Friday, October 25, 2013

NOQS: CHANCE, YA Historical Fiction

Genre: YA historical fiction
Word Count: 67,000

My Main Character’s Greatest Fear:

As a young boy, Jimmy’s greatest fear was losing to his older brother, Eddie, in their cutthroat, marathon Monopoly games. It seemed so unfair to lose when he’d built that hotel on Park Place! But now, just a few short years later, the stakes are much higher as Jimmy turns Monopoly game pieces into secret tools to help Eddie escape from a German prisoner of war camp. Losing is still Jimmy’s greatest fear, but this time it’s because Monopoly is a game of life and death.

Query:We are a mother and daughter team excited to be participating in Nightmare on Query Street! In Chance, our 67,000 word young adult historical fiction novel, we spotlight a largely unknown piece of WWII history and have two teenage brothers tell the tale of a secret military operation that saved the lives of thousands of prisoners of war.

Growing up in Leeds, England, in the ominous years leading up to WWII, Eddie and Jimmy Ward never imagine Monopoly, their favorite childhood board game, might be pivotal to surviving the war.

Inspired by the mistreatment of Zissel, the Jewish girl he loves, older brother Eddie enlists in the British Royal Air Force to fight against the Nazis. A few months into the war, Eddie’s plane is shot down, and he is captured and taken to a German prisoner of war camp. As Eddie struggles for his life, Jimmy finds himself unexpectedly falling in love with Zissel while desperately searching for a way to help his brother.

Jimmy’s idea to rescue Eddie initially seems ludicrous, but he has come up with an ingenious plan to disguise prison escape tools as Monopoly game pieces. These top secret games were distributed as part of care packages by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war right under the noses of the German guards. Eddie receives a care package, uses Monopoly to plan a daring escape and realizes home and Zissel may almost be within reach. But the horrors of war make for a deadly game, and all too soon Eddie wonders if he’ll ever “get out of jail free.”

Carol has a MA degree from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Journalism and works in communications. Megan graduated from Hamilton College in 2009, received an MA from University of Pennsylvania and taught middle and high school English. She now works at Pearson Education.

First 250 words:

With every stroke of my blue wax crayon, I tried to visualize what it would be like to live on the real “Boardwalk”—Packards and Lincolns kicking dust up as they rolled down the street, fashionably dressed men and women chattering as they bustled into shops. Papa had described it all to me many times. But in the summer of 1935, living at the foot of the Pennines, in Leeds, north of London, I had no shot of going to the real “Boardwalk.” I couldn’t even afford the fake “Boardwalk” with my fake Monopoly money.

Having just finished Year 6 of school and with my eleventh birthday approaching, I was ready to take on the world! But as an adventure, at least for this summer, imagining all the places on the American Monopoly board—Boardwalk, Baltic Avenue, Marvin Gardens—would have to suffice.

Papa was second in command to the managing director at Waddington, so he spent long hours deciding what card and board games to bring to market. Mama, always singing a new show tune, was absorbed in the excitement of the theater and frequently traveled to London, staying with family and catching the latest musical. This left my brother and me home alone for much of the summer. To Eddie’s dismay, Mama made him promise to keep a watchful eye on me. Eddie, who was four years older, had hoped to make his own mischief and not be stuck amusing me. But unlike Mama’s current musical fascination, Anything Goes, in our house it was “whatever Mama says goes”... and Eddie was stuck with me!

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