Query Critique 7

YA contemporary is the thing to write these days. This is two in a row in that genre.

Comments in green!


Dear Kyra,

When sixteen-year-old Teasel Wilson’s twin sister Lantana breaks up with her boyfriend, she hopes she finally has a chance with him. The pronoun use makes this sentence hard to read. Which sister do “she” and “her” refer to? After all, Teasel’s been secretly in love with him since the first time they met, and her sister stole him away from her while they were on a play date. How long ago did they meet? Play date is something I associate with kids. There’s only one problem.

Lantana didn’t hear that her boyfriend broke up with her on a radio show. The first paragraph made it sound like breaking up was Lantana’s idea. That also sounds like a jerk move on the boyfriend’s part, so you might need to do some work to make him likable to the reader.

And if her crazy uncle has his way, Lantana will never know. At least not until the Miss Bovine pageant is over, and Teasel’s sister is safely on her way to becoming Miss Teen South Dakota. Why does the uncle think that this will hurt her chances of winning? Also, why does he care that much? However, all hell breaks loose when someone plays a recording of the live breakup before the crown is on her head. Teasel’s life becomes even more complicated Make it clearer how all this is really affecting Teasel, because it seems like it should have more to do with her sister. after Lantana gets her hands on a chainsaw and cuts down the town’s “love tree.” There’s some good conflict in this paragraph, but some of the transitions between sentences can be smoothed over.

Now, recordings of Teasel tackling her tree-cutting sister are on the nightly news and every internet gossip site in the United States. Oh, and that secret crush? So not a secret anymore. Lantana pretty much spills to anyone who’ll listen that her own sister tried to steal her boyfriend. I think you need to establish exactly how Teasel was involved in the break up. Did the boyfriend (whose name should maybe be mentioned in the query) specifically say in the broadcast that he was breaking up with Lantana to be with Teasel? This information would help establish why Lantana is so mad at Teasel.When everyone decides to ask for her side of the story, Teasel doesn’t know how to answer. After all, the next words out of her mouth could cost her the chance to be with the one guy she’s loved forever or a relationship with the sister who’s known her all her life. The query is a little scattered in some ways, but this last sentence does a good job tying it together and establishing the stakes.

DEDICATION TO MY EX is a 65,000-word contemporary novel combining diverse characters with a Mid-West setting. Comparative titles would be good. I feel like you could come up with some for a YA contemporary.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.


The Intrepid Panther

I think the biggest thing this query struggles with is transitioning from one idea to the next. This is where it can really help to have critique partners, especially ones who have read the story. The wording in a query has to be super tight, which means it can take awhile to fine tune. It’s all about tweaking, and that can take a lot of patience.

Again, YA contemporary is a good genre to be pitching right now. Agents are also on the hunt for diverse books, so good news on that front.


One thought on “Query Critique 7

  1. I’m just another would-be writer, but I feel this query should make the characters (at least the protagonist) more likeable. Both sisters and Mr. Lucky sound like (very pretty) jerks.

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