Monday, April 12, 2010

Entry 1

Genre: YA

When fifteen-year-old, Los Angeles bred Shelby Brockhurst meets her clodhopper relatives for the first time, she understands why her mom has kept them a secret. Shelby’s grandparents only have running water when you move the pump handle, and her cousins are complete barbarians, especially the twins, with their gross preoccupation with bologna rinds and dog butts. Throw in a wild mountain boy by the name of Eddie Pickens, and Shelby begins to wonder why any sane person would stay in Caney Forks, Tennessee.

But as the summer progresses, Shelby discovers the love that holds this family together, and the pain her mother’s leaving caused. She also finds Eddie has a way of making her heart do a crazy little happy dance every time he comes near.

With the questionable assistance of her hayseed cousins, Shelby devises a plan to reunite her mom with her family. Her grandfather doesn’t realize he’s helping; he’s too busy tending to his imaginary pigs. If Shelby’s plan doesn’t work, she may never see her relatives, or Eddie, again. That would be worse than, well, than falling off the turnip truck and landing in a fresh cow paddy.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


  1. I absolutely love this one. If I were an agent, I'd snap it up. I love the voice. I can just see the whole picture in my mind.

    The clodhoppers and the imaginary pigs made me smile, but the name Eddie Pickens just cracked me up.

    I couldn't add anything to this to improve it. I love it just the way it is.

  2. The humor and voice are great in this query, and the book sounds like a fun read. I would include your word count somewhere. Other than that, nice job!

  3. This sounds like an interesting premise and I'll bet it has many hysterical moments throughout. I do have a question though, there is no mention of her mom leaving her at all and then, boom, it says her mom has left in the second paragraph. Is her mom leaving the reason she ends up with her grandparents? If so, I'd add that to the first paragraph.

    Good luck!

  4. This query is as close to perfect as I think a query can get. I love the voice and your choice of details.

    Good luck with this--not that I think you'll need it!

  5. If I were an agent, I'd request sample chapters.

  6. I'd definitely request on this one. Voice is hilarious and I'm already in love with your writing. My only critiques were mentioned above, the word count and maybe a small clarification on mom leaving.

  7. Great voice and an interesting premise. I too wonder if she has gone to stay with her clodhopper relatives because her mom left. If that is the inciting incident, it should be mentioned in the first paragraph. I love that her mom has kept the relatives secret, and who wouldn't love a grandpa who tends imaginary pigs?

    Looks like a fun and heart warming read. Good luck with it!

  8. Definitely needs the word count in here somewhere. I also agree that the mom leaving needs to move up front. I'm wondering why she went to Caney Forks in the first place.

    Also the sentence about her grandfather feels like an orphan in the last paragraph. It's a cute detail, but a nonsequitor at this point.

    Good voice though. I think with a little tightening this will be a winner.

  9. Enjoyed the voice of this query.
    As others have mentioned, definitely think the inciting incident (Mom leaving) needs to be spelled out in the first paragraph -- I found myself having to go back and re-read as a result. Additionally, word count should find its way in, too.

    Really enjoyed some of the specifics, e.g. "the pump handle"or "imaginary pigs."

    Having said that, I would watch a few cliche mentions, e.g. "Turnip truck."

    Good luck.

  10. Jamie Weiss ChiltonApril 26, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    You set the scene well here; I get a strong sense of place.

    I wonder, though, what is the hook here that sets this story apart from others in the same genre? There are a lot of books out there about girls moving from cities to small towns, finding love, and having their lives change for the better. How is yours different? Maybe more details about how this family is unique would help.

    Nice use of humor here; I like the tone.


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