Query Critique 13

Without further ado… the Kyratique.


Dear Ms. Nelson,

In rural Devil Springs, Florida, seventeen-year-old Mesa struggles under her grandmother’s rising religious fanaticism. Going into her senior year, Mesa only wants to have fun with her best friend, Kenzi and help her neighbor, Drew, an incoming autistic freshmen. And then there’s Cody. This transition seems abrupt. She’s determined to ignore Cody – leading scorer of the basketball team and every girl’s not-so-secret crush. But when she needs his help In what way does she need his help? with Drew and sees his kinder side, Mesa’s resolve begins to melt.

Meanwhile, Grandma Avis is buying hope chests and pressuring Mesa to get baptized. Once again I’d find a way to smooth out transitions between talking about talking about Cody and talking about the grandma. Why would Mesa get baptized when she has no idea what she believes? When Kenzi’s crush on the new boy in town turns reckless, Avis is able to enlist the help of Pastor Shepherd, Kenzi’s dad, to drive the devil from Devil Springs. Suddenly the whole town is caught up in Avis-led fervor. You don’t have your sort of comparative title/market pitch sentence. This makes it seem like you could pitch it as a modern version of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (or something to that effect). As Mesa tries to understand what’s driving her grandmother, she begins to uncover the demons Avis is so eager to cast out. With the truth set free, Mesa must redefine both faith and family. This is interesting. I think there’s a demand for more discussion on religion in books, particularly in YA.

Devil Springs, All caps! a work of contemporary young adult fiction (not paranormal!), I don’t think you need to specify that it isn’t paranormal. It doesn’t sound paranormal to me.is complete at 70,000 words. As for me, I am a native Floridian who graduated from the University of Florida, which sits about 30 miles away from this fictional town. I also hold an MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington where I worked with authors such as Rebecca Lee and Clyde Edgerton.

Thank you for considering my work.

The Devil Went Down to Florida

My overall comment is to work on the flow. There are a couple of intertwined subplots, but there were times that I felt like we were talking about the grandma and then without warning we were suddenly talking about the boy. So just find a way to smooth those out a bit.


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