Title: THE CANDY CANE CONSPIRACY
Genre: MG Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 84,000
My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:
My MC's most stressful relationship is with Santa. He's her greatest enemy, but she can't help but feel sorry for him and wonder if they're more alike than she thinks. Like him, she's willing to sacrifice morals for a goal, and though she frequently questions herself, she never stops. Whenever she finds herself doing something morally complicated in the name of the greater good, she begins to wonder if she's turning into Santa, and whether that is actually such a bad thing.
Twelve-year-old aspiring journalist Angela Xue is less than thrilled about her school’s field trip to the North Pole. Santa’s so famous, it’s not like she can find any new scoops about him to put on her blog, and one measly hour at his holiday headquarters is not a worthy tradeoff for twenty hours on a reeking train and an essay for class, to boot.
But when the class’s tour tram veers into a restricted area, Angela starts to doubt that Santa is really as nice as everybody thinks. And if seeing an elven spy department monitor hidden surveillance footage of supposed naughty kids isn’t enough to rouse her suspicions, their tour guide also tells them to forget what they saw—and everyone in the class mysteriously does so two hours later.
Everyone except her.
With nobody else remembering what happened and only her two best friends willing to believe and help her, Angela launches an investigation to expose Santa’s foul play. From breaking and entering to assault to poisoning, Angela thinks she’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring Santa down, and maybe uncover a story big enough to launch her own career as a journalist in the process.
But when Santa’s elven hit squad pays her a surprise visit, the night before Christmas quickly turns into a nightmare. Angela is caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse at the North Pole, dodging magic bullets and poisoned candy at every turn. But as her deeds get darker, she begins to question herself, her investigation, and even who the real villain of the story is. Because after everything she’s done, it just might be her. Now, she must figure out what she really wants—as well as how far she’ll go to get it—and face down Santa, his elves, and dark, ancient magic before this turns into her last Christmas ever.
First 250 Words:
CHAPTER ONE: JINGLE BELLS, SOMETHING SMELLS
There are three things you need to know.
One: Don’t trust Santa.
Maybe you’ve seen him on TV, smiling and talking with the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, or one of his other buddies about “bringing joy to the children of the world” or other grown-up baloney. Maybe you’ve even been on that North Pole tour, or met him yourself at some event or another.
It doesn’t matter. You don’t know the real Santa. You’ve never seen what goes on at the North Pole behind the curtain.
And even if you did, you wouldn’t remember, just like everyone else in my class.
But I do.
I’m Angela Xue. Journalist extraordinaire, rebel leader, and, most importantly for you, I’m the girl who tried to take down Santa.
Which brings us to need-to-know number two: this journal.
Don’t worry. It’s not my diary. Consider this more of a journalistic news report. Or a witness statement about what really happened last Christmas. Written down with paper and ink, just like they used to do forty-nine years ago, at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Because, as far as I know, Santa hasn’t found a way to hack into paper yet, which means for now, this journal is as safe as I can get.
As you can get. Because I’m giving it to you.
Keep it safe. Read it. Pass it on.
The world needs to know the truth.
Oh, and number three? Simple—Be good, kids. Santa’s watching.