GENRE: MG Magic realism
Mel, living in a preternatural community hidden within the ordinary world, believes she’s an unskilled Middling until an encounter with a menacing Time Winder reveals she shares a weakened version of his gift. Can she rewind time to rescue her Middling mother who died when Mel was a small child?
The plaque on the door of the brownstone announced the office of Psychologist, Jerry K. Hutchins, PhD. Mel ran her finger across the raised raven below the doctor’s name. The Council trademark stared back at her as if to ask, Are you one of us?
“Dr. Hutchins runs a psychology practice for ordinary people when he isn’t busy testing Preets,” her stepmother assured Mel, for the third time that day.
When adults used the word Preet—a slang term invented by kids who wanted to shorten the tongue-twisting Preternatural—it sounded ridiculous. But Mel was too nervous to laugh right now. She glanced at her sneakers, dirty and beat-up next to Susanna’s shiny blue heels.
Her stepmother lifted the brass knocker, careful to protect her nails. Three taps echoed inside the house.
“No matter how this turns out, you’ll be fine,” Susanna said, as if Mel would be the one to melt like cotton candy in a rainstorm if she was deemed an ordinary middling. Almost all Preets discovered their gifts by the age of five. Mel was almost thirteen. No, this day was for her stepmother, not herself. Time for Susanna to face reality.
The door opened a crack, revealing a single bespectacled eye. Susanna gave the Preternatural wave—five splayed fingers that closed into a fist. Dr. Hutchins flung the door the rest of the way open. “Welcome to my humble office, Randall family!” He pumped Mel’s hand. “You, my dear, must be Melanie.”
“Mel,” she said.