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“Packed to the gills with fun.” —Kirkus Reviews

Stranger Things meets The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl in this lightly spooky debut about Maggie, an aspiring young naturalist, and her YouTuber best friend, Nate, who use their smarts and science to solve the mystery behind a mutant fungus that’s threatening the town.

Ever since Magnolia Stone’s scientist dad left Shady Pines to find a new job, Maggie’s been stuck in her gramma’s mobile home with her grumpy older brother, Ezra. Now she’s on a mission to put her family back together by winning the Vitaccino Junior Naturalist Merit Award.

When Maggie and her best friend, Nate, a wannabe YouTube star and alien conspiracy theorist, scout out a rare bioluminescent fungus, Maggie is certain she’s a shoo-in to win. But after animals around town start sprouting unusual growths and Ezra develops a bluish glow and hacking cough, Maggie wonders what they’ve really stumbled onto.

As things in Shady Pines become stranger and more dangerous, and conversations with her dad get complicated, Maggie must use her scientific smarts and Nate’s impressive knowledge of all things spooky to put things back in order and prevent these peculiar glowing mushrooms from taking over their home.

Photograph by Bryan Cole

Summer Rachel Short lives in north Texas with her husband, three kids, and their Maine Coon cat, Emme. Before spinning tales about mutant mushrooms, she worked as a science reporter for her university’s newspaper, where she wrote on topics including nanotech tweezers, poultry farm pollution, and the nighttime habits of spiders and snakes. Summer can often be found exploring new places with her family and dreaming up ideas for her next book. Learn more at SRachelShort.com.

"Packed to the gills with fun."

– Kirkus Reviews

"A fun debut novel with an action-packed climax that will leave readers eager to scope out the weirder side of nature."

– SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL