Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Agent's Inbox #17

Dear Mystery Agent,

I'd like to submit my lower YA novel CAN'T BUY ME LOVE (54k words) for your consideration.

Life as a teenage heiress is one mixed bag of crazy.

Thirteen year-old Marnie Mercer thinks middle school would be perfect if she could just address a few critical issues. The lack of cell phone thing, for one. Her ho-hum social status, for another. And would it be too much to ask for a first kiss to knock her (discount store) shoes off? But when she inherits a fortune from an unknown great-aunt, she discovers a brand-new set of complications.

Now, her best friend is convinced money corrupts, her parents need a loan and a group of popular girls offer Marnie access to the top of the social pyramid, but first she'll have to complete their zany pledging checklist. Soon she's sneaking locks of her principal's hair, stealing her teacher's beloved laser pointer and throwing a sure-to-get-her-grounded-for-LIFE party.

To make matters worse, she’s finally met a guy worth his weight in gold--only he might not be so interested if he finds out how many commas separate their allowances. Marnie needs to find a way to manage her money and her life while staying true to herself. Otherwise, she can say goodbye to her best friend’s respect, her parents’ trust, and any chance of getting her first kiss from a boy who makes her feel priceless.

CAN'T BUY ME LOVE will appeal to fans of Lauren Barnholdt, Wendy Mass' FINALLY and Lauren Myracle's The Winnie Years series.

I am a member of SCBWI and two critique groups. I also have a strong background in promotions as the former Head of New England Publicity and Promotions for 20th Century Fox and Miramax Films.

Thank you for your time and attention.



Is it totally wrong to be jealous of someone else's coffin. I mean, it's not like I have a death wish or anything but my great-aunt's casket is seriously blinked out. It has actual diamonds in the handles. When my time's up, I definitely wouldn't mind flaming out movie star-style, like Aunt Glinda.

Maybe if I'd ever laid eyes on her (or at least the casket I assume she's inside) even once in the last thirteen years, I might be a little more into paying my respects instead of calculating carats, but until two days ago, I didn't even know I had an Aunt Glinda.

"Marnie, please move it along," hisses Mom, under her breath.

Whoops! I realize I've been standing over Aunt Glinda's casket for like two whole minutes and there's a line of people backed up behind me.

"Sorry," I whisper and speedwalk back to our pew. Aside from Mom I don't know anyone here, but I can feel lots of eyes on me. I spend the whole rest of the service standing and sitting when I'm told and trying hard to look properly mournful.

It's a little difficult to get worked up for a stranger-relative, but from all the nice things everyone is saying about Aunt Glinda, she sounds pretty cool. And RICH! Holy wow, do those diamonds catch the lights, especially with the sun coming in through the stained glass window. There are beams of color flying all over the place, like when Mr. Martin goes crazy with his laser pointer in history class. He so does not getting that aiming a red dot at Abe Lincoln's left nostril does not make the Civil War more interesting.


Teresa said...

Awesome premise. It reminds me of The Princess Diaries. I also love the title. The query was clear and definitely establishes your voice, but I think it could be tightened as it does appear a bit long.

Found a typo in the sample: Don't you mean seriously 'blinged' out. Also, the line, 'flaming out movie star-style' confused me. 'Flaming out' as in 'flamboyant'?

Otherwise, good job!

Robin said...

Great idea. I'd cut the first line of your query though, because then I was reading all confused about why a teenage heiress didn't have all those things.

The zany pledge list sounds so fun, and shows you have great side characters.

On your 1st page, great 1st paragraph.
I do wonder if 13 yo would be calculating carats.

The line about Mr. Martin and Ave Lincoln's left nostril-so great.

Good luck!

Jennifer Malone said...

Yes, typo! It should read "blinged out". And that's what I get for trying to submit from my cell phone while touring the Ben and Jerry's Factory:) Thanks for the catch and the comments!

Kristy Shen said...

Love the first lines in your query and your 250 words. You're a wizard when it comes to hooks!

Your writing flows really well and you have an awesome voice. I'd read on :)

Julia K said...

The voice is spot on :) Loved it when I got to beta it and if possible love it even more now :)

Deserae McGlothen said...

I really love the query and the premise but the first 250 don't look as polished as the query does. In the first two sentences there are two mistakes. The hyphenation is off in the last sentence of that same paragraph. A few of the following sentences could be tightened....

Overall, I really like the query and your character. The voice truly is stand out in both query and page. I'd read on, definitely, and I hope the agent will want to as well!

Good luck, Author,

Jennifer Malone said...

Thanks, Desiree! I apologize to everyone for the typos- i had to retype my whole submission onto my phone about five minutes before the contest opened because I was traveling and lost the wifi connection. I promise those typos aren't in my MS:)

Suja said...

I just love it. The humor is so captivating and not forced at all. I liked the query too. I like the concept and, if the rest is anything like the first 250, this is going to be a real fun read.

Dana said...

I've had the pleasure to read this entire manuscript and it's SO adorable and fun!

Girls will love it. Good luck!

Nazarea Andrews said...

I really like this. I think your query has great voice, but you could tighten it up some--it's a bit long. The first sentence, followed by the paragraph detailing what she DOESN'T have, confused me a little bit.

Your first 250 was solid. The blinked out made me pause for a second--should it be blinged?--BUT I really like it and love the voice of Marnie. Good work :)

The Agent said...

I think this is a good premise, and the first line of the first page made me laugh!

The voice in the query is strong. I do think the first line should go, because I assumed Marnie already had the money at the beginning of the second paragraph. But I love the concept of this story!

In the first page, there are a couple of places where I think the voice is a little overdone, especially Marnie's "Whoops" and "And RICH! Holy wow…" There's a tricky balance between snarky and over-the-top with a thirteen-year-old: the voice has to feel authentic, and not as though it's gotten taken over by catchphrases and jokes. But I would definitely keep reading here, to see how the voice and story develop!

Kate Brauning said...

The query made me laugh. I loved the first 250. I'm charmed. :) For the most part I agree with the comments above about being a bit too much some places and calculating carats, but they weren't huge issues for me. I would definitely read on. :)

Stephsco said...

Coming in late to comment on the winners -- I love this! What a strong query and great sample pages that match with voice. I love the premise, it sounds really fun and like a problem most kids would want to have (but maybe have second thoughts on after reading). Nice work!