Query Critique 37

Dear Thoughts,

Chasing that creep was a terrible idea. This hook is a little vague for my taste. Mostly because you say “that creep” I don’t know who that creep is or why I should care about him, so the hook loses effectiveness. And following him into the sewers? Even worse. But seventeen-year-old Jennifer Pilgrim refused to let him steal her chess piece necklace, a gift from her deceased mother.

Then, mid-pursuit, the ground disappears under Jenny’s feet.

A terrifying tumble ends in an urbanized Wonderland—now coined Underland by its inhabitants. Talking animals, height-altering tarts, and the outlaw of the color blue. Just so you know, I chose blue font for this before reading this sentence.  Nothing makes sense and showing up with blue eyes and a blue dress? Jenny is in constant danger.

Desperate to escape the topsy-turvy world, Jenny turns to Cornelius Hatter, finder extraordinaire. What does that mean, he’s a finder? He reveals that the thief was actually a White Rabbit, the Red Queen’s bounty hunter. Terrified the Alice-look-alike will somehow retrieve the necklace, the Queen unleashes her guard to capture Jenny. Or more specifically, her head.

No way is that happening. Jenny formulates a plan: get her mom’s necklace and get home. That seems more like a goal than a plan.

Except Jenny’s strategy pushes her deeper into Underland. With their memories taken by the Red Queen, Underland’s inhabitants teeter between revolution and submission. Through the Oyster Rebellion’s intel, Jenny discovers that her necklace originally belonged to Alice.  The Oyster Rebellion seems like it’s just thrown in there, but I don’t really know what it is. And holds the key to returning everyone’s memories.

Jenny finds herself torn between a world—and a man—she has come to care for and the family and home she has always known. I’d consider putting this in parentheses. You’ve already used the em-dash in the letter. Also, the man seems sort of abrupt, because he hasn’t really been mentioned previously in the query.
Complete at 80,000 words, UNDERLAND is a YA steampunk/urban twist on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I’d like to see some comparative YA titles.  Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,

The Underlandiful


This query feels a little long to me. And I sort of like the three paragraph format. Just things to think about.