Title: SEE YOU THEN, JOSHUA JACOBS
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary (with hint of magical realism)
Word Count: 37,000 words
When science prodigy and all-around nice guy Joshua Jacobs moves in across the street, he’s like no one Suzie Martin’s ever met before. Soon, she realizes he’s no one-dimensional geek. He makes forming friendships – something Suzie’s never quite gotten the hang of – look easy. She hopes it’s the start of a great year, until she learns Joshua believes his father, who passed away over a year ago, travels through time to talk with him.
But when kids at school turn on Joshua for his crazy ideas, she must decide whether to stand by him even though she knows time travel can’t be real. When Joshua’s mother pulls him from the school, and an illness threatens to take him away forever, Suzie must deals with her choices. In one short year, she learns a lot more about friendship, fear, hope and the spacetime continuum than she could have ever imagined.
If I’d been peeking out the front window all morning like my mom, I might have seen the lab table. But even that wouldn’t have prepared me for what rolled into my life when the Jacobs’ moved in across the street.
Mom waved me over to see the boy and his mother as the long, yellow truck pulled away from their house. Like one of her photography subjects, they drew her in. She couldn’t tear herself away.
“Let’s go over and offer them a hand, Suzie,” she said, still looking through the glass. “It looks like it’s just the two of them.”
“I’m sure they’re fine,” I said.
As I turned to go, she murmured, “He must be about your age.”
Aha, there was the real reason she wanted to go – the friendship “opportunity” for her daughter. Why didn’t she get that it wasn’t that easy? It’s not that I didn’t want any friends since Abby moved away. In fact, I’d decided I couldn’t go through another year as the invisible friendless wonder. But you can’t walk up to people, say hi and suddenly you’re best friends. Life doesn’t work that way. And middle school definitely doesn’t work that way.
I turned to escape to my room.
“Come grab some cups, hon,” she said, heading to the kitchen. “Let’s take them something to drink.”
That’s how we ended up crossing the street to meet our new neighbors with a sweating pitcher of sweet iced tea, and a stack of red Solo cups.
Maybe it’ll be easier making friends with someone new to town, I told myself. Yeah, and maybe it would be fun playing with a hungry rat snake.