Dear [insert agent’s name here],
[This is where I’d personalize the query, citing why I’m choosing to query this particular agent and why we’d be a good fit.] I’m seeking representation for my young adult novel UNDER THE SURFACE, which stands finished at 58,000 words. The book is a work of contemporary magical realism that marries the introspective, contemporary teen drama of John Green’s PAPER TOWNS and the beautifully bizarre found in texts by Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende. Normally I’d say stay away from Paper Towns since it’s a movie, but I think it works here since you’re also using the other comps. Also, put Paper Towns in italics to set it apart from your title.
Seventeen-year-old Lauren Williams, self-proclaimed rebel and professional mother-disappointer, needs an escape. Causing her sister’s disappearance? Not exactly what she was going for. I like this hook.
When Lauren first hears the legend of Lake Jambo, she’s intrigued. A forgotten town sunken beneath a lake, possibly still intact? This sentence structure with the question is a little repetitive, since you used it in the last sentence. Sign her up. Lauren gathers up her two best friends, hops on a boat (somewhat illegally), and sets out to find the Atlantis of Rick County. Good voice in this sentence. One problem: Roxie, Lauren’s eight-year-old sister, begs to come along. Too focused on the algae-covered church steeple the group stumbles upon, Lauren doesn’t notice Roxie’s vacant seat on the boat until it’s too late.
Traumatized by the grief of her sister’s disappearance, Lauren becomes obsessed with uncovering the secrets behind Roxie’s increasingly mysterious departure. The issue with century-old secret towns buried under lakes, though, is that they like being buried. Unwittingly, Lauren unleashes a seedy history so convoluted and malevolent it’s almost alive—and it’s doomed to repeat itself. With Roxie’s life hanging by a thread, Lauren must dive under the surface to save her sister… or live under the weight of her death. If you could maybe give like a brief (one sentence) hint into the seedy history, being specific wouldn’t hurt. If it’s too hard to explain or would give too much away, don’t worry about it.
I am an undergraduate at Marywood University finishing my degree in Comparative Literature and Languages. My writing is heavily influenced by my studies of Latin American writers, but luckily I don’t have the same taste for pestilence and destruction as they do. This is my first novel, and I’m proud to say that there is no reference to cholera whatsoever despite having spent many long hours with Márquez. Fun bio.
I hope you’ll be interested in learning more about UNDER THE SURFACE. Thank you so much for your time and consideration!