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Ten years ago, Scott Marino disappeared from town without a trace.

His son Benji, now fourteen, is the only person daring enough to approach the border. Although his best friends are eager to help him move on, he can’t shake the feeling that his father is still out there.

Everyone in town says it’s impossible. They believe Scott’s disappearance proves the world outside of Wishville is unsurvivable, but he questions their reasoning.

When his friend’s sickly little sister claims to know what others don’t, Benji’s life is thrown into chaos. With time against him, and his curiosity stronger than ever, he knows what he must do. Leaving Wishville might be his only chance for freedom – but it may also cost him his life.

A colorful and chilling debut, LEAVING WISHVILLE dives into a sea of forbidden curiosity, unavoidable grief, and the dangers of discovering the truth.

Read the first 3 chapters for free

CHAPTER 1

goodbye

It would make a tragic story. Benji Marino, fourteen, kills himself on a venture to paradise. A catchy title for the announcements on Wishville News before the morning weather report. On the other hand, he might survive.

Benji emerged around the corner of Wishville Junior High, eyes locked on a hill in the distance. All he had to do was make it to Candy Road and his escape would be a sweet success. He held his breath as he passed the school baseball field.

“Nice one. Back in line.” Benji could recognize the man’s voice from a mile away. Coach Hendrick was notorious for never using a microphone at school events. After fifteen years of coaching baseball and softball teams he’d reached the conclusion that screaming was the only way to gain respect from middle schoolers.

“Mortimer, you’re up next.” There was a pause, and his mustache twitched as if going through a seizure. “Mortimer!”

A clang came from the fence. Benji refused to look.

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A message from Mel:
2/8/20

I started writing LEAVING WISHVILLE as a high school freshman. At the time, I had no idea I would ever publish the novel, but two years later, here we are!

The amount of support I've received during this book release has been overwhelming. I'm incredibly grateful for the amazing people in my life who have helped me achieve my goal of publication.

I hope that you find Benji's story unique, touching, and overall, an enjoyable read.

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