Title: Valeria Torres and the Midas Vault
Single line pitch: Sixteen year old Valeria Torres discovers she’s a Rogue; a mystical figure tasked with stealing from the wicked and giving to the poor.
Story summary pitch: For as long as she can remember, Valeria Torres has always been the girl no one cared about. Having immigrated to the United States as a child after her parents’ deaths, Valeria tried to play by the rules as she navigated orphanages, limited foster care, and homelessness. And yet, Valeria found the deck stacked against her, and winds up in a juvenile detention center for non-violent crimes.
Valeria’s string of bad luck finally comes to an end when she meets Frank and Jada Pipino, who introduce her to the Rogue Faction; a group of outlaws who use real world and mystical talents to steal from the wicked and give to the poor. Having been a girl that no one cared about for so long, Valeria discovers newfound purpose as she joins a new family in New York City, goes back to school, trains as a Rogue, and makes new friends. But when Valeria discovers that two of her new friends are teenagers from a rival faction, she finds herself thrust into the middle of a conflict that could determine the fate of the world.
Plot summary: Valeria is rescued by Frank and brought to the Rogue faction headquarters, where she learns that the Rogue Faction is divided into five groups; Thieves, Assassins, Ninjas, Pirates, and Bounty Hunters. She meets Frank’s wife Jada, who leads the Faction, and decides to live with them as a thief instead of pursuing revenge of her parents’ death as an assassin. Valeria goes to high school where she meets new friends, and becomes increasingly close to Erin Tyrell and Sai Gupta. She continues her training as a Rogue - which involves training with masters from the other guilds, including the Assassin master - Dontrell Jackson - who happens to be Jada’s brother. While Jada defends her brother, Frank confesses to Valeria that he thinks Dontrell wants to wage war with the Rogue Faction’s rivals, a group of righteous healers known as the Celestial Faction. Valeria eventually discovers that both Erin and Sai are Celestials, and while Erin heals Valeria intentionally, it’s revealed that Sai has no idea what he is, and heals Valeria unintentionally. Erin explains how her parents lead the Celestial faction, and have designated her as the Chosen one; the only person who can stop “The Shadow” from destroying the world. To do that, she will require five artifacts possessed by the different factions. In exchange for not revealing Valeria’s secret identity as a Rogue, Erin and Valeria agree to enter the Rogue Faction’s most secure underground complex, the Midas Vault, and claim the artifact before the Shadow - who they assume is Dontrell - does. When the duo finally reach the artifact, they find Dontrell, Jada, Mr. and Mrs. Tyrell waiting in ambush, as most of the events of the story were all part of one big plan to capture an enemy both factions fear the most - a Shadow Knight.
The ambush fails and the Shadow Knight claims the artifact, but not before Erin appears to use her power to scare the villainous figure away. Once the dust has settled, both factions maintain a shaky ceasefire and agree to work together to discover the Shadow Knight’s motives and identity, while Valeria and her friends return home and try to return back to normal life.
Target audience: Teenagers, women, minorities, LGBTQ, fans of Harry Potter, Batman and Robin Hood.
Genre: contemporary fantasy and magical realism.
Length: 85,000 words, 16 chapters.
Mild trigger warning - this book overtly addresses issues of racism and sexism.