Title: THE MOJAVE FAILURES
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Word Count: 43,000
Is Your Main Character hot or cold:
Austin has already boiled over with disastrous results. Cold brought him even more attention. Neither way felt right. He doesn’t understand why his mind works the way it does. Questioning everything until his head pounds like a drum. His newest approach to is to stay lukewarm. But soon he’ll be back to his old life where it can get very frightening, amazingly fast. MOHAVE just might be a way for him to get control of his emotions and succeed for the first time.
Dear Sun vs Snow Agents:
Austin Havner is a failing boy genius with a school file dominated by detentions and frequent suspensions. But now his life of unfulfilled potential could change with a ride on a tech-filled bus known as MOHAVE.
Joining Austin are three other failures: a perfectionist, a foster kid, and a visual-spatial learner. They’re the unlikely participants in a wager between a greedy investor and the world renowned, Ben Gardner–a rarely seen eccentric billionaire with a past strikingly similar to the group. The rules are simple: Obtain seven clues in nine days by completing a series of creative and mind-numbing tasks, then decipher the clues into a final one-word answer. If correct, the group will become charter members of the MOJAVE Institute where huge personal rewards are in store, including access to the MOHAVE Trust–a limitless fund available for physical and intellectual pursuits. Lose and a luxury high-rise is built instead, forcing the failures back to a life where they never make the grade.
Austin and his new friends crave success for the first time. But as the tasks grow increasingly more difficult, and their families are pressured by the heartless investor to make them quit, the chance to succeed comes down to a final super task shortcut. This leads Austin to uncover a huge secret–Ben Gardner is not real. He’s virtual, and Austin figures out who’s really behind MOHAVE, making winning even more crucial. Only seconds remain, and the world is watching. Flunking was so much easier.
First 250 words:
I wouldn’t be standing in the cold outside a Denny’s restaurant if it weren’t for homework. You see… I haven’t done any. Ever. If my plan was to get everyone riled up, it’s working quite well.
Mom’s beat-up Honda straddles two spots in the parking lot. She leans on the car door while having a staring contest with the sky. Her grin says happy, but her eyes remain sad. She’s worn the same face since agreeing to let a stranger take me away.
I tug the dark wool beanie covering my head and continue doing a nervous shuffle on the sidewalk. I'd be fine if everyone would just leave me alone. The invitation in my back pocket makes me think they never will. The words are like a 500 piece puzzle with half the pieces missing. I’ve read the note a dozen times, and it still makes no sense:
Dear Austin Havner,
Join me on a mission of DISCOVERY. If you accept, bring this letter and an open mind. The MOJAVE bus will pick you up on January 7th. Details to follow.
Benjamin Gardner, President/CEO Gardner Enterprises
I only brought the letter. Opening my mind never turns out good. A man who may have been Benjamin Gardner did call last night, but he never gave his name or many promised details.
“Be outside the Denny’s on Craig Road at 8 am,” the raspy voice said.
I asked, “What are we discovering?” He answered with a dial tone. Weird.