Sunday, January 31, 2010



Dear Mystery Agent,

Twelve-year-old Fiona Hartwell is obsessed with three things: fireflies, ghost hunting, and not dealing with her brother Troy's traumatic brain injury.

When Troy was hurt, the Hartwells moved to Fiona's aunt's inn, hoping that a handicap-ready room on the first floor would help with his recovery. But Fiona wants nothing to do with Troy's recovery. She hates watching him learn to walk, learn to eat, learn to do everything. She just wants him to be her strong, older brother again. She escapes to the duck pond every day, ignoring Troy's requests to take him out with her, until a never-ending rainstorm traps her indoors.

She finds distraction and comfort in the ghost story she's made up about the inn. Soon, Fiona's sneaking out of her room each night to wander the halls, searching for the ghost girl she believes is trapped on the inaccessible third floor. She's heard that fireflies symbolize souls going to heaven, and Fiona wants to set this firefly free. But her choice to focus on the ghost instead of Troy might put both of them in danger.

FIREFLIES is a 30,000-word literary MG novel about a girl who wishes it was a paranormal novel instead. At your request, I'm prepared to send the completed manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.



  1. Your query sounds interesting but at the same time, I'm a bit confused. What exactly happened to Troy? Are these just imaginary ghosts? Why does she believe there's a ghost if she made the stories up?

    More books about handicapped kids need to be on the shelves, and this sounds like a deep and moving story; however, I'm not sure I got the gist of it from your query.

    Best of luck.

  2. Love this query--it's interesting and different. I love that it's literary MG. Great job!

  3. I think you probably have a great story here, and I especially like that it's about a girl who wants there to be ghosts, but who won't find any. That's so true to life.

    I think you do yourself a disservice by only hinting at the conflict in that last line. What is going to put them in danger? Can you touch on that a bit more and still maintain the suspense? That is where we begin to know if you have a real forward-moving plot or not.

    Also, being overly finicky, I'd change this phrase: "Fiona's aunt's inn" which is rhythmically unsatisfying, with perhaps just the name of the aunt: "Aunt Flossie's inn." We'd guess that it's the aunt of your MC.

    This sounds like it could be something really special. Good luck.

  4. Very well written query. Also, I think you might have the gold medal for best line in a query:

    FIREFLIES is a 30,000-word literary MG novel about a girl who wishes it was a paranormal novel instead.

    Love it.

  5. I love this too and I agree with what ryan said. That was great.

    I would definitely read this story, having looked after ill relatives, I can relate to it. I too sit by the duck pond when I want to escape the worries of life, but I don't write about ghosts, I write about ducks.

    Good luck with it. You have a great hook and a great query.

  6. I remember reading this query in QLH a few months ago. I loved it then and I love it now. I would certainly read this.

  7. I really like this. The traumatic brain injury plot is fascinating and I think Fireflies sounds like a very interesting literary MG. Good luck!


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