When middle schoolers Cassie, Dayne, and Natasha wake up with brand-new superpowers, they think these gifts are going to solve all their problems. Cassie, who’s going blind, can use her power to “see” in a whole new way. Dayne, the youngest of eight kids, can finally be the hero of the family instead of the ninth wheel. And Natasha can glimpse the secrets she’s always wanted to know about her parents and grandmother.
They quickly find out, however, that the gifts are temporary. They’ll vanish on Halloween night.
For Cassie and Dayne, that just won’t do. Together with Natasha, they form the Sack Club, united by one mission: to keep their supernormal abilities forever. Even if it means they have to frame the class bully, sneak around in the boiler room, and damage a little school property in the process.
Meanwhile, Natasha watches her new friends get themselves (and her) in more and more trouble, and she starts to wonder: just how far are Cassie and Dayne prepared to go?
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A few years ago, I learned about a husband and wife who were persecuted in a labor camp in China for practicing the popular Chinese meditation discipline Falun Dafa. Like many religious and ethnic minorities, the peaceful practice of Falun Dafa is subjected to brutal oppression by the Chinese Communist Party. I read the story of the persecuted couple and was inspired to write a story in which one of the characters' parents have been persecuted in a labor camp. The girl named Natasha in my book was directly inspired by that story, and Cassie and Dayne's stories grew from that.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Natasha was inspired by the young daughter of a couple I read about who were persecuted in a labor camp in China. Cassie was inspired by my love of reading about characters with different types of disabilities or superpowers (Cassie has both). Dayne, who has a lot of siblings, was inspired by my experience growing up with four siblings.
CHAPTER 1: CASSIE
One night I found a note on my pillow, written in Braille. Out of habit I felt insulted. I thought, "Does this note-writer think I'm blind or something?" My hand started to close into a fist and crumple the note.
Then common sense kicked in. I remembered that I couldn’t, in fact, read printed words anymore. If I crumpled up everything that was written in Braille, I wouldn't be able to read anything.
So I smoothed out the note and read it. This is what it said.
By continuing to read this note, you are agreeing to keep it and its entire contents an absolute secret. I don't anticipate any trouble with that. After all, you received this note, which probably means you are good at keeping secrets.
It also means you are one of the three luckiest children at Blue Hollow Middle School.
When you wake up tomorrow, something will change. Your dearest wish will come true, but not at all in the way you expect.
This gift was sent to you for a reason, but even I, the gift-giver, am not entirely sure what that reason is. I know who you are, but you will probably never know who I am.
Use it well.
It took me forever to decipher it. I wasn't that good at reading Braille yet, largely thanks to my habit of crumpling up everything written in it. And even when I did decipher it, it made no sense. How could some stranger write me a note in Braille? It had to be a joke, except that the only other people here were Mom and Dad, and they didn't write Braille joke notes.
In fact, I didn't know anybody who would write a Braille joke note. My sister, maybe, but she was away at a sleepover and didn't even know Braille.
When I read the words "your dearest wish," I immediately thought of my eyes. I'd been losing my eyesight for years now, but only in the past six months or so had it gotten really bad. I used to wear glasses, but they didn't help that much, and finally, at the end of eighth grade last year (my first time through eighth grade—I was on my second time now), the day arrived when they didn't help at all. So I just took them off and threw them in my closet and never saw them again.
The doctors said I might be totally blind by age fifteen. That was next year, and it was looking more likely every day.
That's why I sat on the edge of my bed and hoped and prayed that this note-writer wasn't kidding.
"Your dearest wish will come true."
That could really only mean one thing. I turned out the light, which I could barely see anyway, and slid under the covers and closed my eyes and imagined opening them to a bright morning.
Sally Appert writes and edits for a major newspaper. Her favorite hobbies are traveling, eclipse-chasing, and reading children's books that she's way too old for. She lives in California with her husband.
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