Query Critique 5

Three critiques in one day! Don’t get used to it. I’m usually too busy for that.

Purple comments!


Dear Ms. Nelson,

Walt Disney’s Snow White meets John Cusack’s Better Off Dead in POISON APPLES, a 55,000 word young adult novel with magical realism. Make sure to italicize comparative titles. I’d maybe say a contemporary magical realism novel, just to clarify since historical fiction can also have magical realism.

Bianca Snow’s life is over. I think you could find a better hook. This, too me, sounds a little dramatic and teen angsty. The fact that animals follow her around is unique, so I would find a way to work that into the hook. Her boyfriend, Lance, dumped her after one too many run-ins with the animals that follow her everywhere, and now he’s dating the hottest member of the Eastern Alexandria High School dance team.  Comma’s added under the assumption that Lance is her only boyfriend. Snow’s persistent parade of woodland creatures is a huge scandal at school- and in her father’s congressional campaign- and her evil stepmother volunteered all Snow’s newly found “free time” to babysit the seven kids of a politically powerful family. Consider breaking up this sentence. It’s a little long.

But just when Snow thinks she’s ready to end it all, I’m not entirely sure what “end it all” means. Is she planning to take her life (would NOT fit the tone of the novel)? Quit her babysitting job? Run away from home? she meets Will, a cello-playing senior who doesn’t mind her odd way with the natural world.  When the school talent show is announced, Snow realizes a good performance could redeem her reputation, and her relationship with Lance; with Will’s help, she might even win.  But singing her way back into Lance’s arms requires pretending she’s already in Will’s. And using Will to get to Lance might mean losing her real prince.

I am a member of SCBWI with an extremely average singing voice.  I think that’s a nice short bio. This is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Super-duper Terrific Doer of All Awesomely Fantastic Things.


The query feels short, but it covers all the essentials. So short is actually good in this case.

I will say, I see a lot of fairy tale retellings. In particular, I see Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty done all the time. I haven’t seen one quite like this, though. Which is good. Just don’t be surprised if some agents read “Snow White retelling” and groan. It is possible to get a story like this published, even though these retellings have been done a lot.

I talk about this a little bit in this post on timing.


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