Twelve-year-old Shad enrolls in a school for alchemy, expecting to mix elixirs and craft charms. Instead, he arrives to find a mysterious group has seized control, banning alchemy from the curriculum. To save alchemy from being lost forever, he’ll need to fight back, even if it means teaming up with the one person he fears most―his school bully. The friendship and fantasy of Sal & Gabi, with an Arab twist.
There was no such thing as magic.
But if there was, it would be the cakes on display through the bakery window. Freshly-baked namoura cakes, to be exact. Soft on the inside, crisp on the outside, and sugary sweet all over. Once I’d finished ogling those, I glanced over at the cheesy mannoush sandwiches. One of the windows had been opened and a rosewater scent wafted into my nose. The bakery, Halwa Heaven, was only a block from Rosemont Middle School. My last class had just gotten out, and holy cannoli was I glad to be done with pre-algebra.
Rows and rows of pastries were stacked on top of each other inside, all fresh and ready to be eaten. I wanted…no, I needed a taste.
Ready to lean in closer, a wet blob smacked the back of my neck. It stung as I reached around, wondering if a pigeon had just used my head for its toilet seat. My fingers ran across something gooey. I breathed in the rotten stench, examining the yellow-ish slime.
An egg? My stomach felt woozy while I flicked away the goo.
Laughter came from across the street. My throat burned at the sight of Sarah Decker, our middle school’s nastiest bully. She had her friends with her, too. All of them were in my sixth-grade class, and they were laughing.
Laughing at me.