Query critique 88

Chase Warner should be spending senior year at his elite Connecticut private school rejoicing the end is near. This hook sort of seems to focus on what should be normal. I think it would be stronger if you jumped right into the conflict and how not normal things are for Chase. But instead, he’s sneaking alcohol, dabbling in drugs, and watching his shoo-in acceptance to Yale, slip right out of his grasp. ‘Boys will be boys’ and ‘senoritis’ are expressions his counselors use to excuse his behavior. But they couldn’t be further from the truth. And Chase is fine with keeping the truth between just him and his sister. Not only does no one need to know he was raped by an alumnus, Chase is sure no one would believe him—or care. This is the main source of conflict, so I’d like to see it worked into the hook.

But when Chase (drunkenly) posts on an anonymous chatting app his secret, he finds solace in a strange soul: the headmaster’s super-senior son, Malakai. Malakai doesn’t ask questions, is comforting and most of all, a physical, as well as emotional, anchor for Chase. There are a lot of commas in this section, which make it a little hard to read. Consider using some em dashes. Something he didn’t know he needed until his rapist returns to school as an assistant football coach.

Chase knows if he goes to the school, they’ll crucify him and all his hard work at Harrington would be for nothing. I’d like a little hint at why he doesn’t think the school will believe him. Or why he hasn’t pursued other avenues to justice. Has he contacted law enforcement? If Chase wants justice, he’ll have to take the law into his own hands, no matter the personal, legal, or ethical ramifications that follow.

Chase’s favorite quote has always been, ‘When one goes on a journey of revenge, dig two graves’. But now, he wants to modify that. When one goes on a journey of revenge, bring one bullet. I kinda get what you’re trying to do here with establishing stakes and tying in the title. I don’t think you need to explain the title in the query, though. And I think you’d be a little better off just stating the stakes clearly. Overall, though, I think this is a great query with a lot of great potential.

THE BULLET PROVERB is a completed 75,000 YA novel that addresses male rape, vengeance, and the toxic ways people heal. It will appeal to fans of FAULT LINE and GOLDEN BOY.


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