Title - MilliM
Author – Lisa Pelissier
Genre – Middle-Grade Wacky Dystopian
Book Blurb –
Ten-year-old Millie is obsessed with evenness, from the height of her pigtails to the distribution of butter and syrup on her waffle. Fortunately for Millie, she lives under the governance of the Council of Benevolence, an entity that seems to be just as consumed with conformity and evenness as Millie is. When Millie and her best friend Silas find a very lopsided, very ugly baby on her front porch, Millie doesn’t know what to do. Repulsed and horrified, Millie, accompanied by Silas, sets out for the city and the brazen symmetry of the Council of Benevolence, sure that they can make everything right again. It is only while she is there that she discovers that what you see is not always what you get.
“So they said they didn’t want to tell you? Or they couldn’t tell you,” Silas asked.
“Not allowed,” she told him.
They were in the treehouse. After her conversation with Granny Dree, Millie had tossed a hasty greeting at her mother. She’d refused the eggs on principle.
Silas frowned thoughtfully. “We know something, then,” he finally said.
Millie snorted. “No, we don’t. We don’t know anything. They wouldn’t say.”
“We don’t know much,” Silas admitted. “But if they’re not allowed to do something, it must be because the Council of Benevolence has forbidden it. They’re the ones who make the rules here. So for some reason the Council must have made a rule that the grannies can’t tell anyone where they came from.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Millie objected.
Silas shrugged. “Doesn’t matter if it makes sense. It has to be the answer.”
“Maybe my parents won’t let them tell,” Millie suggested.
“They said the word ‘allowed’?”
Silas shook his head. Millie had always liked the way Silas’ fuzzy hair didn’t move when he shook his head. Her own pigtails sometimes irritated her with their habit of swishing, one backward and the other forward, when she shook her head. She’d cut them off once when she was little. It had been way worse. “If they said ‘shouldn’t’ or ‘ought not to tell’, then I might agree with you. But if they’re not allowed it had to be the Council.”
Millie thought of the sleeping baby in the basket in the living room. Silas had tucked the blankets around him so that Millie hadn’t been able to see his oddly tufted, nauseatingly uneven hair. She’d been grateful for that, but his face, even sleeping, was bad enough.
“So we go to the Council,” she said. “And get them to take the baby back.”
“I don’t think…” Silas began.
“I’m doing the thinking,” Millie informed him.
Silas sighed. Millie always got bossy when she was stressed. “What do we tell our parents?”
“Just tell them we’re going for a bike ride,” Millie answered. “That’ll be true anyhow. We’ll get on our bikes and go to the city.”
“We’ll need snacks,” Silas told her.
Millie made a face. She wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. But Silas was probably right. They would be gone most of the day. “Alright,” she agreed.
Silas took his time packing his backpack. He had water as well as snacks from each of the food groups and a jacket. By the time he was ready Millie was impatient and frustrated. As soon as Silas threw a leg over his bike, Millie took off on hers at full speed.
“Millie!” Silas shouted from far behind her.
She didn’t turn around.
“Millie!” Silas’ scream sounded more desperate.
Millie turned to look back at him, and at the same time veered to the right, lost her balance and nearly toppled to the ground. She stopped to catch her breath.
A car whizzed by going the opposite direction.
Silas caught up to her, panting. “Millie! Millie! Didn’t you see that car coming?”
Millie shook her head.
“You can’t ride down the center of the road!” Silas told her. “You’ll get run over!”
Millie looked at him blankly. “It’s the center. I have to be in the center.”
“You can’t,” Silas objected, still out of breath.
“I have to,” Millie explained simply.
Silas took hold of her arm. “Haven’t you ever ridden on the road before?” he asked.
“Only in front of my house,” Millie told him. “And on the bike paths by the creek.”
Silas pointed to the road. “Look,” he said, “the orange line down the center is there to divide the road in half. The people going to town go on this side,” he pointed, “and the people coming back from town go on that side.” He pointed again. “If you ride down the middle they’re both going to hit you. Coming and going.”
Millie blinked. “This is going to be harder than I thought,” she said hollowly.
“Look, just follow me,” Silas ordered.
Millie watched as Silas pedaled his bike. He was riding on the right side of the road, near the curb. She shuddered.
Silas turned around and wheeled back toward Millie once he realized she wasn’t following. “You have to do it my way, MilliM,” he said, accenting the final sound in Millie’s made-up name. “It’s the way the road works.”
Millie looked at the road. She longed with all her heart to ride down the bright orange line in the center. It was so perfect, so even. There was no way she could ride down the side of the road like Silas. No way!
“Just watch my bike,” Silas instructed. “Stay right behind me. Perfectly centered behind my bike.”
Silas had known Millie long enough to know how to help her.
Millie nodded and climbed back onto her bike. “Perfectly centered behind you,” she repeated.
“Yup. Don’t look at the road. Just look at my back tire. We’ll be perfectly aligned,” Silas promised.
Millie took a deep breath. “Okay,” she agreed. “I’ll try.”
“It’s either that or…”
“I know! I know!” Millie said quickly.
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Author Biography –
Lisa Pelissier lives in Oregon where she is a homeschool mother of four and self-published author of three middle-grade fiction novels. Lisa owns SneakerBlossom Books, offering Christian, classical homeschool study guides and curriculum. She also works as a freelance copy editor, substitute teacher, and tutor. Lisa graduated from Biola University in 1992 with a B.A. in Christian Education with dual emphases in music and elementary education. Lisa worked as an editor and analyst for Kelley Blue Book for 26 years before devoting herself to writing. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys making art, playing the piano, and fretting about things over which she has no control.
Social Media Links –
Twitter - @LisaPelissier
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