Friday, October 12, 2012

Query Help

Dear Agent,

Insert research statement. I would like to share my contemporary YA romance, A Missing Peace with you. It's Romeo&Juliet meets a military cover up.

Angry Iraqi war refugee Mirriam Yohanna hates her new life in Killeen,Texas, and hates that boys like Caleb Miller think it's okay to call a girl you've never met beautiful—or anything other than her name.
After Mirriam turns him down in front of everyone, Caleb's up to the challenge of taking her to prom when his friends dare him. As the two start spending time together, Mirriam proves to be a good friend to have. When Caleb's leg is crushed in a hit and run, Mirriam is there to pull him out of the street and push him to keep living. She's also able to tell him the shocking truth about his soldier father's death. Something the other soldiers would never do. That single truth changes both of their lives and strengthens their bond.
Caleb and Mirriam have fallen hard for each other, but when her family finds out, they decide it's time to arrange her marriage to a proper Iraqi man. She must find a way out.
Told in alternating points of view, A Missing Peace, is complete at 52,700 words.
Per your submission guidelines, I have attached _____.
Thank you, 


  1. First question: How old is she? I'm also confused as to how they spend time together if she doesn't seem to like him. Also, does she find out about the bet? You mention it but it doesn't come up again.

    I love the line about the arranged marriage, but what does finding a way out entail? Give a hint at why this will be so difficult. I'm thinking her heritage has to do with it, but raise the stakes and tell us how tough this will be to get out of.

    I'd highlight the relationship even more, too. What about:
    Sixteen-year-old Mirriam Yohanna hates Caleb Miller. After all, what guy thinks it's okay to call a girl he doesn't know beautiful instead of using her name?

    Caleb isn't about to let one public rejection stop him, especially when his friends dare him to take Mirriam to the prom.

    Now from here, I don't know how to reword this for you because of my unanswered questions above. Feel free to email me if you want. If you give me more info, I can help you more.

  2. Once I got into it, I really liked the premise. Perhaps the beginning para could be a bit less soapy and have a bit more business-like sound to it. Otherwise, I think it's good! :-)

  3. I would agree with Lexa Cain's comment about the first paragraph. As for the rest of the query, the thing that made me pause was "Killeen"--I wasn't sure where the was at first and had to Google it. A two-letter state code after the name might help.

    I do think it's a good query beyond those two points, though!

  4. I think it sounds fine. It seems from the comments that you've already made changes.

    Good job!

  5. I think it sounds like an interesting story and I'd read it. It sounds like the main conflict is between her love for Caleb and the fact her parents want her to marry a nice Iraqi boy, so maybe make this part more integral to the query than her getting together with Caleb.

    Good luck!

  6. If the fact that Killeen is home to Fort Hood is important to the plot, I would go ahead and include something indicating that (i.e. -- Mirriam is uncomfortable living so close to the soldiers that occupied her old country). Does she have to go to school with the Army brats? That would be a good tidbit to add into the first paragraph -- not only does she feel awkward as the new girl, but she feels even more out of place surrounded by the children of soldiers, like Caleb. I think you need to establish the more military setting in the first paragraph so that it makes more sense for Caleb's dad to be military (which you introduce abruptly in the second paragraph). Hope that helps! I like the update on the forbidden love story.

  7. Everyone had good comments that I agree with. Yes, how old are these kids? You don't necessarily have to tell the whole story in the pitch. Juts give a hint of where it will go. Intriguing story!