Genre: MG Fantasy
Word Count: 52,000
Ten-year-old Henry would rather be on the basketball court perfecting his fadeaway jump shot. Not on a one-way trip to Helsinki, Finland because of his Dad’s new job. Then Henry’s big sister, Lauren, steals a mysterious old Finnish book that appears in his room and shows it to their new teacher to get brownie points that should have been his. The resulting fight lands them in extra Finnish lessons for the whole semester as punishment.
But the Finnish lessons turn into Intro to Weird 101 when they discover their hip Finnish teacher's part of an ancient society that protects magical artifacts like Henry’s book, which is the original copy of The Kalevala, Finland’s creation myth. Weirder still, whenever someone reads from the book, Henry gets pulled into the story.
In addition to adjusting to the dark, frigid winter and the endless servings of salmon soup, Henry and Lauren must help their teacher locate the Sampo, the mythical horn of plenty from The Kalevala, that keeps the Earth’s magnetic energy in balance. When they realize their Dad’s new boss wants the power of the Sampo for himself, they must stop him to save the Sampo, their father, and the world.
QUEST FOR THE KALEVALA, a dual-POV middle-grade fantasy that stands alone but has series potential, is complete at 52,000 words and will appeal to fans of Marissa Burt’s Storybound and Chris Colfer’s The Land of Stories series.
“A job?” I glare at Mom as she stands in the kitchen unpacking boxes. She’s got to be joking. “Seriously? Like moving to Finland wasn’t bad enough, now you’re putting me to work.”
“Henry, it’s not like I’m asking you to pick up forty hours a week,” she replies. “It’s just an hour or two helping out a nice elderly neighbor.”
“A creepy old Finnish lady,” I add. “Does she even speak English?”
“Henry James Rollins.” Mom wags a finger at me. “That isn’t nice and you know it. Her name is Mrs. Lönnrot and she speaks English as well as you do.”
I cringe at her lecture and my name. Why did Dad have to name me after some old punk rocker? “Oh come on, Mom, Lawn-rot?” I groan. “Even her name creeps me out!”
“It’s a very old, very non-creepy Finnish name,” she says, hand on her hip, hazel eyes giving me the look that usually comes right before she tells me I’m “pushing my luck.”
“Have you ever seen her in the sunlight? Maybe she’s a vampire. No, no, I’ve got it—an evil enchantress!” I shudder dramatically. She’s right, I am pushing my luck, but I can’t help it. The lady gives me a serious case of the squirms. Her wispy hair, crooked teeth, and weird washed-out eyes watched from her window the whole time we were lugging boxes into the house. Like a ghost or something.