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The Drama with Doomsdays



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About The Book

Celia must find the classmate at the heart of a Doomsday Prophecy before it’s too late in this second “high stakes” (Kirkus Reviews) book in the contemporary fantasy middle grade series perfect for fans of the Thirteen Witches and Love Sugar Magic series.

Ever since the fateful visions about Jeffrey Johnson, Celia Cleary’s prophecies have focused on smaller things like minor mishaps and everyday inconveniences. It’s finally starting to feel like she has a handle on her powers…until things take a turn for the weird.

One day at school, Celia’s notebook magically fills in with a single name written over and over: Patrick. She uses the family guidebook to investigate and learns that the mysterious Patrick is connected to a Doomsday Prophecy—a vision that involves a large group of people, a point of no return, and a terrible future. The target for this particular reckoning? The entire eighth grade.

Celia soon finds herself in a race against the clock to figure out which Patrick at their school is at the heart of the coming disaster. As the shifting sands of luck turn against her, she’ll need Grammy’s voice and the help of friends more than ever. But even with their efforts combined, can they prevent the doomsday?


Chapter One: Both Worlds CHAPTER ONE Both Worlds
There is an old story about a seer. Every day the seer sits in a market square, predicting futures for the right price. One day, she’s in the middle of a prediction when a friend runs up to her stall. Apparently, someone broke into the seer’s house and stole all of her possessions. As the seer runs home, the other vendors in the square exchange grins. It’s funny, they all think, that the seer could see the fates of others but not her own.

I was nine when Grammy first told me that story. I still remember walking with her, down by the very end of the greenway, listening to her voice as leaves trembled from their branches. Later, I read that story again in the appendix of the Cleary Family Guide Book. It’s a famous tale because it is one of the most common fears in the seer community. We worry about balance. We wonder what will happen if we spend too much time looking at other people’s futures. Will we forget to live our own precious lives? My solution: mix them up together in one big bowl.

That’s why I’m hustling through the movie theater’s parking lot, urging Jeffrey Johnson to hurry up. He might not know it, but we’re heading to the location of my most recent vision.

“Aren’t soccer players supposed to be fast?”

He’s half scrolling on his phone as he tries to keep up with me.

“Didn’t you tell me not to run through parking lots? You say that to me all the time. Like, more than my mom says it…”

I roll my eyes. He’s right, though. Last year, I saved Jeffrey’s life more times than I could count. And most of the incidents had to do with cars and parking lots. I have definitely given Jeffrey several stern speeches about his lack of awareness when surrounded by large, metal death traps. I guess it’s a good sign that he’s willing to take my advice, at least.

“You’re right. I just don’t want to miss the previews.”

He slides his phone back in his pocket and frowns. “You don’t even like the previews.”

That’s also true. And it’s kind of flattering that he remembered such a small detail. I check the time on my phone, eye the line of people waiting out front, and lead Jeffrey around them, straight through the main doors.

“Hey. Wait. Don’t we have to buy tickets?”

I wave my phone over one shoulder. “Already did.”

He makes a noise of surprise, and I already know what he’s going to say next. Not because I’ve seen this in a vision or anything, but just because I know Jeffrey. He has some very chivalrous concepts of what it means to go on a date. Even if we both technically got dropped off in his mom’s minivan.

“You don’t have to buy my ticket for this to be a date,” I remind him. “If Sophie caught you thinking like that, she’d sit you down for a thirty-minute presentation.”

He blushes a little. “So… this is a date?”

“Of course it is.”

I glance over and catch the effect that has on him. He looks around like he’s hoping that everyone within twenty feet of us has heard this very important announcement and knows we’re on a date. We’ve mostly gone out with the whole group of friends, but Sophie and DeSean already had plans tonight. Jeffrey did take me to dinner once, alone, which would have probably counted as a real date if the waiter hadn’t spent every possible second coming over to talk about how cute we looked. We barely got to talk to each other.

At some point this year, I did start thinking of Jeffrey as my boyfriend. And I’m pretty sure he thinks of me as his girlfriend? The only problem is that neither of us officially asked the other person out. Which is why if anyone in the world asked me if we were dating, I’d turn into a hermit crab and hide in my shell until the end of the universe.

Avery says we need to make things official. She’s in ninth grade this year, which means she knows a whole new set of dating rules that we’ve never heard of before. But there’s a big difference between knowing the rules and actually asking someone to be your boyfriend. Those two things are separated by a huge canyon of awkwardness that I haven’t been brave enough to jump across yet.


I look back. Jeffrey’s standing behind the ropes with the ticket taker. I stare at him for a second in confusion. “What’s wrong?”

“My ticket? You—you scanned yours but not mine…”

He trails off, like he’s not sure if I actually bought him a ticket too. As if maybe this was one big miscommunication and he’s going to have to go back outside and buy his own. I wave those concerns away with one hand and backtrack to where he’s standing.

“Sorry. Just… a brain fart. Here.”

Did I really just say the words brain fart? Reaching out, I scroll down to let the ticket taker scan the second ticket so that Jeffrey is free to slip past him. He has a little smile tugging at his lips.

“Brain fart, huh?”

I snort. “That’s what Grammy always called them.”

“She’s so cool.”

My heart skips a few beats as we walk past the concessions. He always talks about Grammy in the present tense, like she’s still here with us. I want to feel like that’s true. I’m always reading her advice in the guide book or hearing her voice in my head. But deep down, I know that she’s gone.

“Popcorn?” Jeffrey asks.

“Maybe later. I want to get to our seats.”

He frowns again. “Aren’t they reserved?”

I shrug back at him. “Just in case.”

Once again, Jeffrey is right. The seats are reserved. It’s a new thing, getting to pick your seat ahead of time. Grammy would have hated it. Half of the fun—in her opinion—was trying to navigate through the seat savers and sprawling families to find the best seats still available. She always said it was one of her greatest talents. I feel that sharp pain as I think about the fact that we’ll never walk up and down the aisles together again. It’s like touching my tongue to a spot where a tooth used to be. Painful and sensitive and irreversible.

“I think we’re in Theater Eleven,” Jeffrey says. “It’s over this way.”

I smile and let him lead the way, even though I’m seeing this hallway for the fourth time this week. It looks exactly the same as it did in my visions. The lollipop-red carpets with random silver squiggles. Movie posters advertising coming attractions with bright colors or obnoxious explosions. I glance at my phone and know that in about twelve minutes, this hallway will be deserted. And that’s when I need to come back to this spot.

Inside our theater, the house lights are still on. Commercials are playing as I follow Jeffrey up the stairs. He’s counting the rows and looks like an explorer trying to navigate through ancient ruins to get us to the right seats. There’s an older couple up in the back corner, and then a family down at the opposite end of our row. The rest of the place is pretty empty.

Which has me feeling nervous all over again.

Jeffrey and I have done a lot of hand holding. There’s been smiling and laughing and big hugs. But if becoming official feels like an awkward leap, the idea of a first kiss seems even more awkward. Avery’s tried to coach me on that subject as well—as our friend group’s resident expert—but every time I think back through her advice, only three things come to mind:
  1. Be careful about braces.
  2. Eat a lot of mints/gum beforehand.
  3. Don’t keep your eyes open. That’s super creepy.

I glance over to see if Jeffrey’s as nervous as I am, but he’s already plunked into his cushioned seat and he’s messing with the controls of his recliner. I sit down and now there’s just a pair of plush armrests between the two of us. The seats have us sitting so deep, though, that Jeffrey has to lean forward just so he can see me.

“Okay. So… do you remember everything that happened in the first movie?”

“Isn’t this the one where the best friend turned out to be a robot?”

He groans. “No, no, no… That’s a spinoff series. Okay. So in the first movie, we find out that there’s a malfunction in the space-time continuum. And the entire crew ends up going…”

For about five minutes, Jeffrey explains one of the most complicated plots I’ve ever heard. It has me smiling, though. He’s a really great storyteller. I’ve noticed this. The way he always wants to tell me about something that happened at soccer practice—or on his family’s beach trip. And the more passionate he is on the subject, the more dramatic the story gets. It’s one of my favorite things about him.

“… and that is when they realize that they’ve actually arrived at their own home planet, but before anyone else occupied it. So… they’re basically the settlers of their own future timeline!”

I nod enthusiastically when I realize he’s done with his summary.

“Time travel. Got it.”

He leans back in his seat, briefly vanishing into the massive puffs of leather. I laugh when he peeks back out. “This is a date… but you’re totally up to something. Aren’t you?”

I frown at him. “What?”

“You are!” He nods, confident in his guess now. “You’re doing your…”

He waves all his fingers at me like he’s performing a spell. The gesture always makes me laugh. One of the slight changes I made—based on Grammy’s advice—was including my friends and the people I cared about in what I do. I didn’t tell Jeffrey that I had used my gift to save his life specifically, but he knows I have an intuition about the future. The first thing he did when he found out was sit me down and ask me to tell him who’d win the next five Super Bowls. I had to explain that my gift didn’t quite work that way, but he wasn’t disappointed. More curious than anything.

I can tell Jeffrey and my friends are all slightly skeptical of what I mean when I say I can see the future. They just kind of assume I have good instincts or something. It’s always hard for someone who doesn’t have magic to fully believe that magic is real. Jeffrey has been more ready to accept the truth than the others. I waggle my fingers back at him.

“I’m pretty sure there aren’t any spells that involve magic hands.”

He laughs. “But I’m right. You’re here for that.”

“How’d you know?”

“Oh, there were lots of clues. You would be a horrible spy.”

I pretend to be offended. “Oh yeah? Like what?”

“First, this theater is like ten minutes farther away than the one near our neighborhood on Pickard Road. And it’s playing this exact same movie at this exact same time.” He raises another finger as he counts off the clues that he’s gathered. “Second, you’ve checked your phone like five times since we got here… but you haven’t looked at your messages once. There are like eight unread texts. Which means you’re keeping track of the time…”

I can’t help grinning at that one. “Okay. That’s pretty clever.”

“And third,” he says, clearly excited to add some icing to the cake, “I just told you a whole plot to the last movie—and inserted your name into the story twice, but you didn’t even notice. Distracted! Which means you’re doing your…”

He waggles his fingers again.

I laugh. “Fine. You caught me.”

He does a little fist pump. “Knew it!”

“But for the record, I was distracted by you during the Wikipedia summary.”

And those words have us both freezing like we were shot with stun rays from the movie we’re about to watch. Jeffrey blushes. I realize that my words might mean more than they actually mean. I was just trying to say that, well, I was thinking about how much I liked him. But is the word distracted a code word for something else?

At that exact moment, the lights in the theater dim. There’s shifting around us as people reach for snacks or drinks, preparing for the previews to start. I’m thankful for the dark because I know I’m probably blushing, too.

Jeffrey’s still looking at me, obviously unsure if he should lean in closer or plunk back into the safety of his seat. My phone buzzes slightly and I realize it’s time. I need to get downstairs.

“I’ll be right back. I just have to save someone from making a huge mess in the lobby. I promise. Just this one thing, and then I’m all yours.”

Those words act like a second hit from a stun-ray. Because saying I’m all yours feels like a line straight out of a bad romance novel. Jeffrey is blushing and I’m blushing and before it can get any more awkward, I duck down our row. I’m trying to focus on the real reason I came here tonight, but that last line keeps replaying in my head as I navigate the barely lit stairs.

Very smooth, Celia. Very smooth.

About The Author

Photograph © York Wilson

Scott Reintgen is a former public school teacher from North Carolina. When he’s not writing, he uses his imagination to entertain his wife, Katie, and their three children. Scott is the New York Times bestselling author of the Waxways series, the Nyxia trilogy, the Dragonships series, and the Celia Cleary series for younger readers. You can find him on Instagram @Reintgen, on X (previously known as Twitter) @Scott_Thought, or on his website at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Aladdin (May 16, 2023)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665903608
  • Grades: 5 - 9
  • Ages: 10 - 14
  • Fountas & Pinnell™ V These books have been officially leveled by using the F&P Text Level Gradient™ Leveling System

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Raves and Reviews

A knotty, high-stakes premise leading to an ingenious solution, with snogging and spellcasting on the way.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2023

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More books from this author: Scott Reintgen

More books in this series: The Celia Cleary Series