Query Critique 8

That’s three in a row today for contemporary YA. Last semester, I watched obscene amounts of Law and Order: SVU, so I’m excited about this query.

My comments are in blue.


Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Zoey was abducted and held prisoner for six months. She escaped. The query is short enough that I think you have room to briefly explain how she escaped (if it is something that can be explained in a sentence or so, it might be kind of interesting to put here). The kidnapper was presumed killed by the cops, although his body was never found.

When her so-called “Life Coach” writes a tell-all book about the kidnapping ordeal, Zoey’s thrust back into the national spotlight. Threatening comments appear on her blog and reporters hound her for their latest sound bite. A phone call from someone who claims to be the kidnapper sends her into an emotional tailspin which results in a suicide attempt. After a brief stint in a psychiatric unit, she comes home with a new dysfunctional way to cope: cutting. The transition between this paragraph and the next could maybe be a little bit smoother. Or at least begin one of the paragraphs with a different word, since they both start with when.

When a neighborhood girl who looks eerily like Zoey goes missing, the kidnapper gives Zoey three days to solve the clues he leaves on Zoey’s blog before he kills the girl. But Zoey knows that he doesn’t want the new girl. He wants her and will do whatever he can to finish the job.

SHATTERED, a dark I don’t know that the word dark adds much here. The query already establishes that it’s dark. contemporary YA thriller is complete at 75,000 words and is in the same vein as Laurie Halse Anderson’s, SPEAK and Cheryl Rainfield’s, SCARS. Put the comparative titles in lowercase and italicize them. It sets your title apart from those you’re comparing to when they’re formatted differently like that.

Iron Heart


This is a very polished query. I don’t actually have much to add to it. Good luck to the author, because I think this one is about ready to go out to the trenches.


One thought on “Query Critique 8

  1. Pingback: Examples of Great Hooks | Thoughts From the Agent Desk

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