Fiction Fest: A peek inside McKenzie Wagner’s ‘Benotripia: The Stones of Horsh’

Stones of Horsh, The_2x3What were you doing when you were 12 years old? We guess is you weren’t writing and publishing books.

McKenzie Wagner, 12, will release the second installment in the “Benotripia” series on Sept. 10. “Benotripia: The Stones of Horsh” is the follow up to her bestselling “Benotripia: The Rescue,” which continues to sell well.

Wagner is a regular on the book signing circuit in Utah and regularly signs in Costco warehouses. Check our events calendar for updated information.

“Benotripia: The Stones of Horsh” is available in bookstores and online retailers.


When she was six, Jessicana and her family had gone boating on their watercraft that they had just bought. It had been a great trip, and the whole family had had a fun time. Soft rays of sunlight shot down from the heavens and bounced across the water, heating the water slightly. Little Jessicana, her hair braided and hang- ing down her back, gazed at the crystal cool waters with her big blue eyes. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

As her family sipped on coconut milk and mango smoothies, Jessicana leaned over the side, captivated by the ocean. She felt it drawing her in, and she showed no resistance, bending closer and closer to the water. Jessicana splashed her face with the cool water and dipped her arms in, enjoying the feeling, enticed.

A wave of water crashed over her head, and Jessicana plunged into the sea. She panicked and flailed her arms wildly, fighting to get to the surface, but the water resisted her, pushing her deeper and deeper from the light.

The ocean was no longer beautiful but a trap, and Jessicana struggled to breathe as water filled her mouth and nose. Black spots danced before her eyes, and she could barely feel the sensation of motherly arms pulling her toward the surface.

Strong arms pushed on her chest, and Jessi- cana’s eyes fluttered open. Coughing wildly, Jessi- cana realized she wasn’t on her family’s boat and sat up, panicked and scared. A pale hand—much like her own, only larger—touched her shoulder gently, and soon Jessicana was staring into a pair of blue eyes that strongly resembled hers.

A beautiful woman was gazing at her, and Jessi- cana tilted her head in wonder. What was going on?

“Are you all right?” the woman asked softly. Jes- sicana then noticed a girl with reddish-brown hair who looked to be about her age standing behind the woman. The woman was biting her lip but had the face of a leader.

“Y-yes,” Jessicana stammered, but before she could say anything more, her family’s boat pulled up beside the woman’s. Her parents embraced her. Jessicana could hear them repeating over and over again, “Leader Danette, how can we thank you?” and “How can we ever repay you?”

It was true. Danette had rescued Jessicana from drowning, and in the process, the blonde little girl had gained a new friend, Roseabelle. The two became close friends despite their differences.

Roseabelle was brave, bold, and a deep thinker. Jes- sicana had a thirst for learning, some spunk, and much loyalty.