent meetings. What do you say to the person who unmasks you? If you’re Henry Gibson, you say nothing, because the air has left your lungs.
HIDING IN PLAIN VIEW follows twelve-year-old science geek Henry Gibson, whose Darwin-inspired plan for protecting his fathers and surviving middle school clashes with his dreams of saving the environment.
Henry used to think life was all unicorns and rainbows, but with the bullying at school and Dad and Pop’s safety on the line, it’s feeling more like survival of the fittest. Darwin showed that creatures either adapt to their hostile environments or they become prey. Henry vows to adapt, but sadly, his favorite tactics in nature—shedding body parts to distract predators, growing to enormous size and bludgeoning the competition, and inflating into a spiky, poisonous balloon—aren’t options. He decides that blending in is more doable.
So at his new school, Henry’s a nobody: quiet, ordinary—and completely phony. The only place he’s himself is in the mountain forest near his home. When his science teacher accuses him of holding back academically and a goofball classmate worms his way into his life, his lies grow heavy. With the discovery that his favorite woodland is being deforested by Pop’s construction company, he can’t expose the destruction without calling attention to his family. And as another bully gets wind of his dads, Henry has to choose between staying hidden and saving the mountain he loves.
First 250 Words:
My weekend is not off to a good start.
Not because I’m standing in front of my babysitter in my tighty-whities and my way-too-small Periodic Table of Elements T-shirt. Or because I’m wearing orthodontic headgear that makes me look like I have a huge, robotic insect crawling into my mouth. And not even because at nineteen, Jessica’s only seven years older than me.
My weekend is not off to a good start because it’s Saturday morning and she’s still here. Which means my fathers never came home.
“Where are my dads?” I say as I duck back into my bedroom for some clothes.
“Hey!” she calls out from the couch. “So your father—Pop—called after you went to bed and asked if I could stay the night.”
“Why?” I ask, but get no answer.
With clothes on and headgear off, I come back out. Jessica’s standing in the living room, wringing her hands. I notice bags under her eyes.
“Where are they?”
“They’re at the hospital.”
Relax, I tell myself. Dad’s an ER doctor. He normally works the night shift. But he wasn’t working last night. They went to a party. And why would Pop be there too? The way Jessica’s voice is wobbling tells me there’s more to the story.
“They were in an accident,” she says. “They’re fine. Well, not fine, but they’re going to be fine.”
“What does that mean? What happened?”
“Okay, don’t freak out, but some guys jumped them late last night…