Thursday, October 27, 2016

NoQS MG Contemporary: CODE STARS

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Word Count: 47,000

My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:

My MC's most stressful relationship is definitely with Julia Pearl, her best friend. At least, Evie thinks Julia is still her best friend. It's hard to know these days. Evie wishes their friendship was like before, when she could make a geeky superhero reference and Julia would crack up or she could ask Julia for homework help without getting an epic eye roll in response. And it would be beyond perfect if vile Nina and Julia weren't acting all buddy-buddy again. Evie's biggest fear is that Julia is going to ditch her for a group of shiny new friends, leaving her all alone.


Eleven-year-old gamer girl Evie Calkins dreams of developing her own best-selling video games. However, a few minor obstacles stand in her way—her school doesn’t teach coding, her mother can’t afford a functioning computer, and Evie can’t focus on a single thought for longer than one minute.

When a new teacher arrives at her middle school and organizes an all-girl coding club, everything changes for Evie. She joins and enters the Code Star Challenge, an illustrious competition for young programmers. If Evie learns how to code, and if her team wins the first prize scholarship money in the challenge, she might have a chance to make it in the video game world. Evie’s restless mind isn’t her only obstacle, though. Her arch-nemesis joins the club, her best friend is drifting away, and the school’s old-fashioned principal wants nothing more than for the tech teacher—and the girls’ club—to disappear.

Just when the team is invited to the final round of the competition, her principal's last minute interference could cost the girls everything. With her future in jeopardy, Evie stands up for herself, her teammates, and all girls in tech. But is she enough of a Code Star to bring her team to victory and her dreams into actuality?

First 250 words:

An icy wind blew Evie Calkins through the front doors of Baker Creek Middle School. A crowd of kids swallowed her and pushed her all the way up the stairs to the 6th grade hallway. When she reached locker #212, she fell away from the herd and let out a sigh of relief.

“0 – 11 – 0,” Evie said to herself, spinning the dial on the rusted blue door.

Last month she had secretly reset her locker combination to binary code. She didn't know much about real coding yet, just the way-too-short introduction her old technology teacher had given in December—right before he quit.

Evie opened the locker and smiled at the familiar picture taped to the inside door. It was the poster for Shooting Star, her all-time favorite video game. She traced her fingers over the faded moon and comets, same as every morning. It was her daily ritual, and it helped slow down her brain, which normally buzzed like a bumblebee on a sugar rush.

“Good morning!” sang a voice from behind the door.

Julia Pearl jumped in front of Evie and flashed her a huge, haven't-seen-you-since-Friday, grin. Evie returned the smile.

“So, are you totally excited?” Julia said with wide eyes.

“Um, excited about what?”

“Seriously, Evie? Come on, it was in our weekend folder. The new technology teacher! The new club! This is everything you've been waiting for!”

“Wait, are you joking? A new tech teacher?”


  1. Shrieking for the first 50 pages please! Send your pages attached and the query in the body of the email to Use email subject Requested #NoQs MG Amanda

  2. SHRIEKING away! Please send the 50 at an attachment with the query in the body of the email to If you have a full synopsis, please attach that as well. Thank you!

  3. Shriek! Could I please see the first 50 pages along with a synopsis attached as a Word doc with the query in the body of the email to jjohnsonblalock[at]lizadawson[dot]com? Thank you!