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Marguerite “Mickey” Fitzpatrick has three goals in life: win the National Junior Ring Jousting championship, study equine physical therapy in college, and become an armor-wearing, lance-wielding jouster at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Just like her big brother. 

But unlike her brother, Mickey has a mountain standing in her way. For as long as she can remember, she’s been sick to her stomach and super skinny, even though she eats like a starving bear. After a minor fall last year fractured several bones, she finally discovered why — she has celiac disease. 

She’s had to change her whole diet and eat gross fake bread, but now she’s healthy and strong and ready to take on any challenge. The problem? Her parents aren’t ready to let her. In fact, they’ve banned her from riding horses. 

So what’s a girl supposed to do when she’s about to lose everything she’s ever worked for? Go rogue and train with her part-time friend, part-time nemesis, Daniel. But when her mom and dad find out and ground her for the rest of eternity, they won’t even let her watch the championship from the sidelines.

Will Mickey let her parents’ arbitrary rules stop her or will she show the world she can do anything she puts her mind to? 

Justing is the state sport of Maryland, which in my opinion is the coolest state sport ever. This story was inspired by my childhood friend, who actually does joust in full armor, with a real lance at Renaissance festivals on the East Coast. Mickey’s experience with celiac disease is similar to my own, and I hope this story will bring awareness to the impact this incurable but manageable illness has on people’s lives.