Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Dear Query Shark,

Young, na├»ve and directionless, Molly Brennan follows her boyfriend, Jake, to the Mt. Baker ski area to work as a seasonal employee. She catches her boyfriend Jake him cheating on her with a slutty lift operator shortly after their arrival. Molly confronts him and he denies he’s done anything wrong. He tells her, “We should be open to experiences.” She wakes up to the fact he’s unscrupulous and manipulative. and dumps him. She breaks up with him.

and dumps him is a clause that isn't the next part of the unscrupulous and manipulative sequence. You need a way to separate the two.

A few weeks later, she finds out she’s pregnant.

Molly is the youngest of four children. Growing up in a strict religious household, she rarely made a decision on her own until the family unit fell apart, her siblings moved away, and her parents became too absorbed in their own drama to pay attention to her. Molly struggles with the decision of whether to raise the baby alone or terminate the pregnancy. Choosing the latter goes against every moral fabric sewn into her existence,

every moral fabric sewn into her existence is over writing of the worst sort. It's moral fiber, not fabric for starters, and "sewn into her existence" doesn't actually make sense. Metaphors and similes need to illuminate not obfuscate to be effective.

still, she knows it’s the right choice. Her new roommates and friends, Eric and Kyle, help her recover from the agonizing abortion.

Determined not to be lost or broken, she steals away to the waters of Alaska for the summer to work on a small cruise ship. “Maybe the fresh air and change of scenery will be good for me,” she thinks.

I'm not sure I've ever heard a high school senior or college freshman say "maybe the fresh air will be good for me." It sounds like something Great Aunt Matilda says to a kid who's eaten too many rum balls at Christmas: dated.

Kyle makes a surprise appearance on the dock in Petersburg, offering more than friendship with an impassioned kiss—he and his girlfriend, Tracey, have broken up. At the end of summer, she returns home anxious to see if what she feels for Kyle is real. She walks into the house to see Kyle and Tracey together—dashing any hopes of a budding romance.
Kyle explains reuniting with Tracey wasn’t expected. When she tells him it would be better if she just moved out, he begs her stay. She reluctantly agrees and enrolls at the local community college, throwing herself into school and studying—keeping Kyle at arm’s length. She tries to deny her feelings for him, reminding herself he has a girlfriend and that she doesn’t want to be that girl. But how long can Molly Brennan deny love, even if it’s all wrong?

Kyle sounds like a total frigging heel and I want to slap his face. What the hell is wrong with Molly that she puts up with this crap?

The Education of Molly Brennan is a work of fiction for the young adult genre. It is complete at 60,000 words.

I hope you find my query of interest and look forward to hearing from you.
(contact info redacted)

The problem of course is that it reads like it's from the 50's or 60's. The YA fiction I see (and read) is much much edgier. Once she's had the abortion, there's not much else going on here.

Form rejection, but this is a lot better than the first round.

Dear Query Shark:

All the attention Molly Brennan's boyfriend, Jake, pores on her

and here's where I stop reading. Nothing makes me put down a query more quickly than incorrect word usage. Pore is to study carefully or a hole in your skin. You mean pour as in inundate. Words are tools. Using them incorrectly is like hitting a screw with a hammer. Don't do it.

blinds her to the fact he’s unscrupulous and manipulative, just like her father. Molly has no car, no real family to go home to, and to make things worse; (this is an incorrect use of a semi colon) after she’s gained the courage to break up with him, she discovers she’s pregnant.

The youngest of four children—everyone told her what to do: what to eat, what to wear, what to read, what to watch on television, or not watch—she rarely made a decision of her own. Faced with making one of life’s most irreversible choices, Molly finds comfort in a new friend, Kyle.

In the aftermath, Molly realizes she needs to recover a sense of self in order to move on with her life and maybe, just maybe, she might find love, too.

Aftermath? Move on with her life? I think we're missing a crucial piece of information here. Did she have a baby or not?

The Education of Molly Brennan is a work of fiction for the edgy young adult genre. It is complete at 60,000 words.

I'm sorry, but dealing with a pregnancy is not edgy. And the genre is young adult, not edgy young adult. No one stops reading a query based on getting the category wrong, but you want to get it right. This is YA.

I hope you find my query of interest and look forward to hearing from you.

There's not enough here to pique (not peak) my interest. I've been reading books like this since MR & MRS BO JO JONES (published 1968!). You need to focus on telling the story with a fresh approach, or a new twist.

Form rejection.