All but two of the houses on the block behind Forestdale are gone. Instead of letting it slowly fill up with trash and despair, Paul planted an orchard. In the summer peaches and pears and apples and plums grow on the trees, and vegetables of every make and model grow in the soil. Neighbors care for bees and collect honey in autumn. In the winter, Paul floods it to make a backyard ice rink. He's still tinkering with a homemade way to groom the ice, and recently I found him back there on his knees with a clothing iron plugged into an extension cord, trying to iron the ice smooth. That didn't work. He'll figure something out eventually.
You’ll be published by the merit of your novel, not your age. The only thing telling your age does for you is to have slush-pile readers think, “Oh no. Another teenager who thinks this is the one.” And that’s all done in the space it takes to flick it to the reject pile. You have to be as good as any other writer, not “good for my age.” So, get your age out of your head, when approaching an agent or publisher with your query. Don’t mention age at all, until you talk or it’s time to sign the contract. The only reason you mention it then is because it’s likely your parents will want to go with you to make sure the contract is legitimate (and possibly because they don’t want you going into a big city on your own. 😉 )