Title: Super Weenie
Entry Name: Bust the Bubble Wrap
Word Count: 48,000
Genre: MG Contemporary; OwnVoices (Allergy/Anaphylaxis)
Eleven-year-old SAFFRON LEWIS wants to be a regular kid, but her life-threatening food allergies, medical alert bracelet and ever-present EpiPen make her feel like a weirdo. The nickname assigned by her older brother when she was two years old isn’t helping matters. She swallowed one bite of nutty Halloween candy, turned the same shade of blue as her tiny-kid superhero costume, and he’s called her Super Weenie ever since.
Saffy’s hyper-protective mother has managed to keep her safe since then. But to Saffy, the rules, regulations and restrictions feel like bubble wrap. And she’s ready to burst free from her restraints and that dorktastic alter ego. Saffy’s starting middle school, and she’s got a plan: Pretend to be Perfectly Normal.
Everything goes fine… until she eats one bite of a supposedly safe cookie during a class party and goes into anaphylactic shock. She jolts awake in an ambulance. Time for a new plan: Survive Sixth Grade.
After the latest medical scare, her mother isn’t convinced Saffy can protect herself, so she demands the school enact a restrictive food policy to keep Saffy safe. Before long angry protestors are waving picket signs in front of her school in opposition to the food ban. Saffy’s classmates choose sides. Her locker mate Madison is firmly against the ban, and devotes herself to making Saffy’s life totally un-fun. She calls Saffy Nut Girl, labels her defective, and tricks everyone into thinking Saffy’s having another allergic reaction just to freak out Saffy’s friends.
Saffy discovers the key to surviving middle school — to surviving life as a kid with allergies — isn’t escaping her Super Weenie persona, but embracing it. She just has to figure out how to stand up to Madison, ensure the school nurse never has to unholster another one of her EpiPens, and convince her mom to pack away the bubble wrap for good. This calls for Saffy’s boldest plan yet: Super Weenie Rescues Herself.
The click-clack of Mom’s high-heeled shoes stops outside my bedroom door. She holds her arms wide for a hug. I squeeze her harder than normal, trying to de-activate the army of tiny robots stampeding in my belly. It doesn’t work. Still nervous.
“You’ve got your inhaler?”
“Yes, Mom. I showed you last night.”
“Okay. Dad will deliver your EpiPen to the nurse this morning.” She straightens my collar.
“Yep. I know. Since you’re convinced I can’t take care of myself.” Now the robots are testing their rocket boosters.
“Please don’t start, Saffron.” Her hands flutter down to my wrists. “Where’s your medical alert bracelet?”
“Just putting it on.” I slide it on and tuck it under my sleeve.
“You have to wear it every day.”
“Mom! Stop worrying.” I bet she’s wishing she could bust out a jumbo-sized roll of bubble wrap to keep me safe.
“Fine. Have fun with Britt and Jessica. I told them to watch out for you.”
“You’ve convinced my friends to spy on me?” I administer a megawatt glare and yank on my braid. Its tip is spit-soaked.
Dad sidles up. Today’s fashion disaster is a bright pink shirt, covered with flamingos wearing hats. Between regular first-day-of-school worries and my mother’s nervous breakdown over my allergies, I don’t have time to help Dad with his latest clothing misfire. I can’t even joke with Mom over the whole thing because I’m currently busy being irritated at her.