Bone Carnival (October 2023)
middle grade fiction
Megan Lynch is an award-winning YA and MG storyteller living in Pittsburgh, PA. In July 2022, she’ll receive her Masters of Fine Arts degree from Hamline University for children's and young adult literature. Her first three books, the Children of the Uprising trilogy, were published by City Owl Press, and her debut was called “one of the more innovative and gratifying novels to enter the dystopian genre” by Readers Favorite. She takes every opportunity to read her favorite books aloud to her four children.
When her parents accept summer teaching jobs in Rome, talented, troublemaking, 12-year-old Mia Moretti tags along. Eager to learn more about her surroundings, she drags her new friend, buttoned-up-and straight-laced Grace, out to explore the Italian cityscape. But when they stumble upon a strange street carnival, Mia wins a mysterious prize: a fragment of a bone from an ancient conjuror, secured in a velvet pouch and strung on a necklace. Supposedly, it makes the wearer lucky in anything they attempt until nightfall.
Sensing danger, Mia throws the bone into the dumpster. But the carnival disappears into thin air, and the bone mysteriously finds its way back to them. The only way to rid themselves of it is to reunite it with the decaying skeleton it came from before the sun sets.
But by the time they locate the remains and attempt to return the bone, they’re too late. Caught between life and death and trapped inside the nightmarish carnival, they discover an alarming plot that threatens more lives than just their own. Mia and Grace team up with another recently-taken boy, Val, and the three of them must get their souls back into their bodies, in Rome, or else their spirits will be imprisoned for all eternity.
"This deliciously creepy story stars the impulsive, imaginative, deeply lovable Mia, a girl who does her best despite being haunted by things actual and metaphorical. With Mia, we discover that some specters can be defeated and others can only be acknowledged and lived with, but both acts are equally brave—and made a lot easier with good friends by your side. Exciting, resonant, fiercely original, and altogether wonderful."
-Anne Ursu, National Book Award longlisted author of The Lost Girl