Genre: Upper Middle Grade
Word Count: 63,000
When a substitute teacher starts ranting about how dark energy is ripping the universe apart, 12-year-old Julia Veltman knows to write him off as a wackadoodle. She is, after all, one of the four members of the Scientastic SuperGirls after-school club. So when it turns out that dark energy is real and her physicist parents have even written classified government documents about it, Julia’s like an electron knocked out of orbit. With the twitchy sub now refusing to share anything else, the SuperGirls have to go all superspy to find out more.
A series of covert missions involving lip gloss and dental floss lead to an elevator in the most unexpected place, and the SuperGirls discover that Julia’s parents are running a secret, dark energy-detecting super collider under their town. Which would be wicked awesome, if it didn’t mean they’ve been lying to her for years. But now that her parents are just days away from announcing some earth-shattering discovery, Julia’s got bigger problems.
She’s got an army of ninjas on her tail. Their plan: kidnap Julia to stop her parents.
What the ninjas don’t know is that Julia’s not one to sit quietly tied up in a closet – and the other Scientastic SuperGirls aren’t about to let some dudes in black stand between them and one of their own.
I’m pretty sure nobody’s ever gotten good news from a man with twitching eyebrows. So when our English teacher disappears for an emergency appendectomy and the new sub, Mr. Trolp, appears in front of our class, eyebrows all a-wiggle, I’m not expecting him to start handing out cookies.
Of course, I’d likely get the first cookie if he did – because he’s staring right at me.
“You never know who’ll be out to get you in life,” he says.
Right. No cookie from this guy.
“You’ve got to stay on guard, always checking behind you.”
We’ve found ourselves a sub loonier than the lady who walked on tiptoes and only talked about leprechauns. And it’s not just his eyebrows – his left hand is twitching, too. Maybe he got bit by a rabid spider. Maybe he’s becoming a rabid spider.
I glance over at Tessa, ready for a satisfying eye roll, but she’s hidden beneath her softball sweatshirt in her classic pose – hood up, head on desk – and is probably sound asleep. Wonderful.
“It could happen anytime.” Mr. Trolp’s mouth twists like he has to chew each word before it comes out. “Next Tuesday, for example – when you think everything’s going fine.”
Jeff Harkiss tips back in his chair, his hat perched on top of his head so he can claim he’s not actually wearing it. “Just start the DVD, dude.”
There’s always a first time to agree with Jeff Harkiss.