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2018

1st Place: Say Uncle, by Rosey Mucklestone

SYNOPSIS

Micah MacQuoid has the easy job. His parents have to deal with all the aftermath of his older sister’s death. His brother is driving over to try and keep his parents from getting a divorce amidst all the wreckage of the tragedy. All Micah has to do is watch his brother’s four kids while all that drama goes down.

Sure, that’s not exactly something he’s had experience with. He’s got more experience playing his drums in his parents’ basement and avoiding human interaction. But they’re family. They’re his nieces and nephews. Just four sweet little kids to watch for a month at most. He just doesn’t expect the endless allergies, school problems and adventurous endeavors the kids have over the summer. Plus, an uncle they barely know? Where’s the motivation to do anything he says? Maybe the easy job isn’t such a piece of cake after all.

Read on the Student Forum »

Say Uncle is the perfect title for a story written with such skill. The dialogue is fantastic, the plot believable and the pacing precise. In spite of being centered around the everyday drama of babysitting, the story is consistently entertaining. Perhaps most impressive is how rounded the characters became in such a small space. Say Uncle is exceptional storytelling!

2nd Place: Hearthfoot, by Victoria Shanks

SYNOPSIS

Ebon is a land of conflict. Yumala against the Old Gods. Man against monster. Right against wrong. And when Sofia Callaghan—seventeen years old, a non-shifter, and only the height of a young child—is sent to live in the Wealwild Swamp and encounters what is quite possibly the worst monster in the kingdom, she’s thrust into the heart of the struggle. But in a world where all humans can shapeshift, the most important question of all is rarely asked: what is a monster?

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A fascinating story world with characters to match. The voice in this story is wonderful, and makes use of artistic imagery and prose built around unique, story-world phrasing. The author also shows remarkable wisdom and restraint in understating certain aspects of the conflict. Where other writers might have been heavy-handed, Victoria backed off just enough to heighten my emotional involvement. Bravo! Hearthfoot is a keeper.

3rd Place: Forgotten Flame, by Michal Garner

SYNOPSIS

Two years ago, Ally woke up in the slums of 2085 America, after suffering a severe concussion that left her without any remembrance of her past life. While struggling to survive in post-fourth world war America, Ally stumbles across someone claiming to know something of her past, including Europe’s and United’s current government, her real name, and a rebellion.

Read on the Student Forum »

The prose in this story highlights the author’s handling of conflict and interpersonal relationships. Well-structured story blocks produce clear images in the mind and compelling concepts that move Forgotten Flame forward and spark genuine curiosity.

Finalist: Chasing Phantoms, by Abby Anderson

SYNOPSIS

Life in the coastal town of Inisfree was simple for sixteen year old Eireann McTeague. Then, in a matter of moments, she was viciously snatched away and sold into slavery. Purchased by John Rolfe, Eireann finds herself on a ship bound for Barbados. On the way, the ship is attacked by pirates. Now in the possession of the pirates, she finds a friend in one of them, Aedan O’Connell. Soon, Eireann finds herself involved in a hunt for a notorious pirate, known only as the Phantom. Promised her freedom and safe passage to the New World if she succeeds, Eireann sets out to spy on the main suspect, who is also her master.

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Chasing Phantoms immediately raises interesting questions. Tight prose and a keen eye for the sorts of details that create vivid “movies” in the imagination make the narrative engaging and fun to read.

Finalist: The Questers, by Nicole DeBenon

SYNOPSIS

Hiram Medill lives a boring life in the town of Branchbottom. He never expects much to happen to him–until Hobgoblins attack his tiny town. But when he goes to Bellethiel to ask the Council for help, they refuse. The next thing he knows, he’s been roped into becoming Armitage’s next great Hero and tasked with finding the legendary Spear of King Orthos. 

But he’s not the only one after the artifact. The Boss, a shadowy figure who seems to control the Hobgoblins, seems to be one step ahead of him at all times. Can Hiram find the Spear first? Or will the Boss crush the last hope that Armitage has of defeating the Hobgoblin menace?

Read on the Student Forum »

The Questers not only demonstrates fine prose, but highlights an interesting authorial voice. Nicole does a terrific job establishing her characters and their personalities.

2017

1st Place: R.E.M. – Ashley Schaller – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: To Kidnap DNA – Lydia DeGisi – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: The Stonecrest Existential Crisis Club – Sam Cooper – Not available to read

Finalists (not ranked)

Agram Awakens – Aidan Bender – Read on the Student Forum »
Evik – Emily Schaeffer – Read on the Student Forum »
Starless Nights – M. R. Shupp – Not available to read

2016

1st Place: Chromeheads – Jake Buller – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Ten of Hearts – Joy Audens – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Hattie – Elisabeth Newton – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Show Me the Way – Meredith Lundell – Read on the Student Forum »
Silhouettes: The Un-Telling of Peter Pan – Jamie Dougall – Read on the Student Forum »
Small Hands’ Flight – Charlotte Anderson – Read on the Student Forum »

2015

1st Place: Factory Rats – Catsi Eceer – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: The Monster Upstairs – Elisabeth Newton – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: The Reverse Road – Sam Cooper – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Of Lavron – Ellie Gardiner – Read on the Student Forum »
Somnia – Amy Nickelsen – Read on the Student Forum »
Wings of Dust – Charlotte Anderson – Read on the Student Forum »

2014 

1st Place: The Witch’s Cat – Miguel Flores – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Under the Weather – Sam Cooper – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Children of Ashes – Justin Ferguson – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Pitch Black Stars – Catsi Eceer – Read on the Student Forum »
When the Stars Are Singing – Meredith West – Read on the Student Forum »

2013

1st Place: Blue Sky Burnt – Erynn Besse – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Redemption – Annika Lee – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Broken Glass King – Abby Walsh – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalist (not ranked)

Dangerous Games – Emily Haan – Read on the Student Forum »
Flightless – Bethany Ingham – Read on the Student Forum »
Indumentum Oris – Verity Rising – Read on the Student Forum »

2012

1st Place: Bitter Magic – Collin Anne Suttle – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Hosanna House – Hannah Mills – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Quintessence – Rachel Garner – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Heirborne – Braden Russell – Read on the Student Forum »
Survivor One – Richard LaRue – Read on the Student Forum »
Shining Stars – Wynter Croix – Read on the Student Forum »
Chatoyant – Sarah Seifert – Not available to read

2011

1st Place: Snapshots – Matthew Lauser – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Project Theta – Kyle de Waal – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Deep Six – Collin Anne Suttle – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Archipelago – Sophia Debusschere – Read on the Student Forum »
Forewarned – Rebekah Swank – Read on the Student Forum »
My Lady – Grace Debusschere – Read on the Student Forum »
Sightless – Miguel Flores – Read on the Student Forum »
Speak Aloud, Scream Alone – Read on the Student Forum »

2010

1st Place: Recollections – Janae Leeke – Read on Student Forum »
2nd Place: Becoming Human – Jared Schmitz – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: My Father’s Dream – Sarah Wacker – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Sacrifice – Collin Anne Suttle – Read on the Student Forum »
The Fly by Night – Kyle de Waal – Read on the Student Forum »
Out of Darkness – Sarah Noé – Read on the Student Forum »
Of Princesses and Dragons – Grace Garner – Read on the Student Forum »
Offset – Matthew Lauser – Read on the Student Forum »

2009

1st Place: Kytt’s Tale – Carlie Gernhart – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Of Self and Sacrifice – Elizabeth Lobach – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Allemande – Lydia DeWolf – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Forest of Lies – Rachel Garner – Read on the Student Forum »
Knights in Red Coats – Jane Johnson – Read on the Student Forum »
Child of Darkness, Child of Light – Rachel Werner – Read on the Student Forum »
Prince of Thertine – Grace Garner – Read on the Student Forum »

2008

1st Place: Averill – Lydia DeWolf – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Fable Weaver – Carlie Gernhart – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Betsy Flowain – Rachel Garner – Read on the Student Forum »

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