Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Query Crit #4

Dear Awesome Agent,

As one of the four members of the Sciencetastic SuperGirls after-school club, 12-year-old Julia Veltman knows plenty about science, but she’s never heard of dark energy. So when a substitute teacher starts raving about it (complete with vague warnings regarding some dire event next Tuesday), she writes him off as a wackadoodle – until she discovers that dark energy actually exists. But this twitchy sub isn’t sharing everything, and the SuperGirls are determined to go all superspy to find out more.

After several elaborate plans involving dental floss, lip gloss, and an elevator in the most unexpected place, the SuperGirls discover a secret, dark energy-detecting, underground super collider, run by none other than Julia’s physicist parents. Which would be wicked awesome, if it didn’t mean that Julia’s parents have been lying to her for half her life. And not only are her parents just days away from announcing some earth-shattering discovery, but there’s an army of ninjas about to kidnap Julia in order to stop them. What the ninjas don’t know, of course, is that Julia’s not the kind of girl who will quietly sit tied up in a closet – and those other Sciencetastic SuperGirls aren’t about to let a bunch of dudes in black outfits stand between them and one of their own.

Complete at 63,000 words, SCIENCETASTIC SUPERGIRLS is a standalone middle grade novel with series potential. It has an action-packed, girl-powered mystery similar to Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series but for a younger audience. I am a member of SCBWI, and this is a multiple submission.


  1. I'd suggest providing a bit of an explanation about what "dark energy" is exactly, since I had to go look it up. :P You have nice a voice here and the plot sounds interesting, but I would like to have some sense of what the "earth-shattering discovery" might be, which would help the whole concept of ninjas seem more realistic. Good luck with this!

  2. Love the real science bent to this.

    I was intrigued by how she discovers that dark energy exists. Could you fit in a little about that? It sounds like a crucial point in the book, and it’d be great to get a sense of what that kind of revelation looks like in the story.

    The ninjas came a little out of left field for me, and what Stephanie suggested about the discovery might help with that. It sounds like you’ve got a lot packed into your plot, so make sure we’re along for the ride!

    Buena suerte!

  3. Your query made me laugh! :)

    As Stephanie said, you've got a clear voice here, and it comes across nicely. But, like both she and Anna, the ninjas threw me for a loop. It's like you read somewhere, "when in doubt, throw in ninjas!" (Kind of like the old murder mystery standby, "when in doubt, throw in another dead body!") Basically, it made me wonder if there wasn't something wrong with your plot where you got to a certain point and were stymied.

    I'm not very familiar with the MG age group, but 63K seems a little lengthy to me. Maybe I'm wrong...

    Overall, when my daughter gets to be an MG reader, this is the type of book I'd probably want her reading. :)

  4. I think this has a great middle grade voice. The ninjas didn't throw me off at all. Ninjas are a definite hook for MG readers. It sounds like a lot of fun!

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE the voice - this sounds so fun! Personally, I had no trouble with the dark energy reference (and I nearly flunked science in high school, so....). I do wonder if you can tighten up that first paragraph. The voice works really well, but it's a bit wordy and I think it could have more punch. If you can make that part snappier and keep the voice, I'd strongly recommend doing it.

    Also, NINJAS FTW! :)

  6. You have a fun voice! "After several elaborate plans involving dental floss, lip gloss, and an elevator in the most unexpected place" (so cute!) Honestly, I don't have many comments on this-- a few sentences are a bit long, but it sounds like a great story and I love the energy in this query.