Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Query Crit #5

Dear Awesome Agent,

In GRACEFUL DEATH, fifteen-year-old Grace thinks insomnia is her biggest problem, until she starts seeing shadow people that can’t be real. A black clad doppelganger splitting off from Raf, her best friend/secret crush, causing mischief? Yeah, so not normal. Determined to sleep and end these hallucinations, Grace accepts a joint from Raf. One puff of the joint shatters the gateway between the normal world and the spirit world, inviting the dead into her bedroom.

Blue souls surround her. Their overwhelming emotions leaching Grace’s life away. Moments before her last breath, the Grim-freaking-Reaper appears. She can either believe his oath to help and go with him or join the blue souls in death. She chooses the Grim Reaper. He whisks her away to a scary powerful Underworld demon whose plans include using Grace to transport souls. But becoming Death Jr. was never in her life plan. She may have been tricked into donning Death’s hoodie, promised a restful night’s sleep and unimaginable power, but the perks come at the cost of an innocent soul.

Overwhelmed, Grace turns to Raf and discovers he knows about her trip to the Underworld and so much more. Too bad he’s got a thing against sharing. Alone and losing her effing mind, she can no longer put off using the hoodie and stealing a soul. Revealing her life is in as much jeopardy as her victims.

GRACEFUL DEATH is a young adult paranormal novel complete at 71,000 words. My previous manuscript won the 2010 Sourcebooks Fire YALitChat writing contest and will be published as A Shimmer of Angels by Month9Books in November of 2012. I am also an active member of YALitChat.


  1. Hi! We were in the Adventure's in Children's Publishing first 5 pages workshop together, and I so excited to get to see your query. I loved the voice in those first five pages, and I really like the way you carry that voice through the query.

    The one part that stood out to me was the beginning of the second paragraph. It feels like a sudden shift to a more serious tone, and then when you switch back to the original tone with the Grim-freaking-Reaper comment, it feels abrupt. I'm not sure if you need to describe that moment in her bedroom with so much detail. Personally, I think you could just summarize with something like... "And with death just a few breaths away, the Grim-freaking-Reaper steps in with a proposal..." Because (at least for me) it's not too big a jump to go from entering the spirit world to being near death.

    The only other tiny suggestion I have is to tweak the last sentence in the synopsis part, so it reads: "But her life is in as much jeopardy as her victims." Also, I might think about connecting that sentence to the previous one with an em dash.

    In general though, this sounds like an awesome story! I love the complicated relationship with Ref, too. So much potential!

    Good luck!
    Ann (Sciencetastic SuperGirls)

  2. The voice in this is great— I'm jealous! I'd change a few things, though.

    The "So-and-So thinks ____ is her biggest problem, until _____ happens" is cliche.

    Grace is determined to "sleep and end these hallucinations," so she smokes what I'm assuming is pot? As the reader, I get the impression that she's a little gullible and maybe slow from this. Who smokes put to end hallucinations?

    "Their overwhelming emotions leaching Grace's life away" is a fragment. Maybe combine it with the previous sentence? "Revealing her life is in as much jeopardy as her victims" is also a fragment.

    Your voice will definitely carry you far. Good luck!

  3. You had me hooked right up until the final paragraph where things start to feel a little bit confusing. I love the twist that Raf knows about Grace's trip, but I don't understand what the " he’s got a thing against sharing" bit means, nor am I clear on why she's losing her mind. Is it the hallucinations? I do like the ending twist line about her life being in danger too, but I don't like the phrasing. It would read smoother connected to the sentence before it.

    Overall though, really strong query and I love the premise. I'd read it! :)