Ugly-Wonder, by Francesco Muzzopappa

Francesco Muzzopappa
Young Adult
Italian publisher
Rights sold
All Rights Available

by Francesco Muzzopappa – Guareschi Prize Winner Author
Italian publisher: DeAgostini
Publication date: September 2023
Reading age: 10+
330 pp.
All rights available – Chapter translated in English

Have Hi. I’m Leonardo Ferrari, but everyone calls me Leo. First, I must tell you that I am very good-looking. In fact, I’m one of the best-looking young men not only in Italy, but in the world. I’m 13, I’m a model in all the major fashion magazines, and I have over 200,000 followers on social media. After trotting all over the globe, my parents (also models) and I settled in a quiet suburb of Milan, and I launched into a new life, a new school year, and a new personal journey, between keeping up with gigs, dealing with some remarkably persistent admirers, and building a coterie of friends.
On the bus on my first day of school I meet Kim, a Chinese boy who seems aloof, a genius type all wrapped up in drawing on his mysterious notepad. I think Kim is cool, but I can’t say the feeling is mutual. He hates that I sit next to him every day and he barely talks to me. As far as I can tell, he’s not a fan of influencers, he’s annoyed by showoffs, and overall would rather have nothing to do with people who are more about looks than brains. But that’s not the point of the story. The point is that during a field trip to the Civic Aquarium I break away from the group to go to the bathroom. But not really. I go somewhere I’m not supposed to, sneaking into a closed-off room where there’s a tank with a very strange fish, a fish still under observation, a very rare species of electrophora spinulosa. Ever heard of it? Me neither. It’s a small fish that looks harmless and cute until it suddenly turns ugly, opens its jaws to reveal sharp teeth, jumps out of the water, and clamps onto my hand with a ferocious bite. And that’s when my features start to change for the worse. Much worse… I go from being the best looking to being the ugliest of them all. And instead of attracting stares, I begin attracting things…

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