Query Critique 27

Hi Ms. Nelson,

A message from an ex-classmate leads seventeen-year-old Sam Daley to question what everyone else had taken at face value—that his gifted, easygoing twin had hanged himself in his room one night.  I think I’d like the focus of the hook be more on the note. The note gives more of a mystery vibe, while the focus on the suicide makes it seem more like the story is about coping with his death.

The message was a single line—ask Zack about David’s death. I think I’d try to find a way to work this message into the hook. Before Sam can question the ex-classmate, the guy dies in a hit-and-run. Calling him the ex-classmate is getting a little clunky. It also raises a question as to why he’s not a classmate anymore, but I don’t feel like the answer to that is actually important to the story. Maybe just refer to him her as the guy who gave Sam the note. And Zack, super-rich party boy, insists he had nothing to do with the suicide. Determined to punch the truth out of Zack, Sam collars him in the school parking lot. But Zack’s girlfriend jumps in between, surprising Sam. Not because nerdy, introverted Mira Patel would have the guts to stand up to him, or even that Zack and she would be a couple, but because she was his brother’s best friend and study partner. This sentence is a little on the long side, and gets a bit hard to follow.

Though devastated by her friend’s suicide, I’d go ahead and use David’s name here, since we already know who he is. Mira has her own problems: unrealistic parental expectations and a sister who breaks every rule in their traditional Indian household. On top of that, she finds herself confronting her deceased friend’s twin brother, though he’s always made her nervous. Why does Sam make her nervous? I’d go ahead and use Sam’s name as well. But when her sister dies of a drug overdose, Sam offers her the support and empathy she needs.

As their grief draws them closer together, Mira helps Sam investigate his brother’s death. They discover clues linking the hit-and-run to her sister’s overdose and, ultimately, the suicide. Soon they’re in a race to expose a killer before he finishes them off, too.

My YA contemporary, MIRA, is complete at 56,000 words. I’d almost say this sounds more like mystery or thriller than contemporary. Also, I’m interested in why the title is MIRA, since it seems to be dual perspective.Thank you for your time and considerationI would like to see some comparative titles in this paragraph. “This book will appeal to fans of…”

The Missing Link

My main comment would be that I’d like a little more about the tone of the book. Is it really about finding the killer, or is it about coping with the deaths? Obviously, both are important to the story. But which is it really about?


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