Dear Secret Agent,
When fourteen-year-old Brian Edwards finds a box in the attic containing old newspaper clippings and a signet ring just like his grandfather’s, he realizes that he’s stumbled across the family secret: Jack.
At age fifteen, Grandpa Jim was framed for a crime by an identical twin that Brian has never even heard of! The twin died with no explanations, and Grandpa Jim has not spoken of him since. That's too bad, but Brian has his own problems. His mom passed away when he was little, and now his dad has made him move away from all of his friends in Pittsburgh to live on the family farm. Trying to make the best of things, Brian searches for a cave used in the 1800’s to hide runaway slaves and discovers an old locked carpetbag that is not quite what it seems. With some help from his father, a genealogist, Brian is able to piece together the events of the past. When he finds out what really happened to Grandpa Jim and his twin, his own troubles are quickly put into perspective.
JIM AND JACK (58,000 words) is younger YA fiction with a historical twist. I am a teacher working on my master's degree in gifted education, and also an amateur genealogist. Thank you for your consideration.
Jack awakened early, the island still in slumber except for the songbirds. Still drowsy, he listened for their different voices, identifying a cardinal and then a robin. A mourning dove cooed its gentle trill, and he could hear the distant tapping of a woodpecker.
A jay screeched overhead, breaking the peacefulness of the moment. Jack rolled over in the half-light to examine his identical twin, asleep in the other bed. Jim was lying on his side with his mouth open, a light snore issuing with each breath.
“Jim!” Jack whispered. His brother remained motionless, pajama-clad legs entangled in the white cotton bedspread.
With a grin, Jack reached over to the desk and tore a corner off of some scrap paper. He wadded it up and tossed it, aiming for Jim’s mouth, but the pellet landed in the dark curls of his brother’s hair. He sat up and tried again. The crumpled paper hit his twin’s eye and Jim stirred, but didn’t wake up. Jack aimed more carefully, this time hitting his mark.
Jim sat bolt upright, choking. Coughing the wad into his hand, he shot an accusing look at Jack. “What was that for?” he demanded, eyes bleary from sleep.
“I was just trying to wake you up for chores! I didn’t mean to choke you.”
Jim looked unconvinced.
“You’ve still got one on your head,” Jack offered, pointing to the same spot in his own hair.
Jim glared at his brother and felt for the bit of paper.