TITLE: White Lies and Friendship Ties
GENRE: Middle Grade Contemporary
Connor Monroe tore through the park with his lungs on fire. He could make it to the lake in twelve, maybe thirteen minutes tops-if he ignored the cramp in his side. It screamed for him to slow down. Instead, he picked up the pace. He had to find out if the envelope was still there, or if it was gone too-like his dad.
As sunlight broke through the cloudy, September morning, he crossed the rickety footbridge, and stopped at the second wooden bench on the left-the one with the missing seat. Underneath it, he found the clump of rocks and tipped back the biggest one. Potato bugs scurried for cover. He brushed the stragglers away and picked up the envelope, wrapped in plastic-lying right where his dad said it would be.
He ripped it open and pulled out a piece of paper. "Pence Whitmore" was written in block letters, with a phone number scribbled beside it. Who the heck is Pence Whitmore?
Connor clutched the envelope, and sprinted back up the trail. There wasn't much time to get home before Caitlin rang the doorbell, all anxious for junior high. He tried to roll the highlight film from summer vacation. There was no highlight for him-unless you consider going to the cemetery a highlight. That day, Connor went numb as the terrible, brown box was lowered to the ground-with his dad inside. His mom crumbled to pieces and he knew. Team Monroe was gone.