Alchemist of Apeiron, MG Fantasy

Name: Stefany Valentine

Genre: Middle Grade/ Fantasy – Urban

Title: Alchemist of Apeiron

Word Count: 51,000

Themes: #ownvoices


35-Word Pitch:

A 12-year-old Latina must rescue her sister from an alternate dimension by absorbing the power of The Infinite Book of Alchemy.


First 500 words:

The tour guide led us up the steps from Astor Hall to the McGraw Rotunda. My eyes panned the scene as the walls shifted from stonework to wood. Murals hung along the walls capturing snapshots of ancient history. Deep burgundy wood carved into a set of arching pillars and climbed up the walls before holding the elaborate ceiling in place. A gold accented frame encasing a painting of some naked guy holding fire in his hands. I thought the portrait was weird, but my lips inadvertently shaped into and O with awe.

“If you’ll look around, you’ll see that the New York Public Library has many beautiful paintings,” announced the tour guide. Her eyes hung half shut as if the sound of her voice lulled her to sleep. It was strange to me that someone who worked at such a beautiful place could lose interest in its majesty.

My sister nudged me in the arm. “Look, Carina,” she giggled at the ceiling. “Butts.”

“Evangeline Itzamara DeForest,” I scolded like my mother would have if she was on the tour with my seventh-grade class. “Get your mind out of the gutter. It’s a work of art. Or… something.”

Just as I finished scolding my sister, my cousin came up from beside me. “That’s Prometheus bringing fire to mankind,” Conrad informed. “It’s supposed to represent the gods giving man knowledge — kind of like how a library gives us information.”

“Nerd,” Eva scoffed. “Did you read that in one of your comic books or something?”

“No,” Conrad muttered defensively as he pushed his square glasses up his nose. “I was paying attention to our tour guide. Maybe you should give it a try, Eva.”

“Guys,” I hissed. “Knock it off. We’re going to get in trouble.”

“Excuse me ladies.”

My eyes shot toward the guide. She stopped before a dimly lit corridor with her hands on her hips. Even when she wasn’t talking about the library, her expression bored me to tears. She should have just let the place speak for itself. It was gorgeous.

“Is there something you’d like to discuss with your class?” inquired the guide.

My cheeks were naturally pigmented in a dark tan, but heat rushed to them as if it turned my face into a cherry tomato. “No,” I shook my head.

“Do you and your friend mind keeping it down so the rest of the class can listen to the history of the building?”

Eva rolled her eyes at the guide. “We’re sisters,” she corrected. “Not friends.”

“Oh,” the guide’s eyes widened for the first time before dancing back and forth between the two of us. “Well, you look nothing alike.”

“We’re adopted,” Eva grumbled.

It was a common mistake people made. Normally families don’t have kids in the same grade, but Eva and I were the exceptions. My mom could never have babies, so she adopted Eva from China, and me from California. We looked nothing alike but what did that matter when we were family?


2 thoughts on “Alchemist of Apeiron, MG Fantasy

  1. JoSVolpe says:

    I like the one-line pitch for this, and the voice has potential. That being said, I do see that work is needed, even in these first couple of pages. Opening a book in the middle of a tour scene is tough. Not only are you introducing the reader to your characters and their backstory, but you’re also now introducing the museum/library elements, which are all new to your character. So instead of getting the reader familiarized with your character, we’re instead directed to focus on the surroundings instead.

    It’s not an impossible task to open in a tour scene, but you need to remain focused on the characters.

    In these two pages you emphasize the tour guide’s boredom so much that it leaves me wondering if her boredom is part of the plot? I also know very little about Carina, aside from the fact that her and her sister are adopted. Is she excited to be on this class trip? Does she like art? Is she looking forward to going home for some reason? Whatever it is, focus on Carina!

    Another note: the title is a little difficult for the middle grade level. It’s a cool Greek word, but it’s hard to read/pronounce and as a result, it feels inaccessible. I would consider a title change.

    I hope these notes are helpful to you!


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