Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Surprise Agent Invasion #35

Title: IDYLL
Genre: YA dystopian
Word Count: 84,000


Sixteen-year-old Asher Wayne knows he'll end up in the military like his dad and all his brothers, but on Assignment Day, he's startled to discover that he hasn't been assigned--he's been chosen. The wealthy ruling class known as the capis has opened up their ranks to a few select plebs, members of the working class, and Ash is on the list.

As a capi-in-training, Ash has won eight weeks at Idyll, the greatest summer camp in the world where the kids of the capi elite come to sleep under the stars, build campfires, and play games in perfect freedom and safety—no adults allowed.

For Ash, it’s a chance to escape crime and poverty, as well as the whispers of revolution that have whipped through the pleb neighborhoods, but by the time Ash arrives at Idyll, those whispers have exploded into shouts. Ash faces suspicion and prejudice from the capi campers—except for the most famous capi of them all, Sera Trask. The beautiful and mysterious daughter of the ultra-conservative Vice President, Sera acts like she wants to get to know Ash better, even as she denies it to her fellow campers, and Ash can’t help wondering what secrets she’s hiding.

As news reaches camp that the pleb revolution has heated up into a full-out war, Idyll gets hit with a string of strange attacks, and Ash becomes the number one suspect. Unsure of whom to trust, Ash knows he has to prove his innocence and figure out who’s really behind the attacks and why. The answer will lead him to his own role in the war destroying the country and force him to choose between the world he’s always known and one of freedom and equality.

IDYLL is Occupy Wall Street meets The Hunger Games, combining the adventure and entertainment of dystopians with the real-world emotion and implications of the Arab Spring and "We are the 99 Percent" protests.

First 250:

I’ve never owned a single piece of clothing that actually fit me, and my Assignment Day uniform is no exception. It’s a hand-me-down from one of my five older brothers—Aaron probably, or maybe Daniel—but it doesn’t really matter which one because they’re all of them smaller than me. And usually it’s not a big deal, except today I really should be focused on my life, my future, instead of getting distracted by the collar slowly wringing my throat, the sleeves as tight as handcuffs, the two inches of sock showing above my ankle.

The Star-Spangled Banner begins in a crackle of static, and my dad scrapes his chair along the kitchen floor and stands at attention, right hand at right eyebrow, eyes straight ahead, probably thinking about my Assignment, what today means for our family. Even my mom, interrupted from washing dishes, floats one wet, soapy hand over her heart, her face grim and serious. But I just press my fingertips against my chest and pray the damn shirt doesn’t split right along the shoulders.

I fidget and flex my back, holding back a yawn. It’s not required to listen to the anthem on Assignment Day, and probably half the kids in Block D are still asleep. But my dad is a captain in the Low Army, which means he had me up at six A.M. sharp, my too-small uniform ready in my closet, perfect creases crisp.


  1. Eerie. I like. Please send the first 40k in an attachment (at a good break, 42 if you need for example) to pam.vhv@gmail

  2. Interesting concept. Could become one of those books that schools love to use as assigned reading! The query package and first page is quite polished and appealing. Good work and best of luck!

  3. Sounds great! Please send the first three chapters to query@psliterary.com with the subject heading: Cupid's Literary Connection: Idyll.

    Thanks! Carly

  4. Would love to see more. Please send query, synopsis and full to Esubmissions (at) SarahJanefreymann (dot) com.