Hi, my name’s Mackenzie Mortimer and I’m writing this to tell you about Mr. Darrell’s new book because, honestly, if I wait for him to tell you he’ll never get around to it. He’s a nice guy but, well, you know what grownups are like. See, it all started when I cut through an alley on my way home after school to avoid a bully. This really old guy appeared out of nowhere. I mean, he was ancient and growing older by the minute. He handed me a weird key and… I know you’re not going to believe this, but I swear it’s the truth – he aged so much that he turned to dust right in front of me.
Days later, when Marlene and I were cleaning out my garage, I found an old trunk that belonged to my missing grandfather. Marlene suggested the key might open it, which didn’t make any sense to me, but I tried it anyway, and she was right. Marlene’s really smart. She’s thirteen like me and she’s been my best friend since third grade. You’d like Marlene; she’s just like one of the guys, especially when she tucks her hair under her baseball cap. Anyway, the trunk was filled with a bunch of notes and journals describing my grandfather’s kooky inventions. And then I saw it: a bronze pocket watch. I was planning to put it on eBay; I was sure I’d get at least ten bucks for it. But I discovered it was actually one of my grandfather’s inventions and the pocket watch not only told time… It controlled it.
Anyone holding the watch can freeze time – or at least slow it down to a crawl – for up to an hour a day. At first, I used it for some harmless pranks. Marlene said I should use it responsibly, but hey, I’m a kid – I’m not supposed to be responsible. I don’t even do my chores when I should. But then, things started happening. I’ll let Mr. Darrell tell you about that. To make it short, I had to start growing up and accept responsibility. I tried not to. I even tried to get rid of the watch. I just wanted to go back to being a normal kid. But I couldn’t, because now people depended on me… Even if they didn’t know it. I learned if you have the power to make a difference when no one else can, then you have a moral obligation to do so.
Mr. Darrell calls it a coming-of-age, young adult science fiction story. Marlene says coming-of-age means I grew up and stopped acting like a kid, but I think it means I realized Marlene’s actually a girl underneath the baseball cap and sweatshirts. Who knew?