Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #24

Dear Agent,

The last thing Kenz Grayson wants to do is switch high schools right before her senior year. Especially if it means going back to the town where she buried her family secrets, along with her father, seven years before. Unfortunately, that's exactly what her mom's making her do. With little hope for the year ahead, she goes, and watches another chapter of her life close behind her.

Everything changes when Kenz meets Lincoln James. Even though she's warned he's a total serial dater, she finds him irresistible. It doesn't take long before they're inseparable. Except that's when Kenz starts noticing just how many things are blocking her way to true happiness. Then again, with a car accident that almost kills her mom, a sexual abuse allegation against Lincoln, and the truth behind a super-secret operation in his past--she has a lot to worry about.

Kenz is well knows for choosing flight over fight. This time, will she find the strength to fight for what she really needs to be happy?

A NEW DAY is a YA contemporary romance, complete at 67,000 words. It will appeal to smart, fun readers who also enjoy books such as The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen and The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell.

Thanks so much for your consideration and I look forward to hearing your comments!



I slammed the car door and rushed past the men putting pieces of my life into a big white truck. I didn't stop until I was right between my mom and the two movers she was leading toward our house.

"What are you doing? It isn't time yet!" I resisted the urge to climb into the truck and push my things back out. Barely.

"Not now, Kenz." We watched our couch emerge through the front door. "You have two nights left to mope around. They're only here for the big furniture right now."

"I'm not going, Mom. I hate it there and I’m not going." I crossed my arms and blinked back tears. The fact I should be embarrassed crossed my mind, but I was too pissed off to care. They weren't supposed to touch my stuff until I was ready. Definitely not today.

"We've discussed this. We're going home." She turned toward me and put one finger in the air as soon as my mouth opened. "Spend tonight with your friends. Tomorrow will be busy and we leave first thing Sunday morning. Both of us."

My original plan was to give one last rational argument for staying in Missouri until I went to college. Seeing the moving van in my driveway a day earlier than expected pushed all my rational thoughts to the side. I left without saying another word.


Ellen Rozek said...

Your query is super tight, which is great, but I still think there are one or two things that could be fixed. I would take out the last line of the first paragraph. It doesn't really feel necessary and the query flows better without it.

Also, I'm not a big fan of the phrase "Everything changes" just because it seems a little cliched. How do things change? The words "super secret operation in his past" make Lincoln sound like a spy. If he is, that's a great clue, but if he's not that's what it sounds like. Can you use a different phrase to tell us that he has secrets?

As for the excerpt, no real complaints there. I think you did a nice job with that.

Hope this was helpful!

Kelley said...

I agree with Ellen. The last line in the first paragraph isn't necessary.

The second paragraph starts off great, we can all relate to the 'serial daters', but the last two sentences seem like they are the same thing. Aren't those the things keeping her from true happiness? Or are you hinting at something else? If they are the same thing, I think you could combine the two sentences.

The start of the story sounds great.

amber said...

Yeah, ditch that line. It's better without it. 'A super-secret operation' makes me immediately think 'sex change.' Was that intentioanl? :)

In the first 200 words, I love the dialogue. It feels very genuine -- especially her feelings about moving. Nice and tight!

Leigh Ann said...

This book sounds really intriguing, and the query is great - short and to the point. My only little issue is that I want maybe half a sentence more about the secret operation so that I understnad that it's a surgical operation and not a CIA operation. *smile*

The first page is fabulous. I really feel for the girl, and her voice comes through loud and clear. Awesome job.

Hope this helps! Best of luck! :)

Robbin L. said...

I like the voice, yet I'm not sure what would make Kenz really happy? I'm not a fan of family secret - super secret operations - need a hint or I stop caring.

I agree - the first page is fabulous. The only phrase I would change is "We're going home" to "We're going back home" - Isn't their current house a home? Felt insensitive. I would read more :)

Perri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Perri said...

There's a lot of promise in the query and page-- I could see this as a YA book. The themes are so universal.

One of my questions is about the main conflict. I am not sure how to read this part of the query:
"...Except that's when Kenz starts noticing just how many things are blocking her way to true happiness. Then again, with a car accident that almost kills her mom, a sexual abuse allegation against Lincoln, and the truth behind a super-secret operation in his past--she has a lot to worry about."

Is there a connection between these three things? Is Lincoln really a scary and dangerous guy? How does this all relate to the family secrets in the first paragraph?

I like the first page, but you may want to pare it down a bit. Kenz has a good reason to feel emotional, but her feelings are described/evoked in several places. Trust the reader to follow. You've already painted the picture so clearly.

Lora R. Rivera said...

Perri hit my concerns with the query on the nose. That entire section feels confusing to me. First, I didn't realize Kenz is concerned about finding "true happiness" (not even sure what this means). And I don't know how the accident, sexual abuse allegation and family's past play a role. You don't have much room to tease these out, so I'd focus on the main conflict and leave out the extra mayhem.

"Kenz is well known," I think you mean.

Opening page is great. Though I have some trouble with "The fact I should be embarrassed crossed my mind...." I'd leave in that pesky "that" you probably took out, and then tell us why she should be embarrassed, as this will clear up my trouble with the dialogue in this graf: It's juvenile, right? Young for a senior in high school.

First sentence, last graf. Not sure what this means...

Overall, tight and moving. I'd read on. Luck!

Melanie Stanford said...

I agree with everybody! Cut the last sentence of the first paragraph. And I was also confused about the whole "Except that's when Kenz..." part. The words "true happiness" just sound cheesy. I thought it was funny you said your book will appeal to "smart, fun readers". As opposed to stupid, boring readers? Really?
Loved the writing though, got the sense of Kenz and how awful she feels about the move right off. In the first sentence, I'd say, "I slammed the car door, ignoring the men putting..." or something like that just because I had to reread the first line a few times over. I would also put the "that" after "The fact" otherwise it sounds weird. I didn't think it sounded juvenile at all.

The Agent said...

E.O. - I really like this query and think it sounds like a good contemporary YA story. I agree that the last line of the query can be deleted, and there were some grammar issues that should be fixed. Other than that, my main concern here would be whether Kenz is a strong enough character. It seems like Lincoln might overshadow her. But, it wouldn't prevent me from requesting the manuscript.