THE MONSTER HYPOTHESIS
by Romily Bernard
Pub. Date: December 10, 2019
Welcome to Bohring-home to 453 people, 2,053 alligators, and one monster curse.
Correction: home to 454 people, now that Kick Winter is living in the swamp Hollows with her Grandma Missouri, the town (fake) psychic. Bohring is anything but boring for Kick who has already blown a hole through the kitchen floor, befriended a chicken-eating gator, and discovered that the town’s hundred-year curse is upon them.
It’s the Bohring curse and all the kids are about to become monsters-or so the legend goes. People are worried-except for Kick. She knows there’s a scientific explanation for everything, especially curses and monsters. But Kick is the new kid in school and she’s determined to make a name for herself . . . by pretending to be psychic.
According to her calculations: one teeny-tiny life + (fake) psychic skills = popularity. But when kids start disappearing and glowing creatures start showing up, Kick’s theory quickly evaporates in a puff of foul-smelling swamp gas. Can Kick use her (real) science smarts to prove the curse is a hoax? Or is it just-maybe-sort of-somehow possible the curse is here?
Author Romily Bernard weaves a fast-paced middle-grade mystery filled with humor and scientific intrigue, set in a perfectly eerie Southern town.
Grandma Missouri’s Prediction #1
“This will end badly.”
It started with an explosion. Not a huge explosion, mind you, but one certainly large enough to send bits of floorboards everywhere. Some went down in flames. Some went up in smoke. The rest landed in Kick Winter’s box braids.
Not that she noticed.
“Should’ve reread those directions,” she muttered, knowing full well that she hadn’t read them in the first place.
Another bit of floorboard fizzled out, plunging into the ragged hole and sending the black cat, Butler, flying for cover. Kick coughed, waved smoke away from her face, and wondered if all burgeoning scientists had such unfortunate setbacks. She wasn’t sure, and she chalked this one up to yet another example of school never teaching her anything she really needed to know.
Then again, setbacks might be the least of her problems because her grandmother was now standing in the kitchen doorway.
Kick’s heart swung into her throat. For an old woman with a limp, Grandma Missouri could move fast when the situation warranted it.
Like right now, when her kitchen had acquired unexpected ventilation.
“Kick! Winter!” Grandma Missouri lurched forward, one hand white-knuckled around her cane.
“It was an accident!”
“Absolutely!” Kick tried to laugh. It came out a sputter. “You know how these things go. You don’t know you’re having an accident until you’re having one and—”
Another piece of kitchen floor tipped into the still smoking hole. Grandmother and granddaughter listened to it land with a hearty plop. Fortunately for everyone, the Hollows—the tiny cottage where they lived—was built on stilts above the swamp, and the flaming bits simply fell into the murky water. Unfortunately for Figis—the enormous alligator who lived under the Hollows—those flaming bits were now raining on him.
As Kick watched, Figis floated past the hole, slimy with mud and looking distinctly put out.
Or maybe that was just how the alligator normally looked. She wasn’t sure. She’d only been at the Hollows for a few days.
“Your aunt was right,” Grandma Missouri said at last, studying the singed hole with wide eyes. She sat down heavily on a kitchen chair, the tiny bells on her skirt jingling. “You really are going to grow up to be an evil genius.”
Romily Bernard graduated from Georgia State University with a literature degree. Since then, she’s worked as a riding instructor, cell-phone salesperson, personal assistant, horse groomer and exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service representative. . . . She’s also, of course, now a YA novelist.
So don’t let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed.
Romily currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and Find Me is her debut novel. It placed first in the 2011 YA Unpublished Maggie Awards (given by Georgia Romance Writers) and won the Golden Heart Award for YA Romance from the Romance Writers of America in 2012.
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