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Credit: Olivia Hinebaugh

YA Fantasy
2019 Pitch Wars manuscript
Short Listed for the
2023 Oxford/Pushkin Children's Books Fantasy Prize

Seventeen-year-old Jaq was raised on grand, impossible feats, working as a fire breather and aerialist for the Menagerie of Marvels. For her, the true wonder is the ringmaster platform. The ability to say something and have it be thus—that is magic. She longs to be Ravalia’s first female ringmaster, even as the gaslighting son of her current ringmaster holds her under his sway.


For seventeen-year-old Quinn, the future is clear: continue the soul-breaking drudgery of manufacturing weapons for the King’s war machine until he grows as gray-faced, hunched-over, and brow-beaten as his father. But surely dreaming can’t cause any harm? So he imagines standing ovations instead of gunshots, sumptuous dresses instead of soot-streaked shirts, and performing as Queenie, the iconic character he created to entertain his siblings.


When news comes of the Revel, a weeklong circus in which those who most astonish the King can earn his favor and make a wish, both Jaq and Quinn see it as their chance. Jaq auditions for the Revel troupe, while Quinn apprentices with the Revel’s costumer. But they soon uncover the fair’s dark truth: profits from the Revel will fund the King’s next war. As protests disrupt Quinn’s factories and Jaq’s gaslighter grows more insistent, these reluctant friends must choose between glorifying the King for his favor and using their art to call out his tyranny.

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